Welcome to San Juan Capistrano
A gorgeous and welcoming small town in the rolling foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean
San Juan Capistrano is a delightful suburban town in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains in Southern California. Overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean, this community has incredible vistas and fabulous weather. From the center of downtown, the drive to Orange County’s gorgeous Capistrano Beach is less than 10 minutes, providing residents convenient access to beautiful beaches and a host of beachfront activities. San Juan Capistrano is approximately 55 miles south of Los Angeles and 65 miles north of San Diego. With convenient access to major highways, residents of this delightful oasis are never far from the energy and excitement of the big city. The homes in San Juan Capistrano are set amid rolling hills and feature large, beautiful lots. Many of the homes have spectacular views of the ocean and Dana Point. San Juan Capistrano has several gated, master-planned communities with resort-style amenities and large, well-appointed homes for those seeking a luxurious lifestyle.
San Juan Capistrano is a charming and friendly town with a temperate climate, and its architecture exemplifies the town’s historical Spanish influence and Old World vibe. The Mission San Juan Capistrano sits in the heart of downtown and is the community’s treasured architectural hallmark. Although the Mission sustained significant damage from an earthquake in 1812, it remains a beautiful historic icon and popular tourist destination within the community, featuring a chapel, a museum, and fabulous gardens. The primary business district is in the Los Rios Historic District between Camino Capistrano and Los Rios Street. You’ll discover unique boutiques, shops, and restaurants, many residing in small bungalows with lovely landscaped yards. Downtown is also where you’ll find the San Juan Capistrano Train Station, which provides train service to LA and San Diego.
What to Love
- Old-World charm with a hip edginess
- Beautiful location and weather
- Gorgeous homes and communities with a small-town feel
- Easy access to trails and beaches
- Active equestrian community
San Juan Capistrano has a welcoming, small-town vibe with hip edginess and a definitive Old-World feel. The residents appreciate a friendly, tight-knit community where taking time to talk with your neighbors is a cherished daily activity. Residents enjoy the serenity and slower pace of San Juan Capistrano while being within a reasonable commute to Los Angeles and San Diego. Locals often stroll downtown, stop by their favorite coffee shops, and visit local boutiques. Community parks provide lovely green spaces for relaxing and enjoying outdoor recreation. It's not uncommon for the day to begin with a long walk or a jog along the nearby shoreline. The beach provides opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, surfing, and other watersports. Equestrians head to local stables, while other residents may be found hiking or biking along the challenging mountain trails surrounding this incredible community.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
The streets of this beautiful Spanish-influenced “Old-World” town are lined with some of the most unique and inviting cafes, restaurants, bars, and boutiques in Southern California. El Adobe De Capistrano is a fantastic Mexican restaurant in a historic building, serving mesquite-grilled specialties with indoor and outdoor seating.
Trevor’s on the Tracks is in an old 1894 railway depot. It has a rustic ambiance, fantastic international cuisine, and hand-crafted cocktails. Cedar Creek Inn is a must-visit destination for al fresco dining, while the San Juan Capistrano Winery offers only the best in wine, cheese, and chocolate tastings. For some of the best in Texas-style smoked and wood-fire meats, head to Heritage Barbecue. Docent Brewing is San Juan Capistrano’s original brewery and has plenty of beer and incredible food on the menu.
For made-from-scratch baked goods, don’t miss Ellie’s Table at the Egan House. Their menu features an assortment of croissants, cakes, and scones, as well as delightful breakfast and lunch options. Downtown, you’ll find Mayfield Restaurant & Marketplace with incredible meals and market items.
The Ramos House Cafe is set in a cute bungalow with an inviting atmosphere. The Ramos House grows its herbs on-site, makes its own ice cream, and offers a seasonal menu of contemporary American fare. The Tea House On Los Rios is a unique and beautiful venue that features al fresco dining beneath a gorgeous old sycamore tree.
San Juan Capistrano has a variety of bars that provide live entertainment. The Coach House is an iconic club known for its hip ambiance, and the Swallow’s Inn is another popular club with live entertainment. Both have great menus so patrons can enjoy dinner and fantastic entertainment downtown. There is also a great community theater, the Camino Real Playhouse, where you can enjoy a live theatrical production.
There are many unique shops and boutiques dotting the streets of The Los Rios Historic District. Whether you are looking for clothing, decor, jewelry, or gifts, there’s a shop to suit your needs. The locals enjoy walking the aisles of The Old Barn Antique Mall, brimming with one-of-a-kind antiques and collectibles.
Things to Do
San Juan Capistrano has an endless list of activities and recreation. Whether hanging out downtown, hiking nearby trails, playing a round of championship golf, or spending the day at the beach, there’s always something to do. In the historic downtown, residents can enjoy a day at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, or the “Jewel of the California Missions.” Locals enjoy strolling through the gardens or learning about the history of the mission in the onsite museum. The Mission is the site of the annual Swallows Day Parade, which celebrates the Return of the Swallows from their nesting grounds in Argentina.
Another favorite local establishment is the Tree of Life Nursery, which specializes in native California plants, trees, and shrubs. The nursery is an excellent resource for those looking for landscape and garden plans that utilize native plants. The downtown area also hosts the Old Capistrano Certified Farmers’ Market, where residents can purchase fresh fruit, specialty items, and vegetables.
For some family fun, check out Zoomars at River Street Ranch. This family-owned farm has pony rides, petting zoos, farm animals, and more for kids to enjoy. Lastly, the Ecology Center Farm Stand has 28 acres of organic farmland that donates meals and ingredients to local families with the goal of achieving food equality.