Historic Los Rios District
I think besides the Mission San Juan Capistrano, the historic "Los Rios" district is my most favorite spot in this quaint town.
Located on the other side of the tracks behind the Amtrak/Metrolink station sits a tree lined, flower filled street inhabited by the "locals" who live in houses built more than 125 years ago. These houses are mere "shacks" compared to the opulent homes of Laguna, Dana Point and Mission Viejo but they have "character" and house some local businesses worthy of mention.
Ramos Restaurant is not only an eating establishment, but the chef's home as well.
There is a lovely tea house and a bohemian candle store, a quaint gift shop, an exotic bird store and there is even a replica of an old jail cell sitting on the street.
A woman was arrested in the Los Rios district when the train first came into SJC when she stretched her laundry line across the tracks in protest.
The Los Rios section should not be missed and the local merchants can give you a free walking tour map to help you find it.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Check out some of the other architecture
While the mission is the main attraction in San Juan Capistrano, the remainder of the historic center is fairly interesting in its own right. The train depot is a beautiful brick building modeled on the mission style architecture. It also has pleasant grounds that imitates that of the mission with flowers, arbors and large shade trees.
Los Rios District
San Juan Capistrano claims to be the home of the oldest neighborhood in California. The forty homes that comprise the district date from the late 1700s and include three adobe structures that housed the mission construction workers.
Some of the houses are still family homes, while other dwellings house restaurants, shops, museums and even a law office. The Los Rios District is located just on the other side of the train tracks from the Capistrano Depot.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Go down Ortega Hwy (72), away...
Go down Ortega Hwy (72), away from the Mission, about 2 mi. It'll be on your lefthand side. If you hit Avenida Siega on your righthand side, you've gone just a little too far. Giddings Ranch sells fresh fruit, snacks, etc. It's a place that the locals know about.
Take Ortega Hwy (72) east,...
Take Ortega Hwy (72) east, away from the Mission. Go about 2-3 miles. Turn right on Avenida Siega, go to the end. There should be stables in front of you. If you can't park in there, turn right on Arroyo and head down to the park about one block up (cross street, Estenaga). What you want to do is go through the stables or park, over the bump, down to the creek. Now, of course, this is all 'at your own risk', as I don't know the condition of the creek, and during El Nino years, the waters can rise to flood condition. But usually, it's just a nice, low creek. Nice for skipping rocks, looking for frogs, etc. Please don't kill any plants or animals. Thanks.
Most miss the Los Rios...
Most miss the Los Rios District. How do you get there? From the Mission entrance, walk south down El Camino toward the train depot (follow the signs and turn right, toward the Depot, down toward the tracks). Cross over the tracks to the little neighborhood on the other side. The Los Rios District is the oldest neighborhood in San Juan Capistrano. There are delightful little houses and adobes and old trellises and vines. It's quite quaint... like stepping back in time a bit.
While not off the beaten path,...
While not off the beaten path, Tara's Angels is a shop not to miss if you're into angels. A bit pricey, but you'll be delighted with the many wonderful and unique angle items located throughout the store.
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