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.
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.
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.