Petaluma: The Cutest City North of San Francisco

Have you ever heard of a city called Petaluma? Neither had I… until I was about an hour outside of San Francisco and drove right into it. My first time there, it was a dark and rainy night, but the charm of the stores and restaurants lit up the city. It was not my intention to stop only an hour outside of San Francisco, but as I continued to pass stores with amazing window displays  and restaurants aglow with people and cheer, I simply had to get out and explore. In a matter of minutes, I fell in love.  Below are 4 reasons why Petaluma is the cutest city north of San Francisco, and why it is a place which should be on your bucket list to visit. Whether you live in NorCal or are just passing through, this city nestled in Sonoma County will delight you over and over and over again…

1. Window Shopping is as fun as Actual Shopping 

In a few walking blocks, you can find countless cute and unique stores in Petaluma. From paper products to consignment shops to boutiques and beyond, Petaluma has dozens of stores to get lost in. The best part about the stores? They are incredibly affordable, and totally unique. The second best part about the stores? The colorful and creative window displays make window shopping just as much fun as actually getting inside to shop around.

Red Umbrella Consignment Shop
Cathy Wayne handcrafted felt products
Paper White paper products store. This is the store which is the inspiration behind my yearly Valentine’s Day cards!
Splendid Little Shoppe clothing and accessories
Splendid Little Shoppe clothing and accessory store

2. Delicious Restaurants Line the Road

With delectable and award winning restaurants lining the streets, the options are endless when it comes to places to eat in Petaluma. My favorite restaurant is a charming place called Central Market, a farm to table restaurant with Californian-Mediterranean  inspired  cuisine. This restaurant is one of those places that is so good, it makes it hard to try someplace new.

3. Musical Performers Are Out and About on the Streets

Each and every time I have visited Petaluma, I have come into contact with wonderful musicians out and about on the streets. Whether it is a man rolling a full-sized piano along with him on the sidewalk, or a small hipster band singing “a dub a day keeps the doctor away” each and every one of the musicians brings a smile to your face and leaves a song stuck in your head as you continue to stroll through Petaluma.

Petaluma Pete
Petaluma Pete out on the streets

4. Artsy and Cozy Places to Rest Your Head

Petaluma is full of artistically inspired stores and restaurants, so it is only fitting that the hotels are unique and boutiquey as well. While there, I stayed at the Metro Hotel & Cafe and I was blown away by how charming it was. They describe themselves as “a little trip to Paris in Sonoma County” and that is exactly the ambiance that is portrayed when you enter this quaint and beautifully decorated hotel and cafe.

IMG_1397 IMG_1399 IMG_1400

10 thoughts on “Petaluma: The Cutest City North of San Francisco”

  1. I have lived in Petaluma for the past 30 years I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s a love place to live and raise your family.

    Every year it gets better and better, more shopping centers, more restaurants and more fun places to visit. We are very close to most wineries, the country side is beautiful with fields and fields of vineyards.

    People who visit Petaluma fall in live with the town can you blame them?

    1. I am one of them! I visited by accident, fell in love with the town, then went back on purpose because it is oh-so-charming! Cheers to Petaluma!

  2. The next time you come to Petaluma if you haven’t already done so eat at “Me Bistro”. It’s on the boulevard and is the best in town.

  3. Thanks for the great write up, Holly Joy! I love to hear that visitors see the charm of our beautiful and creative town. Next time you are in Petaluma stop by Paperwhite for a complimentary Valentine card! Happy travels.

    Carrie from Paperwhite

  4. Thank you Holly Joy for the true and glorious rave you gave about our beautiful Petaluma. Born and raised in this awesome little town, so lucky am I. Please visit the site “You know You Are From Petaluma When” on Facebook. Many wonderful, vintage and modern photos and stories of what it was and is like to grow up in our town , the people, the joys and forever memories made here. Thank you for your wonderful article!

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the article, Darla. I enjoyed the Facebook page on Petaluma as well! What fun photos…its like a trip down memory lane.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *