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San Juan Capistrano

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Beach Cities (Orange County) : San Juan Capistrano
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San Juan Capistrano

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

Get in

San Juan Capistrano is located between Los Angeles and San Diego along the California coast. It is easy to reach by car by taking I-5 to the Ortega Highway (State Route 74) interchange. Better yet, the train station is located right in the center of the historic downtown area.

Get around

Everything is within walking distance.


  • Mission San Juan Capistrano (Junipero Serra Mission) [6]
  • Mission Basilica [7] 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.
  • Downtown [8]
  • O'Neill Museum, 31831 Los Rios St., +1 949 493-8444 (), [1]. 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. (33.500422,-117.664261)


  • Walk of Faith Church, 949-606-0409, [2]. A Home Discipleship Church focused on restoring discipleship in the home.
  • Second Saturday Art Fair, Camino Capistrano & Yorba Street, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675, 949-493-4700, [3]. 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, [9]. 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, [10]. 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, [11] has a regular schedule in its 88-seat theater. Each spring, the melodrama [12] 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 is the oldest continuously occupied street in California and has a mix of residences and little shops on a beautiful shaded street. It is just across the tracks from the train station.
  • Zoomars, [13] (formerly the Jones Mini Farm) is what would happen if a petting zoo were 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.


The historical downtown area along Camino Capistrano adjacent to the mission is lines with small shops. Among the prominent shops are ...

  • The Antiques Barn, Nearly a block long and full of regional antiques
  • The Trading Post, Located across from the mission, it looks like a standard tourist trap at first glance. In the back of the store, however, there is a collection of authentic and high quality southwestern handcrafts.


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. All the locals know that the best fish tacos anywhere are found at a little taco stand across from the mission, Pedro's Tacos.


No trip would be complete without a visit to the Swallows Inn, on Camino Capistrano near the Mission and the train station. It balances between being a cowboy bar and a biker bar and it loves its bad reputation, but you can take your granny there with no worries.

Attached to the Swallows Inn is a one-chair barber shop called the "Hair of the Dog." If you are in town in the afternoon, you can get a haircut and a beer.


  • Best Western Capistrano Inn, 27174 Ortega Highway, +1 949 493-5661 (fax: +1 949 661-8293), [4].
  • Mission Inn, 26891 Ortega Highway, +1 949 234 0249 (), [5]. A Bed and Breakfast in the heart of San Juan Capistrano

Get out

Routes through San Juan Capistrano
Santa AnaMission Viejo  N noframe S  Dana PointSan Diego

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