Fun things to do in San Juan Capistrano

  • Great Stone Church
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  • Great Stone Church
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    Garcia Adobe 1880
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Most Viewed Things to Do in San Juan Capistrano

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    Father Serra's Church

    by keida84 Updated Apr 23, 2005

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    This is the original mission church, the oldest building in California and the only standing structure where Father Serra said Mass.

    The altar is in the Baroque style, over 300 years old and is wood with gold leaf overlay.

    Mission San Juan Capistrano, named for St. John of Capistran, Italy, a theologian of the 14th century, is the seventh mission founded November 1, 1776, the Feast of All Saints, by Fr. Junipero Serra. His icon can be seen holding the red banner on the golden altar.

    The painting on the walls is a language and is read from the bottom up.

    The Golden Altar
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    Explore Cactus and Succulent Gardens

    by cnango Written Sep 24, 2005

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    Most of the flowers in the SJC MIssion Gardens are not native to California. Before the Spanish introduced irrigation, California a natural desert was covered mostly with Cactus, Chapparel and Scrub Oak. The SJC Mission has several gardens showing these indigenous plants. If you get a Docent led tour you may get a lesson on how the Jaunenos used the native plants for food, shampoo, sewing and medicinal purposes.

    Colorful Succulents and Cactus Cactus Garden near Museum Rooms Colorful Cactus up close
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    Lilies in the fountains

    by cnango Updated Sep 24, 2005

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    At the entrance of the Mission and in the center courtyard we have beautiful fountains with lilies and koi fish. The fountains look different in each of the four seasons. The picture of the bright colorful lily pads was taken right at the beggining of Fall. The pictures are nice but do not begin to capture what it is like in person. imagine hearing the trickling sound of water and seeing colorful koi swimming beneath the lily pads.

    Lilies in the Fountain of the Apostles Lily pads in the Fall Looking over the Fountain in the Central Courtyard
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    Light a Candle for Those in Need

    by keida84 Written Nov 14, 2005

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    Within the Serra Chapel is a small room dedicated to St Peregrine, the Patron Saint of cancer patients. A peaceful place, however the room is very small maybe 11 x 11 square feet. The air is warm and heavy with the heat thrown off by the numerous votive and mass candles that are lit for a devotion in honor or memory of a loved one. A small donation is asked but not demanded.

    St Peregrine was cured of cancer, after he received a vision of Christ on the cross reaching out His hand to touch his impaired limb. He died in 1345 and was canonized in 1726. He is the patron of cancer patients.

    Kris and I both lit candles for those in need as well as for our family and friends. It is a comforting ritual which has been all but abandoned by many catholic churches. I was happy to see that the ritual still exists in the Mission.

    Light a Candle
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    The New Parish Church

    by keida84 Written Nov 15, 2005

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    The "New" Parish Church was built in 1984 it is a copy of the Great Stone Church which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1812. With it's 104 foot bell tower, it is the tallest building in San Juan Capistrano. Pope John Paul II conferred the rank of Minor Basilica to the New Parish Church on February 14, 2000. The term "basilica" can indicate the architectural style of a church..

    The
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    The Chapel at the Old Mission

    by zrim Updated Mar 3, 2004

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    The grounds at the San Juan Capistrano Mission are open every day except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and the afternoon of Good Friday. Admission is $6 and well worth the price, especially since the admission price helps support the restoration projects at the mission. Currently, there is a $20 million restoration campaign. The mission is a purely non-profit endeavor and is not supported by any government funds.

    gilded alterpiece in chapel
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    The Grounds are Immaculate

    by zrim Updated Mar 19, 2004

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    A lot of effort is clearly made to make the grounds colorful and clean. As I arrived early in the morning the groundscrew was out in force raking up the debris that had fallen from the shrubs and trees overnight. The tidy gardens are very pleasing and seem to indicate that the historic mission is in good hands.

    flowering shrubs
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    The Oldest Building in California

    by Goner Updated Jun 28, 2003

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    In the Serra Chapel the 350-year old golden Baroque alter was sent from Spain. Notice how brilliant the gold is in the photo. The Chapel was built in 1776-78 and is the oldest building in California. In the early 1920's it was restored by Father St. John O'Sullivan, pastor of the Mission from 1910-33. He was dubbed "the great restorer of the mission". The silver processional pieces were brought by Father Serra from Mexico.

    San Juan Capistrano Chapel

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    Sacred Garden Bells

    by Goner Updated Jun 28, 2003

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    The bells were originally hung in the tower of the Great Stone Church until the earthquake of 1812. The large bells date back to 1796 and the small bells to 1804. These were the clocks of the mission calling people to meals, work and religions services.

