What do you do with a free Saturday and $10 dollars in your pocket? You get an all day pass on the Metrolink. Hop on and take the train as far as it will take you. You may actually take the Metrolink all the way to San Clemente, but on the day of our adventure the end of the line was San Juan Capistrano. It was a first for me, and such a fun adventure.
We started our journey from the Burbank station and headed to the hub, Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles.
Have you been on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland where your comedic tour guide shows you the “back side of water”? Well on our way to Union Station we experience the “back side” of the city. It’s ugliness is actually pretty. I love the colorful graffiti and the urban warehouses along the way and entirely different view of the city you don’t see from the freeway.
Now enter the grandeur of one of the last great railway stations. Union Station was built in the 1930’s and is on the register of historic places. A beautiful destination itself, especially if you’ve never been there. Traxx is the lovely white table cloth restaurant within the station. Across the way is a comfortable swanky lounge for cocktails.
Here is one of the unique train stations along the Orange County Line. Each one with it’s own personality. Did you know you can take the Metrolink from Union Station to an Angels game?
We’ve arrived at our destination. Now we feel miles away from Burbank. We only stay for a few hours, but as you can see there is plenty to see and do once you get to San Juan Capistrano.
Bring your bike on the train with you and you may add another layer of sight seeing. We just walked because the center of the town is very walkable.
Wineries, food and music are dotted up and down the streets directly adjacent to the train station. You just step off the train and you’re there!
At the heart of the city is the Mission San Juan Capistrano. It was a gorgeous Southern California day and the mission just begs to be photographed and lends itself to wedding, senior pictures and family photo shoots, all of which were going on in and around us. So many beautiful brides.
This beautiful place is also used for concerts under the stars (bring a picnic) and “Christmas at the Mission” complete with carolers, food and shopping. Another event is Battle of the Mariachi’s Festival. Music, food and bands battling for cash prizes!
Right across the street from the mission is an oasis for $5 Margaritas and my favorite IPA’s. It’s called The Mission Grill. I found great fish and calamari tacos. You can’t beat the price, and the outdoor patio had a football game on for my husband. We always say we love five (well maybe four) star food for one dollar sign $. It felt like we were on an episode of Rachel Ray’s $40 a day.
It was the perfect short getaway. We even saw a flock of swallows. We were lucky, because today October 23rd is the “Day of San Juan” the day the swallows take flight and leave the mission after the summer months. They fly to their winter home in Argentina. The “miracle” of their return is on Saint Joseph’s Day March 19th. Do you know the classic song “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano“?