A couple of Inspiration Saturdays ago I posted a Sunset Magazine article about visiting San Juan Capistrano. This weekend Emma and I bopped on down to San Juan just to have a stroll of the area Sunset had written about. It’s an area we frequent often but rarely as tourists. So, on Friday we pretended we were visiting the area and with camera in hand and our Sunset article we strolled around San Juan Capistrano.
We parked at the Depot Restaurant. It has a great parking lot, it’s free and across the street from the mission. The restaurant is right against the train tracks. In fact, you’ll have to cross over the tracks to get to the Los Rios Historic District. Right before we crossed the tracks we made sure to pick up a train schedule for a future train trip Emma and I have been planning to San Diego. There is a little booth at this location where you can buy a ticket and hop on the train! Emma has never been on a train before so it’s a must do!
Honestly, everything in the Sunset article was within a mile or two of each other and one parking job would let you visit the whole area. We didn’t visit any of the bars or wine houses but we did pass by them and they looked really nice. That would make a romantic date night. There are a lot of other places you could visit that weren’t mentioned in the article. This little part of town is a real gem.
We strolled around the historic district where we read about some of the original families that lived here over a very long period of time. In fact, Rios Street is the oldest neighborhood in California. There are 31 homes on this little road that are original homes built between 1880 and 1910 and many are still residences. Here are a few of the shops we visited or passed by.
- The Ramos House Cafe. A wonderful little cafe next to the train tracks that serves fabulous food in a really neat cozy patio style atmosphere. I’ve eaten here several times and have never been disappointed.
- Hidden House Coffee. This is a very cool little coffee house where they serve you coffee in a cute ceramic cup with frothy design included! Amanda and I went here one morning when she was in High School. We used to have coffee together every Friday morning. It’s a really darling place.
- Los Rios General Store. This place looked really cool and there was a huge variety of things I did’t need but really wanted to buy.
- Los Rios Historic District. This is a park area in the middle of Los Rios St. where you are able to walk through some gardens and read information about the people who settled here. There are a couple of old structures to look at and even a park where children can play. There is more free parking here too!
Here are a couple of pictures I took in the butterfly garden.
The district is so quaint and relaxed. There is a fantastic nursery here and a petting zoo. We didn’t visit them because we did recently and this day we were mission bound.
I’ve been to the San Juan Capistrano Mission so many times. As a child I came here with school and family. I worked parties here when I was with a catering company and have even been to the location with a Kelby Photowalk. (I’ll post my images from that event at a later date). Today was only Emma’s second time here and she couldn’t remember the first visit. I was really excited to show her around.
The San Juan Capistrano Mission: