San Juan Capistrano’s history is so rich and palpable; you can see it everywhere and practically taste it in the air. This Southern California gem was named after the Mission San Juan Capistrano, a Spanish mission founded by Franciscan priests in 1776. The mission’s ruins have been beautifully conservedand are one of the O.C.’s most beloved attractions.
The city’s history predates its establishment, inasmuch asthe area was first inhabited by Native American tribes. Today, San Juan Capistrano remains an evolving community of around 35,800 people. Its historic Spanish-style buildings still stand, proof of how fiercely its residents are dedicated to preserving its cultural heritage. The city is also known for the cliff swallows that return to the area every March, celebrated by an annual Swallows’ Day Parade.
San Juan Capistrano is located southeast of Santa Ana and is part of the Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine metropolitan area. It is served by the Capistrano Unified School District.
San Juan Capistrano is home to the most diverse array of housing options in Orange County, with:
- Single-family residences
- Multi-million dollar estatesin gated communities
San Juan Capistrano’s Los Rios District is known to be the oldest occupied neighborhood in California. Some of the homes and structures in this area were built in the late 18th century.
- Mission San Juan Capistrano – Founded on November 1, 1776, the so-called “Jewel of the Missions” is situated in the heart of San Juan Capistrano’s historic downtown. The ruins of the Mission have been beautifully preserved, including a central courtyard, chapel and rooms functioning as museums.
- Blas Aguilar Adobe and Acjachemen Cultural Center – The cultural center is also a historic site dating back to the late 18th century. The museum preserves the native arts and culture of the city’s prehistory. Monthly workshops are dedicated to teaching participants how to forge native tools andmake jewelry and baskets, among others.
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