Mission Viejo

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Mission Viejo

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Mission Viejo [1] is a town in Saddleback Valley, a region of Orange County, California.


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" [2]; "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 [3]; Mission Viejo was a community of San Juan Capistrano until it became an independent city in 1988.

Get in

  • By air, SNA (Mission Viejo is just 15 miles south of John Wayne Airport.)
  • By car, I-5. Exit between El Toro Road (north end) and Crown Valley Parkway (south end).

Get around

OCTA [4] operates bus lines throughout the city, but renting a car is preferable and convenient.


  • Lake Mission Viejo [5] (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 waterfron properties typically sell upward of $2 million dollars in today's economy.
  • Mission Viejo Public Library [7] 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.


  • Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo [8]


  • Irvine Spectrum (not in MV itself, but near enough that many Mission Viejans consider it part of their home territory)
  • Shops at Mission Viejo [9], a luxurious shopping mall.


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. [10] "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.


The local favorite is Patsies Irish Pub on the Corner of Los Alisos and Jeronimo. It is a typical American/Irish bar and is fun place with great drinks and karaoke.


  • Comfort Inn Laguna Hills Mission Viejo Orange County, 23061 Avenida de la Carlota (just off I-5), +1 949 859-0166, [11]

  • Fairfield Inn Mission Viejo Orange County, 26328 Oso Parkway (just off I-5), +1 949 582-7100, Toll-free: +1 800 950-1099, Fax: +1 949 582-3287 [12]

Get out

Routes through Mission Viejo
Santa AnaLake Forest  N noframe S  San Juan CapistranoSan Diego

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