Mission Viejo, in Orange County in southern California and about 30 minutes south of Anaheim along Interstate 5, is a planned community founded in 1965. The community was built on the site of a former Spanish mission that was later used as a cattle ranch. Today, both residents and visitors can take advantage of a wide variety of free activities throughout the city, which includes a number of outdoor sites that are ideal for enjoying the temperate southern California climate.
While Orange County in general is a very popular vacation destination, Mission Viejo is one of its cities that s often overlooked. But truth is, Mission Viejo is a hidden treasure waiting to be explored. Outside of the dozens of fabulous restaurants, here are a few cool things you can check out if you’re looking for something to do on a Saturday Afternoon.
Summer Concerts at Lake Mission
Lake Mission Viejo is a popular hot spot for Mission Viejo residents year around, but especially in the summer. Every Saturday of the summer at 7pm there is a different amazing performer varying from Chase Rise to the legendary KC and the Sunshine Band. Show up at 4pm if you want to catch Jazzfest & Taste of the Lake.
Burke Williams Spa
Need a little bit of relaxation? Burke Williams Spa is the place to go. Voted Best of Orange County in 2011 & 2012, this spa has everything you might need to have a leisurely day with friends or maybe just a quiet and serene day for yourself. Whether it’s a manicure, a facial or a full-body massage, Burke Williams Spa is the best of the best for pampering.
A Hidden Vine
If drinking wine is your hobby, then you cannot leave Mission Viejo without visiting A Hidden Wine. Go on a Friday night to enjoy a wine tasting overlooking Lake Mission Viejo or join the Wine club where you can have two featured wines every three months, tasting notes, and more!
OC Wine Mart & Tasting Bar
If you just want a simple, quick-stop wine tasting, then the OC Wine Bar is exactly what you are looking for. In addition to an incredible selection of premium wine, there is a self-serve wine tasting bar for you and your friends to try on your own. Try some wine, buy some wine, and then go have a movie night at home! If you have kids that love gaming, they won’t let you live it down if you don’t take them to Howie’s Game Shack. This place has an expansive list of virtual games for PCs and Xbox One that basically creates a gamer heaven. You can even have a gaming party!
For some good and affordable family fun, you can never go wrong with a night of bowling. This amazing bowling alley has the best lanes, a full-service coffee shop, and a fantastic lounge.
Color Me Mine
If you like crafting or you have creative kids, Color Me Mine is perfect for you. This unique crafting studio gives customers the opportunity to pick a blank piece of pottery and design and paint it in any way they want. If that’s not cool enough already, Color Me Mine bakes all of your creations in a real pottery kennel to give your product that professional-quality.
Casta Del Sol Golf Course
This isn’t just any golf course. It has a quality, upscale feel with affordable prices. They even have amazing all-inclusive rates that not only include the Green Fee, but also give you access to a cart, breakfast, lunch, and two beers for a price starting at just $22.95.
Mission Viejo Mall
If you’re wondering where you can get your shopping done. The Shops at Mission Viejo is the best place to go. With stores for everyone and great deals you can’t beat a day out shopping with your friends or family.
Oso Creek Trail
Do you feel the most alive when you are in the great outdoors? If so, this popular Mission Viejo trail is for you. This amazing trail started in 1997 as a way for the residents of Mission Viejo to come together and celebrate not only the Earth but the arts as well. This trail is 5.5 miles long and is filled with beautiful sites like the Butterfly Garden and the Wave Wall.
Oso Creek cuts through Mission Viejo as a tributary of the San Juan Creek, one of the largest waterways in Orange County. A community collaboration that started in 1997 led to the development of the Oso Creek Trail (cityofmissionviejo.org), which features 5 1/2 miles of hiking, walking and bicycling paths along the banks of the creek. It is designed as a walking garden, and the paths are lined with more than 130,000 different plants that have been cultivated by volunteers. A plant maze offers fun for kids, while the Peace Obelisk pays tribute to victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Mission Viejo Library
The Mission Viejo Library has grown from a small, county-run library to a large facility with almost 42,000 square feet of books, reading spaces and rooms for activities. Residents can also take advantage of the technology center, which provides access to 30 computers with filtered Internet access and Microsoft Office productivity tools. Children can use the multimedia learning station located in the children’s section. In addition, the children’s section features homework help and story times for younger children. The library walls host a rotating collection of paintings, photographs and other works from local artists.
Movies of Character
Parents looking for educational, enriching and uplifting movies to show their families can take them to see the monthly Movies of Character series (missionviejolife.org) at the Mission Viejo City Hall. Free screenings highlight films that show examples of outstanding moral character. Films previously shown include “Pinocchio,” “My Fair Lady” and “The Blind Side,” and screenwriter Robert Eisele was a guest during a screening of his film “The Great Debaters” in February 2011.
Parks and Recreation
The Mission Viejo Skateboard Facility is a free, 9,000-square-foot skate park at Beebe Park. The complex includes a concrete bowl, vert wall, boxes and a range of street obstacles. A city ordinance requires that skateboarders and in-line skaters wear proper safety equipment, including helmets and pads, before using the park. Families who want to beat the heat can hit the pool at the Sierra Fitness and Recreation Center, which offers free swimming, lap swimming and a children’s play area with a waterslide.