Old-timers will remember Petaluma as the egg basket of Sonoma County, when thousands of chicken farms operated on the outskirts of the city. Today, Petaluma retains its rural feel, but those chicken farms have given way to vineyards, and increasingly, housing developments for residents who appreciate the access to relatively affordable homes and the direct commute to San Francisco 35 miles south on Highway 101. Browse our selection of homes for sale in Petaluma
The older part of the city of about 57,000 residents -- to the west of Highway 101 -- has retained many of its old Victorian homes, the former mansions of the chicken barons. Petaluma's commercial core is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the central shopping district, which consists of mainly two-story stone buildings, has recently undergone a revitalization that includes an emphasis on downtown living. Dozens of antique shops operate in the old-town district.
Petaluma is graced with a riverfront -- once the third-busiest in California -- that has been restored, as well as a river walk. The galleries along the river showcase works from some of the best artists in the North Bay. Restaurants along the river provide a perfect place to gaze at sailboats as they pass through the distinctive D Street drawbridge. The annual Butter & Egg Days Parade & Festival, held in April, is a throwback to Petaluma's agricultural past.