Marin’s Cities & Towns: Sausalito

The Stats

Population: About 7,000

Mayor: Janelle Kellman

Notable residents: Dave Eggers, Amy Tan and Janis Joplin

Fun fact: Otis Redding wrote “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” in 1967 while sitting on a rented houseboat docked at Commodore Center Seaplane Base in Sausalito.

With houses nestled high in the hills overlooking the bay dotted with sailboats, the picturesque town of Sausalito — “small willow grove” in Spanish — evokes an unmistakable Mediterranean vibe. Marin County’s southernmost town has a long history of boating as well as boatbuilding, starting with Marinship, which built ships during World War II. (After it closed, many of the shipyard’s Black workers, who had migrated from the South, settled in Marin City.) Indeed, spending time on, and near, the water is an inherent part of living in Sausalito, especially for residents of the town’s floating home community, made up of about 400 houseboats.

Heath Clay Studio.

Home to Health Ceramics, founded in 1948, Sausalito is also known for its thriving arts community, celebrated at events like the Sausalito Art Festival (typically held Labor Day Weekend, save a Covid-19 hiatus) and Marin Open Studios (April 30–May 1 and May 7–8). This year, Marin Open Studios will include a new venue, the new Sausalito Center for the Arts (SCFTA). This former Bank of America building in downtown Sausalito will serve as a multipurpose venue for fine art, musical, theatrical and other events.

ICB open studio
Image of ICB building by Andrew Faulkner.

More on Sausalito:

Lotus Abrams

Lotus Abrams has covered everything from beauty to business to tech in her editorial career, but it might be writing about her native Bay Area that inspires her most. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the San Francisco Peninsula, where they enjoy spending time outdoors at the area’s many open spaces protected and preserved by her favorite local nonprofit, the Peninsula Open Space Trust.