(Courtesy of Daniel Casabonne)

A Modern Guide to Petaluma: Farm Tours, Hyper-Local Fare + Funky Lodging

By

Once known as the Egg Capital of the World for its chicken-processing plants and grain mills, the quiet, quirky and historic town of Petaluma remains heavily rooted in agriculture, even today.

But a plethora of nearby farms means delicious local fare. Visit local farms, wineries, breweries and distilleries, and nourish yourself with the best organic local produce at the town's farm-to-table eateries.


Where to Eat & Drink in Petaluma

(Courtesy of Brewsters Beer Garden)

Wild Goat Bistro

We're absolutely wild about Wild Goat Bistro's Neapolitan pizzas, and measuring in at a generous 10 inches per pie, you might as well order them up family style. Try the Four Cheese Fig & Pig (house-made fig spread, prosciutto, four cheeses, and arugula), or if you're feeling adventurous, opt for the Perfect Pair (olive oil, mozzarella, sautéed pears, blue cheese, honey cured ham, arugula, and fennel seed). Almost 100 percent of Wild Goat's menu can be ordered gluten free. // 6 Petaluma Blvd. North # A5 (Petaluma), wildgoatbistro.com

Della Fattoria

There's no better place to carbo-load than Della Fattoria. This historic bakery, appropriately housed in the old U.S. Bakery dating back to the 1860s, is famous for its unique bread-baking methods (they're so good, they've published a book on it). The Toast and Toppers are a breakfast and brunch favorite—try egg salad on champagne toast or avocado on seeded wheat—but if you don't have time to eat in, at least grab a loaf to go. They make more than a dozen varieties, including pumpkin seed, fig walnut, and polenta. Recently, Della knocked down some walls to expand and create space for a dining room, for they now also offer dinner service Thursday through Saturday. Share the porterhouse steak for two, or opt for something less heavy, like the polenta with farmer's vegetables. // 141 Petaluma Blvd. North (Petaluma), dellafattoria.com

Wishbone

The folks at Wishbone don't just run a restaurant; they also raise their own beef on their Petaluma farm, Tilted Ranch. What's more—they proudly bake their own bread, pickle their own veggies, and make their own jams. For the rest of the larder? Wishbone, open for brunch daily and dinner Thursday through Sunday, partners with other small local farms. We love the biscuit and gravy (with mushroom gravy and house-cured bacon lardons) for brunch and the Dirrrrrrrrrrrrrrty fries at dinner (topped with porky bits, beer cheese, goddess dressing, and sumac). // 841 Petaluma Blvd. North (Petaluma), wishbonepetaluma.com

Jamison's Roaring Donkey

If you're a fan of Moscow Mules, you'll love the Roaring Donkey. In addition to a craft-cocktail menu with a Fernet Me Not shot, they have a separate Mules menu featuring a dozen ginger variations such as the Rummy Bear (Haribo gummy bear–infused Captain Morgan, watermelon, lemon) and the Purple Nurple (Herradura tequila, chambord, lime, orange bitters). You'll also find a huge local tap list and a DIY Bloody Mary bar on Sundays. // 146 Kentucky St. (Petaluma), roaring-donkey.com

Brewsters Beer Garden

This 350-seat industrial-style, open-air dining space is perfect for groups and serves up Southern-style barbecue with a hint of California influence—think whole chopped hog, Texas brisket smoked overnight, and St. Louis–style, white oak smoked ribs. Don't leave in a hurry after you eat; hang out, grab a few pints off their list of 30 local craft brews, try a beer drink (the Pear Pressure is a Brewsters incubator India pale ale and pear cider), play a game or two of bocce, and catch live music most Thursdays through Sundays while you digest. // 229 Water St. North (Petaluma), brewstersbeergarden.com

Old Chicago Pizza

Get your deep-dish fix at Old Chicago Pizza, where you'll actually feel like you're in old-timey Chicago (unlike a visit to Little Star or Patxi's would offer). The restaurant has been around since 1978 and calls the cozy, brick-covered, dimly lit second floor of the Historic Landmark Building home. The menu keeps things simple: Choose up to seven toppings, although that's not really recommended since the large deep dish weighs more than four pounds sans toppings. If you're feeling really starved, try the double crust, where the original crust is surrounded by cheese, sauce, and two toppings. Whatever you do, save some room for an order of the pesto-garlic bread. // 41 Petaluma Blvd. North (Petaluma), oldchgo.com

Wineries, Breweries & Distilleries in Petaluma

(Courtesy of Griffo Distillery)

Wine

Barber Cellars

Barber isn't your standard, well-mannered wine-tasting experience, which is exactly why we love it. This quirky and rustic downtown Petaluma tasting room (located right inside the historic Hotel Petaluma) pairs wine flights with board games, foosball, classic arcade games, and a diverse selection of grilled-cheese sandwiches such as the sweet & savory (Nutella, green apple, and Dacheva brie). They also do cheese tastings ($17) and have started making whiskey, so maybe they'll let you have a taste of that, too, if you ask nicely. // 112 Washington St. (Petaluma), barbercellars.com

