Discover the Heartwarming Story of the Robin Williams Tunnel

Nestled in the heart of Marin County, California, just north of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, lies a colorful and vibrant tribute to the late, great Robin Williams.

The Robin Williams Tunnel, formerly known as the Waldo Tunnel, has become a touching testament to the life and legacy of one of the most beloved comedians and actors of our time.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the history, significance, and heartwarming stories behind the Robin Williams Tunnel.

History of the Waldo Tunnel

The Waldo Tunnel, a structure that has been connecting Sausalito to San Francisco since 1937, was originally named after William Waldo, a Whig Party candidate who ran for governor of California in 1853.

As part of Highway 101, the twin bores of the tunnel were painted with a pair of vibrant rainbows, which soon became an iconic landmark for those traveling between Marin County and San Francisco.

The tunnel has appeared in everything from vintage postcards to a Pixar film. I often drive through it while traveling to and from the Bay Area Discovery Museum.

A Fitting Tribute

Robin Williams was an unforgettable figure in the world of entertainment. His unmatched wit, contagious laughter, and ability to touch the hearts of millions made him a cultural icon.

After his untimely passing in 2014, fans from all over the world sought ways to pay tribute to the man who brought so much joy into their lives. They took to the website and launched a petition to rename the tunnel.

In 2015, California State Assemblyman Marc Levine introduced legislation to rename the Waldo Tunnel in honor of Williams, who lived nearby in Marin County.

The renaming was approved in 2016, and the tunnel officially became the Robin Williams Tunnel, paying homage to a man who was not only a talented performer but also an avid supporter of many charitable causes and an active member of the community.

The Significance of the Rainbows

The rainbows adorning the entrance of the Robin Williams Tunnel serve as a fitting symbol of the joy and laughter that the beloved comedian brought into the lives of so many.

The tunnel’s vibrant colors reflect the bright, energetic, and whimsical nature of Williams’ performances, while also embodying the hope and love he expressed for his fellow human beings.

Furthermore, the rainbows have taken on an additional layer of meaning in recent years as a symbol of inclusivity and acceptance in the LGBTQ+ community. Robin Williams was a passionate advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, and the rainbows now serve as a reminder of his unwavering support for equality and love.


As we travel through the Robin Williams Tunnel, we are reminded not only of the laughter and joy he brought to the world but also of the importance of love, acceptance, and compassion.

The tunnel’s rainbows serve as a beacon of hope, representing the many colors of humanity that Robin Williams so brilliantly celebrated throughout his life. As we pass through its colorful arches, let us remember to cherish the laughter, love, and unity that Robin Williams’ legacy continues to inspire.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

Leave a Reply

Back to top button