Petaluma, California


Downtown Petaluma
Downtown Petaluma
Helen Putnam Park
Helen Putnam Park
Downtown Play
Downtown Play
Theater District
Theater District



Sunny Days: 260
73100 Affordability
90100 Schools
45100 Diversity
86100 Safety

In all my wanderings upon this earth I had never before traversed so Eden-like a vale as that between Santa Rosa and Mark West. It was nature’s own park. Wild oats, clover and other indigenous grasses intermingled with a profusion of wildflowers of every shade and hue bedecked the broad expanse of plains… — E.S. Lippett

The Best Thing About Petaluma?

Small-Town Vibe

Petaluma sparks love among locals primarily because of the old-school, small-town, made in America vibe. You’re nestled in the rolling hills of Sonoma County, and that beauty is impossible to ignore, but it’s really more about how much you can slow down in Petaluma and just enjoy walking around a vibrant but chill downtown.

Some of the vibe comes from the beautiful 1800's Victorian-era architecture that fills downtown. Some of it comes from the great farm-to-table food scene, amazing local wine at the bars & restaurants (of course) and the cafes and artisanal food markets that give it an intimate feeling. Countless community events and festivals round out the family-friendly spirit that pulls in plenty of people escaping the chaos of larger west coast cities.

The Worst Part About Petaluma?

Jobs, Maybe?

We put a question mark after “Jobs” because while the city isn’t a jobs haven like others in the Bay Area, the tech world has gone hard core work-from-home so for many this may not matter. There are tech companies north of SF -- close-ish to Petaluma, but the pickings can be slim so stick close to SF/San Jose if an easy commute job market is important to you.

Lifestyle of Petaluma


While there is a small young professional community in Petaluma it pales in comparison to the family-focused scene that dominates the city. There is an active downtown that pulls in locals/families for food, drink and play but you also have a mix of suburban and rural living that tightly surrounds the central city and drives who the city serves.

The agricultural heritage of Petaluma and Sonoma County is also a powerful influence with dairy farms, ranches and vineyards filling the surrounding countryside. This fresh local access to produce drives an outsized foodie scene, stunning high-quality farmers’ markets, and some of the world’s best wines a short drive away. Outside of that expect tons of family-friendly activities, the local baseball team has done well in the Little League World Series, and there’s more soccer and other sports than a family could possibly want for their kiddos. There’s an art gallery community here as well but even more notably families, couples and singles spend much more time enjoying the parks, rolling hills and easy access to the Pacific Ocean for an outdoor lifestyle that is tough to beat. World-class biking, hiking and just strolling is always available – as is surfing, paddle-boarding and beach-lounging.

To see what locals do for fun check out the Petaluma Calendar of Events.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

The Lifestyle

Petaluma is a poster child for a work-from-home paradise. You have the Pacific and breathtaking landscapes to the west, a world-class city to the south, and one of the truly wonderful small-town downtowns in America (it’s won awards). If you’ve got the bucks and want the lifestyle, check it out.

Neighborhoods in Petaluma

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Young Professionals - Empty Nesters/Retirees

Petaluma is a stretch for young professionals looking for a big batch of other young professionals but there are bars, restaurants and cafes if you’re ready to move on from the big city but don’t want to surrender a social scene entirely. There are plenty of condos and apartments for purchase or rent so don’t expect a city that never sleeps but if you’re gonna live anywhere it’ll be downtown.

A growing trend, which Petaluma is experiencing as well is Empty Nesters/Retirees picking quiet-ish but active downtowns for the short walks to daytime culture and nighttime action. The weather is amazing, the locals are friendly and the pace is pretty perfect for being active but not at a dizzying pace. This is a true American Main Street that converted, but also preserved 1870’s buildings, into a thriving arts, shopping, restaurant and theater district.
One final note, while the counties north of SF are famous for rejecting the train system from the city there is a nifty little train line from Santa Rosa to Larkspur so you can live in downtown Petaluma and take a train to many of the Marin/Sonoma county cities.

  • Midtown

Western Petaluma


Western Petaluma is a beautiful suburban neighborhood. It has a mix of historic mansions, restored Victorian and Craftsman homes, and newer subdivisions for those craving a true suburban experience. The streets are tree-lined, the blocks are quiet and there are big yards and parks for the kiddos to run around and the Petaluma River for boating and kayaking. The public schools are highly-rated and walkable, or bikeable for those looking for that intimate culture.

Oakhill Brewster


Oakhill Brewster is a stunning historic district for families craving heritage Victorians, Queen Annes or Craftsman homes right next to downtown. If you want a foot in quiet family-friendly blocks and a foot in a downtown district then Oakhill Brewster is your choice. It borders the commercial district so you have a short walk to cultural events, farmers’ markets and nights out, but it also preserves a lifestyle of family-friendly play when you want the kids running and biking at a distance from the downtown traffic and tourists.