It is about half way between Los Angeles and San Diego and is the best American embodiment of planned suburbia. Six-lane wide avenues and endless subdivisions of single-family houses surrounding pockets of strip malls are the norm.
The proper name in Spanish should be Misión Vieja, as 'mission' is a feminine noun. The masculine gender of "viejo" is a vestige from the original name of the area, "Rancho Mission Viejo" ; "viejo" modified "rancho", a masculine noun. In light of the history of the area, the masculine adjective was preserved. The "Mission" of "Mission Viejo" is Mission San Juan Capistrano ; Mission Viejo was a community of San Juan Capistrano until it became an independent city in 1988.
Lake Mission Viejo  (man-made), one of the prettiest locations in Mission Viejo and all of Orange County. In order to create waterfront property in Mission Viejo before the housing boom of Southern Orange County, the lake was built and allows swimming, sailing, kayaking, and fishing. These waterfront properties typically sell upward of $2 million dollars in today's economy.
Mission Viejo Public Library  is a recent building whose impressive design was inspired by the California Arts & Crafts movement.
Florence Joyner Olympic Park is a beautiful park at the corner of Olympiad and Alicia Parkway built in honor of Olympian Florence Joyner who lived in the upscale Canyon Crest Estates above the park. She suddenly died in her home in the 1990's and the park is built in her memory.
Most Mission Viejans shy away from their local restaurants for all but casual dining, and prefer nicer restaurants in adjacent communities. However, it has a few gems:
Thainakorn Restaurant, 25482 Marguerite Pkwy.  "Authentic" Thai food restaurant where Thai folks go to eat. The little sister of the real Thainakorn (in Buena Park) but great food at the price of under-par customer service. For the uninitiated, chicken satay and pad thai are safe bets.
In-N-Out Burger, 28782 Camino Capistrano. Californian readers will agree that this is an American institution. Fresh, cheap food in a clean restaurant. The menu is limited, but search online for their "secret code" for access to unlisted items and combinations.
Hatam 2, 24000 Alicia Parkway. Good authentic Persian food.
PF Chang's China Bistro, in the Shops at Mission Viejo; Authentic Chinese cuisine.
The Cafe at Nordstroms, also in the Shops at Mission Viejo; excellent pastries, lattes and espressos, far superior to the Starbuck's variety (prices are reasonable).
Shin Sushi, 26002 Marguerite. Fresh authentic sushi prepared by a master.
Peppinos, 27782 Vista del Lago #26. A family owned Italian restaurant with sweeping view of Lake Mission Viejo in Plaza del Lago.
Tortilla Flats, 27792 Vista del Lago. A delicious Mexican restaurant located in Plaza del Lago with sweeping views. The beautiful Spanish building is popular for weddings.
Yama Sushi, 27782 Vista del Lago. One of Mission Viejo's best Japanese restaurants with a unique menu. Located in Plaza del Lago with lake views as well.
Sushi & Roll, 27620 Marguerite Parkway. Sushi & Roll is a wonderful little sushi place, with delicious rolls and sushi! In almost every to-go box, there's wasabi waiting for you!
Devilicious Donuts, 28601 Marguerite Parkway. Devilicious Donuts is a delicious place to stop and get a donut or two, with great prices, and they cook them a little bit healthier than other places.
Rubio's, 25482 Marguerite Parkway. Rubios is a fresh mexican grill, home of the fish tacos. Most People would recommend the fish tacos, the reason Rubios is famous.
Del Taco, 25542 Marguerite Parkway. Del taco has amazing chicken soft tacos, and it's not just great for it's tacos and array of mexican foods, but it is also great for it's burgers.