Nestled between the big cities of San Diego and Los Angeles, the beautiful community of San Juan Capistrano might easily be overlooked by visitors and nearby locals alike. With so much to offer, however, we certainly don’t think this city should be outshined. Whether you’re visiting Orange County or live right nearby, it’s easy to have a fun-filled, eventful day in San Juan Capistrano. Here are some of our favorite things to do while in town.
Visit the San Juan Capistrano Mission
There are many missions throughout the state of California, but San Juan Capistrano is certainly one of the most popular, and the most striking. Sometimes referred to as the “Birthplace of Orange County,” a visit here will transport you back to colonial times with its preserved historical architecture, detailed exhibits, and award-winning self-guided audio tour.
There’s a reason this mission receives millions of visitors each and every year. If nothing else is, the San Juan Capistrano Mission is the must-visit on this list.
Visit A Museum
Of course, with such a rich colonial history, it’s no surprise that a museum visit or two would make for a great addition to any San Juan Capistrano trip. Especially if history and learning are your ideas of a good time, there are great places in the city to go for a bit of a history lesson.
San Juan Capistrano Historical Society walks you through the community’s past with different documents and artifacts, as well as tours through the Los Rios Historic District. The Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum gives you an in-depth look at the history of San Juan Capistrano.
Try Some Local Beer
Not all culture comes in museums and historical sites, of course. If you’re like us, you love supporting a bit of local artistry as well, especially when that means visiting local breweries. Besides, there’s nothing like a cold beer after walking around in the Orange County sun.
Capistrano Brewing Company is a great spot that serves several local beers, some brewed by them and some by other local brewers. They share a spot with Heritage BBQ, which means your ice-cold brew can be enjoyed alongside some delicious barbeque.
Enjoy Some Afternoon Tea
Not everyone drinks beer, and that’s okay! If a little afternoon brew isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps you should consider The Tea House. This lovely spot for tea is another great option for sitting down and taking a breather while enjoying some delicious tea, as well as desserts and other treats. As much as we love a good beer, we’re suckers for some high tea as well.
These are our choices for some of the best things to do while in San Juan Capistrano, but there are certainly tons more options to enjoy while visiting. The city is, after all, a hidden gem among the huge Orange County cities. Did we miss your favorite spot or activity? Please let us know!
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Before you go, check out an awesome 4th grader’s video report on the Mission in San Juan Capistrano. At My OC Bookkeeper we plan to hire her as soon as she is ready to go pro.