Home to a rich history, stunning architecture, and a vibrant cultural scene, San Juan Capistrano offers plenty of recreational options worthy of a spot on your travel itinerary. Here are top 5 must-do activities when you visit the town of San Juan Capistrano in California.
1. Mission San Juan Capistrano
No visit to San Juan Capistrano would be complete without stopping by Mission San Juan Capistrano. Known as the ‘Jewel of the Missions’, it is a historic landmark, chapel, museum and gardens all rolled into one. A tour through Mission San Juan Capistrano offers a glimpse into the history of California’s multicultural beginnings, captivating narratives of its past and a peaceful retreat amid its lush, well-maintained gardens with native plants and koi ponds. Remember to take a moment to relax and meditate in the serene environment of the Serra Chapel, the oldest standing building in California.
2. The Coach House Concert Hall
If you’re a music enthusiast, The Coach House Concert Hall should definitely be on your list. This is an iconic venue where you can catch a wide range of live music performances, from rock and pop to blues and country. The intimate setting, great acoustics, and the close proximity to the stage make for a unique and memorable concert experience. Expect to see both major touring acts and local musicians showcasing their talent.
3. Zoomars at River Street Ranch
For a fun-filled family day out, head to Zoomars at River Street Ranch. This charming petting zoo offers a chance to interact closely with animals such as llamas, goats, guinea pigs, and more. Children can have a hands-on experience feeding the animals, ride a miniature train, do a bit of gold panning, or even explore an impressive fossil dig. While it’s especially popular among kids, adults will also find plenty to enjoy at Zoomars.
4. Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano
Just a short walk from the historic mission, you will find the Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano. This is a stunning replica of the original stone church that once stood in the mission grounds, boasting impressive architecture with intricate details inspired by the early California missions. The Basilica’s magnificent Grand Retablo, a 42-foot high gold-leafed altarpiece, is particularly breathtaking. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or seeking spiritual solace, the Basilica offers a calming and awe-inspiring experience.
5. Los Rios Street Historic District
Last but not least, a stroll through the Los Rios Street Historic District is a must. As the oldest residential street in California, Los Rios hosts several preserved and restored historic homes dating back to the late 1700s to early 1800s. As you walk down this charming, tree-lined street, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Stop by one of the local eateries for a delightful meal or shop quaint boutiques that offer a unique selection of goods.
San Juan Capistrano is a destination that is steeped in history with a plethora of attractions to offer. From its historic landmarks and beautiful gardens to live entertainment and a petting zoo, you’re bound to create unforgettable memories during your visit.