    Church Bells
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    Hyatt Moore's Art Exhibit at the Museum

    by Goner Updated Jun 25, 2003

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    Hyatt Moore's paintings were on display in the Mission. He's a very talented artist and paints from his travels around the world. The painting of the Last Supper seemed perfect to put on VT as so many countries are represented. You will need to click on the photo to see it all.

    The Last Supper with Twelve Tribes was painted in the year 2000 to commemorate the inclusion of all peoples under God. It’s oil on canvas (with acrylic under-painting) and at 20 feet wide by 4.5 feet high it is basically life size. Painted in British Columbia, Canada, it is currently on display in California, and sometimes on tour.
    Depicted (from left) are: Crow of Montana, Berber of North Africa, Masai of Kenya, China, Ecuador, Afghanistan, Jesus, Ethiopia, Tzeltal of Mexico, Canela of Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Salish of British Columbia, Mongolia. (quoted from Hyatt Moore's website.)

    If Hyatt Moore's paintings are no longer on display at the Mission, there are a few at Diedrich's Coffee shop.

    If your are interested in seeing some others in his collection, visit his website listed below.

    The Last Supper
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    Archeology Finds

    by Goner Updated Jun 28, 2003

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    They are still excavating the Mission compound and are finding many of the original rooms and work areas. There is an architectural office at the back of the mission. Since the 70's they have found over 4,000 pieces of pottery and other artifacts.
    The picture is of the metal furnance, the first in California.

    Metal Furnace
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    Soldiers' Barracks

    by zrim Written Mar 3, 2004

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    In my opinion, the mission is best viewed as a self-guided tour. There are several well-written interpretative placards at the various exhibits. The thing that struck me about the barracks was the diminutive furniture. I would be very uncomfortable if forced to use the tables and chairs, while the beds would certainly collapse if forced to bear my weight.

    recreating the barracks
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    California's First Vineyard

    by cnango Updated Mar 21, 2008

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    The first vineyard in California was at the Mission San Juan Capistrano The Mission Winery was built in 1783 and housed an indoor vat where grapes were crushed by foot and then flowed through an opening which led to the outdoor vat where the grapes were fermented. Historically the Mission grapes grown at the Mission were used to make Red and white wine, dry wine and Brandy. Today wine is no longer produced at the mission but you can visit the site and see where California wine had it's beginnings.

    Old Brick Fermentation Vat
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    Mission San Juan Capistrano

    by RickinDutch Written Jun 29, 2007

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    As a child growing up in Southern California this mission was always a favorite stop on the way to where ever we were going camping. The crown jewel of the California missions that stretch from San Diego to San Francisco and a wonderful place to wander around and soak up the feel of early California. It is the only chapel left that Father Serra actually celebrated mass in. Beautiful and lush garden with fountains surrounded by the old arches and mission complex.

    Traffic can be a bear and parking is hard to find. $7 for adults and $5 for children.

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    Mission

    by heitzenrater Updated May 15, 2007

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    INFO
    Founded November 1st 1776.
    Mission San Juan Capistrano, named for St. John of Capistrano, Italy, a theologian of the 14th century. On October 30, 1775, it was abandoned because of Indian unrest at Mission San Diego. The Great Stone Church began construction in 1796; was completed in 1806;and was destroyed by an earthquake 1812. The Mission was secularized 1833, sold in 1845, and was returned to the Church in 1865. Sounds like fun, doesn't it.

    Considered the oldest church in California, it is called "Serra Chapel" because it is the only building still standing where Fr. Serra had celebrated Mass.

    Hours
    Open Daily 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas & Good Friday afternoon.
    The Mission will be closed at noon on Christmas Eve.
    The Mission is open on rainy days and scheduled tours will proceed as normal.

    PRICE
    Individual Admission Prices
    $7 Adults
    $6 Seniors 60 +
    $5 Children ages 4 to 11
    Children ages 3 and under are admitted free

    IF YOU LIKE MY POST PLEASE GIVE POSITIVE FEEDBACK, THANKS.

    Thats and old joint! The wall comes crumbling down!

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San Juan Capistrano Hotels

  • Best Western Capistrano Inn

    27174 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, California, 92675, United States

    Satisfaction: Average

    Good for: Solo

    Hotel Class 2 out of 5 stars

  • Americas Best Value Laguna Inn & Suites

    28742 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, California, 92675, United States

    Satisfaction: Terrible

    Good for: Solo

  • Mission Inn

    I stayed at Mission Inn last weekend. It's a charming conversion of a motel to a bed n' breakfast/in...

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