California Christmas Tree Ceremony


Capistrano Lights, Mission San Juan Capistrano

December 2-30, 2023,

$20, tickets:

 Actual dates: December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29 & 30, 2023

Mission San Juan Capistrano's annual holiday event, Capistrano Lights, is an all-ages, family event that includes a nightly musical tree lighting and decorative light displays. Admission allows you to spend the day starting at 9 a.m. and stay for the holiday programming starting at 4 p.m.

Mission San Juan Capistrano
Historic Mission Grounds
26801 Ortega Highway
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 234-1300
$20, $17 age 60+, $14 age 3-17 years, free under age 3 years:

Mission San Juan Capistrano welcomed more than 2,000 visitors to the opening night of this holiday event. Tickets may sell out so it's recommended that you purchase in advance. If occupancy limits are not met, you may be able to buy a ticket at the door, but there is no guarantee--so why wait?

Capistrano Lights Attractions

  • Admission to the Mission
  • Multi-language Audio Tour
  • Holiday Programming
  • Christmas Tree Lighting and Music
  • Performances by Dickens era Carolers
  • Selfies with Santa
  • Large Scale Nativity in the Ruins of the Great Stone Church, circa 1806
  • The Mission in Lights
  • Community Christmas Trees
  • Prayer Candles
  • Large Scale Wreath
  • Kids Craft Vendor
  • Sweet Treat Vendor
  • Serra Chapel Open After Hours
  • Surprise performances throughout the month
  • Extended Holiday Shopping Hours in the Mission Store

In general, the Mission welcomes nearly 300,000 visitors annually as it has more than 5000 art and artifacts in its collection, interactive educational programming and nearly 10 acres of open space just a 5-minute walk from the train station for Amtrak and Metrolink transportation and the Historic Los Rios District.

San Juan Capistrano Tree Lighting

December 2, 2023, 4 p.m. | 5:45 p.m. Tree Lighting

Historic Town Center Park
31852 El Camino Real
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Free trolley from JSerra Catholic High School 3-10 p.m. 20 minute intervals approx.

Pre-show Entertainment 4 p.m.

Main Stage Show 5 p.m.

Tree Lighting 5:45 p.m.

Activities in the Park 6 p.m.

  • free photos with Santa Claus at Los Rios Park
  • free Christmas train ride
  • crafts
  • Mrs. Claus Story Time
  • train and hay rides for a nominal fee
  • Capistrano Valley High School face painting 
  • stroll around the downtown
  • shops open, complimentary refreshments and special sale items

The downtown businesses district also hosts an Open House with strolling entertainment, musicians and more. The festive atmosphere rekindles the old-fashioned Christmas celebrated during the mission era.

Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.

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