Introduction to San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Capistrano, California, in Orange county, is 3 miles SE of Laguna Niguel, California (center to center) and 20 miles SE of Santa Ana, California. The city was established near the Mission San Juan Capistrano. A large number of houses and strip malls have Spanish style architecture. There is a wide variety of homes, including multi-million dollar mansions in gated communities, homes constructed before 1900, 18th century adobes and ranches situated in the foothills.

Los Rios is regarded as one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in California. The city is well known for the yearly migration of the Cliff Swallows from Argentina to Mission San Juan Capistrano. Approximately 40% of the land is open space and parkland.

San Juan Capistrano History

The Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded in 1776. During this time the Acjachemen Indians lived in the region. The mission was established as part of a plan to colonize California and to bring the Indians into the Spanish culture. After the mission was constructed, cultivated fields and granaries were established and ceramics, bricks and tiles were produced. The area had the first vineyard and winery in California. During the 1850's the community was a popular stopping location for pioneers and gold prospectors.

San Juan Capistrano Attractions

The Mission San Juan Capistrano has been ranked as a Minor Basilica. Approximately half a million people visit the mission each year. It's well known for the "Return of the Swallows" which is observed every year on March 19th. The mission has been a subject for prominent artists and has been mentioned in numerous books and shown in films. A modern church complex is located near the old mission. The city has numerous other attractions including:

  • Mission Basilica church is an impressive building and has the design of the historic mission's stone church, which was destroyed during an earthquake.
  • The Swallow's Day Parade is a yearly event.
  • The Swallows Festival celebrates the return of the swallows and lasts for two months.
  • Manuel Garcia Adobe is a Mission-Revival Style adobe.
  • Camino Real Playhouse.
  • The Los Rios Historic District features numerous notable structures and is a popular tourist destination.
  • The O'Neill Museum is a rustic wooden building and one of the initial homes in the city. The museum offers a look at life in the early days of San Juan Capistrano.
  • The Blas Aguilar Adobe was constructed in 1794.
  • Capistrano Depot.
  • Montanez Adobe is from the Spanish era.
  • Eagan House.
  • Esslinger Building.
  • Historic Town Center Archaeological Park Site.
  • Avila Adobe is from the Mexican Rancho era.
  • Stroschein House.
  • Old Capristrano Union High School.
  • Zoomars Petting Zoo & Bird Park.

San Juan Capistrano Activities

The Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park is a large acreage, located among the river terraces and canyons in the Santa Ana Mountains. The park features hiking and equestrian trails and picnic areas. The scenic Cleveland National Forest has numerous hiking trails and campgrounds.

Doheny State Beach offers camping areas and is popular for surf fishing. The close by San Clemente Beach is used for a variety of activities and includes hiking trails on the bluffs. The Dana Point Harbor and San Clemente pier are nearby. There are numerous quality golf courses in the area.


Total Population 35,897
Male Share of the Population 48.7%
Female Share of the Population 51.3%
Senior Citizens 16.7%
Employed Population 16+ 15,895
Age of the Population 42


% of people married 56.7%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 34.9%
Median Earnings25+ $36,948
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $20,763
Median Earnings With High School Degree $26,513


Median Family Income $84,812
% Above Poverty Level 84.6%
% Below Poverty Level 15.4%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 24 minutes
% Working from Home 5.8%
% Walking and Biking to Work 3.5%
% Using Public Transportation 1.4%


People Living Alone 20.7%
Median Gross Rent $1,722
Median House Value $541,400


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 44.5%
US/American 0.2%
English 12.2%
Irish 11.4%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

San Juan Capistrano Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 3 miles SE of Laguna Niguel, California (center to center)
Nearest Large City 20 miles SE of Santa Ana, California
County Orange
Standard Zip Codes 92675, 92691, 92692, 92694
P.O. Box Zip Codes 92690, 92693
Phone Area Codes 949
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 33.501
Longitude -117.661

San Juan Capistrano Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 7.8 miles
Jan Temp 44 to 67 F
Apr Temp 49 to 71 F
Jul Temp 60 to 77 F
Oct Temp 55 to 76 F
Annual Precip 13.5 inches
Distance 14.5 miles
Jan Temp 48 to 64 F
Apr Temp 54 to 66 F
Jul Temp 63 to 71 F
Oct Temp 59 to 71 F
Annual Precip 11.6 inches
Distance 14.6 miles
Jan Temp 41 to 68 F
Apr Temp 48 to 73 F
Jul Temp 60 to 84 F
Oct Temp 53 to 79 F
Annual Precip 13.8 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, San Juan Capistrano, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Ladera Ranch (92694)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Dana Point 34,003 $105,578
Laguna Beach 23,230 $134,067
Laguna Hills 31,017 $105,199
Laguna Niguel 64,825 $120,169
Mission Viejo 95,979 $112,850
San Clemente 65,017 $119,739

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

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San Juan Capistrano High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

A Non-traditional School
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 140 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.4

A Non-traditional School
Serves 10 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 8.3

Study Online in San Juan Capistrano
Historic San Juan Capistrano


Mission San Juan Capistrano c1899.

Select a photo to view (Source):

Mission San Juan Capistrano c1899.

Mission of San Juan Capistrano. c1899.

Additional Resources
Info for San Juan Capistrano Government Officials

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