Photo by Annie Gallo and Natalie Micco

Night Life

May 16, 2017

With the strain of AP classes, steady streams of homework, and demands outside of school like sports and work, everyone needs to have a little break on the weekends. And what better way than to explore? The Bay Area is full of hidden spots that are student favorites; whether it be for the breathtaking view, the tasty food, or the fun times with friends, there is no better way to let off steam than a nighttime adventure. Students may claim that there’s nothing to do in Petaluma; however, this is not the case. Junior Matt Kandler discusses the best local places to explore in our town at night.

“A lot of kids always hit up concerts at the Phoenix. When Elkinz comes and performs, everyone wants to go,” said Kandler.

Once the availability of a car is introduced into the equation—usually around the middle of sophomore year—the possibilities become infinite. The Bay is often referred to as one of the best places to adventure, and many students would attest to this fact. Junior Kelsey Gomez-Fowers shares her favorite place to grab a bite to eat at night and her favorite place to get away.

“I like to go to San Rafael because one of my favorite restaurants is Sol Food, so I spend a lot of time there. I also like to go the beach a lot; most of my friends go, and we can spend all day and all night there. I honestly like Salmon Creek Beach and Stinson Beach the best because they have these little lifeguard towers where nobody really goes at night, so it is fun to be there,” said Gomez-Fowers.

Spending six hours a day in school for five days a week begs for a taste of outdoor exploration. With the beach less than thirty minutes away, with the endless amounts of hiking trails in Sonoma County, and with the green hills in view, students can take a break from schoolwork for an hour and embrace the outdoors. Kandler reflects on some secret spots in the Bay where he can escape from his statistics and history homework.

“My friends and I usually like to adventure and go somewhere new every week. We’ve gone to a lot of beaches around Bodega and Dillon at night because the stars are really visible out there, and it’s a pretty chill environment. We also hike a lot and go to places like Helen Putnam at night,” said Kandler.

Particularly for juniors and seniors, as the end of high school approaches and time with childhood friends is dwindling, hours spent outside of school together become more and more important. For many, weekends represent a sacred time to cherish memories that will last them a lifetime. Friends often part ways after high school, but the hour spent driving to Muir Beach or jamming along with bands at Aqus Café in good company are things that will never be forgotten.


Muir Beach / BonfireThis scenic spot has got it all: earth wind, and fire! There’s nothing better than a nighttime beach bonfire with your pals, even if you smell like campfire for days afterwards. Bring kindling, s’mores supplies, and blankets—it can get pretty windy out at Muir!


Phoenix Theater – Since 1905, the Phoenix has been a source of constant entertainment for the Petaluma and surrounding communities. From concerts to plays, you can catch a wide arrangement of performances at this historic structure. The next artist coming to the Phoenix is Iamsu! on this Friday, May 5.


Sutro Baths – What was once a privately owned swimming pool open to the public now sits in ruins, adding an air of mystery to this scenic site. You can walk out on the remaining stone walls, and the sunset from the top of the lookout is stunning as Karl the Fog rolls in.


Aqus Café – Located in the outskirts of downtown Petaluma, the Aqus Café is a hubbub of community activity. There is a steady stream of local artists, musicians, and poets for whom Aqus is a regular stomping ground, and cafe-goers are treated to frequent live performances. This is a great place to grab a bite to eat and chill with friends.


Lava House – The Lava House, a mansion nestled in the city overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, now sits abandoned in crumbling lava rocks and overgrown plants. Merely driving to the residence offers a beautiful view of the city; however, teenagers often trespass and explore the empty indoor pool, rocky arches, and barren patio.


Redwood Café – After a scenic drive through the countryside, the Redwood Café in Cotati is the perfect spot to warm up with a hot cup of coffee, a hearty meal, and a seat right next to the indoor fireplace. Often, you can find a band practicing or performing in the center of the restaurant; jazz bands and student performers are just a few of the entertainers you can find at this quaint cafe.  


Headlands / Waterfront  – Get a beautiful view of the bay and the city skyline as you cruise up the winding hills of the peninsula. Park at the top or just drive by for a breathtaking perspective of the city lit up at night.

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