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Known as the “Jewel of the Missions,” Mission San Juan Capistrano is a historic landmark and museum that features permanent exhibits with original artifacts as well as traveling and temporary exhibits. Orange County’s only Mission, the site is home to Serra Chapel, The Ruins of the Great Stone Church and the original padres’ quarters of the South Wing and promotes faith, education, preservation and cultural event programming. Founded on November 1, 1776, by Saint Junípero Serra as the seventh of twenty-one California missions established by Spain, Mission San Juan Capistrano is owned by the Diocese of Orange and receives no church or state funding. The Mission Preservation Foundation, comprised of business and community leaders, is its fundraising entity committed to ensuring education, preservation and its long-term historic and religious significance. Learn more.

Conveniently located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, close to the freeway and airport and walking distance from the train depot.

Press Releases

October 25, 2021
Mission San Juan Capistrano Announces ‘Capistrano Lights Returns’ Holiday Festivities

San Juan Capistrano, Calif. (October 25, 2021) — Annual holiday traditions at historic Mission San Juan Capistrano will resume with Capistrano Lights Returns on select evenings from December 4 through December 30, 2021.  Tickets for Capistrano Lights Returns dates include all-day admission, multi-language audio tour and evening holiday programming in a safe, outdoor setting.

Capistrano Lights Returns is an enchanting holiday experience as the California Landmark grounds are transformed with festive lights, community-designed Christmas trees, large-scale nativity scene in the Ruins of the Great Stone Church (circa 1806), Dickens-era carolers and nightly 30-foot tree lighting and music at 5:00 p.m.

 “On behalf of the foundation we are thrilled to bring Capistrano Lights Returns to the Mission under a new format that allows for a quality outdoor holiday experience for families.  As Orange County’s very the first Christmas was most likely celebrated here, we take great pride in delivering a meaningful tradition for those looking to experience the religious, spiritual and emotional value of the season with loved ones,” said Mission San Juan Capistrano’s executive director Mechelle Lawrence Adams.

Children’s activities during Capistrano Lights include Selfies with Santa (courtesy ofFarmers & Merchants Bank) along with children’s crafts and vendors on select dates. ‘Elf On A Mission,’ a daily challenge to find Sullivan the Elf on the Mission grounds, will be featured throughout December.

Other seasonal offerings include the opening of Serra Chapel during evening holiday hours, prayer candles to remember loved ones, a large-scale wreath for family photos and extended holiday shopping hours in the Mission Store.

Specific event dates, pricing and tickets are available online at beginning November 9 for the general public and November 2 for Mission Preservation Society members. Admission on Capistrano Lights dates includes daytime access and holiday programming from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. All ticket sales are final and other attendance details are available at


October 25, 2021
Mission San Juan Capistrano Announces ‘Capistrano Lights Returns’ Holiday Festivities

September 20, 2021
Mission Celebrates its Open Doors at Benefit Gala Honoring Connie and Dr. Peter Spenuzza

August 6, 2021
‘Finding Inspiration: The Gardens at Mission San Juan Capistrano’ Honors the Late Madeline Martin Swinden and Inspires New Audio Tour

April 20, 2021
Mission San Juan Capistrano to Host Homefront America’s ‘Field of Honor®’ Flag Display During Memorial Day Weekend

March 9, 2021
Celebrate St. Joseph Day and Return of the Swallows with Mission San Juan Capistrano Virtually or In-Person

January 28, 2021
Historic California Landmark Mission San Juan Capistrano and Gardens Announces Reopening

Media Contact

For media inquiries, including a press kit, media trip requests or media photo requests, please contact: 
Kristin Bolda, Marketing Brand Director
(949) 234-1313
For general photography bookings, please call (949) 234-1306

If you are an influencer and are interested in attending an influencer event, please contact:
Kristin Bolda, Marketing Brand Director
(949) 234-1313

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Museum Hours

Tuesday - Sunday, 9AM - 4PM

Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Closed early Christmas Eve and Good Friday.
Hours subject to change


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26801 Ortega Highway
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 234-1300

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