Petaluma was founded in 1848, as a crossroads and marketplace for southern Sonoma and northern Marin counties. Agriculture is and always was central to the town's identity. In the early part of the 1900s, Petaluma was known as the "Egg Basket of the World" due to the large number of chicken farms nearby. Although electronic industries, especially telecom, have started displacing Petaluma's numerous cattle, chicken, and sheep ranches, much of Petaluma still maintains the feel of the old cow-town.
There are a few ways to enter the city. However, the two most common ways are from the freeway or the backroads.
HWY 101: The main way to arrive Petaluma is via Highway 101 North or South. HWY 116 W merges with HWY 101 N at the second exit in town. There are four main exits off the freeway: Petaluma Blvd So., Lakeville/116, Washington St. and Petaluma Blvd. No. HWY 1: Offers another way in to Petaluma. From the coastal Highway take the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road which eventually turns into D Street and leads you directly into downtown Petaluma. Old Redwood Highway & Stoney Point Road: Alternative backroads between Santa Rosa and Petaluma. All are popular cycling routes for athletes and commuters, so SHARE THE ROAD!
While a car is the fastest and easiest way to travel in and out of the city, there is also a bus service. Golden Gate Transit provides intercounty bus service (Sonoma, Marin, & San Francisco counties). Sonoma County Transit provides service within Sonoma County only. Amtrak also provides connecting bus service.
One of the more enjoyable ways to enter and exit the city is by bicycle. For cycle enthusiasts there are numerous backroads and alternative routes to enjoy.
It's easiest to get around by car if traveling from one end of the city to another. Downtown parking can sometimes be unavailable on the street, and the downtown area is often impassable on weekends due to events. Should you happen to find parking, strictly adhere to the time limits posted. Tickets are given. There are parking garages downtown and ample parking in them. Many places are accessible by foot downtown, but unless you are adventurous, plan to drive from downtown to the outlet shopping area. For those averse to walking or driving, Petaluma Transit provides intercity transport during limited hours. Cycling is another very pleasant option around town.
- 1 Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park, 3325 Adobe Rd, ☎ . Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park was the main residence of Rancho Petaluma, the agricultural empire that General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo one of the most powerful men in the Mexican Province of California from 1834 to 1846.
Petaluma has a beautiful, historic downtown area which has appeared in several films depicting mid-20th-Century life.
- David Yearsley River Heritage Center. A popular location for boating.
- Petaluma Village Premium Outlets (Off Highway 101.). Find impressive savings at top outlets from Coach, Banana Republic, Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue and more.
- Lan Mart (Right Downtown). An eclectic mix of antique shops and boutiques in a charming, historic building.
Downtown Petaluma is filled with inexpensive yet tasty eateries of many sorts. Thai lovers will want to try all FIVE Thai restaurants within a one-mile stretch along the Boulevard. Numerous small, upscale bistros abound.
Vegetarians will have no problem here. Equally, vegans and people on gluten-free diets shouldn't have any real trouble. Petaluma simply has very good restaurants and used to locally be referred to as "the restaurant capital of California."
Many more great restaurants exist outside of downtown Petaluma. Try Cattlemen's Steakhouse for locally grown beef and heartier fare, Chunky's Taqueria & Grill, and Giacomo's Italian Restaurant, to name a few.
- 1 Volpi's, 124 E Washington St. A generations old Italian restaurant serving full seven-course family-style meals and the best eggplant Parmesan.
- Old Chicago Pizza, 41 Petaluma Boulevard North. M–Th 11:30AM–10:30PM, F Sa 11:30AM–11:30PM. With some of the thickest-crust pizza you'll see.
- Thai Ginger. A particular standout with a small patio and award-winning food for a low to moderate price.
- Graffiti. Another fantastic moderate to upscale restaurant featuring California-style cuisine, which features a beautiful view of the Petaluma River Basin, an outstanding bar, and consistently good dining and service.
- Mi Pueblo. For a delicious, reasonably priced meal, absolutely try the Mexican seafood at Mi Pueblo. The camarones fajitas, fish tacos, and tamales are fantastic. Two locations in town
- Della Fattoria. For a quick cafe-style breakfast or lunch, or just a cup of tea or coffee. You can also grab some of the best olive bread and other fantastic pastries to go, with excellent soup, salad, sandwich combinations.
- Tea Room. Has a light, seasonal menu featuring tons of salads and sandwiches as well as many fine brunch items. Has limited outdoor seating.
- Himalayan Kabob & Curry House. Outstanding Indian AND Nepalese food.
- Real Doner. Unexpectedly good Turkish fare. A relaxed and deli-style with an outdoor patio. The doners, dolmas, and mezes (appetizer plate) are sublime.
- McNear's, Petaluma Blvd. Serves good American-style food and drinks with a fun atmosphere.
- Mystic Theater. Next door to McNear's, offering bands from all over the world.
- Zebulon's Lounge, 4th Street/Kentucky. Live music every night.
- Infusions, 4th Street/Kentucky. Offers a more electric atmosphere.
- Hide Away, 4th Street/Kentucky.
- Finbar Devine's Irish Pub, 4th Street/Kentucky.
- Dempsey's, Western St. Similar to McNear's.
- The Willowbrook. For some pool (billiards), drinks, and karaoke (on Friday and Saturday nights).
- Aqus cafe.
- Best Western Petaluma Inn, 200 S McDowell Blvd, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: .
- Motel 6, 1368 North McDowell Blvd, ☎ , fax: .
- Quality Inn Petaluma, 5100 Montero Way, toll-free: . The Quality Inn Petaluma is a lodge in the California Wine Country and Sonoma County, delivering special value California vacation packages for the whole family.
- Sheraton Petaluma, 745 Baywood Dr.
|Routes through Petaluma|
|Santa Rosa ← Cotati ←||N S||→ Novato → San Francisco|
|Jenner ← Cotati ←||W E||→ Sonoma → Ends at|
|Santa Rosa ← Cotati ←||N S||→ Novato → San Rafael|