Stroll along Sausalito’s main thoroughfare and you are likely to hear French, Danish, and German, among other languages. The North Bay city teems with global tourists, illustrating that these visitors know what locals likely take for granted: Sausalito is a world-class destination.
Located just an hour’s drive from downtown Napa, Sausalito resembles the quaint seaside villages that hug the Mediterranean coastline. Bungalows, condos, and mansions line the bay and harbor-adjacent hillsides, evoking a French Riviera vibe. Panoramic vantage points spot- light Alcatraz, Angel Island, the Bay Bridge, the San Francisco skyline, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
But Sausalito offers more than Instaworthy photo ops. Visitors can find destination level dining, world-class art galleries, boutique shopping, and wine. Lots of wine. Esteemed labels have found a welcoming home in the restaurants and tasting rooms of this tiny and tony village. And for those who plan to partake in the various vinous offerings, an array of luxe hotels stand poised and ready to provide a room with a stellar view.
EAT AND DRINK:
Their mother ship might be located in bucolic Calistoga, but Madrigal Family Wines finds itself equally at home overlooking the sailboats and yachts moored within Sausalito’s picturesque harbor. This combination art gallery and tasting room provide a bright, airy, and sociable spot to enjoy flights as well as wines by the glass of Madrigal’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Gewurztra- miner, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, and small-lot single vineyard and estate wines. www.madrigalfamilywine.com
Visitors can find destination level dining, world- class art galleries, boutique shopping, and wine. Lots of wine.
For art and wine lovers, Bacchus and Venus offers daily changing flight tastings of four California varietals. Knowledgeable staff guide guests through each wine, providing information on wine- making techniques and suggested food pairings. The gallery highlights local artists; featured are wine country scenes, wine still life, Sausalito seascapes, and San Francisco cityscapes. www.bacchusandvenus.com
Casa Madrona-adjacent Poggio Trattoria is a longtime Sausalito favorite. Its marina facing location beckons the multitude of disembarking ferry passengers, but at is heart, this is a local’s spot. The dashing Chef Ben Balesteri oversees the kitchen, and he changes his Northern Italy inspired-menu daily to take advantage of the best local ingredients. Don’t miss his rustic, wood-fired pizzas and his Bolognese. The convivial bar features crafted cocktails and a large selection of local and European wines, and is a great place to rub elbows with the regulars. Poggio is also open in the early morning; enjoy coffee and pastries at a sunny table while listening to Puccini. www.poggiotrattoria.com
Copita Tequileria y Comida, just steps from Poggio, is the creation of celebrity chef and award- winning cookbook author and tequila aficionado Joanne Weir. She features more than 130 artfully displayed tequilas and mezcals. Try a flight to kick start your evening, or ask Weir, who is at her restaurant on average five nights per week, for a recommendation. Creative small and big plates feature dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients grown in the restaurant’s garden. www.copitarestaurant.com
Old and New World selections ac- company a chef-driven, seafood- centric menu at The Bump Bar at California Caviar Company where caviar and roe take center stage within the sleek environ and its 12-seat tasting bar. Enhance your seven-course tasting menu, à la carte dishes, or traditional caviar service with a flute of champagne. www.californiacaviar.com
For those who plan to partake in the various vinous offerings, an array of luxe hotels stand poised and ready to provide a room with a stellar view.
Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa’s original mansion property, built in 1885, still stands and is now home to the property’s spectacular 5,000 square-foot Alexandrite Suite with wall-to- ceiling windows, rooftop patio, and expansive harbor and Bay views. Cozier accommodations featuring seaside décor themes can be found in a variety of room styles situated amongst the blue-shingled cottages that dot the hillside. Considered the grand dame of Sausalito hotels, Casa Madrona is centrally located to the best of Sausalito and affords its guests access to charming park-like nooks scattered throughout the property, fitness facilities, and a recently renovated spa where a first-rate massage or facial, and crystal-in- fused waters provide a posh pick- me-up after a day of exploration. www.casamadrona.com
Rent a standard or electric bike from Sausalito Bike Rentals and freely roam miles and miles of nearby trails. An e-bike makes exploration of the Sausalito-Ti- buron Loop Trail an exhilarating breeze, but a slow pedal amongst harbor side flora and fauna is equally enthralling. Before or after your ride, check out the bike rental adjacent Sports and History Gallery, packed with more than 5,000 historic and vintage photos of sports stars, rock icons, and historical figures. www.sausalitobikerentals.com // sportsandhistorygallery.com
Head to Heath Ceramics for their selection of classic pottery pieces made on-site in this industrial location since the late 50s. Don’t miss the ‘seconds’ section – dishes, pitchers, mugs, and serving bowls with slight, imperceptible imperfections, marked at 20% off retail. www.heathceramics.com
Hit the trails; Sausalito features 40 moderate trails ranging from 1 to 15.1 miles, and from 9 to 1,482 above sea level. Start at the set of stairs carved into the hillside across from the ferry- boat docks and climb towards the start of the Marin Head- lands trails. This crown jewel of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area features natural beauty and remarkable historical sites such as Fort Cronkhite and Point Bonita Lighthouse.
Article By: Fran Miller