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California History Tour

What better place to sample early California history than a day trip to San Juan Capistrano.

The historic hot spots are within easy walking distance from the station. All you need is a sense of adventure and sensible walking shoes. Taking the train actually lets you enjoy the journey and forget about parking hassles. Just hop off Metrolink and start exploring.

Los Rios District

If you cross back over the railroad tracks you'll be in the Los Rios Historic District. It is the oldest continually occupied neighborhood in the state with buildings dating to 1794. Make sure to visit the Montanez Adobe nestled in a butterfly sanctuary and stop for a latte at Hidden House Coffee.

Dining in Los Rios
The Tea House on Los Rios
Hidden House Coffee

Getting here
The Los Rios District is across the tracks from the station and an easy 5-minute stroll.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

The Mission is one of Orange County’s most iconic landmarks. The Mission was founded in 1776, is the 7th of the 21 California Missions and is known as the "Jewel" of the Missions. Come tour the beautiful gardens, museum, gift store, and chapel. It is open from Thursday through Sunday.

Learn more about the Mission
Mission website

Getting here
The Mission is an easy four-minute walk from the station.

Restaurants and shops

Camino Capistrano is the main street running through San Juan Capistrano. Here you will find a wide range of restaurants and small boutiques. Be sure to visit The Old Barn Antique Mall that is filled all sorts of historic treasures!

Restaurants we like
Sundried Tomato
L'Hirondelle Restaurant
Ciao Pasta Trattoria
Ellie’s Table
El Adobe de Capistrano
Trevor’s at the Tracks

Getting here
All restaurants listed are on Camino Capistrano

The train depot

Even the train depot has been an integral part of the history and lore of San Juan Capistrano. It was built in 1887 when track was laid to connect Los Angeles and San Diego. The small brick building with bell tower is now home to Trevor’s at the Tracks.

Lunch recommendations
Trevor’s at the Tracks

About the swallows

San Juan Capistrano is known worldwide for the Cliff Swallows that return every year. They migrate from South America in the spring and summer for breeding. Legend claims they return on March 19th, but their arrival is not timed to the exact date!

Train schedules

We always suggest when planning your adventure to check the Metrolink train schedule to San Juan Capistrano. Both the Orange County Line and the Inland Empire Orange County Line serve this destination.