Located in southern Orange County halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, the small city of San Juan Capistrano was founded in 1776, the same year the United States declared independence. It was the site of the Catholic Mission San Juan Capistrano and named for a Franciscan saint born in Capestrano, Italy in 1386. Home to California’s oldest residential neighborhood and first winery, living in San Juan Capistrano (SJC to locals) has more to offer than its rich history!
San Juan Capistrano is famous for the return of the cliff swallows with festivities held every year which inspired the 1940 hit, “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano.” Residents enjoy living in the quiet town with picturesque surroundings, a charming historic downtown, and the beach just ten minutes away. It lives up to its motto of “Preserving the Past to Enhance the Future.” Here’s what you can look forward to after moving to San Juan Capistrano, CA.
San Juan Capistrano Population & Demographics
San Juan Capistrano is located in Orange County. Bisected by I-5 and the Ortega Highway, it’s bordered by Laguna Niguel, San Clemente, Mission Viejo, and Capistrano Beach, a neighborhood in Dana Point. SJC is in the 949 area code and zip code 92675.
The population of San Juan Capistrano is 36,000 within 14.4 square miles with a population density of 2,489 people per square mile. The median age is 41.5, higher than the California and national average of 36.
The racial and ethnic composition is 56% non-Hispanic white, 39% Hispanic, 3% Asian, 15% other races, 3.5% two or more races, and less than 1% each Native American and African American or Black. For every 52 women over 25, there are 48 men.
Is San Juan Capistrano a safe place to live? Absolutely! The San Juan Capistrano crime rate is 64% lower than the California average with 54% less violent crime than the national average. Law enforcement in the city is contracted from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Famous residents of SJC include Tawny Kitaen of Whitesnake fame and Juan Flores, a 19th century bandit who led a raid against San Juan Capistrano who achieved folk hero status among many Mexican-Americans.
What Is the Cost of Living in San Juan Capistrano?
How much does it cost to live in San Juan Capistrano? The cost of living index is 170 which makes it 70% more expensive than the national average – San Juan Capistrano is an expensive place to live. Most living expenses are close to the national average, but high housing prices push the San Juan Capistrano cost of living much higher.
Housing is the biggest factor influencing your cost of living. While you’ll find condos and townhomes in some neighborhoods between $300,000 and $800,000, be prepared to pay a lot for real estate after moving to San Juan Capistrano. The average home price in San Juan is $1.4 million, although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected real estate prices. In summer 2019, the average home price was $850,000. You can see San Juan Capistrano, CA homes for sale here to see what you can get for your money.
The average rent in San Juan is $2,600 according to RentCafe. You won’t find many rental properties in SJC which has an owner-occupied rate of 74%. Most apartment buildings are in surrounding cities like San Clemente and Mission Viejo. The Palmer Residences in San Juan Capistrano is one of the only apartment buildings with rent ranging from $2,540 to $3,030. This resort-style Mediterranean community is located on a lake with several floorplans.
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San Juan Capistrano Neighborhoods | Best Places to Live in San Juan Capistrano
Ready to explore where to live in San Juan Capistrano? This small city is home to several neighborhoods with everything from townhomes to large estates. No matter which neighborhood you decide to make your home, you’ll be served with city parks and amenities maintained by the City of San Juan Capistrano’s Community Services Department.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet neighborhood, lots of space, or you want to live near the historic downtown, here are the best San Juan neighborhoods to consider.
Mesa Verde – Affordable Townhomes in San Juan Capistrano
Looking for an affordable neighborhood in San Juan Capistrano? Mesa Verde is a townhome community with two-level Spanish-style townhouses built in the 1980s. The community has an HOA but no Mello-Roos taxes and it’s located close to the freeway and right next to the golf course. Homes range from 1,200 to 1,750 square feet with prices under $1 million.
Marbella Country Club – Gated Country Club Community with Custom Luxury Homes
Marbella Country Club is one of the most prestigious neighborhoods for San Juan living at its finest. Homes usually start at $2 million with a hilltop location that offers panoramic views of the golf course, ocean, and lush surroundings.
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Connemara by the Sea – San Juan Capistrano Gated Community with Ocean Views
This is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in San Juan Capistrano. Most homes are about 4,000 square feet and built in the 1980s. The community is built on a terraced hillside for panoramic views of the harbor, ocean, and Catalina Island.
Mission Hills Ranch – Equestrian Community in San Juan with Great Amenities
San Juan Capistrano has several equestrian communities, but Mission Hills Ranch is one of the best. Homes were built in the 1960s and range from 2,100 to 4,900 square feet. There are several horse properties that back up directly onto horse trails! Residents also enjoy many amenities for their HOA fees including an equestrian center with stables and arena, tennis courts, community pool, and a community clubhouse.
San Juan Capistrano Climate | What Is the Weather Like in San Juan Capistrano?
Curious about the weather you can expect after moving to San Juan Capistrano? The city enjoys short, arid, and warm summers with long, cool winters that are partly cloudy. San Juan has a Mediterranean climate with average temperatures in the 70s. August is the hottest month of the year with an average high of 84°F, but there are about 32 days per year with temperatures in the 90s! During January, the average low is 42 °F.
