San Gabriel Mission, Los Angeles
This pearl in the necklace of 21 missions that stretches the length of the state is the oldest structure in Los Angeles County. Built in 1791, the fourth (working up from San Diego) in the series, San Gabriel Mission is located just north of the 10 fwy, and can be visited but bear in mind it is still a working church. Try to time your visit so you don't arrive when there is a service going on. Admission is $5.
There is an excellent example of the Mission Bell Lampposts at San Gabriel. These big bells were installed in the early 20th C. to mark the path from mission to mission, called the El Camino Real. Alas, there aren't many left these days, although they keep talking about replacing the missing ones but there is one here in San Gabriel to see.
The street the mission is on leads to other historic buildings of the area.
The San Gabriel Mission is fourth in the string of missions that stretched from San Diego to Sonoma. Settlers briefly stayed there before pushing on to establish the town of Los Angeles. It became the "Queen of Missions" because of its prosperity but subsequent secularization resulted in its decline.
Visiting the mission today is like taking a step back in time. You'll see where they made soap, candle, leather, and wine. Part of the grounds is a cemetery where residents of the mission were buried. It also has a museum where religious artifacts and old documents are displayed. The mission's church is notable for its architecture and works of art.
The mission is located at 428 South Mission Drive in San Gabriel, a city several miles east of Los Angeles. Adult admission to the museum and grounds is $5. Looking at the mission's famous exterior is free, however.