Historic beauty and small town charm
Incorporated in 1858, Petaluma is one of California’s oldest cities. With the distinction of being the birthplace of the first egg-hatching incubator, Petaluma quickly came to be known as the undisputed “egg basket of the world” by the early 1900s. And where did the farmers take their chickens when they were under the weather? To the Poultry Pharmacy of course, to visit the Chicken Doctor! Yes, Petaluma had the world's only Chicken Pharmacy, Chicken Rodeo and Egg Queen Ball, which helped cement its 100+ year nickname of “Chickaluma”.
While the 1906 earthquake destroyed most of the surrounding towns, Petaluma managed to escape with minimal damage. As a result, the aggressive preservation of Petaluma’s precious Downtown, Historic Residences and Riverfront area is a long-standing municipal tradition. In 1995 Petaluma’s Victorian Downtown was added to the National Register of Historic Places, while smart growth policies and downtown integration plans have allowed Petaluma to become the Hipster and Foodie Mecca of Sonoma County. The rich architecture and vibrant downtown defines the soul of the population, which is friendly, welcoming and proud.
It is this kind of beauty and small town charm that has inspired movie producers to make Petaluma the backdrop of award winning movies such as Basic Instinct, Peggy Sue Got Married, Flubber and the iconic film, American Graffiti. With a population of approximately 60,438, Petaluma is the 152nd most populated city in California and is the second largest city In Sonoma County.
Things To Do
Petaluma residents are proud of their town’s quirky history and celebrate its rich heritage during numerous fairs and festivals throughout the year. The premiere event is the annual Butter & Egg Days Parade, which honors Petaluma’s turn-of-the-century moniker as the “Egg Basket of the World.” The Petaluma Veteran’s Day Parade is the largest in Northern California. Residents and visitors frequent the Historic Downtown (Petaluma Blvd. and Kentucky St.), which features a great mix of Zagat rated restaurants, coffee houses, wine and beer tasting rooms and boutique retail and antique shops. With a natural harbor in the heart of Downtown, Latitude 38 Magazine recently selected Petaluma as one of the “Top Ten Bay Area Leisure Boating Destinations”. While technically a tidal Slough, Petalumans commonly refer to it as a river, and that’s the story we are sticking to!
Petaluma is proud of its 42 parks, all strategically located to service the community. Many of these parks are dog friendly and offer extensive hiking and walking trails of varying degrees of length and difficulty.
Per capita, Petaluma has more health clubs than any town in Sonoma County. There is pretty much a club for every budget and location, which makes it difficult to find excuses!
Both the East and West Sides of town offer excellent school choices. Petaluma City, Cinnabar, Liberty, Dunham, and Two Rock School Districts serve the West Side. The Waugh and Old Adobe School Districts serve the East Side. There are numerous highly regarded schools within these districts, with API scores near or above 900. The schools that boast 9/10 scores (Based on Greatschools.org) are Casa Grande High, (East Side), Wilson Elementary (West Side), Grant Elementary (West Side), and Meadow Elementary (East Side). There are also a healthy number of award winning charter and private schools to choose from.
Petaluma is also the home to an extension of the Santa Rosa Junior College, which is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Petaluma has LOTS of shopping within City Limits! The Village Premium Outlets, located on Petaluma Blvd South offers name brand stores at accessible prices. Downtown Petaluma offers an eclectic variety of small businesses, which include antique stores, boutiques and consignment stores just to name a few. Petaluma has a time-honored tradition of supporting our local small businesses, whose existence adds to our town’s culture and charm.
Petaluma features a great mix of grocery shopping, which includes large chains such as Safeway (2 of them!), Raleys, Lucky’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, to the smaller Petaluma Market, which is a local favorite.
Petaluma is arguably the farm to table capital of Sonoma County. Residents and visitors enjoy year-round weekly Farmers Markets, in addition to seasonal and special event Markets. Please click on Petaluma’s Visitor Center for a comprehensive list of events.