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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 best characterized as mind-numbing suburbia. Six-lane wide avenues and endless subdivisions of single-family houses are the norm. Incidentally, the proper name should be Misión Vieja, as 'mission' in Spanish is a feminine noun. The masculine gender of "viejo" is a fossil 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 becoming an independent city in 1988.

Get in

  • By air, SNA
  • 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, as there is never a lack of parking in Southern Orange County.


  • Lake Mission Viejo [5] (man-made), one of the prettiest cunards in Mission Viejo. In order to create "valuable" waterfront property in Mission Viejo before the housing boom of Southern Orange County, the lake was built. Today, the houses suffer extensive water damage as their foundations are sinking.
  • Mission Viejo Public Library [7] is a recent building whose impressive design was inspired by the California Arts & Crafts movement.


  • 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. All Californian readers will understand. Fresh, great, 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.



  • Fairfield Inn Mission Viejo Orange County, 26328 Oso Parkway, +1 949 582-7100, Toll-free: +1 800 950-1099, Fax: +1 949 582-3287 [11]

Get out

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