Petaluma, California


Looklyloo Score: 94

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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.