Daytrip: Petaluma in Sonoma, CA

We had a few friends in college who grew up in Petaluma; they’d invite us to their hometown for the quirky Butter & Egg Days Parade and to take us antique shopping during one of the annual fairs. And a friend of mine opened a jazz club there after graduation. More recently we’re likely to find ourselves on its fringes, visiting the area dairy farms or passing through on the way to the coast. It had been a while since I’d been to its charming historic downtown.

I took these photos of Maude, my favorite of the shops we found, on our last visit and collected some suggestions for anyone looking for a daytrip into Sonoma.


If you find yourself in town, here are some favorites. I’d love to learn about more!


Maude and Good Gray (pictured): Maude is a small shop housed in a former jewelry arcade selling handmade children’s clothing and boutique items for women. Good Gray also offers a wonderful selection of homegoods within the same space. A beautiful stop!

Sienna Antiques: over 14,000 square feet filled with multiple antique dealers. The town is known for its selection and its seasonal antique faires.

Petaluma Seed Bank: Specialty tools and over 1700 varieties of heirloom seeds housed in a century-old Bank building.

Free Range Provisions & Eats: Petaluma is surrounded by prized farmland and this specialty grocery specializes in products from local farmers and ranchers.



Walking-tour: You can pick up a walking-tour map at the visitor center in the Historic Depot Building (as well as get information about neighboring farms and wineries). Check the website for itinerary ideas. Petaluma is one of California’s oldest cities, so stop into the Petaluma Historical Museum.

Petaluma Stand Up Paddle: Rent by the hour or the day or take a group paddle tour on the river.

Lagunitas Brewery: Sample local ales.

Petaluma Wetlands: Go on a walk in Shollenberger park. There’s a two-mile circular trail and a one-mile cutoff trail across an iron bridge spanning Adobe Creek and running through Alman Marsh to the Petaluma Marina.

McEvoy Ranch: Taste Olive Oils and have a walkabout on the ranch, 15 minutes outside of town.

Garden Valley Ranch: Tour the rose gardens between May and November, when the flowers are in bloom. (Call first.)

If you’re visiting, be sure to check the town events calendar for goings-on.


Thistle Meats (Pictured): Stop in at this butchery that sources from a host of nearby ranches and sample the small-batch sausages made in the back. You can pick up provisions for a picnic or take a sandwich-of-the-day to go.

Della Fattoria: This bakery is an institution. We had a wonderful meal in their cafe at one of their communal tables on our last visit.

Petaluma Pie Co.: Local, organic ingredients add up to delicious pies—both sweet and savory, mini and full-sized.

Wishbone: Delicious, hearty brunch spot (think sticky bacon cinnamon rolls, homemade breads and jam, and stone fruit cocktails) with many of the ingredients coming from local farms and ranches.

Petaluma Creamery: The stuff this town is known for—things like cheese, curds, quark and butter. Founded in 1913.

Have you been? What would you add? 


P.S. More daytrips in Sonoma County: Point Reyes and Tomales Bay and staying on the Sonoma Coast

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