Mission San Luis Rey
Mission San Luis Rey
4.5
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Founded in 1798, Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, known as the "King of the Missions," is a National Historic Landmark. The largest of all the 21 California missions, it is home to a community of Franciscan Friars and is open daily to the public in the Franciscan tradition of heritage and hospitality. Facilities include a Retreat Center with day and overnight programs for spiritual renewal, multi-function meeting spaces, a Cemetery open to all people, Mission Gift Shop, Historic Church and interpretive Museum.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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from $7.63
All you need to step foot in the door.

Top ways to experience Mission San Luis Rey and nearby attractions

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles637 reviews
Excellent
425
Very good
165
Average
38
Poor
6
Terrible
3

TNTNMN
Minnesota33 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Friends
We visited mid-afternoon on a Sunday. There's a nice museum chronicaling the presence and lives of the Indians and Spaniards and friars in this area. It's self guided. There's a chapel and cemetery where you can spend some time. I visited their gift shop and found a nice glass bead bracelet for $7.00, a nice memento of the visit.
Written February 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Vera B
Tucson, AZ90 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
A beautiful and peaceful place to visit.,I strolled through the cemetery (which does not date back to the founding), enjoyed the mission church, paid to go through the fine museum, and had a cup of tea in the tiny tea room overlooking the mission garden with the oldest pepper tree. This mission still is home to 18 Franciscan Friars and a retreat center, making it more “alive” than other missions I have visited. The picnic tables on the lawn in front would be handy for car trippers, particularly families.
Written August 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

77mic
Eugene, OR128 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
The chapel is lovely with Gregorian chants in the background and the mission museum gives a real sense of who was here before the white settlers and how much the local Native Americans lost as their land was taken. There is also an excellent history of the mission, how it was destroyed and rebuilt. The grounds also include a gift and coffee shop and cemetery.
Written February 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

J David
Virginia Beach, VA1,631 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Family
San Diego's Spanish heritage is nowhere more firmly rooted than in its dramatically beautiful missions. It was here the missionary monks, led by Father Junipero Serra, began their chain of 21 missions throughout California. Two missions and two assistencias can still be found within the United States.

Between 1769 and 1823, the Spanish built 21 missions in a chain that stretched from San Diego to north of the San Francisco Bay in an attempt to colonize "Alta California". The missions were approximately 30 miles apart, which was considered a one-day's journey on horseback. The road connecting the missions was known as the El Camino Real, which means "The Royal Highway." Father Junipero Serra established nine missions before his death and burial at Mission San Carlos.

The Mack Daddy of them all is San Luis Rey.
Often called the "King of the Missions," Mission San Luis Rey is the largest of all 21 California missions. Established by Father Fermin de Lasuen in 1798, the mission was the eighteenth founded and was named after King Luis IX of France.

Until the mid-1800s, the mission's church was the largest structure in California. Soon after its founding in 1798, Mission San Luis Rey housed and served the largest population of Native Americans (more than 2,000). It was the only one in California to have a wooden cupola and dome of its type and design, made from pine trees brought down from Palomar Mountain

After its dedication, Mission San Luis Rey de Francia was left in the care of Father Antonio Peyri. Father Peyri was extremely popular with the local Natives and he cultivated what would eventually become a thriving community. Despite his hard work and local popularity, the Mexican Government mandated that Father Peyri return to Spain in 1832.

It is fabled that the local Indians followed Father Peyri to the San Diego Harbor and begged him to stay. When he insisted that he must go, two Native boys chose to accompany him back to Spain. Pablo Tac, one of the Indian boys, became a priest and wrote an autobiography of his journey.

San Luis Rey is an inspiring family friendly place to visit. Self guided tours takes a few hours to half day to cover all the grounds. The price of admission is a bargain. Adults $7, youth 6-18 $3. There is also merchandise for sell in the small shop.
Written February 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CleopatraBunny
Flagstaff, AZ1,724 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
While not the first, it is the only one to boast President Lincoln’s involvement in giving the mission back to the Catholic Church in 1865. Well-curated exhibits and a peaceful church (you can see the interior for free when there’s no mass). Worth the admission fee. Extensive gift shop and plenty of free parking.
Written February 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NormKeith
Azusa, CA1,865 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
The mission was founded on June 12, 1798. The current church, built in 1815, it the third church on this location. It is a National Historic Landmark for its pristine example of a Spanish mission church complex. It is amazing how they built such a high dome between the Transepts and in front of the Chancel area. It was interesting walking through the church, museum, grounds which includes the largest Olive Tree in California and the onsite cemetery.
Written June 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GENA2010
Apple Valley, CA1,357 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021 • Family
We visited the church while we are in the area and I’m so glad that we did come in and discover the beautiful church and grounds. The church is very old and you can enjoy some beautiful paintings and sculptures. Next to the church is a nice little museum and gift shop. Right next to the museum is a beautiful rose garden with some beautiful sculptures, in the garden is the oldest pepper tree in California brought from Peru in 1830. This mission is worth your stop and a must if your in the area.
Written May 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

cardinalhill
Lake Elmo, Minnesota42 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
This a a beautiful mission, formed in 1798. Much of it had been destroyed in the 19th Century but it has since been refurbished. It is an active mission with the addition of being a tourist site. The grounds are lovely and the setting is an oasis in the dense residential development around it. If you are a lover of history and enjoy colonial architecture...this is worth the side trip.
Written January 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alison V
Bremerton, WA11 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Planned a tour and attend Mass afterward. My sons (30 and 28 chronilogically) have a GREAT love for the Lord, as do I. When we went to Mass the church was noisy. There was no Spirituality. There were no Stations of the Cross. There were no kneelers and we couldn't find the Tabernacle. Never in my life have I seen my son want to leave so bad and so frustrated bordering angry a house of God. It is usually he doesn't want to leave. We were at a loss and I respected my sons desires and we left.
Written February 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

urbanguy
Richmond, VA4,902 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
The Mission San Luis Rey is the largest of the 21 California Missions. It has quite a history (all on the internet before you visit). The Cemetery was established in 1798, as was the Mission. The grounds are beautiful and well maintained.

A very nice historic place to visit.
Written May 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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