Heritage Tourism Association

History & Culture of the Mission District

In 2015, Mission San Juan Capistrano, the birthplace of Orange County, founded a Heritage Tourism Association to provide the Mission’s 300,000 annual visitors with information about the history and cultural of the city’s historic district, which lies just outside the Mission gates.

Businesses and non-profits within the Mission District and the Los Rios Historic District banded together with the Mission to promote their unique venues.  The historic districts are home to unique historic assets, a notable Native American history, the Legend of the Swallows, a historic train depot, an equestrian heritage, a renowned library and many outstanding community curated adobes and historic buildings.  The culture is strengthened with festivals, concerts and art shows — all within walking distance from one another.

“We are excited to leverage our attendance to support our history based businesses and non-profits promoting unique experiences!” said Mechelle Lawrence Adams, Executive Director of Mission San Juan Capistrano. “It’s our pleasure and also our obligation to ensure the community’s past is recognized and celebrated in a way it truly deserves.”

Here are some of the businesses, non-profits and points of interest which occupy historic buildings a within walking distance of the Mission:

El Adobe de Capistrano Mexican Steakhouse in the 1797 Miguel Yorba Adobe
Sundried Tomato American Bistros & Catering in the 1789 Valenzuela Adobe
Ellie’s Table, bakery and cafe in the 1883 Judge Egan House
Mission Fine Art Gallery, original fine art from local artists in the 1920 Ferris Kelly Building
Mission Store, unique gifts and memorabilia in the 1776 Mission San Juan Capistrano
Rancho Capistrano Winery, wine and bistro in the 1938 Vaquero West Building
The Tea House on Los Rios in the 1910 Rodman House
Trevor’s at the Tracks, American fare in the 1894 Capistrano Depot
We Olive & Wine Bar, artesian oils and gourmet food in the 1920 Ferris Kelly Building
Wildfire Mercantile, upscale fashion with a Western flair in the 1920s Ferris Kelly building
Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum, Acjachemen Indian culture in the 1794 Blas Aguilar Adobe
San Juan Historical Guides and Montanez Adobe Museum in the 1794 Montanez Adobe
O’Neill Museum, home of the Historical Society in the 1870 Garcia/Pryor House

Intertwined with these historic treasures are associate businesses and non-profits, including:

Cedar Creek Inn, warm Craftsman style eatery
Swallow’s Inn, old school country western bar
3:16 Bakery Shop, to satisfy your sweet tooth
Five Vines Wine Bar, wines, beers with small and hearty bites
Hennessey’s Tavern, serving Irish hospitality
L’Hirondelle Restaurant, Belgian-French Bistro fare
Taqueria El Campeon, counter service Mexican food
The Old Barn Antique Mall, full of historic riches
The Camino Real Playhouse, every historic western town needs a playhouse!

Entertainment, events, tours and activities are listed on our Heritage Tourism Association map.  Be sure to ask for your FREE map at the gate of the Mission San Juan Capistrano.

For more information, contact the Mission at (949) 234-1349.

Capistrano Plaza
Cedar Creek Inn
El Adobe de Capistrano
Inn at the Mission, San Juan Capistrano Coming Soon
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission Store
Rancho Mission Viejo
Swallow’s Inn

3:16 Bakery Shop
Best Western Capistrano Inn
Bueno Bueno Mexican Kitchen
Ellie’s Table, Egan House
Five Vines Wine Bar
Hennessey’s Tavern
L’Hirondelle Restaurant
Mission Fine Art Gallery
Mission Promenade
Old Barn Antique Mall
Rancho Capistrano Winery
Residence Inn Dana Point San Juan Capistrano
San Juan Hills Golf Club
Shops on Los Rios (Las Catrinas, Nest and The Cottage Gallery)
Sundried Tomato American Bistros & Catering
Taqueria El Campeon
The Tea House on Los Rios
Trevor’s at the Tracks
We Olive & Wine Bar – San Juan Capistrano
Wildfire Mercantile

Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum
Camino Real Playhouse
Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo
San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association
San Juan Capistrano Historical Society
San Juan Capistrano Rotary Club/Vintage Car Show

Berrington Properties
Buy My Bikes, Inc.
Farmers & Merchants Bank, San Juan Capistrano
Tom Hribar, RE/MAX Select One, San Juan Capistrano
Mission Preservation Foundation
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Ricardo’s Place San Juan Capistrano
San Juan Historical Guides and Montanez Adobe Museum