Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano is a California icon. Perhaps most famous for visits from its annual guests of honor, the swallows, the Mission means many things to many people. For Californians, it is a powerful symbol of the state's complicated colonial history. For Catholics, it is a profound religious site, indicative of the Church's own complex heritage. History buffs spend hours reveling in the facility's many exhibits and displays, connecting viscerally with the sights, sounds and feelings of generations long past. For visitors of any background, it is an undeniably gorgeous place to spend an afternoon-replete with striking architectural elements and lovingly cared-for gardens.
This large, 95,000 square foot (8,825 square meter) eco-friendly facility is known as the Soka Performing Arts Center. Located on the Soka University of America campus in Aliso Viejo, this state-of-the-art center features a concert hall and theater both fully equipped with incredible acoustics designed by the same man who did the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo. See amazing student performances as well as professional groups year round at this stunning venue.
A short walk from the bustling downtown Laguna Beach, this park is an amazing hidden oasis. The grassy bluff and the sandy beach with giant rocks and hidden caves makes this park a favorite spot for photographers, sunset watchers, picnickers, and even sea birds. There are also a variety of art stands selling local artwork.
Crystal Cove State Park spans 3.2 miles (5.15 kilometers) of beach and over 2000 acres (809.37 hectares) of wilderness. Visitors to the park can relax on the beach, hike or go horseback riding on the many trails that criss-cross the verdant landscape. Explore tide pools and hidden coves as well as canyon flora and fauna. Finally, the crystal clear waters have been designated as an underwater park and are great for scuba diving, skin diving, and underwater photography, thus covering all aspects of outdoor exploration.
Founded in 1920, the Laguna Playhouse is rich in history and local color. Used as a neighborhood center of culture and entertainment during World War II, the theater has long been a fixture in the Orange County arts scene. Even now the theater is known for offering fantastic live theater productions.
The area is 900 acres (364 hectares) of estuary, marsh, and coastal sage scrub habit, and it is home to several endangered bird species. Seventy species of fish use the bay and during winter migration thousands of shorebirds and ducks either visit or spend the winter here. Kayak, canoe, walking and electric boat tours are offered and a state of the art Interpretive Center is located at 2301 University Dr., Newport Beach.
The Camino Real Playhouse stages an ambitious set of theatrical performances each year, featuring both in house productions and performances by visiting theater groups. The downtown venue has long been at the heart of the city's performing arts scene, with a fantastic repertoire of plays, musicals, stand-up comedy and special events to boast. From annual holiday shows to youth camps and acting classes for adults, the Camino Real Playhouse is a cherished community resource and a beloved tradition that the city hopes to preserve for generations to come.