City Guide San Juan Capistrano CA

 San Juan Capistrano California City Guide

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San Juan Capistrano City Limits


San Juan Capistrano is a city with beautiful natural surroundings and a rich history. With open ocean right outside of the city’s boundaries, expansive parks in the area, and short commutes to famous California locations, San Juan Capistrano also is a destination in itself.

The city’s public schools have high standards and excellent reputations, and private campuses are similarly highly rated. With great schools, families naturally are attracted to San Juan Capistrano, but young professionals also find the city to be a fantastic place to live.

Compared with other California median home values, San Juan Capistrano’s comparably lower average property value means that the cost of living in this oceanside city is much more affordable than others lining the coast. Similarly, the median rent in this city tracks lower than other California areas, though is still about 3x the national average.

This city’s population of 36,000 residents is ethnically and economically diverse, and generally residents have moderate political views.

Top City Highlights

  • Beautiful natural surroundings
  • Oceanside location
  • Impressive public schools
  • Family-friendly
  • Attractive to young professions
  • Diverse population
  • Varied housing options
  • Low crime rates

Location: A coastal city in southern California, San Juan Capistrano is located in Orange County’s southeastern area and centered around the Mission San Juan Capistrano.

This city consists of 14.3 square miles and is bordered by Laguna Niguel to the west. Aliso Viejo is northwest of the city, and Galivan and Ladera Ranch are north of San Juan Capistrano. Rancho Mission Viejo is northeast of the city, as is Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park. San Clemente is south of the city. Dana Point and Capistrano Beach make up the city’s southwestern outline.

San Juan Capistrano is located about 20 miles southeast of Irvine and 66 miles northwest of San Diego.

Commutes: San Juan Capistrano residents 25 years of age and over have a mean travel time of 22.6 minutes, which is notably lower than California’s median of a little over half an hour.

There are 2 main roads that are found in San Juan Capistrano. Interstate 5 cuts through the city’s center, and Ortega Highway also makes its way through the city. These roadways make traveling along the coast and throughout Orange County relatively convenient for residents. Additionally, Pacific Coast Highway is located just south of the city.

It takes about 25 minutes to reach Irvine by car from San Juan Capistrano, and Santa Ana is similarly 30 minutes away.

Culture: Of San Juan Capistrano’s population of 36,000, 28% of the population has some college experience or an associate’s degree, and 25% of residents have a bachelor’s degree. Another 12% of residents have a master’s degree or a higher degree.

As for ethnicity, 57% of residents are White, and 36% of residents are Hispanic. 3% of the population is Asian, and 2% of residents are biracial or multiracial. Another 2% of the population come from other ethnic backgrounds.

The median individual income in the city is $30K, and the median household income is $81K. The poverty rate tracks around 11.5%, and the unemployment rate is estimated at 3.1%.

Local Government

City Council

The city council of San Juan Capistrano meets regularly on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month at 4PM and 5PM.

Council member elections take place during regular state and national elections. Elected city council members serve for 4 year terms of office, and 1 member is elected for each of San Juan Capistrano’s 5 districts.

Address: 32400 Paseo Adelanto, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Phone: (949)-493-1171

Mayor’s Office

San Juan Capistrano’s mayor is elected on an annual basis by the city council among current council members. The city’s mayor works alongside a mayor pro tem and is elected during the first council meeting in December.

Alongside the city council, the mayor oversees policies and city ordinances among other responsibilities such as approving the city’s annual budget.

Address: 32400 Paseo Adelanto, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Phone: (949)-493-1171

Chamber of Commerce

San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce works to support the city’s active and vibrant business environment through consistent engagement and events. Members benefit from monthly networking mixers, advertising platforms, promotional benefits, and other bonuses.

The chamber’s core values include promoting the community, representing businesses, and providing opportunities for members to grow their businesses.

Address: 31421 La Matanza St, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Phone: (949)-493-4700


Overview: San Juan Capistrano’s students are served by Capistrano Unified School District, which is known as one of the largest school districts in not just the county, but also the state.

A large number of CUSD campuses are Golden Bell winning programs, California Distinguished Schools, and National Blue Ribbon Schools. Additionally, ranks Capistrano Unified School District as the #7 best school system in Orange County and as #51 out of 487 school districts in the state. Similarly, this district’s athletic programming and teachers are also among the most top-rated in California.