Sonoma Portworks

There's a never-ending supply of wine to drink in Sonoma, but only one place in the entire county specializes in after-dinner drinks like Port, sherry, and grappa. Sonoma Portworks doesn't always stick to tradition either, getting creative with flavor profiles and infusing some of their fortified wines (they have a higher alcohol level) with a dash of chocolate. Stop by their tasting room where they're known to offer barrel tastings. // 613 2nd St. (Petaluma), portworks.com

Azari Vineyards

If pizza and wine are two of your favorite things, Azari serves up both at their Tuscan-inspired estate. Take a short, 10-minute drive west of downtown Petaluma and you'll be rewarded with a buzz and panoramic vineyard views at this small, family-run winery. You probably won't ever want to leave, but luckily, they also book out two amazing country guest houses on property. // 1399 Springhill Rd. (Petaluma), azarivineyards.com

Kastania Vineyards

Kastania is like the mom-and-pop shop of wineries. It's a family affair, so much so that proprietors Linda and Hoot Smith have even named some of their wines after their grandchildren. Pack a lunch to pair with your wine tasting, which, on a nice day, can take place on the patio overlooking the Petaluma River. // 4415 Kastania Rd. (Petaluma), kastaniavineyards.com

Keller Estate

Vintage car enthusiasts will geek out at Keller Estate, where owner Arturo Keller has a massive collection of pre-World War II vehicles. Everyone else loves this place simply for the wines (they've got everything from sparkling to rosé to pinot noir) and killer views of the Petaluma Gap and Mt. Tamalpais. // 5875 Lakeville Hwy (Petaluma), kellerestate.com


Beer

Lagunitas Brewing Company

Lagunitas' Petaluma TapRoom and Beer Sanctuary (yes, they really call it that) is like the Disneyland of breweries: it's enormous, always packed, but still well worth the trip. In addition to Lagunitas' main attraction—those hoppy suds—they offer free brewery tours and live music every day, plus tasty snacks to help manage your buzz. We suggest the boozy ice cream float with their Imperial Stout. // 1280 N. McDowell Blvd. (Petaluma), lagunitas.com

101 North Brewing Co.

If the crowds at Lagunitas give you anxiety, hop across the street to the much more humble 101 North Brewing Co. Located in the industrial Petaluma Maker's District, you won't have to wait for your beer here. From the Golden Naked Ale to the Heroine IPA and the Naught AUD Imperial Stout Imperial Stout, this tiny, no-frills taproom has a beer for every palate. A food truck or pop-up is often present serving complimentary eats. // 1304 Scott St. (Petaluma), 101northbeer.com

HenHouse Brewing

After outgrowing their britches in Santa Rosa, HenHouse Brewing opened a second brewery and taproom in Petaluma (coincidentally where they got their start), which they've named the Palace of Barrels. This dog-friendly spot releases fresh cans every Wednesday and brews more than a dozen super unique beers—meaning, you won't just find 10 IPA iterations—like the An Honest Day's Work red rye saison and the Juiced! on Mango gose with mango puree.// 1333 North McDowell Blvd. Suite A (Petaluma), henhousebrewing.com


Spirits

Griffo Distillery

The husband and wife team behind Griffo Distillery specializes in small-batch gins and whiskies, plus a new cold brew coffee liqueur, and is known to convert gin opponents with their silky-smooth, gold-medal winner. Located among good company in the Petaluma Maker's District, Griffo is a must-stop on the weekend (open Friday through Sunday) to tour, taste, and sip hand-crafted cocktails. Try the vodka-free Bloody Mary, featuring either gin or white whiskey, and served up exclusively on Sunday Funday. // 1320 Scott St., Ste. A (Petaluma), griffodistillery.com

Sonoma Coast Spirits

If you've never ever tried jalapeño-lime vodka, you need to at Sonoma Coast Spirits. Not for traditionalist sippers, Sonoma Coast (also in the Petaluma Maker's District) has a line of creatively infused spirits including espresso and citrus-basil vodkas, plus zinfandel, pinot noir, and wood-aged grappas. You can also try one of their ready-to-drink concoctions, such as raspberry lemonade and Mango Tango (32-proof vodka blended with mango and enriched with pineapple and lime). // 1333 N. McDowell Blvd. #F (Petaluma), sonomacoastspirits.com

Working Farms & Happy Animals in Petaluma

(Courtesy of Tara Firma Farms)

Tara Firma Farms

Every Saturday and Sunday at 11am, Tara Firma Farms leads free, educational farm tours. Home to sustainably raised animals including cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys, the 260-acre farm offers a true escape from the city and the opportunity to engage in old-fashioned, tech-free recreational activities such as fishing, hiking and picnicking. Grab something for dinner at the Farm Store before you head back to the real world. // 3796 I Street Ext. (Petaluma), tarafirmafarms.com

McClelland's Dairy

Here's your chance to relive a precious childhood memory: milking a cow. City slicker? Everyone should try it once. This family-run dairy farm has been operating since 1938 and feeds their happy cows organic pasture, sans GMOs, pesticides, and commercial fertilizers. Farm tours are available by reservation, and they'll even let you take your turn at the udders. Do your best to get your hands on their locally famous ceramic-crock butter before it sells out—breakfast will never taste better. (They also have a great pumpkin patch come autumn.) // 6475 Bodega Avenue (Petaluma), mcclellandsdairy.com

Achadinha Cheese Co.

