Filming Guidelines

On location in Petaluma

Located just 32 miles north of San Francisco, Petaluma has been a favorite location for feature films, indie productions and TV commercials for almost a century. Directors and location scouts find Petaluma's authentic iron-front buildings in historic downtown, immaculately maintained Victorian mansions, and rolling hills of Sonoma County the ideal background for their production.


One of Petaluma's most famous starring roles is in George Lucas' iconic 1973 film "American Graffiti." Many of the film's most memorable scenes were filmed in downtown Petaluma. Several other classic films have been shot in Petaluma including "Basic Instinct" and "Peggy Sue Got Married."


Petaluma invites filmmakers to review our guidelines for filming within the membership district of the Petaluma Downtown Association. Exceptions must be made in advance through the PDA office.


The City of Petaluma requires a film permit for any filming conducted within the City limits. For the Film Permit Packet, fee schedules and supplemental permitting information, visit the City of Petaluma.