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Introduction

San Juan Capistrano is a city in Orange County in Southern California.

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Sights and Activities

  • Mission San Juan Capistrano, 26801 Ortega Hwy, ☎ +1 949 234-1300. Open daily 9AM-5PM. This is a historic California mission founded in 1776 by Spanish missionary Junipero Serra. It was the first mission to grow grapes. Today it is a museum where tours of the site are offered and masses are still celebrated in its Serra Chapel (the only existing building where we can say Serra preached). Audio tours are included with museum admission. The site houses ruins of a collapsed portion of the "Great Stone Church" and the annual "Return of the Swallows" observed March 19. Adults $9, seniors (60+) $8, children (under 11) $6, children (under 3) free.
  • Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano, 31520 Camino Capistrano, ☎ +1 949 234-1360, fax: +1 949 248-2008. This church is a stunning building built to match the design of the mission's Great Stone Church which was destroyed by an 18th century earthquake.
  • O'Neill Museum, 31831 Los Rios St., ☎ +1 949 493-8444, e-mail: museum@capistranohistory.org. A small museum that documents life in San Juan Capistrano in the 1880s. Also features an extensive collection of historical photos that can be browsed.
  • Caspers Wilderness Park.
  • Ortega's Capistrano Trading Post (Trading Post), 31741 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675, ☎ +1 949 496-3993. M-F 10:30-18:00, Sat-Sun 10:00-18:00. Ortega's Capistrano Trading Post is located across the street from the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano. The Trading Post itself has a rich history. The original Old Mission Trading Post was built by Henry Oliver in 1947. It was built on the site of Fred Stoffel's former San Juan Inn Cafe (first cafe in SJC) which had also served as Fred Cason's movie house during the 1920s. The facade was changed in 1953 to the Western false front appearance it retains today. They are 7th generation experts in Native American Indian Jewelry & Turquoise. They also offer San Juan Capistrano souvenirs, religious goods, artwork, crafts from local San Juan Capistrano artists and California Mission Collectibles.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Getting There

San Juan Capistrano is located between Los Angeles and San Diego along the California coast. It is easy to reach by car by taking the I-5 to the Ortega Highway (State Route 74) interchange. Better yet, 1 San Juan Capistrano station is located right in the center of the historic downtown area, just across the street from Mission San Juan Capistrano. The station is served by Amtrak via its Pacific Surfliner line as well as Metrolink Orange County and Inland Empire lines.

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Getting Around

Everything is within walking distance.

During the summer, two trolleys on twenty minute frequencies service a continuous loop from downtown San Juan Capistrano (La Zanja Street) to a Dana Point trolley service stop at Stonehill Drive and Del Obispo Street. The Dana Point Trolley also connects to a Laguna Beach Trolley. Trolley rides are free.

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Eat

San Juan Capistrano is known for its wide variety of fine dining. Skip the fast food joints by the highway. There are half a dozen fine restaurants within 200 yards of the rail station.

  • Pedro's Tacos. All the locals know that the best fish tacos anywhere are found at a little taco stand across from the mission.
  • 3:16 Bakery Shop, 26762 Verdugo St., ☎ +1 949 218-6060. Small bakery shop located right by the rail station. They sell cakes, pastries, other baked goods, coffee, espresso, tea, gelato, and frozen yogurt

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Drink

There are a few bars south of the Mission

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Sleep

  • Best Western Capistrano Inn, 27174 Ortega Highway, ☎ +1 949 493-5661, fax: +1 949 661-8293.
  • Mission Inn, 26891 Ortega Highway, ☎ +1 949 234-0249, e-mail: innkeeper@missioninnsjc.com. A Bed and Breakfast in the heart of San Juan Capistrano (Currently closed, will reopen as Marriott’s Autograph Collection hotel).

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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This is version 3. Last edited at 13:07 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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