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North America > United States of America > California > Southern California > Orange County (California) > Inland Cities (Orange County) > San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Capistrano

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Mission San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Capistrano is a city in Orange County in Southern California.

Get in[edit]

San Juan Capistrano sits between Los Angeles and San Diego along the California coast. It is easy to reach by car by taking the I-5 to the Ortega Highway (State Route 74) interchange. Better yet, 1 San Juan Capistrano station is in the center of the historic downtown area, across the street from Mission San Juan Capistrano. The station is served by Amtrak via its Pacific Surfliner line, and Metrolink's Orange County and Inland Empire lines.

Get around[edit]

Map of San Juan Capistrano

Everything is within walking distance.

During the summer, two trolleys on 20-minute frequencies run in a continuous loop from downtown San Juan Capistrano (La Zanja Street) to a Dana Point trolley service stop at Stonehill Drive and Del Obispo Street. The Dana Point Trolley also connects to a Laguna Beach Trolley. Trolley rides are free.

See[edit]

  • 1 Mission San Juan Capistrano, 26801 Ortega Hwy, +1 949 234-1300. Daily 9AM-5PM. This is a historic California mission founded in 1776 by Spanish missionary Junipero Serra. It was the first mission to grow grapes. Today it is a museum where tours of the site are offered and masses are still celebrated in its Serra Chapel (the only existing building where Serra is known to have preached). Audio tours are included with museum admission. The site houses ruins of a collapsed portion of the "Great Stone Church" and the annual "Return of the Swallows" observed March 19. Adults $9, seniors (60+) $8, children (under 11) $6, children (under 3) free.
  • 2 Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano, 31520 Camino Capistrano, +1 949 234-1360, fax: +1 949 248-2008. This church is a stunning building built to match the design of the mission's Great Stone Church which was destroyed by an 18th-century earthquake.
  • 3 O'Neill Museum, 31831 Los Rios St., +1 949 493-8444, . A small museum that documents life in San Juan Capistrano in the 1880s. Also features an extensive collection of historical photos that can be browsed.
  • Downtown.
  • 4 Caspers Wilderness Park.
  • 5 Ortega's Capistrano Trading Post (Trading Post), 31741 Camino Capistrano, +1 949 496-3993. M-F 10:30AM-6PM, Sa Su 10:30AM-6PM. Ortega's Capistrano Trading Post is across the street from the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano. The Trading Post has a rich history. The original Old Mission Trading Post was built by Henry Oliver in 1947. It was built on the site of Fred Stoffel's former San Juan Inn Cafe (first cafe in SJC) which had also served as Fred Cason's movie house during the 1920s. The facade was changed in 1953 to the Western false front appearance it has today. They are 7th generation experts in Native American Indian Jewelry & Turquoise. They also offer San Juan Capistrano souvenirs, religious goods, artwork, crafts from local San Juan Capistrano artists and California Mission Collectibles.

Do[edit]

Egan House (1883)
  • Second Saturday Art Fair, Camino Capistrano & Yorba Street, +1 949-493-4700. 11AM-4PM. A juried display and sale of fine art, jewelry, and crafts that coincides with the Living History Day at the Mission. free.
  • Swallows Parade. Every spring the largest non-motorized parade in the country celebrates the return of the swallows and the town's old west heritage. Additional events from January through March bring an old west flavor to the town.
  • Music Under the Stars. On summer evenings, the Mission's music under the stars series features concerts in the mission as the sun sets over the mission walls.
  • The Camino Real Playhouse. An 88-seat theater. Each spring, the melodrama is a major event with audience members cheering for the hero and booing and throwing foam rocks at the villain between bouts of laughter.
  • The Los Rios District. The oldest continuously occupied street in California and has a mix of residences and little shops on a beautiful shaded street. It is across the tracks from the train station.
  • Zoomars (formerly the Jones Mini Farm). A petting zoo really done right. It is owned by a rare bird dealer and is always close to immaculate and very well staffed. It also has facilities for parties.
  • Walk of Faith Church, +1 949-606-0409. A Home Discipleship Church focused on restoring discipleship in the home.

Buy[edit]

Mission San Juan Capistrano

The historical downtown area along Camino Capistrano adjacent to the mission is lined with small shops.

  • The Antiques Barn. Nearly a block long and full of regional antiques

Eat[edit]

San Juan Capistrano is known for its wide variety of fine dining. Skip the fast food joints by the highway. There are half a dozen fine restaurants within 200 yards of the rail station.

  • Pedro's Tacos. All the locals know that the best fish tacos anywhere are found at a little taco stand across from the mission.
  • 1 3:16 Bakery Shop, 26762 Verdugo St., +1 949 218-6060. Small bakery shop located right by the rail station. They sell cakes, pastries, other baked goods, coffee, espresso, tea, gelato, and frozen yogurt.

Drink[edit]

There are a few bars south of the Mission

Sleep[edit]

Go next[edit]

Head southwest 5 miles to Dana Point or San Clemente to relax by the beach.

Head inland on Ortega Highway to go hiking in natural California wildernesss.

The Pacific Surfliner Amtrak train heads up and down the coast from San Diego to Santa Barbara

Routes through San Juan Capistrano
Santa AnaMission Viejo  N I-5.svg S  Dana PointSan Diego
Los AngelesIrvine  N Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Icon.png S  San ClementeSan Diego


This city travel guide to San Juan Capistrano is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.