The best of both worlds
Want to live in rural seclusion but work in Marin County? Want to enjoy San Francisco’s many cultural and sports diversions but have your children grow up in a small, caring community? Petalumans will tell you that you can have it all in Sonoma County’s beautiful riverfront town.

Just 39 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Petaluma once was one of California’s largest cities. Unlike Santa Rosa, Petaluma was untouched during the 1906 earthquake, thus the downtown area’s iron-front commercial buildings and stately Victorian homes have survived and been carefully maintained to provide an architectural showcase as well as a focal point for the historic city.
Hwy 101 bisects Petaluma into east and west sides.

On the west side lies the historic part of town, characterized by neighborhoods worthy of walking tours and parks with features like the Cretan Labyrinth. The west side’s downtown area is on the National Register of Historic Places, and visitors as well as locals enjoy the art galleries, shops, restaurants, health clubs and other businesses that now thrive in the magnificent old buildings.

Homebuyers seek out the older homes for their charm, with many offering art deco decor, coved ceilings, pocket doors, break-fast nooks and other popular features.

Newer housing and commercial developments have grown up on the east side over recent decades. Petaluma has become a magnet for telecom firms like Alcatel, Advanced Fiber Communications and Cisco Systems over the past several years, earning the North McDowell Blvd. area on the east side the moniker “Telecom Valley.” And as the neighborhoods have grown, so have the amenities. East side Petaluma features several large parks and two golf courses as well as a satellite campus of Santa Rosa Junior College and plenty of shopping and schools.

Home reflect a full array of choices in east Petaluma; from modest houses to executive homes offering three to five bedrooms with gourmet kitchens, spacious family and living rooms . The west side also includes newer developments to the south and in the hills, with all the elegant touches one might expect.

Petaluma Vital Statistics
Year settled: 1850
Year incorporated: 1858
Area (square miles): 13.30
Population: 54,548 (2000 US Census)
Major Industries:
Agribusiness, Tourism, Telecommunications
Farmers markets:
Petaluma – 2 to 5 p.m. Saturdays, May 27 through October, at Walnut Park, Petaluma Boulevard South and D Street. 762-0344.

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