Old timers will remember Petaluma as the egg basket of Sonoma County, when thousands of chicken farms operated on the outskirts of the city. Today, Petaluma retains its rural feel, but those chicken farms have given way to vineyards, and increasingly, housing developments for residents who appreciate the access to relatively affordable homes and the direct commute to San Francisco 35 miles south on Highway 101.
With nearly 60,000 residents this town has transformed itself and now hosts a bustling downtown “Theater District” that is widespread and affords excellent cuisine at countless restaurants while still sharing the “old flavor” of what Petaluma was historically. The historical Petaluma homes on the coveted Westside were built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s by the “Chicken Barons” and from there the city expanded outward creating new housing options over the decades. Homes for sale in Petaluma will typically be as low as $500,000 and rise upwards to $3 million with the median price around $775,000.
Petaluma is home to Amy’s Kitchen, a creator and distributor of organically prepared meals nationwide (and growing) as well as the iconic Lagunitas Brewing Company - recently brought under the wing of Heineken in a billion-dollar deal - are two of the largest private employers here. Petaluma's commercial core is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the central shopping district, which consists of mainly two-story stone buildings, has recently undergone a revitalization that includes an emphasis on downtown living. Dozens of antique shops operate in Petaluma’s old town district.
Petaluma is graced with a riverfront - once the third busiest in California - that has been restored as well as a newly designed river walk. The galleries along the river showcase works from some of the best artists in the North Bay. Restaurants along the Petaluma River provide a perfect place to gaze at sailboats as they pass through the distinctive D Street drawbridge. The annual Butter & Egg Days Parade & Festival, held in April, is a throwback to Petaluma's agricultural past and even today when travelling abroad you will occasionally encounter “Petaluma Chicken” on the menus of finer establishments and cruise ships.