San Juan Bautista Travel Guide

  • Mission Chapel at San Juan Bautista
    Mission Chapel at San Juan Bautista
    by Lhenne1
  • Things to Do
    by Ewingjr98
  • Things to Do
    by Ewingjr98

San Juan Bautista Things to Do

  • Cathedral Interiors

    The Cathedral has three aisles, two of which were restored as late as the 1950's. The original church was destroyed by an earthquake, and so the three aisle construction was an inspiration to build bigger on the hilltop knoll where the church was consecrated. Unfortunately, while the work progressed on the church, the neophyte congregation for whom...

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  • Salinas/San Juan Grade Road

    The old stage coach route between San Juan Bautista and Salinas is called Salinas Grade Road at the Jan Juan Bautista side and San Juan Grade Road at the Salinas side. This route is part of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail that follows this explorer's 1200 mile overland route through Arizona and California to San Francisco.Today...

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  • Mission San Juan Bautista

    The focal point of this small town is the mission. Founded in 1797 as the 15th California mission, the first cornerstone was laid in 1803. The church was dedicated in June of 1812 and became the center for a mission servicing the local natives. Today, you can tour the church, gardens, cemetery and adjoining buildings. The buildings around the...

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  • Fremont Peak

    About six miles south of San Juan Bautista you might notice Fremont Peak, a 3,169 foot summit, standing alone and bristling with several tall antenna towers. The 33 acres around the peak are designated as Fremont Peak State Park. This tiny park is home to an observatory, several small primitive campgrounds, perhaps two miles of trails, and a few...

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  • Nearby Hollister...no saints here

    Hollister was founded in 1858 and was originally intended to be named San Justo. According to local lore, some of the locals objected due to the fact that saints had a monopoly on city names in California, so they should name the town after someone less holy. Apparently William Welles Hollister was no saint....Today the town is a mid-sized farming...

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  • Roses in bloom at San Juan Bautista

    The area in from of San Juan Bautista Mission chapel has a large rose garden that I didn't even notice when I visited in the winter. But when I returned in July, the fragrant roses of all colors were in full bloom. They created a beautiful setting for this historic mission and the nearby farming valley. Today many of the California Missions have...

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  • Mission Life Museum

    The various rooms of the mission are largely devoted to a museum that has redecorated them into the style of the day. Original furniture and articles used during the day are on display and explained. Some valuable antiques, music scripts, and other documents are available for viewing under glass. Like many missions, San Juan Bautista has an...

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  • The Old Hotels

    There are actually two old hotels on the mission plaza one of which is in use, the other of which is part of the California state property.

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  • Pueblo Stables

    The state of California owns the hotel and stables, among other things, which can be visited for a small donation. The Mission itself of course is owned by the Catholic Church, although state law requires that it be maintained for visitors. In any case, the stables are open and have plenty to see. Carriages and saddles are the main theme, although...

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  • Original Plaza Still Remains

    Most mission plazas are long gone, in some cases having been paved and built over in the modern era, and in other cases, having been plowed under. The San Juan Bautista Plaza remains just as it was during the mission heyday, with pueblo era buildings lining the sides away from the mission itself. The plaza though is basically a large lawn. In the...

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  • Qualities of the Mission Not to Miss

    I've strolled through the mission many times over the years, and yet there are objects and construction details that I've frequently walked by until recently. For example, the floor tiles in the main church are the originals molded by hand by the indians. Most missions have to replace the floor tiles with factory made ones from today. Also, in an...

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  • San Andreas Fault

    The San Andreas Fault runs about 800 miles along the coast of California and has been the source of the state's most devastating earthquakes including the 1906 San Francisco quake and the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. This fault line separates two tectonic plates, the western-most slowly moving northwest and the eastern plate shifting south. When the...

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  • San Juan Bautista Plaza & State Historic...

    The San Juan Bautista State Historic Park covers many of the historic structures of downtown San Juan Bautista except for the mission which is run by the catholic church. The main park areas include the Plaza in front of the mission and all of the surrounding buildings: the Plaza Hotel, Plaza Hall, Castro-Breen Adobe, Plaza Stable, Vicky Cottage,...

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  • El Camino Real

    In San Juan Bautista, sections of the original El Camino Real exist in their original location with a packed earth surface. Just below the mission is a small stretch of the road.El Camino Real--the King's Highway--is a series of roads from San Diego to San Francisco which connected Spain's 21 missions, 3 pueblos (or towns located in LA, San Jose, &...

