Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano
4.5
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
Famous for the Annual Return of the Swallows, Mission San Juan Capistrano, historic landmark, museum and gardens, welcomes over 300,000 visitors each year. Enjoy exhibits featuring historic and religious artifacts, rare paintings, and more. Experience the tradition of bell ringing daily honoring the legacy of Saint Junipero Serra, who founded the Mission in 1776. Visit the Serra Chapel, California’s only chapel still standing where Saint Serra celebrated Mass and the Eucharist has been celebrated daily. Today, it is a monument to California’s multi-cultural history, embracing its Native American, Spanish, Mexican and European heritage. Enhance your visit with our multi-language Audio Tour available in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian. SEASONAL INFORMATION: Celebrate the holidays at Capistrano Lights on select days from December 4 through December 30 for daytime admission to the Mission and an evening of holiday programming and fun. Purchase tickets at CapistranoLights.com
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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The area
Address
How to get there
  • San Juan Capistrano Station • 3 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
1,603 reviews
Excellent
1,177
Very good
375
Average
41
Poor
7
Terrible
3

eoftcl
Diamond Bar, CA30 contributions
Sep 2020
Group discount, $45 for a group of 4 (adults ok). Unlike family discounts which typically group of 4 is 2 adults and 2 children. We are seniors, so 4 adults works great. You can go with another couple, or take my 87 years old Mom, who only can visit a few of the display at a time. We can visit often without buying tickets for each visit, until she can complete the entire area. I can also brings my adult children who typically don't spend money to see Old Missions.
Written September 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

GitchSup
Duluth, MN1,468 contributions
May 2022
We did a self-guided walk through the mission after lunch before we had to finish our car ride to Los Angeles. Admittedly we should have allowed a little more time, but it was beautiful. We were a little late for the arrival of the swallows, but they are nesting there, they hunt elsewhere though so we didn't see any on our visit. There are so many plants on the grounds and the history in the buildings is awesome to see. We did find a very helpful park ranger that gave us a lot of historic information. The architecture is beautiful and it's so surprising the amount that made it through the earthquake. I would definitely recommend this stop to anyone in the area, you will be surprised at how much you learn!
Written May 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

phvi2617
Anaheim, CA383 contributions
Jul 2022
Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded in 1776 as the seventh California mission, and contains the last remaining chapel where Fr. Serra is known to have celebrated mass. Also notable are the ruins of the Great Stone Church, which mostly collapsed during an earthquake in 1812.

Most missions I've visited are rather rustic, but Capistrano is quite polished, with it's picturesque gardens and art collection. In a way, it almost seems closer to a small theme park than a historical site. Even so, there is still a lot of history here, with several small exhibits and various artifacts.
Written July 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

David W
Georgetown, TX677 contributions
Jan 2020
Mission San Juan Capistrano is unique among the 21 California Missions in that it was built with masonry rather than with adobe. So most of the original structure is collapsed after 200 years of earthquakes. Where most all the other Missions are open and welcoming, San Juan Capistrano is completely walled off with admission only by paying for a tour. The admission is over-priced and not a good value. Parking can be difficult to find on surrounding streets and you likely will have a long hike to the admission gate. I strongly recommend Mission Santa Ines in Solvang or Mission San Luis Obispo for a much better experience, better surroundings, and reasonable admission charge.
Written January 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kelly B
Boise, Idaho, Usa168 contributions
Sep 2020
When traveling, we try to experience the local flavor. Missions are a big part of California history. Mission San Juan Capistrano is woven into the fabric of the area. The mission is old but very well maintained. The tour is comprehensive and educational. Go if you are Catholic, go if you are not Catholic. You will leave with an appreciation for those who built the mission. And an appreciation for natives and immigrants. The tour touches on how the indigenous people were affected when the Spanish came to the area. There's a lesson there... Take time to walk completely thru the property. Use the walking tour handset provided free with the admission price.
Written October 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

regis k
Arcadia, CA1,474 contributions
Jul 2020 • Couples
Always wanted to come to visit San Juan Capistrano Mission but never had the chance. This time, we were on our way to stay at the Ritz-Carlton in DanaPoint and made a point to stop by here. It didn’t disappoint us and it’s a pleasant visit where we enjoyed the walk and learned a lot about history.

I learned that the mission was the birth place for what we’ve known as Orange County. From the artifacts and the displays in the museum, we saw the blending of multicultural at work to make Orange County a great place in Southern California.

We totally enjoyed the beauty of this mission/self sufficient community. The fishes and the lotus ponds created a splendid courtyard scenery that provided us a lot of picture perfect spots for photos. Just sitting on one of the benches, we could completely relaxed ourselves and enjoyed the peaceful gardens. As we took pictures at the mission’s old walls, the resulting photos look like we’re in one of the churches in the Middle East. Amazing feeling with the surrounding of all the historical church bells and the chapels buildings This is a visit should not be missed when you’re in Southern California.
Written July 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ann D
San Diego, CA56 contributions
Jul 2022 • Family
Mission has so much history and is a lovely way to spend the day. The price is reasonable and you can get a yearly pass for a great price. Staff is very good to work with. There is a lovely tea house and restaurants across the railroad tracks.
Written October 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Rodolfo S
San Dimas, CA27 contributions
Jan 2020
Grounds are nice for a few hours of relaxation, history and exploring. Unique ruins of 1st basilica preserved after an earthquake in 1800's destroyed it.

Been coming here with wife and now kids for many years. Unfortunately the experience is ruined by the sheer insolence of the woman at the front desk.

She wouldn't honor the groupon offer! I tried buying it at the front desk after i decided to step aside and let others purchase their admission. Server wasn't accepting my purchase attempt. She told me to try starbucks across the street because their server was no working properly. Tried that, no luck. Finally formed back up in line again and asked her was if she can please ask the manager about the groupon offer. Perhaps type it in on the computer or pay cash. "there was nothing she could do". Asked again to talk to manager and she came back and was charging me the childs admission of 7 dollars instead of the groupon offer of 5 per person.

Drove 50miles to get here. We are a larger family and could use the savings. Could someone be more insolent? Why not be a helpful person if thats your sole job?

Turns out that the groupon later was updated to a further discount for a group of 4. Nothing like bad service to sour the trip.
Written January 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chris M
Yorba Linda, CA28 contributions
May 2021 • Family
A day trip with the family. The kids got explorer passes. I would instead recommend the Follow the Swallow sticker path that is sold in the entrance gate. This allows the kids to look for items of interest around the whole mission and apply a sticker when they find it. The day at the mission was fun and sunny. It can get more sun intense that you think so remember a hat with coverage or some sun screen for the kids.

Mission personnel are friendly and helpful.
Written May 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Staidthere
Jakarta, Indonesia2,601 contributions
Dec 2019
If you haven't visited before, seeing the mission is worth the price of admission because it is one of the most impressive of California's 21 missions, and the buildings and facilities, including rest rooms, are clean and well maintained. Christmas is a lovely time of year to visit because the mission is well decorated, especially the historical and authentic old adobe basilica walls which you can approach through a giant Christmas tree, there is a manger scene, and the bells and statue are decorated with red bows and poinsettia. The rest of the buildings in the complex give a feeling of what it must have been like to live in 1800 in a prosperous mission compound sponsored by the government and protected by the army. The gift shop has a reasonable selection of souvenirs, and you can't miss it because it is on the way out of the mission compound.
Written January 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Mission San Juan Capistrano - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano is open:
  • Tue - Sun 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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