Welcome to San Juan Capistrano
A peaceful historic city with golf and equestrian communities
San Juan Capistrano is a peaceful historic city with architecture dating back to the 18th century. The city is named for the Mission San Juan Capistrano, which was established here in 1776. The Mission Area and Los Rios Historic District feature many well-preserved homes and buildings from the late 1700s onward.
San Juan Capistrano real estate includes luxurious homes on large lots in private golf communities. This quiet city is an equestrian destination, and some of its large properties include private horse facilities. Housing options also include Spanish Colonial residences within the Mission Area and Los Rios.
What to Love
- Historic architecture from the 1700s
- Diverse dining options
- Golf and equestrian communities
- Horseback riding trails
People & Lifestyle
San Juan Capistrano’s concentration of historic architecture makes it one of California’s most captivating small cities. Residents are also spoiled for choice when it comes to dining options. There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, with equestrian trails traversing the surrounding countryside. San Juan Capistrano is a charming small city with much to discover.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
The streets surrounding the 1776 mission are lined with historic buildings that house a diverse array of exceptional restaurants. Sundried Tomato is a vibrant modern bistro located in a vintage 1800s Valenzuela adobe with an outdoor patio. The Craftsman-style Cedar Creek Inn has a patio with views across the street to the Mission. The menu at Cedar Creek Inn includes mouthwatering burgers, delicious fresh seafood, and desserts, including a must-try signature coconut cake.
At San Juan Capistrano’s 1890s train depot, Trevor’s at the Tracks pairs internationally inspired cuisine with local craft beers, Californian wines, and craft cocktails. The patio at Trevor’s at the Tracks hosts live music every night of the week. The stylish French-Belgian bistro L’Hirondelle occupies a replica of an original quaint San Juan Capistrano barn with a flower-lined outdoor dining area.
The shaded patio at Ramos House Café is a great place to enjoy hearty Southern specialties and decadent weekend brunches with oversized Bloody Marys. For more Southern-style good times, head to Swallows Inn to enjoy handcrafted drinks and live country and western music. Bad to the Bone BBQ offers an authentic pit BBQ experience with meats slow-smoked over pecan wood imported from the Midwest.
Ciao Pasta Trattoria serves classic Southern Italian dishes on an alfresco patio and in an elegant interior dining room with high wooden beams. Tannins Restaurant & Wine Bar is another excellent destination for Italian dining, pairing perfectly executed dishes with an extensive wine list. Five Vines Wine Bar also offers thoughtful wine pairings with boutique offerings from local vineyards alongside regular live music.
Rancho Capistrano Winery is the largest winery in Orange County. This vinicultural landmark boasts an award-winning restaurant pairing 40 exquisite wines with elegant entrees and specialty flatbreads.
Sol Agave is a fine choice for Mexican fare with dishes prepared from fresh local ingredients. The laidback Bueno Bueno Kitchen serves homestyle Mexican food in a welcoming setting. El Adobe de Capistrano rounds out San Juan Capistrano’s Mexican dining options with authentic cuisine served in a historic landmark building erected in 1797.
Things to Do
In the heart of the Mission Area, the Historic Town Center Park has a grassy area, picnic benches, and a stage used for free concerts throughout the summer. The Mission San Juan Capistrano is the beautiful Mission Area’s centerpiece. Visitors can enjoy guided and self-guided tours of the Mission’s chapel, museum, and gardens. Across the railroad tracks from the Mission Area is the Los Rios Historic District, the oldest neighborhood in California. The 40 homes in this historic district include three original adobes built for mission builders and ranch workers in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Zoomars Petting Zoo is a family-friendly attraction in the Los Rios Historic District with more than 100 farm animals, including horses, goats, guinea pigs, llamas, alpacas, and emus. Other attractions and activities at Zoomars include pony rides, train rides, and gold panning.
In March, the Annual Swallows Day Parade celebrates the return of swallows to the San Juan Capistrano Mission. This colorful celebration centers on one of the largest non-motorized parades in the United States. The Mercado Street Faire runs alongside the parade with traditional country music and family entertainment at the Historic Town Center Park. Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo is another traditional event that attracts some of the best rodeo competitors in the country for bull riding, steer wrestling, and bareback riding contests. San Juan Capistrano also offers lots of equestrian trails for horseback riders to explore.
The Capistrano Unified school district serves San Juan Capistrano.
- St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, Private, PK-12
- San Juan Hills High School, Public, 9-12
- California Preparatory Academy, Public, 9-12
- Junipero Serra High School, Public, 9-12