San Juan Bautista

San Juan Bautista Mission

San Juan Bautista was founded on June 24, 1797. This mission sits on the edge of the only remaining Spanish Plaza in California. Mission San Juan Bautista’s historic church (built in 1812), well-landscaped grounds and setting offers a unique opportunity to see and appreciate the California of two centuries ago.

Facts About This Mission

General Information

San Juan Bautista

Founded:
June 24, 1797
Also Called:
La Misión del Glorioso Precursor de Jesu Cristo, Nuestro Señor San Juan Bautista
Current Status:
Active Catholic church since 1797, now under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey. The existing adobe church has seen continuous use since 1812.
Summary:
San Juan Bautista was founded on June 24, 1797. This mission sits on the edge of the only remaining Spanish Plaza in California. Mission San Juan Bautista’s historic church (built in 1812), well-landscaped grounds and setting offers a unique opportunity to see and appreciate the California of two centuries ago.

Visitor Information

Address

406 2nd St
San Juan Bautista, CA 95045
United States

Get Directions
Phone
  • 831-623-2127 (Office)
  • 831+623-4528 (Gift shop)
Hours
Fees
  • Adults: $4.00
  • Seniors (65+): $3.00
  • Children (5+): $2.00
  • Children (under 5): free
Tours

San Juan Bautista provides a useful brochure in a PDF format that can be downloaded from the mission website. To schedule tours / obtain information for School Projects, call (831) 623-4528.

Church Services

Saturday:

  • 5:00 p.m. (English) Vigil Mass

Sunday:

  • 8:30 a.m. (English)
  • 10:00 a.m. (English)
  • 12:00 p.m. (Español)

Monday - Friday:

  • 12:00 p.m. (English) Guadalupe Chapel - entrance through the garden.
Weddings and Other Special Services

Weddings are held at San Juan Bautista on Saturdays at 12:00 noon and 2:30 p.m. 

San Juan Bautista is a particularly popular wedding location and arrangements must be made at least six months in advance. As is the policy at all of the missions which are Catholic churches, at least one member of the couple must be a baptized Catholic. 

Extensive guidelines for San Juan Bautista are available online at http://www.oldmissionsjb.org/pdf/WeddingGuidelines_new2_12_30_12.pdf. 

Questions should be directed to the Parish Office, at 831-623-2127.

 

Special Events

Many of the California Missions (including San Juan Bautista) were sited so that the sun rays from winter and summer solstice illuminated the interior of the church. For details see http://www.oldmissionsjb.org/pdf/New%20light.pdf, authored by Dr. Rubén Mendoza, an expert on the Solstice phenomenon

Special Attractions

San Juan Bautista is a particularly picturesque, well-landscaped mission. The mission is located on the only original Spanish Plaza left in California. 

The church, dedicated on June 23, 1812, has a two-tiered companario added during a 1976 restoration. 

San Juan Bautista Interior
San Juan Bautista Interior

When you visit the church pay attention to the main altar reredos, which were painted (and probably constructed) in 1818 by an Anglo-American carpenter, Thomas Doak. The pulpit, installed shortly after 1812-1813, has a sounding board mounted overhead. 

The inner courtyard has inviting gardens, several important displays and an area for picnicking. 

The museum rooms offer some of the best displays you will find in the mission chain. Be sure to visit the room dedicated to the Indians of the area (the Mutson and in the 1820s the Yokuts).

Tips for Visitors

This is a mission where you can not only spend a couple hours visiting the was mission, you will find that the grounds and adjacent historic state park offer additional “must see” attractions.

Saint John The Baptist Statue
Saint John The Baptist Statue

A statue of Saint John the Baptist Greeting the Sunrise, located on the mission grounds, honors the Saint for whom the mission is named. 

You can see part of the original El Camino Real (the Kings Road) just beyond the walls of the mission cemetery.

Keep alert for the mission rooster.

Be sure to visit the mission's original adobe monjerío (nunnery), since renamed Plaza Hall and the former cuartel (Soldiers’ barracks) retrofitted by Angelo Zanetta in 1858 as the Plaza Hotel.  

Other Historic Attractions

The town of San Juan Bautista offers the best opportunity to see and appreciate 19th century California. There are some 30 historic buildings in the 12-block area surrounding the Plaza. These are part of the San Juan Bautista State Park.

Additional Information

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