Petaluma, California is home to a wide range of attractions to meet every interest, whether you prefer to be outside or within a climate-controlled space.
You will find spacious parks, farms, museums, historic parks, cheese companies, breweries and wineries, art galleries, and markets.
1. Shollenberger Park
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Shollenberger Park is a wetland area with 165 acres of land for visitors to enjoy. It is part of the Petaluma Wetlands area that also encompasses the 80 acres of Alman Marsh and the 260 acres of Ellis Creek. Together, the Petaluma Wetlands cover 505 acres of land with public access. Shollenberger Park, in particular, is named after a park chief, Richard Shollenberger.
This park is unique as it is among the last wetlands of this type within the United States. It is particularly attractive for those who like to go birding as it has 225 different species of birds, including many that are threatened. You can also find various rare plant and animal species, including the salt marsh harvest mouse, which is endangered. Each year, 150,000 visitors come to appreciate the beauty of the park and/or birdwatch. You can go on a wildlife or bird tour led by the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance. Browse our California weekend getaways guide for more ideas.
1400 Cader Ln, Petaluma, CA
2. Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue
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Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue began as a non-profit in 1981 by a group concerned about wildlife welfare in the county. This is when they created their Education Outreach Program and started participating in local events. They have more than 30 enclosures dedicated to wildlife rehabilitation plus 8 dedicated to wildlife exhibits. The organization rescues wildlife, rehabilitates over 1,500 animals annually, and releases about 70% of their patients back into the wild. The main focuses are animal care, education, exclusion, and expansion.
The rescue also has a strong focus on education, gladly hosting students, scouts, and birthday parties. They also give presentations and tours to those of all ages, including a range of subjects. You can also volunteer at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue in your free time, with opportunities available for those who are at least 13 years old. There are also internships available for those who want regular hands-on experience.
403 Mecham Rd, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-992-0274
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3. Petaluma Arts Center
© Petaluma Arts Center
The Petaluma Arts Center aims to build community through art and began in 1998 as a grassroots effort in the form of the Petaluma Arts Council. The Petaluma Arts Center opened in 2008 in its 4,500-square-foot facility in the historic Railroad Depot Freight Building. Learn about the current exhibit via the art center’s website. The Petaluma Arts Center also runs Art Around Town, where they display artwork at various local locations, like the Petaluma Valley Hospital.
The Petaluma Arts Center has an admission fee. You can also become a member and get in for free. View the art or attend an event like fundraisers, Idea Lounges, and more. There are also regular classes and workshops, such as Mud Buddies, Look Club, and Focus on Color.
230 Lakeville St, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-762-5600, (website link)
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4. Things to Do in Petaluma: Achadinha Cheese Company
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Achadinha Cheese Company is family-operated and is a ranch that began three generations ago and has been in Petaluma since 1969. This is when they started raising goats and cows to make farmstead cheeses. There are about 60 cows and 250 goats, with most cheeses including a blend of milks. The animals pasture on 230 acres of land and eat yeast and brewers’ grain from local breweries plus whey, oat, and alfalfa for a balanced diet. There are no pesticides or hormones. Additionally, the farm follows the animals’ natural cycles, only making straight goat cheese when the goats are not pregnant. The ranch also has chickens, pigs, sheep, beef cows, horses, cats, dogs, and ducks.
You can take a tour of the farm and Achadinha Cheese Company, but by appointment only. You can even sign up for a cheesemaking class. Those who want to try the cheese can find it at dozens of local farmer’s markets or order it online to be delivered right to your house.
750 Chileno Valley Rd, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-763-1025
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5. Sonoma Portworks
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Sonoma Portworks is not only a winery specializing in ports as well as after-dinner wines, but the only of its kind in Sonoma County and one of just a few in the whole state. They strive to discover the possibilities of port, including unique flavors. Sonoma Portworks uses sustainable petit Verdot and petite sirah grapes hand-harvested in Clarksburg at Heringer Family Vineyards. They move the bins of grapes with a hand-powered pallet jack and make the port with five-gallon buckets, before pressing the grapes by foot and aging them with recycled barrels. Sonoma Portworks has been creating fortified wines and ports for over 20 years.
When you visit Sonoma Portworks, they will share food pairing discoveries, such as the perfect dessert, chocolate, or cheese to go with their various beverages. Enjoy a port, fortified wine, grappa, or sonomic with an exclusive recipe. Visit the tasting room in the Old Faundry Wharf building by the Petaluma River.
