Tea, Trains and Shopping
We think you'll agree, it's high time for tea in The OC.
San Juan Capistrano, Old Towne Orange
The OC Metrolink connects two of Orange County's favorite historic destinations: San Juan Capistrano's Los Rios Street and the Plaza in Old Towne Orange. It's a relaxing, 25-minute journey each way, and both towns offer charming settings, boutique shopping and wonderful teahouses.
We've created a one-day "teahouse and train" itinerary that starts in San Juan Capistrano with tea at a vintage Victorian home. After tea, stroll the shady lane that fronts the train tracks and visit the quaint boutiques and garden-art shops in California's oldest residential neighborhood. The train station is located here too, so it's quick and easy to hop onboard and head to your next stop: Old Towne Orange.
By the time you arrive at the Plaza (the train depot is a block away within walking distance), you'll be ready for tea and lunch at Paris in a Cup, a gorgeously furnished tea salon that also serves desserts. Afterwards, you'll have enough time to explore the historic Plaza, replete with art galleries, antique shops, restaurants, boutiques and historic properties. Catch the train back to San Juan Capistrano in the late afternoon, and your itinerary is complete.
Metrolink Schedule for Weekend "Tea House" Itinerary
Depart San Juan Capistrano at 11:54 a.m.
Arrive in Old Towne Orange at 12:28 p.m.
Depart Old Towne Orange at 5:25 p.m.
Return to San Juan Capistrano at 5:57 p.m.
Saturday or Sunday
You'll want to get an early start. The Tea House On Los Rios (31731 Los Rios St., San Juan Capistrano) opens at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and serves an excellent gourmet breakfast until 11:30 a.m. Sit on the veranda and enjoy tea from a teapot warmed with an English-style tea cozy. Reservations are recommended (949-443-3914).
Take a stroll through historic Los Rios Street, where small boutiques occupy historic homes with beautiful gardens. If you have time, wander the main street of San Juan Capistrano, where more shops and gift stores await, or stroll the grounds of Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano. You may even hear the Mission bells ringing.
Train departs from San Juan Capistrano to Orange.
Arrive at the Old Towne Orange train depot. Walk a block down Chapman Avenue to the Plaza and head to Paris In a Cup Tea Salon & Café (119 S. Glassell Street). This French-themed venue, open until 3:30 p.m., is very popular, so be sure to make reservations in advance (714-538-9411). Lunch fare includes soups and salads.
The Plaza is brimming with shops and restaurants. Visit Heavenly Hostess Retail Boutique (80 Plaza Square), which features items galore for entertaining including handmade aprons. There's also historic Watson Drugs & Soda Fountain (116 E. Chapman Ave.), in business for more than 100 years and featuring a retro-style gift store. Country Roads Antiques & Gardens (204 W. Chapman) is one of many antique vendors in town. If you're still hungry, grab a bite at Haven Gastropub, Gabbi's, Taco Adobe, Citrus City Grille, Café Lucca or any number of excellent eateries. You may even have time to explore the beautiful campus of Chapman University, located right in the heart of Old Towne.
Catch the Metrolink back to San Juan Capistrano, where you'll arrive at 5:57 p.m. If you're hungry for dinner, try El Adobe (31891 Camino Capistrano), Sarducci's Capistrano Depot (26701 Verdugo St.), or L'Hirondelle (31631 Camino Capistrano). Or catch a movie at the beautiful Regency Theatre next to the train tracks, featuring on-site dining at Rick's Café San Juan (26762 Verdugo St.).
* Confirm current Metrolink schedules by visiting:
Other great teahouses in Orange County:
Tea & Teacups (Yorba Linda);
Tranquil Tea Lounge (Fullerton);
Sussex Teapot Tea Room (Garden Grove);
Coffee, Tea & Tulips (Mission Viejo);
One Love Tea (Lake Forest);
Lavender Lounge Tea Company (San Clemente):
Cha For Tea (Irvine)