Experience San Juan Capistrano

Tree Lighting Ceremony and Festivities Dec. 6

For a holiday outing that the whole family can enjoy, visit San Juan Capistrano on Dec. 6 for a tree lighting ceremony and festivities including entertainment and, children’s activities. The fun will last in to the evening, so visitors can enjoy shopping and dining.

The event begins at 4 p.m. with a stage show of music and dance performances at the Historic Town Center Park, 31852 El Camino Real. The tree lighting is set for 5:30 p.m. Throughout the evening, there will be live Nativity performances, Christmas hayrides at Zoomar's, a free outdoor movie , and many other fun events for all ages. For the full schedule of events please visit here.

To make it easier for Orange County residents to enjoy this special afternoon and evening, OCTA will provide shuttle service at select OCTA bus stops and area parking lots to and from the event (see map). Shuttle service will run from 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Metrolink travelers will find all the activities within easy walking distance of the train station. This is a great opportunity to visit beautiful San Juan Capistrano for the day, enjoy the tree lighting, then jump aboard a convenient Metrolink train for a carefree ride home. At $10, a Metrolink Weekend Day Pass is an affordable way to venture throughout the Metrolink system.

The last northbound train leaves San Juan Capistrano at 6:03 p.m., and the last southbound train leaves at 5:57 p.m. Please view the train schedules below.

It’s never been easier to visit the birthplace of Orange County! With traffic congestion possible during Caltrans’ I-5/Ortega Highway Interchange Improvement Project, Metrolink offers the best and most convenient way to explore the town. You can also use your Metrolink ticket to save on local food, fun and events; click here to view the discounts. And with a $10 Metrolink Weekend Day Pass, you can visit not only San Juan Capistrano, but anywhere along southern California from Oceanside to Los Angeles!


Save With a $10 Weekend Day Pass

Metrolink’s Weekend Day Pass gives you unlimited rides for only $10. The pass is valid system wide on Saturday or Sunday and is available for purchase at all Metrolink station ticket vending machines with weekend service. The $10 Weekend Day Pass can be purchased by selecting "Weekend Pass" on the home screen. Monthly pass holders ride free on weekends systemwide.

Get There by Train

To San Juan Capistrano

  • Take Metrolink train 660, 662, 857 or 859 from the station nearest you 
  • Arrive at San Juan Capistrano Station
  • Walk to the Historic Town Center Park located at 31852 El Camino Real
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    Returning Home

  • Walk to the San Juan Capistrano Metrolink Station
  • Take Metrolink train 663, 667, 858 or 860 to stations north and east
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    Great Discounts With Metrolink!

    Take Metrolink to San Juan Capistrano and discover (or rediscover) Orange County's oldest community.

    Show your Metrolink ticket to get numerous great discounts around the historic downtown – at entertainment venues, shopping and dining, all conveniently located within walking distance from the station! If you come, you must check out these unique, quaint and eclectic places!

    Click Here for a list of partners who offer discounts with your Metrolink ticket!


    • Mission San Juan Capistrano – established in 1776 by Father Junipero Serra, it is the only mission in Orange County. Although more than 200 years old, Mission San Juan Capistrano has recently made dramatic changes to improve its visitor experience, from adding self-guided audio tours to hands on exhibits such as adobe-brick making. The mission is open 362 days a year – closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Good Friday – and, like the city itself, offers something new and different just about every day.
    •  El Adobe de Capistrano, was President Richard Nixon’s favorite restaurant while he stayed at the Western White House in neighboring San Clemente. The chairs used by him and First Lady Pat Nixon still sit at their favorite table.
    • Swallow’s Inn, a local watering hole famous for its live country music and collection of women’s garments and other local oddities hanging from the ceiling. The Los Angeles Times once named it one of the “Best Dive Bars in America.”
    • Historic Los Rios District, the oldest continually lived in residential neighborhood in California, has restaurants and eclectic shops in mission-era adobes and centuries-old buildings. Visitors can find authentic Native American jewelry, home furnishings and souvenirs.
    • Sarducci’s American cuisine restaurant was the old train depot back in 1894. Great outdoor patio to watch the trains go by.
    • ZOOMARS Petting Zoo, where children get to hold rabbits and guinea pigs and take a ride on a pony or mini-train.

    Metrolink San Juan Capistrano might be best known for its annual return of the mysterious swallow, but those who savor unique shopping adventures, one-of-a-kind restaurants and an authentic peek into California’s past know to visit “the birthplace of Orange County” more than once a year.