When I go home now a days, I go back to Orange County, California. It’s right between Los Angeles and San Diego – right by the beach. And yep, it was the location for: The OC, Laguna Beach and The Real Housewives of Orange County. I would not describe it as urban or even suburban – it is a place of its own. Growing up in a small CT town, I am used to a town with a main street. However, in Orange County, we don’t exactly live in towns. We identify ourselves based on our housing development. San Juan Capistrano reminds me of my CT hometown. It is small, quaint and historic. And it actually has a main street! While I spend the next few weeks in CA, I thought I would share my take on Orange County through a Guide to Orange County: Insert *town/city* name here. So her we go!
San Juan is the location of one of California’s missions (Mission San Juan Capistrano). Because of the historic mission, the town has a historic feel with old brick buildings, vintage railroad cars and the mission itself!
San Juan Capistrano is also home to swallows! Every March, the swallows return to San Juan and the entire town celebrates with a big “fiesta” of sorts. The Mission’s Great Stone Church houses these little birds before they leave for Argentina in October
Visit Mission San Juan Capistrano. Shop for unique finds at one of San Juan’s antique shops. Experience old San Juan on a historic walking tour. Catch a film at the Regency San Juan Capistrano movie theater. Visit one of San Juan’s museums. Hike on one of San Juan’s recreational trails
Ramos House – Located on the oldest remaining residential street in California. If you are willing to splurge, go for the weekend brunch (the apple cinnamon beignets are too die for). And if you aren’t, go on a normal day (still get the beignets) and try the truffle mac n’cheese.
Los Rios Tea House – Located on the same street as Ramos House, the Los Rios Tea House is one of my favorite places in the OC. A quaint tea house with the cutest decorative elements (and heart shaped scones)! I love the Triple Crown Salad, the Los Rios tea and tea service (Vanilla Black tea). If nothing else, go here for the insta.
Sundried Tomato – A large menu full of options for everyone. I love their Comfort Combo (grilled cheese with their signature sundried tomato soup) and pesto chicken sandwich.
Hummingbird House Cafe – A greek-style restaurant that is always packed with people on the outdoor patio. I do love homemade hummus.
If you made it through this entire post, congratulations! Of course there are so many places that I am unfamiliar with in San Juan. So many restaurants that I have not eaten at. And so many beautiful hidden treasures that I have not found. These are some of my favorite haunts in San Juan – if you are ever in the Orange County area, I would check them out!