Of the 33 elementary schools in this district, 2 are in Rancho Santa Margarita. Out of 10 middle schools, Rancho Santa Margarita includes 1 campus, and other schools are short drives from the city. CUSD has 4 high school campuses, and as with middle schools, these impressive high schools are within convenient commuting distance.

Public schools aside, local private schools are also impressive options for San Juan Capistrano students.

Elementary Schools

Rancho Santa Margarita elementary schools that are a part of Capistrano Unified School District include Las Flores Elementary and Tigers Creek Elementary, which are both California Distinguished Schools and California Business for Education Excellence “Scholar” Schools.

Other noteworthy schools in this district include Community Roots Academy, Oak Grove Elementary, and Oso Grande Elementary.

Middle Schools

Las Flores Middle School is the city’s only middle school campus in Capistrano Unified School District. This school has excellent academic standing and a diverse student population.

Other local campuses in Capistrano Unified School District like Newhart Middle School and Ladera Ranch Middle School are also impressive, seeing as these middle schools are also California Distinguished Schools.

High Schools

High schools in Capistrano Unified School District are known for having excellent college preparatory programs. Students have average SAT scores of 1240 and average ACT scores of 29, and high schools in this district have an estimated average graduation rate of 97%.

Out of CUSD’s high schools, San Juan Hills High School and Aliso Niguel High School are especially noteworthy.

Private Schools

There are multiple great private schools in San Juan Capistrano, and the majority of these campuses are religious campuses with upstanding records.

St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, JSerra Catholic High School, Capistrano Valley Christian Schools, and Saddleback Valley Christian School are several excellent and highly rated private schools readily available to San Juan Capistrano students.


Overview: San Juan Capistrano is known for having one of the widest varieties of housing options in Orange County in terms of age, architecture, and price points. 26.1% of housing options are rented, and 73.9% of properties are owner-occupied residences.

6.1% of properties in the city have 1 bedroom layouts, and 27.6% have 2 bedroom layouts. 34.5% of housing options have 3 bedrooms, and 22.6% have 4 bedrooms. Another 9.2% of residences have 5 or more bedrooms.

70.9% of properties were built between 1970-1999, and 18.5% of residences were constructed between 1940-1969. Another 2% of housing options were built in or before 1939, and 8.6% of properties class as new construction.

64% of San Juan Capistrano housing options are single family detached homes, and about 20% of housing options are condominiums and attached properties. 10% of residences are small apartment buildings, and around 6% of options are larger apartment complexes.

Housing Options

Single Family Homes

1 bedroom detached family homes in San Juan Capistrano have an average price of $290K, and 2 bedroom houses jump to an average of $533K.

3 bedroom family homes are even more expensive and on average are priced around $850K. Additionally, larger 4 bedroom detached houses average at price points over the $1 million mark.

New Construction

Newly constructed properties in the city are generally found closer to the coast and are luxurious, spacious residences.

Specifically, a newly built 3 bedroom home can be priced around $1.5 million, whereas recently constructed 4 bedroom properties can go for $1.9 million. More impressive 5 bedroom properties that have been recently built can be found for $2.3 million.


2 bedroom condos in San Juan Capistrano can be expected to go for around $350K, though more expensive 2 bedroom condos can also be found for higher amounts.

Likewise, 3 bedroom condos are commonly priced around $415K and may stretch to over $520K. 4 bedroom condos are scarce, but can be expected to go for $700K.


The average rent of a 1 bedroom layout in San Juan Capistrano tracks at $2,052 per month. Meanwhile, 2 bedroom apartments average at $2,514 per month.

To give an idea of size, 1 bedroom apartments average at 737 square feet, and 2 bedroom apartments average slightly larger at 953 square feet.

Homes for Sale

If you’re interested in buying a home in this area, we invite you to search homes for sale on our website. You are also welcome to check out the following resources listed below. If you would rather speak directly to a professional and licensed Realtor, feel free to contact Morales Team.

List of  San Juan Capistrano Real Estate Listings by Property Types

List of  San Juan Capistrano Real Estate Listings by Popular Searches

If you’re interested in selling your own property, contact Morales Team, your go-to local real estate company, by clicking the link below:

Real Estate

Overview: The median property value in San Juan Capistrano is estimated to be a little over $623K, which is not too high on a state-wide level, but still is one of the higher median values on a national level.