613 2nd Street, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-769-5203
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6. Petaluma Wildlife and Natural Science Museum
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On a mission to inspire the next generation of conservationist and wildlife enthusiasts, the Petaluma Wildlife and Natural Science Museum is the largest student-run museum in the US. The museum started off as a small collection in a teacher’s back room and has now become a 9000 square foot museum celebrating wildlife from all corners of the globe. In addition to a huge collection of taxidermy animals, the museum is also home to a collection of live animals including mammals, reptiles and more. The museum is divided into several areas, each of which represents a specific wildlife habitat. Visitors can go on guided student-led tours.
Petaluma Wildlife and Natural Science Museum, 201 Fair St, Petaluma, CA 94952,
707 778 4787
7. The Petaluma Library Museum
© The Petaluma Library Museum
The Petaluma Library Museum sits in the former library and now houses exhibits dedicated to Petaluma dairy, poultry, and Miwok Indian history from the 1850s. The museum sits in the Carnegie Library that began construction in 1904 and was designed by Brainerd Jones, a local architect. It is made from locally-quarried stone and has the biggest free-standing leaded glass dome within Norther California. The building itself has round leaded-glass windows, original fan-glass windows, and original interior columns and paneling, all in the neo-classical style.
In addition to the museum, this building also houses a research library. The Petaluma Library Museum also hosts occasional events, such as fundraisers, receptions for the opening of new exhibits, cemetery tours, and talks regarding the history of specific Petaluma cultural artifacts. Admission is free.
20 4th St, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-778-4398, (website link)
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8. Petaluma Creamery
© Petaluma Creamery
Petaluma Creamery is an attraction as well as a historic landmark, with dairy farmers establishing the creamery in 1913. The Landmark Creamery is currently owned by Larry Peter, who took a big risk by buying the business. The main goals of the Creamery are supporting local dairy production and the farming industry, increasing the local economic growth to those in the area, and producing delicious products that are one of a kind.
The Creamery’s cows are Jersey cows which are smaller with lower milk volumes with higher butterfat and protein than Holstein cows. The grazing of the cows is managed and the farm is organic. The cows are grass fed with no growth hormones. Visit the Creamery Store to buy one of dozens of cheeses made by the creamery, Petaluma Gold cheese, local Spring Hill Jersey Cheese, or Spring Hill Jersey Butter. There is also a kitchen with ice cream, coffee, BBQ, sandwiches, breakfasts, and salads.
711 Western Ave., Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-762-3446
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9. Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
© Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park is the biggest adobe building that was privately owned in Northern California during the 1830s to 1840s. In addition to the historic adobe building, the area also has plenty of natural history thanks to the presence of Adobe Creek. This creek was a key part of the ranch’s success and flows throughout the park, attracting fish, trees, birds, and other wildlife.
You can also check their schedule for special events like Fandango, sheep shearing day, and living history day. There is even an Environmental Living Program where students and teachers can stay the night to experience the traditional activities of the site in the past.
3325 Adobe Road, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-762-4871
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10. Central Market
© Central Market
Central Market is a restaurant serving farm-to-table cuisine and sitting in the 1918 Maclay building in downtown Petaluma. The restaurant serves rustic California-Mediterranean cuisine and combines traditional American dishes with the sensibility of wine country. Everything is made from scratch in house, including bread from the wood-fired oven.
The restaurant has its own dedicated farm, Muleheart Farm, which is organic. There are heirloom breeds of pigs, laying hens, ducks, fall Bourbon Red turkeys, plenty of seasonal vegetables, and fruit from an orchard. The Chef, Tony Najiola, and has extensive experience in the restaurant industry. The menu features an extensive wine list, other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, oysters, small plates, pizza, pasta, wood-grilled meats, sautéed meat, salads, and a chef’s tasting menu. Save room for dessert like fruit pie or strawberry shortcake.
42 Petaluma Blvd, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-778-9900
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11. Helen Putnam Park
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The Helen Putnam Regional Park is a wilderness park in the southwest of Petaluma. It features six miles with trails that go through oak woodlands and grassy hillsides. As you explore the trails, you will find panoramic views of the nearby city along with picturesque views of the countryside. You will also find biking paths and equestrian trails as well as many accessible areas. The trails are in a looped system so you can create a walk that is your chosen length and difficulty level.