Overall, San Juan Capistrano has ideal weather most of the year with only 14” of annual rainfall and 284 sunny days per year!
The best time to visit San Juan Capistrano is May to June for the most pleasant weather. The hottest months are July to early October. To enjoy the annual swallow festivities, the best time to visit is around the Day of San Juan on October 23 when the swallows leave. They return in mid-March.
Top Things to Do in San Juan Capistrano, CA
While living in San Juan Capistrano, you’ll enjoy a quieter and more laid-back lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do! There’s plenty of convenient shopping at the Plaza Del Obispo Shopping Center, Marbella Plaza, and Plaza Del Rio Shopping Center with major retailers like Marshalls, Target, and Trader Joe’s. You’ll find even more shopping and amenities in San Clemente less than 7 miles away. For big-city attractions, it’s just 66 miles from San Juan Capistrano to San Diego!
Ready to explore fun and free things to do in San Juan Capistrano? Here are the top San Juan Capistrano attractions, activities, and sightseeing opportunities.
The most important San Juan Capistrano landmark and tourist attraction is the mission itself. Founded in the 18th century, this historic Catholic Spanish mission has gardens to explore, historic exhibits, and regular cultural events.
Zoomars is one of the top things to do in San Juan Capistrano with kids! Located in the middle of the town square, this neat destination has a petting zoo and train rides. Kids can even try panning for gold!
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San Juan’s premier golf club features a championship 18-hole golf course and driving range with a sports bar and grill.
Additional attractions in San Juan Capistrano:
- Creekside Park
- Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park
- The Coach House Concert Hall
- Los Rios Street Historic District
Best Restaurants in San Juan Capistrano
Ready to explore the amazing cuisine you’ll enjoy regularly after moving to San Juan Capistrano? You’ll find everything from Mediterranean and Italian restaurants to world-class Mexican fare and cozy cafes to upscale eateries. Here are some of the best places to eat in San Juan.
- El Adobe de Capistrano. Enjoy mesquite-grilled Mexican fare in this historic space from 1797 with patios and a wine cellar. El Adobe de Capistrano, 31891 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 (949) 493-1163
- Trevor’s at the Tracks. Located in an 1894 railway depot, this upscale restaurant is a local favorite with a great ambiance and locally acquired ingredients used to create globally inspired menus. Trevor’s at the Tracks, 26701 Verdugo St, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 (949) 493-9593
- Rancho Capistrano Winery. This casual San Juan restaurant, located at Orange County’s largest winery, features a fireplace and large dog-friendly patio with 40 award-winning wines and an eclectic lunch menu. Rancho Capistrano Winery, 26755 Verdugo St, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 (949) 481-6682
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San Juan Capistrano, CA Jobs
The median household income in San Juan Capistrano is $91,600, about 25% higher than the median of $75,200 for the state and $73,000 for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metro area. The average salary in San Juan Capistrano is $67,000 with average hourly pay of $20.07 according to Payscale.
There are more than 1,700 businesses in the city. Tourism and hospitality play major roles in the economy as well as education and health care. There are several assisted living facilities and nursing homes in the area along with independent senior living and retirement communities that create many jobs.
Top employers in San Juan Capistrano include:
- Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) with 4,400 employees, 950 in SJC
- St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
- Brookdale San Juan Capistrano
- JSerra Catholic High School
- Mission San Juan Capistrano
- Aquatic Technologies
- Silverado Senior Living
San Juan Capistrano Schools
While living in San Juan Capistrano, you’ll be served by the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD), the second-largest public school district in Orange County serving 200 square miles and 7 cities. The city has just one high school, San Juan Hills High School, but many students attend high schools in neighboring cities.
The high school is highly rated with a 69% AP participation rate. It’s ranked #50 among 659 Los Angeles metro high schools!
There are six non-secular private schools in San Juan including Capistrano Valley Christian Schools (pre-K to 12), JSerra Catholic High School (9-12), and Mission Basilica School (K-8) located on the Mission Grounds. Fairmont School (K-12) is the city’s secular private school.
Students and other residents enjoy free access to the San Juan Capistrano Library, part of the Orange County Public Libraries system.
San Juan Capistrano Statistics & Information
- Population: 34,500
- County: Orange County
- Total area: 14.43 square miles
- Zip code: 92675
- Area code: 949
- Time zone: UTC-8, Pacific Standard Time (PST)
- Elevation: 121 feet
Map of San Juan Capistrano
Living in San Juan Capistrano Pros & Cons
- Pro: Serene living in a small, historic community
- Pro: Top-rated school district with one of the best high schools in Orange County
- Pro: 10 minutes from the beach and other amenities
- Con: High home prices and limited rental options
- Con: Limited employment opportunities
Is San Juan Capistrano calling to you? If you’re ready to be settled in before the mission bells call the swallows back, SafeWay Moving & Storage is here to help. Call our friendly San Juan Capistrano movers for a free moving quote to get started.