city in San Benito County, California, United States

San Juan Bautista is a city in San Benito County, California. San Juan Bautista is on both the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail and the mission trail, El Camino Real. The city is named for the Franciscan Mission of San Juan Bautista, which in turn is named for St. John the Baptist.

Despite having a modern population of less than 2,000 residents, San Juan Bautista was once of the more prominent towns in the Central Coast region during the Mexican Republic era, and it has a number of historic landmarks dating from that era.

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San Juan Bautista is a few miles off US Highway 101. To get there, go east on California State Route 156 (exit 345) or south on the San Juan Highway (exit 347)

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The Franciscan Mission of San Juan Bautista
José Castro House
  • 1 Mission San Juan Bautista, 406 2nd St, +1 831 623-2127, fax: +1 831 623-5433. Daily 9:30AM-4:30PM, except major holidays. The 15th California mission, founded in 1797 by Fermin Lasuen. One of the more successful missions in the 18th century. The resting place of Father Estevan Tapis, who led the mission system from 1803 to 1812, and later served as the mission's choir director, solidifying Bautista's reputation as the "Mission of Music". Construction of the current mission church building began in 1803. During secularization, the mission housed survivors of the Donner Party, and contains some of their artifacts to this day. Major restorations took place in 1884, 1949, and 2010. It was featured in the film Vertigo. The church is not part of the state park and charges a separate entrance fee. $4 adults, $3 seniors, $2 children, Under 5 years - free.
  • 2 San Juan Bautista State Historic Park, 200 Washington St (3 miles east from US-101 on California Route 156, turn left on the Alameda, then right on Washington), +1 831 623-4526. 10AM–4:30PM. The main attraction is the plaza, with adobe buildings built by the local Ohlone/Amah–Mutsun people in the early Spanish and Colonial Monterey styles. These have been turned into museums showing the Spanish and Mexican era. The four main historic building are the Plaza Hotel, the Zanetta House/Plaza Hall, the Plaza Stables, and the Castro-Breen Adobe. The old stable displays horse and buggy transportation. The Castro–Breen Adobe, on the corner of 2nd and Washington, was built in 1840, by the eponymous Commandante General José Castro, who commanded the Mexican army in Alta California during the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848. The park also features a blacksmith shop, the historic jail, and an early American settler's cabin. Picnic tables on gravel. Restrooms available, but not ideal for wheelchair access. Listening devices available for the Castro Breen Adobe tour. No dogs.    

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  • Salinas - Located twenty miles south of San Juan Bautista, fans of Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck will want to visit the National Steinbeck Center and soak in the sights that were the inspiration for much of the author's work. The historic downtown dates back to the town's founding in the mid-1800s, while the surrounding countryside is filled with vineyards and both floral and vegetable cultivation. Events include the California Rodeo, which is held during the third week of July.
Routes through San Juan Bautista
San JoseGilroy  N   S  SalinasSan Luis Obispo
Ends at  Watsonville  W   E  END
END ← Jct N   S  W   E  HollisterJct W   E

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