Visiting California’s Missions

Many of the 21 Spanish missions established by Father Junipero Serra are great places to visit still today.

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Many of the 21 Spanish missions established by Father Junipero Serra are great places to visit still today. In fact, 5.5 million visitors stop by the missions every year from all over the world. When was the last time you took a drive that stopped at one of these sites?
Mission San Miguel,the only mission in the U.S. with original fresco paintings, is undergoing a huge restoration project. The iconic red brick Bell tower is on the south end of the property. A must-see for any photographer.
Mission La Purisma Concepcion
One of the most visited missions in California is located north of Santa Barbara. Called La Purisma Mission offers a candlelight tour in the fall - taking you through the history of the region by the flicker of candlelight. In the spring and summer, Purisma's People Day events involve people in costume pretending it's 1822.
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The San Luis Rey Mission east of Oceanside will hold an all-day event for Dia de los Muertos October 30, 2011. The site has a museum open for a self-guided tour on most days except major holidays. Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 am - 5 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Mission San Antonio de Padua
Found along the Central Coast, Mission San Antonio is a destination for many wanting to see the largest mission in the state. A tour through the museum is self explanatory, with a donation of $5.00 per adult and $3.00 for child requested. Outside, there are picnic grounds with tables under shade trees to enjoy the serenity.
The wooden bell at Mission San Buenaventura. This was the last of the missions and is still an active parish today, welcoming visitors from sunrise until sunset.
The adobe chapel of Mission San Juan Capistrano, considered the "Jewel of the Missions," is also famous for its gardens, walks, and swallows. Admission is $9 but there are coupons available on the mission's website.
Josh Keppel
Mission Dolores basilica, towards the center of the screen, is the oldest intact building in San Francisco. Traditional Indian designs have been reproduced on the ceiling in vegetable dyes. Located on Dolores Street in San Francisco, it is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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Some of the best views of Santa Cruz can be seen from the Santa Cruz Mission located on School Street. There is only one single-story building left. Get more information here
Then there's the first - San Diego Mission Church (San Diego de Alcala) open daily for visitors but still holds Sunday mass. In the summer, they hold the "Festival of the Bells" and offer tours if given advance notice.
Mission Santa Barbara continues to be the chief cultural and historic landmark in the city of Santa Barbara more than 200 years after it was founded. The site nicknamed "Queen of the Missions"is known for beautifully landscaped gardens.
The Basilica Church, a registered National Historic Landmark, is the centerpiece of the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo. Upon entering, visitors are usually struck by its catenary ceiling, thirty foot reredos and 5 foot thick walls. Find out more at the mission website.
Lucky Dragon Hotel y Casino
In San Luis Obispo, the mission is located in the heart of downtown.
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