Petaluma, California


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What's it like to live in Petaluma?

What’s your favorite part about living in Petaluma?

I moved to Petaluma 2 years ago to live with my partner who grew up here. I love it here, and we never plan to leave. The downtown area is a perfect place for a Sunday brunch, Saturday afternoon stroll and shopping, or Friday night drinks on the town. It is small, but it feels like home . 40ish minutes to the beach, 45-1 hour into SF by car. My partner takes the golden gate transit into the city for work which is a nice perk to not have to drive. All in all a wonderful town. Housing wise, we did have to move back in with the parents for the next two or more years to be able to afford a starter home here so there’s that….

What’s your favorite part about living in Petaluma?

My fiancé and I just moved to Petaluma from Napa and we love it! I’m from Elk Grove originally, so I love the small town feel of Petaluma while still having access to big city amenities. It’s got plenty of parks & outdoor space, a cool downtown, bars, restaurants, nightlife, and still feels like a farm town. Napa seemed a lot like a tourist trap everywhere, so we already feel much more at home in Petaluma because everything here feels more “authentic.” I think it will be easier for us to make friends here, too. Good luck to you!

**What’s your favorite part about living in Petaluma?
It is a safe place, lots of charm, great location - has most anything you would want, but if not you can get it nearby. People complain about the traffic, but those people have never been anywhere where there is real traffic lol. Less than half an hour to the beach, half an hour to the river. The only thing not to like really is the real estate prices, but thats California in general. I raised my child here, it was GREAT.

Moving from San Diego to Petaluma

Exact opposite - there’s tons of young people and young family folks here. Plenty of older folk too, but most people with regular incomes can’t afford to own in SF, or Marin. So next area north is Sonoma, and Petaluma is the first city you get to.

Downtown has tons of cool little shops, great restaurants, and there’s more and more to do as you head north.

Added benefit, you’re only 40 minutes from the coast, and the traffic going west is not bad at all except on holiday weekends.

Downsides - traffic going north, south, or east of Petaluma is hell. But west to the coast is great.

Lots of good fishing spots on coast, and steelhead and all that on the rivers. That’s my thing. In fact, the Petaluma river runs right through town and there are lots of little striped bass in there. Best months are June to October in my experience.

E - as far as other cities, Petaluma is the best option if you want to live in a town, and don’t want to go super far north. I wouldn’t recommend Santa Rosa or Rohnert Park unless you got lottttta $, and maybe not even then. Santa Rosa has a surprising amount of crime, and RP is just kinda bland. Don’t feel like it has lotta character.

What’s your favorite part about living in Petaluma?

My husband and I (also in our 30s) left the East Coast and settled in Petaluma seven years ago. We love it here. Yes, it’s expensive, but so is Oakland—the price tag shouldn’t be a total shock to your system. I like that if I walk a few blocks in one direction, I’ll encounter a goat and alpaca farm and, just a few blocks in the other direction, I’ll hit downtown. Some of the downtown architecture gives charming New England vibes, which hits a nostalgic sweet spot for me personally. The mountain views are gorgeous, and it’s lovely walking along the river year round. The city hosts several art and antique fairs throughout the year. There are plenty of great shops and restaurants. Petaluma also goes all out for Halloween, which is fun to experience. We’re definitely looking forward to raising a family here!

Pros and Cons of Living in Petaluma Ca