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Two Sonoma County Towns Listed as Coolest San Francisco “Suburbs”

While we were thrilled to find two local burgs on the list, the definition of “suburb” made us reach for our dusty dictionary.

(Photo by Scott Manchester)
Petaluma made the Thrillist list of cool San Francisco suburbs. (Photo by Scott Manchester)

Thrillist, the online site for all list-worthy things, has released a carefully curated selection of “cool San Francisco suburbs you should actually visit” — and Petaluma and Healdsburg made the cut (along with Mill Valley, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Downtown San Jose, Redwood City, Half Moon Bay, Niles, Bolinas and Yountville). 

While we were thrilled to find two Sonoma County burgs included on the list — and we agree that both Petaluma and Healdsburg are indeed pretty “cool” places — Thrillist’s definition of “suburb” made us reach for our dusty dictionary (we’re pretty sure the people in Mill Valley and Yountville did the same).

Healdsburg also made the Thrillist list. (Photo Flickr/Clay Gilliland)
Healdsburg also made the Thrillist list. (Photo Flickr/Clay Gilliland)

As it turns out, definitions of “suburb” tend toward the vague (from “a residential district situated on the outskirts of a city or town” to “a smaller community adjacent to or within commuting distance of a city”) and definitely leave the door open for sweeping interpretations. What all definitions have in common, however, is the concept that the word “suburb” derives meaning from its implied “subordinate” relationship to the “urbs” (city).

Now, while we don’t have anything against San Francisco, we’d like to think that Sonoma County cities and towns exist in their own right, and not merely as extensions to “the city.”

In the largest sense of the word, we in Sonoma County are not “suburban”, “subordinate” or “sub” anything – and all of our cities and towns have their very own take on “cool” (fashionable, stylish, chic, up-to-the-minute, sophisticated, trendy, funky, with it, hip, big, happening, groovy, phat, kicky, fly, laid-back…the list goes on…).

What do you think? Read Thrillist’s descriptions of Petaluma and Healdsburg here

And here’s a little taste of Petaluma… 

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11 thoughts on “Two Sonoma County Towns Listed as Coolest San Francisco “Suburbs”

  1. “Suburb: an outlying district of a city.”
    Seems like a city that has its own name and its own city council by definition cannot be a suburb of another city.
    Besides that: I’m pretty sure that if you have to cross as significant a body of water as the Golden Gate, either by a two-mile bridge or by ferry, plus pay a toll, to get to the “outlying district,” that automatically disqualifies the area from being included as a suburb. Sorry San Francisco; I love you, but no way do I live in a suburb of San Francisco.
    However, I wonder if San Francisco would be willing to be considered a suburb of Healdsburg?

  2. Sorry, we’re suburban. Outer-laying areas of the county are rural. But everything along the 101 corridor is suburban with gov-enforced rural greenbelts. One key to understanding suburban is work address vs. home address. The percentage of county residents and the growing influx of new resident who work in the Bay Area means we’re becoming even more suburban and the border between suburban and rural has moved farther north.

    A very large majority of Americans who don’t live in city-density neighborhoods live in the suburbs.

    Sorry but we just aren’t so special that we’re excluded from normal definitions.

  3. Petaluma is so normative. Who would want to live there? They don’t even have a pride parade or a gay bar! RP, that’s where the action is.

    1. There are 20 gay bars in Petaluma. You just were excluded from the list. This makes Petaluma really cool, and you really ignorant.

  4. Oh isn’t that special, the two towns where no Sonoma County native could afford to purchase a home unless they are connected with the winery families. who decides to write this crap?

    1. Not so true, your priorities are wrong. Born Raised sonoma county, bought a house in one of the 2 towns listed in this article in 2013. Going out and having fun is very expensive, and its hard to keep on a budget so you can save enough money up.

    2. Nope. Just bought a nice place in Healdsburg. Only connection I have to a “winery family” is the occasional glass I enjoy now and then.

    3. Not connected to any winery families and was born and raised in Petaluma. It can be done and you have to take advantage of when the economy tanks! Was able to purchase my first home (thank god) in 2009.

  5. 19 tracking apps attempting to follow the clickbait with me. Hmm, wonder why these things are so prevelant on Facebook?

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