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  • San Juan Bautista...the town

    SJB is just a tiny little town with a population of about 1,500 people. The entire downtown area is just about 1/4 mile wide by 1/2 mile long with most of the businesses centered on 3rd Street, just one block from the mission, the historic plaza, and the state park. The entire area along 3rd Street has a very old-fashioned wild west feel making for...

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  • Mission San Juan Bautista

    Begun 1797, the Mission at San Juan Bautista was the 15th of the 21 Spanish missions in California. The current church building was built from 1803 to 1812, and today it hosts a small museum, gift shop, and an active church. You will also find a neat little garden with an amazing variety of plants and a cemetery out back, laid right beside the El...

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  • Historical buildings

    Along with the mission, the town plaza is ringed by several historical 19th century buildings that can be visited as a part of the State park: the Plaza Hotel, Plaza Hall and stable, blacksmith shop, granary, jail, and Castro-Breen Adobe.Inside the stable there is a good collection of horse drawn carriages, including those for private use, work and...

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  • See the mission

    The mission, the fifteenth of the twenty-one missions in what is now California, was established in 1797 by Fr. Fermin de Lasuen, Presidente of the California Missions following Junipero Serra. One thing you will find to be unique here is an exhibit on seismology. The town sits along the famous San Andreas Fault, which runs along much of...

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  • El Camino Real

    Along the eastern edge of San Juan Bautista, just down the small slope of the mission and plaza towards the valley, is a portion of the Spanish Camino Real, the Royal Road, connecting the Spanish missions and settlements along California's coast. Today, a modern highway roughly follows much of the route, but it diverges significantly in some areas,...

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  • Mission San Juan Bautista

    This is a Spanish mission, founded in 1797, and with one of the largest and most substantial churches of the missions. It is still used as a church and is well-known as the place from which Kim Novak's character in Vertigo fell to her death. The mission is quite extensive and has more of the original structure and art reamining than some other...

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  • San Juan Bautista Antique Shops

    I'm not a great fan of antiques and art galleries per se, but San Juan Bautista has enough to keep those who are busy browsing for an hour or two. The web link below is the city's main page. They should have all the details one might need. I just enjoy walking along the authentic wooden sidewalks.

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San Juan Bautista Hotels

  • San Juan Inn

    410 The Alameda, San Juan Bautista, California, United States

    Satisfaction: Average

    Good for: Families

  • Posada de San Juan

    310 Fourth St, San Juan Bautista, California, United States

    Satisfaction: Poor

    Good for: Couples

San Juan Bautista Restaurants

  • Cool off on a sunny afternoon

    What is the best thing on a hot summer afternoon? A large glass of water and a pitcher of margaritas! We stopped in at Jardines de San Juan, a Mexican restaurant we noticed tucked off the main street. The heat had killed our appetites so we just enjoyed drinks with complimentary chips and homemade salsas. The dinner crowd began to arrive and...

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  • Best Basque Restaurant

    I went to this restaurant to celebrate my birthday and I had the most wonderful experience. the food was excellent. My friends and I decided to have the traditional tapas and pintxos (appetizers). Then we had paella and other chef's specials so we could share and try more plates. Their lamb was the best lamb I've had in all my life and the prices...

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  • Jardines de San Juan Restaurant

    This fantastic restaurant in an old theater opened in 1977 and has been owned by the same family ever since. We arrived one hot summer afternoon just for drinks, and were very impressed with the beautiful outdoor setting, tasty drinks, and the large crowds that began to gather early on a Saturday evening. We shared a pitcher of margaritas (about...

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San Juan Bautista Transportation

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of the trips taken by the Antique Auto Club local chapter was to San Juan Bautista via the old highway known as the San Juan Grade Road.

    Sometimes it is listed under two names, the San Juan Grade on one side, then, over the hill, it's known as the Salinas Road. This is what has been written about it.

    "On the way up this old grade, the rugged landscape, one of sprawling pasturelands, grassy slopes, and isolated home sites, remains relatively unspoiled. As you head higher on the San Juan Grade road, turn to look back at the tiny town of San Juan Bautista, clustered snugly in the distance."

    We stopped to give the old cars a chance to cool down and catch up to the procession. Some of their radiators were less than perfect. Our car is the dark blue one with the child in red in front.

    A stop on the San Juan Grade
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip

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San Juan Bautista Off The Beaten Path

  • atufft's Profile Photo

    by atufft Written Apr 13, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In the older part of town, it's worthwhile strolling along residential streets for interesting houses and gardens. People still raise chickens in town, and some of those old little homes are worth more than you might think.

    Older Home in San Juan Bautista Roosters running in a backyard
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Road Trip

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