The park also has a fishing pond that is stocked with fish such as bluegill. Or let your kids play in the accessible playground or enjoy a family picnic in the picnic area. There is a gazebo for when the weather turns south. Helen Putnam Regional Park is also a popular destination for birding. Feel free to bring your dog to the park, as long as he stays on his leash.
411 Chileno Valley Road, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-539-8092
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12. Things to Do in Petaluma: Keller Estate Winery
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Keller Estate Winery began in 1989 when they first planted their Chardonnay vines, first as La Cruz vineyard. The Keller Estate label began in 2000, a year after planting several acres of Pinot Noir. The wintery itself is state of the art and the vineyard is extensive, with a focus on sustainability. Some steps towards sustainability the Keller Estate Winery has taken include beekeeping, pond systems, owl boxes, bat boxes, making their own compost, and keeping sheep to control invasive vegetation naturally.
Keller Estate Winery offers several types of tastings. There are estate tastings and tours on Fridays and Saturdays. They also offer Classic Van Vineyard Tours on Fridays at 11 am and encourage appointments for all tastings. Alternatively, you can join their wine club and get access to exclusive events and special pricing.
5875 Lakeville Hwy, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-765-2117
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13. Things to Do in Petaluma: Barber Cellars
© Barber Cellars
Barber Cellars is a vineyard and they also have a Tasting Room in the Historic Hotel Petaluma, making it easy to enjoy their beverages. This is the first downtown tasting room within Petaluma. While there, sip some wine, order from the full grilled cheese sandwich menu, try some local cheese tastings, or enjoy other locally-made goodies. There is also local artwork to admire. Barber Cellars began in 2007 and has an elegant, spice-driven style of wine. All the fruit used by the winery is hand-picked and from sustainably or organically-farmed vineyards. Red wines are aged within oak barrels while roses and whites are fermented in stainless steel.
Check for special events as well, such as wine releases, food pairing parties, Sip and Shop, and more.
112 Washington St, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-981-7034
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14. Azari Winery and Vineyard
© Azari Winery and Vineyard
Azari Vineyards and Winery pride themselves on producing the finest estate wines within the Petaluma Gap. The property’s history began in 1988 when over the years, the family who owns and runs the vineyard has crated a cross-cultural oasis on a secluded vineyard estate. The winemaking approach of Azari is strongly influenced by Persian heritage, including the appreciation for the simplicity of nature and a heritage of hospitality.
You can visit the property for just a tasting or for a tour combined with a tasting, depending on your preference. The vineyard also offers a wine club that includes discounts on purchases, private events, and vacation rentals. You do not need to be in the wine club to stay at the Guest House which is over a hundred years old, sleeps eight, and has private access to a spacious pool.
1399 Springhill Road, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-347-9846
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15. Cinnabar Theater, Petaluma, CA
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The Cinnabar Theater was started by Marvin Klebe, a baritone with the San Francisco Opera. He created the theater due to disenchantment with the grand operas, including too little innovation and rehearsal and not enough regard for family needs. Marvin and his wife bought the property in 1970 and it became a nonprofit in 1974, expanding in 1983. The Cinnabar Theater offers a range of plays, operas, musicals, concerts, plus youth activities. If you attend a performance, consider buying a drink or snack in the lobby, which you can bring into the theater.
Shows include professional productions, guest shows, young reps, community choruses, and fundraisers. There are also many ways to get involved, including auditioning for a performance, joining a choir, or even volunteering. There are two choirs that adults can join, a female-only and a mixed one, with both being easy to join. Volunteers can work int eh lobby, box office, or backstage.
3333 Petaluma Blvd North, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-763-8920
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16. Lagunitas Brewing Company
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Lagunitas Brewing Company follows old world traditions and makes their brews using water, hops, malted barley, and yeast, without any extra ingredients. You can find their beers local as well as across the area and the country. Their year-round brews include an IPA, Lagunitas PILS (a Czech-style pilsner), Lagunitas New Dogtown Pale Ale, Censored Ale (a rich copper ale), Maximum Ale, A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, Daytime Sucks, Hop Stoopid Ale, Imperial Stout, and 12th of Never Ale.