Real estate ranges a great deal in the city. 6.4% of properties are worth under $242K, and 10.8% are worth between $242K-$363K. Another 8.6% of properties vary between $363K-$484K, and 13.3% range from $484K-$605K. The majority of properties at 24.4% are priced between $605K-$908K. 15.6% of real estate is priced between $908K-$1.2 million, and 20.9% of properties are worth over $1.2 million.

Between December 2009 and December 2019, San Juan Capistrano real estate appreciated a total of 50.42%, which equals an average annual appreciation rate of 4.17%. This impressive number means that buying real estate in this city has a habit of paying off fairly well.

Things to Do

Overview: Situated around the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano is home to many shopping areas, idyllic outdoor locations, delicious restaurants, and much more.

Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park is a short distance east of the city, and Capistrano Beach is readily accessed by residents looking to enjoy the coast. Other city parks like Sendero Field and Historic Town Center Park are well-maintained and highly rated by locals, so naturally fresh air and outdoor activities are popular among San Juan Capistrano residents.

Those looking to experience more retail-centric activities have many local options to enjoy, from browsing local boutiques to visiting familiar chains and department stores at local shopping malls.

With such a long history and a respect for the past, it’s also no surprise that San Juan Capistrano has many culturally enriching and historic locations throughout its corners. The local nightlife scene is as vibrant as the city’s past, and restaurants are equally highly rated and highly recommended.

Retail & Entertainment

Parks & Recreation

Creekside Park is a hit for dogs and dog owners alike, and Sendero Field has a wonderful playground. Historic Town Center Park combines the great outdoors with local history, and Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park is a haven for equestrians.

A number of outdoor locations in and around the city have hiking trails, scenic bike trails, picnicking areas, and more.


Shopping centers around the city are largely found around Interstate 5 and Ortega Highway. Local retail centers include Mission Promenade, Marbella Plaza, Plaza Del Rio Shopping Center, Plaza Freeway Center, Capistrano Valley Plaza Shopping Center, and many other great options.

Stand-alone boutiques in the city and nearby areas include Rags & Stones, Wildfire Mercantile, Blue Eyed Girl, and Mayan Authentic Imports.

Art & Culture

Mission San Juan Capistrano is a former Spanish mission that was founded in 1776. This historic mission is one of the oldest buildings in the state still in operation.

Other notable historic and cultural sites include Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano, Ortega’s Capistrano Trading Post, Richard Egan House, and Las Aguilar Adobe Museum.

Night Life

19 Sports Bar & Grill is a popular place for drinks and live music. Meanwhile, Five Vines Wine Bar welcomes wine lovers and beer drinkers alike.

Swallow’s Inn has a lively country-western vibe, and The BrewHouse has a cozy atmosphere with beer on tap.

Other local favorites include PUBlic 74, Hennessey’s Tavern, and Sunsets Bar to name only a few options.


Many impressive restaurants are clustered towards the center of town.

The Olives Branch serves up Mediterranean dishes, and Ramos House Cafe specializes in Southern cuisine. El Adobe de Capistrano is a popular Mexican eatery, and Ciao Pasta Trattoria serves Italian dishes with a rustic ambiance.

Bad to the Bone BBQ, Sundried Tomato, and Mollies Famous Cafe are several more tasty venues.


San Juan Capistrano includes one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in the state, Los Rios. Central districts feature adobe homes built during the 18th century, while other neighborhoods feature more modern architecture.

On the whole, northern neighborhoods are more expensive and have a median real estate price of $1.7 million. This is more costly than 96.3% of residential areas in the state and 99.3% of neighborhoods nationally.

Central neighborhoods have a lower cost of living, seeing as the median real estate price in the center of the city is $905K. This still tracks as being more expensive than 96% of neighborhoods in the state and 94.4% of neighborhoods in the U.S.

Lastly, with a median real estate price of $623K, western neighborhoods have the lowest cost of living. This ranks as being more affordable than 50.3% of residential areas in California, though still is more costly than 83.7% of neighborhoods in the country.

List of San Juan Capistrano Neighborhoods

Postal Codes

List of San Juan Capistrano Zip Codes

Local Pros

List of San Juan Capistrano Local Pros