Petaluma is the perfect town for a Bay Area weekend getaway. We loved the small farm town vibe. There were so many things to keep us busy that we didn’t even get to everything on our to do list! The city is home to many great events throughout the year such as the Artisan Cheese Festival, Wine Country Chefs of Tomorrow , and Big Q bbq event. A river runs through the quaint downtown where you find antique shops, cute cafes and wine rooms all against a beautiful backdrop of rolling hills. We spent a few days in Petaluma and still haven’t seen half of what the city has to offer. Take a look below to see some places we got a chance to visit and enjoy!
Metro Hotel & Cafe: This may be the cutest hotel we have ever stayed in. It’s wonderfully decorated in authentic Parisian fashion. In addition to traditional rooms, the hotel also boasts 3 airstream trailers, one of which we were lucky enough to spend the weekend in. In the morning visit the cafe for complementary coffee and crepes! Not only does Metro Hotel & Cafe have great character, they also have affordable rates perfect for a Petaluma weekend getaway.
Wild Goat Bistro: After wandering in and out of shops in downtown Petaluma, Wild Goat Bistro is a wonderful place to rest and fill up. This charming bistro can be found in the historic Petaluma Mill building and has plenty of natural light and a warm atmosphere. The food is focused local ingredients and almost everything on the menu is gluten free. We loved their “Nutty Goat” starter plate: goat cheese crusted with pistachio and dried fruit. Their menu changes seasonally so the ingredients are always fresh!
Marin French Cheese: If you are a cheese lover, Marin French Cheese is a must stop on your Petaluma tour. They have a variety of delectable soft cheeses and the perfect picnic area setting to enjoy them in. It’s the oldest cheese company in the area and it all started in 1865 when Jefferson Thompson began making cheese from his dairy cows. He shipped the cheese by schooner to San Francisco where it became a hit!
One of our favorite cheeses here, Petite Breakfast also has a great story behind it. In the late 1800’s Petaluma and surrounding cities were suffering from an egg shortage. Marin French Cheese came to the rescue and supplied working men with a new breakfast alternative : Petite Breakfast Cheese. Be sure to sample this cheese and another one of our favorites, truffle, when you stop by. You won’t regret it.
Petaluma Pie: Great for breakfast, lunch, a snack, or dinner, Petaluma Pie is the place to stop for a bite any time of the day. They serve both savory and sweet pies, to satisfy all pie lovers. Most ingredients are certified organic and many vegetables come from their own Petaluma Pie Garden. Petaluma Pie is open 7 days a week. You can pick up a pie for a picnic or gobble some goodies down with your coffee. They also have Take-and-Bake pies so you can enjoy that fresh baked taste at home.
Tea Room Cafe: A Petaluma favorite for breakfast and lunch, Tea Room Cafe is a great place to visit for a casual, fresh meal. All of their sandwiches are delicious and we particularly loved the Curried Chicken Salad and Red & Yellow iced tea lemonade. If the weather is nice, grab a patio seat and relax.
Sonoma Apertif: What is an Apertif you may wonder? It’s an alcoholic beverage served before dinner to cleanse your palate and ready your appetite. Many apertifs have flavors of fruit, herbs, and flowers and it’s a tradition common to many parts of rural France, Italy, and Spain. This is the perfect drink to sip chilled or by small glassfuls during a picnic or lounging around at home. Sonoma Apertif has an appointment only tasting room and also sells apertifs on their website. We loved these refreshing drinks and brought a couple of bottles home!
Petaluma Hills Brewing Company: Craft beer lovers will love it here. Stop by for a casual tasting of their many beers. They even have several options on nitro tap. We had a great time talking to the brewery’s owner, JJ about his 1858 “Ruby IPA”, and Line & Twine IPA which we can assure you are very different than any other IPA you’ve ever had. This brewery is both dog and kid friendly, so bring the whole family in!
McEvoy Ranch: Mcevoy Ranch was once a private ranch, but is now open to the public by appointment only. The Ranch is most known for the hundreds of Olive Oil Trees that produce wonderful organic extra virgin olive oil. Everything from growing, harvesting, pressing, and bottling is done on site with extra care and supervision. McEvoy is now also expanding into winemaking. Many different types of tours and tastings are available on the ranch and range from learning about ranch’s history, garden walks, wellness retreats, or farm to table dinners for their wine club members. We enjoyed an afternoon on their lovely grounds accompanied by a wine and olive oil tasting.
Petaluma Coffee & Tea: This is the spot for serious coffee lovers! You’ll find a huge selection of coffee beans from all over the world at Petaluma Coffee & Tea. They roast each bean to perfection and you can order a cup at their espresso bar, or purchase a bag of beans to home with you. Unlike any other coffee roasters we have visited, Petaluma Coffee & Tea takes old wine and beer barrels from neighboring businesses and ages their coffee inside to add extra, unique flavors.
Sonoma Portworks: If you’re looking for a fun place to do some tastings look no further. Located on a quiet street, Sonoma Portworks invites you in for a taste of Port, Grappas, and their one of a kind “Sonomic”. With over 20 years of port making experience, they have perfected their drinks. If you’re looking for something with a higher alcohol content make sure to try the Grappas. Last, but not least make sure to ask about their signature Sonomic. Sonomic is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. It’s less acidic than standard vinegar and richer than balsamic. You can use this in anything from cocktails to salad dressing. All tastings are free so make sure you stop by for a visit!
Kastania Winery: This family run winery specializes in one of our favorites, Pinot! All of their wines are estate grown and delicious. If you visit their winery you will notice their love of owls. Owls play a huge role in the vineyards, acting as organic pest control. Additionally, one of the owners names is, Hoot!
Achadinha Cheese: We had a lovely tour at the Achadinha Cheese Farm which is owned by the Pacheco Family. After years of living and evolving with Petaluma’s changing demands and economic landscapes, Achadinha Cheese was born. The owners, Jim and Donna live and have raised their family on the land that was passed down to them. Situated among the rolling Petaluma hills you’ll find yourself surrounded by green pastures and grazing cows. The whole family pitches in to make their delicious cheese. On our tour we got to meet the family dogs, visit the cows and goats, see how their cheese is made, and taste every single type of cheese they make. The tour was a fun and eye opening way to see what goes in to making cheese. It’s very family friendly, so bring the kids!
Peatluma Seed Bank: Located in a vintage bank building, the Petaluma Seed Bank is a must visit for those of you that love to garden. You’ll find thousands of rare and interesting seeds here as well as other gardening merchandise. Petaluma is all about farming, so bring a little something home with you that you’ll be able to enjoy in the months to come.
Petaluma Marina: The Petaluma Marina is a gorgeous place to enjoy some peace and quiet.The waters of the Petaluma Marina are part of the Petaluma River, a channel that runs fourteen miles from the north end of Petaluma to the San Pablo Bay. You can launch your boat, kayak, or water ski from here. Or just take a stroll around the Marina and enjoy the still waters and reflections like we did!
Shollenberger Park: This 165 acre wetlands park is a great place to get some fresh air and exercise in while in Petaluma. It’s dog and bike friendly too! You’ll love the beautiful water views and variety of birds you can spot here.
Antique Stores: Petaluma is known for the many and antique stores scattered throughout town. The city also holds weekly antique fairs in the summer months. The shops range from specialty stores like this Military Antiques and Museum we visited, to huge stores that sell enough varieties to fill up an old bank!