Depending on the time of year, you can also try one of the Lagunitas Brewing Company’s seasonal brews, like Sour Pineapple, Eroica Ale, and Mozango. You can also go on a tour any day of the week. Lagunitas Brewing Company also likes to get involved in the community, including by supporting good causes, for which they are always taking requests.
1280 N. McDowell Blvd, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-769-4495, (website link)
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17. Garden Valley Ranch
© Garden Valley Ranch
Garden Valley Ranch is a Petaluma historic landmark with origins in the late 1800s. It is a functional rose farm that has five acres of land and cultivates 8,000 rose bushes. The roses bloom between May and October and there are landscaped plantings for a gorgeous setting. There are also water fountains and a koi pond plus a range of other flowers and plants.
Visit the Garden Valley Ranch on weekends between 10 am and 2 pm. All nursery pick-ups and private tours are by appointment during the week. Otherwise, visit the Garden Store & Nursery to find potted roses all-year-round. You can also go on a guided public tour, which is seasonal and the first Friday of each month between May and November. You will also find other events and attractions throughout the year, such as displays of Carousel Animals, floral workshops, or extra tours. Although they don’t ship potted roses, you can buy other flowers online.
498 Pepper Road, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-795-0919, (website link)
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18. Ellis Creek Water Plant and Wetlands
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Ellis Creek Water Plant and Wetlands is a nice natural area to connect with nature. There are several bird ponds that you can loop around, leading to a route of several miles. This area is dog-friendly, provided they are on a leash, and is also an excellent spot for birdwatching. You will also see a great deal of other wildlife as you go, such as rabbits, bullfrogs, geese, swans, and snakes.
The area is part of the land run by the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance, which works to preserve habitats, focusing on overall biodiversity and birds. The alliance also provides public education and aims to restore and expand the publicly-accessible wetlands and wildlife habitats. The Ellis Creek Wetlands are one of the focuses of the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance, as are Alman Marsh and Shollenberger Park.
3890 Cypress Dr, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-776-3777
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19. Cucina Paradiso, Petaluma, CA
© Cucina Paradiso
Cucina Paradiso is a top-rated restaurant in the San Francisco North Bay and Sonoma County. The chef was trained at a prestigious cooking school in Cefalu, Italy and uses the finest ingredients, making everything from scratch. You will find an extensive list of wines, both from Sonoma County and Italy, with the wait staff gladly suggesting pairings.
Some of the dishes you will find on the menu include Polenta Gratinata, Bruschetta Al Pomodoro, salads, Tortellini Di Vitello, Ravioli Di Anatra, Gnocchi Gorgonzola E Noci, paninis on homemade focaccia, grilled rack of lamb, beef medallions in truffle sauce, and free-range chicken stuffed with pancetta and arugula. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner every day of the week except Sundays.
114 Petaluma Blvd North, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-782-1130
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20. Sax’s Joint
© Sax’s Joint
Sax’s Joint is a diner created by the Saxelby family where Marvin’s Restaurant used to be. This is a 50s style diner with all the trimmings and featuring influences from Grease’s Pink Ladies, such as bubble gum pink. The diner has plenty of white and black checkerboard and chrome plus a jukebox with music from the 50s and early 60s. The waitstaff are friendly and help convey the 50s vibe. You can eat at the booths, a back room with smaller tables and booths, outdoor seating, or the front counter.
The menu includes all the expected items, such as a range of eggs and other breakfast items, waffles, floats, milkshakes, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, variations of grilled cheese, soups, and salads.
317 Petaluma Blvd South, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-559-3021
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21. McEvoy Ranch, Petaluma, CA
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McEvoy Ranch sits on a 550-acre sprawling ranch that Founder Nan McEvoy bought in 1990. She had a love of Tuscan olive oil and worked with experts to figure out which olives would do best on the land. Now, the ranch is known for its certified organic, extra virgin olive oil. It also produces an ODE Natural Beauty Collection that is certified by Leaping Bunny and infused with botanicals and 100-percent organic olive oil. They also offer handcrafted limited-edition wines. The ranch only plants 15 percent of their land at a time to help preserve the land.
There is plenty to do at the ranch, including getting in a nice walk in an idyllic setting. You can also enjoy a Table Tasting or Wine Bar Tasting while there. Walkabout Ranch Tours are popular, letting you explore gardens, vineyards, orchards, and the olive mill. There are also various workshops and events throughout the year.
5935 Red Hill Rd, Petaluma, CA, Phone: 707-778-2307
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