Top Places to Visit in San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Capistrano, a picturesque city nestled in Orange County, California, boasts a prime location along the scenic Orange Coast. As recorded in the 2010 census, the city was home to 34,593 residents. Its rich history dates back to 1776 when Spanish explorers laid its foundation. It was during this time that St. Junípero Serra, a significant figure in California’s history, established the renowned Mission San Juan Capistrano. This mission, with its captivating architecture and storied past, has since become a symbol of the city and a testament to its deep-rooted Spanish heritage. Today, San Juan Capistrano stands as a blend of historical significance and modern charm, attracting visitors and residents alike.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano, a Spanish mission in San Juan Capistrano, California, was founded on November 1, 1776 by Spanish Catholic missionaries of the Franciscian Order. The mission, named after Saint John of Capistrano, showcases a stunning Spanish Colonial Baroque style church. Located in the Alta California province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, it was situated just a stone’s throw away from the village of Acjacheme. The mission was secularized in 1833 by the Mexican government but was later returned to the Roman Catholic Church by the United States government in 1865. Despite being damaged by natural disasters over the years, the mission has undergone extensive restoration and renovation efforts since the early 1900s. Today, it stands as a captivating museum, telling the story of its rich history.

Zoomars at River Street Ranch

Zoomars at River Street Ranch is a delightful family-friendly attraction located in the heart of San Juan Capistrano. This petting zoo offers visitors a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of animals, from cuddly rabbits and guinea pigs to more exotic creatures like emus and llamas. Set amidst a rustic ranch setting, Zoomars provides an educational and interactive experience for children and adults alike. With play areas, pony rides, and gold panning adventures, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re looking to spend a fun-filled day with the family (first make sure to read our post on San Juan Capistrano Weather), or simply want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Zoomars at River Street Ranch promises a memorable experience amidst nature and animals.

Los Rios Street Historic District

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history of the Los Rios Historic District. Nestled in the charming city of San Juan Capistrano, California, this neighborhood boasts buildings dating all the way back 1794, making it the oldest continually occupied neighborhood in the state! Explore the nearby Mission San Juan Capistrano, the very first of the iconic California Missions, where Indians, soldiers, and workers lived outside the mission grounds. Wander through the streets of Los Rios and marvel at the three remaining adobes, remnants of a once larger neighborhood. While the neighborhood originally had 40 adobe structures, most have been replaced with wooden board and batten structures.

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