You may recognize Achadinha (pronounced osh-a-deen-a) Cheese Co. from their tie-dye labeled California Crazy Curds in flavors such as Hot Hilda and Mellow Yellow. The family has been in the cow-milking business for three generations and raises goats, sheep, horses, chickens, and ducks on their 230-acre farm. The animals, or "girls" as they call them, are fed grain and yeast from local breweries as part of their balanced diet, free of hormones and pesticides. Book a farm tour and cheese tasting, which includes some "Animal TLC," or time your visit around one of their cheese-making classes ($120 per person). // 750 Chileno Valley Road (Petaluma), achadinhacheese.com

Lavender Bee Farm

Call ahead and make an appointment to visit Lavender Bee Farm to get a taste of the prized lavender blossom honey (it sells out every year) made by the farm's own bees. Shop the farm store for all kinds of lavender goodies that'll make your house smell like a high-end spa, including bouquets, sachets, essential oils, and soaps. Unfortunately, this spot is only open during lavender season, June through August. Every Saturday in June, tours are offered without reservation. // 764 Chapman Ln. (Petaluma), lavenderbeefarm.com

Green String Farm

Don't leave town without a stop at Green String Farm, a working farm and stand that delivers a diverse selection of fresh, seasonal, and high-quality produce that's beyond what you'll ever find in stores—think fresh eggs, local honey, and grass-fed beef, all affordably priced. Green String practices sustainability and natural process agriculture with no use of pesticides or artificial chemicals, and very limited human intervention in the growing process. Make sure you get your hands on their fresh-pressed olive oil. It's basically liquid gold. // 3571 Adobe Road (Petaluma), greenstringfarm.com

Petaluma’s Quirkiest Shops

(Courtesy Petaluma Creamery)

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Store

At the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Store, known locally as the Petaluma Seed Bank, even experienced gardeners can easily overdose on the selection of more than 1,500 varieties of non-GMO heirloom seeds, roughly 200 of which are tomatoes. The emporium is the only West Coast location of the famous, Missouri-based company and also acts as a one-stop shop for all gardening accessories and tools. // 110 Petaluma Blvd. North (Petaluma), rareseeds.com

Vintage Bank Antiques

If you don't have a green thumb, you can get just as lost in this three-story antique mall. Appropriately housed in an antique building constructed in 1926, Vintage Bank Antiques was formerly the American Trust Company. It's all too easy to lose track of time here while browsing thousands of items, including paintings, furniture, decor, and jewelry from 40 dealers. // 101 Petaluma Blvd. North (Petaluma)

Thrifty Hippy

Head to the Thrifty Hippy where you'll find vintage threads, vinyl, furniture, decor, collectibles, or miscellaneous items that you definitely don't need, but the price is just right so you might just buy them anyway. The store is packed full with items, so keep your eyes peeled for hidden treasures, like pig salt and pepper shakers or an old Jerry Rice jersey. Have a themed party coming up, or looking for an excuse to throw one? Spend some time in here. // 218 Petaluma Blvd. North (Petaluma)

Petaluma Creamery Store

The Petaluma Creamery Store in downtown Petaluma offers free cheese tastings, and the chance to stock up on your favorite jacks, cheddars, and mozzarellas. The real draw of the century-old creamery is the homemade ice cream. Local favorites such as Cookie Parade, Greek Yogurt & Honey, and Lavender await cones or cups. Think it's too chilly to eat ice cream this time of year? Maybe seasonal flavors like Cranberry Rum or Peppermint Stick will change your mind. // 711 Western Ave. (Petaluma), springhillcheese.com

1920s Lodging in Petaluma

(Courtesy of Metro Hotel & Cafe)

Metro Hotel & Cafe

The Parisian-themed Metro Hotel & Cafe is the definition of funky—you may find a large duck statue on your night stand, for instance. Located in a historic, 140-year-old building, this colorful hotel is not Wine Country's standard luxury stay, but it is affordable (rooms under $200) and extremely charming in its own right, and it's also within walking distance to downtown shops and eateries. Choose from standard rooms, suites, a two-bedroom cottage, or our vote: an airstream. There's the super-cozy Bambi or the 28-foot Honeymoon Suite. // 508 Petaluma Blvd. South (Petaluma), metrolodging.com

Hotel Petaluma

Built in 1923, Hotel Petaluma blends stunning, Gatsby-era architecture with contemporary style. The hotel's history is especially present in the hand-pull elevator—the first passenger elevator in Petaluma—and Art Deco design elements, while the updated rooms are minimalist, clean, and bright with just a little color. Without even leaving the hotel, you can taste wine at Barber Cellars and slurp down oysters at The Shuckery, but everything else downtown Petaluma has to offer is just a quick stroll away. // 205 Kentucky St. (Petaluma), hotelpetaluma.com

This article has been updated as of February 2019.

DON'T MISS A BAY AREA BEAT! SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER.