Blake Walsh

17 Best Things to Do in Petaluma, CA

  • Published 2021/10/06

Located in Northern California’s Sonoma County, Petaluma is surrounded by gorgeous nature, vast vineyards, and expansive farms.

Apart from offering high-quality produce and artisanal products, these areas offer you breathtaking landscapes that will leave you awestruck.

From wines to cheeses and sustainably farmed produce, there’s a lot to learn and discover in Petaluma.

Here are the 17 best things to do in Petaluma.

Have an Adventure at Helen Putnam Regional Park

View of Helen Putnam Regional Park

Ken Schulze /

Located in the southwestern part of Petaluma, many locals and visitors flock to Helen Putnam Regional Park for some outdoor adventure.

Here, you can find around 6 miles worth of trails featuring paths going through woodlands and hills.

From here, you can also witness scenic views of both the city and the countryside.

For fishing aficionados, you’ll be glad to know that it features a fishing pond where you can catch some species like bluegill.

If you plan on bringing your family with you, your kids can have fun on the playground.

Picnic areas are also available for you and your buddies to use.

Don’t forget to pay this awesome part a visit when you spend your holiday in Sonoma County.

Find One-of-a-Kind Memorabilia at Vintage Bank Antiques

Housed in a majestic bank building in the city’s historic district, which was constructed in 1926, Vintage bank antiques offer their patrons a glimpse into the past in the form of the wares they offer.

The establishment features 25 different dealers, all specializing in other things.

Here, you can find anything from interesting art pieces to quirky memorabilia.

You can find all the dealers within the three floors of this interesting antique establishment, all offering knicknacks sold at a wide range of prices.

Stop by to look for amazing collectibles and souvenirs that you can only find in Petaluma.

Discover Rehabilitation Efforts at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue

Established in 1982 by concerned individuals, the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue has since developed programs dedicated to the preservation and rehabilitation of wildlife.

This center also makes an effort to rescue wildlife and care for them until they are ready to be brought back into the wild.

Here, you, your friends, and your kids can all learn about the role wildlife plays in our ecosystem, all while making unforgettable memories.

Apart from educational programs, this place also features eight exhibits, all focused on wildlife.

While here, learn to appreciate the beauty of wildlife and the efforts places like these make in order to protect them.

Stroll Through Garden Valley Ranch

While many would describe farm attractions as “simple,” they can also be described as one of the most impressive and relaxing places to visit.

Garden Valley Ranch is one such farm, popular among visitors for the many flowers you can see on its premises.

It features majestic garden roses, gorgeous event venues, and charming cottages, making this simple ranch feel all the more alluring.

If you love roses, they have a store that sells different types – from Hybrid Teas to English Roses.

Apart from appreciating the fantastic gardens, consider booking a night at one of the guest cottages to get the full Garden Valley ranch experience that you can only describe as enchanting.

Try Delicious Food Truck Fare at The Block Petaluma

Consider experiencing having a meal at an open-air food place where food trucks all around offer you a wide variety of tasty food.

If you want to do so, head on over to The Block.

Featuring an industrial feel to its design and decor, you’d be surprised to find out that this place is nothing but warm and welcoming.

Here, you can find a rotating number of local food trucks and stalls that offer craft beers or sodas.

From pizzas made in wood ovens to dishes from the Caribbean, find yourself spoilt for choice when it comes to food at The Block.

Birdwatch at Shollenberger Park

View of Shollenberger Park

Melissa McMasters from Memphis, TN, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover a 165-acre wetland area where you can enjoy witnessing how flora and fauna in this type of habitat interact.

When in Petaluma, pay a visit to Shollenberger Park, where you can witness up to 225 bird species, including ones considered to be threatened or endangered.

Apart from that, you can also explore the area to find a myriad of interesting rare plants.

View of Shollenberger Park

jimpp, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Many know this place to be one of Petaluma’s famous attractions, with around 150,000 tourists visiting on average every year.

To enhance your experience even further, try booking a tour guided by the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance for more information about the beautiful nature you’re seeing.

Learn About Sustainable Farming at Green String Farm

With an adamant focus on sustainable farming, many tourists and locals visit Green String Farm for the produce they offer.

Here, the farm strictly follows the organic process of agriculture, so they get to harvest healthy produce without the help of artificial chemicals.

While most people come here to shop for high-quality items, many of them also visit to learn more about the farm’s sustainable approach to tending to their crops.

Your kids can even watch some cute farm animals roaming around.

Apart from amazing farm offerings, they also offer artisanal items such as honey, preserves, apparel, and bath items.

When you’re in Petaluma, stop by to visit and shop at Green String Farm.

Learn About Olive Oil Production at McEvoy Ranch

One of the most popular places to visit in Petaluma is McEvoy Ranch.

Established in 1990, here, you can discover more about the production of premium olive oil.

Here, you can shop for some of the best-quality olive oil you can encounter in the region.

Apart from this, they also offer a variety of handcrafted wines.

The Ranch offers its visitors a chance to go wine tasting.

Additionally, tours around the premises are available, and while here, you can explore the breathtaking vineyards, olive plantations, and the mill they use for oil production.

If you’re lucky, you can also attend some workshops and events held here from time to time.

Visit the Keller Estate Winery

A lot of people know Sonoma County and nearby areas for vineyards and wine production.

So, while in Petaluma, don’t forget to visit one for yourself and discover the charm of such places.

A famous winery you can visit is Keller Estate, formerly known as La Cruz vineyard, established in 1989.

Apart from focusing on producing amazing wines, this estate also takes importance on sustainability.

So, apart from vast vineyards, you may also find beekeeping facilities, ponds, compost pits, and more.

When you visit Keller Estate, don’t miss out on their hurling tastings that happen every Friday and Saturday.

You can also book their tours to see and learn more about this interesting property.

Check Out the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park

Known to be the largest privately owned adobe building in the region between the 1830s and 1840s, this place has become a popular historic attraction that tourists like to visit in Petaluma.

Apart from seeing this historical building, you can also find Adobe Creek within the park, which served an important role in the success this area had experienced.

The said creek runs throughout the park and also serves as a great place to watch out for interesting local wildlife.

Apart from these sights, the park also hosts several events that you can be part of, such as sheep shearing day.

Stopping by this park is a delight, so be sure to pay it a visit.

Head to the Historic Marin French Cheese Company

View of  Marin French Cheese Company

Michael Vi /

Wines and oils are not the only artisanal products this area in Sonoma County is known for.

When in Petaluma, check out the Marin French Cheese Company.

It holds the distinction of being the oldest cheese manufacturer that’s still operating today in the U.S.

Established in 1865, this cheese manufacturing company has been making artisanal cheeses for over 150 years.

View of  Marin French Cheese Company

Emily Lawson /

Here you can buy some of the best cheeses that you can find around.

Apart from that, the place features a quaint picnic area where you can stay and eat with your travel companions.

Don’t forget to spend some time here, relaxing while trying out the most delicious cheeses around.

Purchase Dairy Products at Petaluma Creamery

Another historic dairy product-related shop that you can find in the city is Petaluma.

Established by a group of dairy farmers back in 1913, here you can find some of the tastiest dairy products in Sonoma County.

Apart from providing patrons with high-quality products, this store also aims to support local dairy farmers and the local economy in general.

From their store, you can purchase many different types of local cheese and butter.

You can also find a kitchen here where they can serve delicious coffee and food.

Support local farmers and artisans while you visit Petaluma and stop by this specialty store.

Explore the Military Antiques & Museum

Does military history interest you?

If you want to discover more about this side of history, head over to the Military Antiques & Museum in Petaluma.

Here, you can find a place to buy military memorabilia or retail items to take home with you.

Additionally, you can also learn more about the military by going to its museum.

The museum part of the establishment has been named in Sgt. Richard A. Perry’s honor and is dedicated to every veteran who served for the country.

While not many tourists might be interested in history, it is still good to take time and learn about it to honor the brave men and women serving their country.

Watch a Performance at Cinnabar Theater

Fancy watching a show while in the city?

Founded by baritone opera singer Mariving Kieve, Cinnabar Theater offers a wide variety of performance art pieces.

Plays, concerts, and more – the Cinnabar has served as the venue of many stage productions that entertained many people from and outside Petaluma.

When you come here, don’t expect it to be one of your run-of-the-mill theaters, however.

Kieve created the theater as he was already disenchanted with the traditional grand operas.

When you do attend the show, you’ll be glad to hear that you can buy some drinks and snacks that you can bring into the theater and consume while enjoying the show.

Do check it out when you visit Petaluma.

Try Out Port and Dessert Wines at Sonoma Portworks

Given the number of vineyards and wineries around Petaluma, you’d be surprised to know that only one place around that specializes in port.

Sonoma Portworks is essentially a tasting room focused on offering port and dessert wine.

Try out their tasty selection and discover what products one of the biggest players in the port industry has to offer.

Stop by and sample their best sellers paired with a free cookie or some chocolates that you can bring yourself.

Learn About Local History at Petaluma Historical Library & Museum

View of Petaluma Historical Library & Museum

Andrew Heller, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Given the many expansive vineyards and farms here, you wouldn’t expect to visit a museum when you’re in Petaluma.

However, one of the go-to attractions you can find in this city is the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum.

The building itself has been made in a Neoclassical style of architecture, so you’ll be impressed even before entering its halls.

This former library serves as the home of a collection of artifacts connected to the various industries prevalent in Petaluma, like poultry and dairy.

Here, you can also learn more about the Miwok Indian culture through the museum’s displays and exhibits.

For a more in-depth look at these topics, you can book a guided tour of the museum to learn more about the city.

You can also shop for souvenirs at the museum’s in-house gift shop to remember your trip.

Discover Amazing Local Art at Petaluma Arts Center

Looking for the local art scene in Petaluma?

Head on over to the city’s art center.

It focuses on developing community through art.

The center is housed by the local Railroad Depot Freight Building, which, in itself, has had a long history.

It houses a wide collection of artworks displayed both in the gallery or loaned to different locations in the city.

Final Thoughts

If you fancy artisanal products, Petaluma is a city that you need to discover and explore.

Stop by here and be surrounded by a wide array of high-quality artisanal products and the opportunity to learn more about them.

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