San Juan Capistrano is a beautiful historic city named for the 1776 Mission San Juan Capistrano. The mission is one of many well-preserved historic sites within the city. The Los Rios Historic District features buildings dating back to the 1790s, while the Historic Town Center Park hosts events like the Summer Nights Concert Series. The charming streets surrounding the park feature great restaurants, shops, antique stores, and art galleries.
The Mission Area offers historic homes with attractive Spanish Colonial architecture. Other housing options include luxurious multi-million properties in gated communities, several of which have been designed around equestrian pursuits.
San Juan Capistrano is one of California’s most historic cities. Well-preserved architecture and historic sites abound throughout the Mission Area. San Juan Capistrano is an enchanting city to visit and a magical place to live.
The Tea House on Los Rios is a serene spot in the Los Rios Historic District offering afternoon tea and al fresco dining on a veranda covered with flowers. The Tea House serves traditional English meals with a contemporary Californian twist. Popular dishes include rosemary roasted chicken, shepherd’s pie made with prime rib and garden vegetables, flavorful Bombay chicken curry, and specialty salads. The Tea House has a range of high tea options featuring freshly baked currant scones with early California cream, finger sandwiches, fresh fruits, and delectable desserts.
The Zagat-rated Ramos House Café offers elaborate Southern-style lunches and massive Bloody Marys in a beautiful 1880s cottage with a tree-shaded patio. Cedar Creek Inn is another local dining highlight serving an eclectic menu in a warm and woodsy Craftsman setting. Entrees at Cedar Creek Inn include New York steak, gourmet burgers and sandwiches, slow-roasted Angus beef prime rib, racks of fresh New Zealand lamb, and pan-baked swordfish with raspberry chipotle sauce and spicy summer fruit salsa. Cedar Creek Inn’s sublime meals are paired with a fine choice of craft beers, Californian wines, and house margaritas.
El Adobe de Capistrano offers delicious mesquite-grilled Mexican fare and an extensive selection of bottles from the wine cellar. Housed within a landmark 1797 adobe, El Adobe de Capistrano has been a fixture of the local dining scene since the 1940s. Former President Richard Nixon was a frequent El Adobe de Capistrano visitor whenever staying at his Western White House in nearby San Clemente. Other exceptional eateries include elegant French-Belgian bistro L’Hirondelle, artisanal Southern Italian trattoria Ciao Pasta, and sophisticated Californian bistro and popular weekend brunch spot Sundried Tomato.
The Mission San Juan Capistrano, which gave the city its name, is known as the jewel of California’s missions. Tours are available of the Mission’s beautiful grounds, which include museum galleries, a sacred garden, the 1782 Serra Chapel, and the ruins of the original 1797 Great Stone Church. The Los Rios Historic District is a beautiful place to explore, either with a self-guided stroll or through joining the weekly walking tours organized by the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society.
Los Rios is the oldest surviving neighborhood in California, and it features 40 historic homes and three adobes. Award-winning restoration efforts have made the 1794 Montanez Adobe one of the highlights of this gorgeous historic district. Housed within an 1870s home, the Historical Society’s headquarters of the O’Neill Museum offers fascinating insights into San Juan Capistrano’s rich heritage. San Juan Summer Nights brings free outdoor concerts and vendors selling food, beer, and wine to the Historic Town Center Park. Kids love the wooden playground at Los Rios Park and meeting the animals at Zoomars Petting Zoo.
San Juan Capistrano is served by the Capistrano Unified School District.
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