Founded by Saint Junípero Serra in 1769, this was California’s first mission. Serra encouraged Native Americans to live here, exchanging work in the fields for religious instruction. Harassment by soldiers and lack of water supplies caused the mission to be moved from its original location in Old Town to this site. In 1976, Pope Paul VI bestowed the mission with the status of minor basilica. In 2015, Pope Francis canonized Junípero Serra, the first such ceremony to be conducted on US soil.


prac_info 10818 San Diego Mission Road • 619 281 8449 • www.missionsandiego.comOpen 9am–4:45pm daily • Adm $3; Tote-a-Tape Tours $2

prac_info Church: Mass 7am & 5:30pm Mon–Fri, 5:30pm Sat, 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, noon & 5:30pm Sun

Google Map

  • Food and drinks are not allowed inside the mission.
  • Be aware that the San Diego Trolley stops a good three blocks away.

Mission Floor Plan

1. La Casa del Padre Serra

The original 1774 adobe walls and beams survived a Native American attack, military occupation, earthquakes, and years of neglect. Padres lived simply, with few material comforts.


Interior of Padre Serra’s quarters

2. Campanario

This graceful 46-ft (14-m) bell tower defines California mission architecture. One of the bells is considered an original, and the crown atop another suggests it was probably cast in a royal foundry.


The graceful bell tower

3. Padre Luis Jayme Museum

Artifacts here include records of births and deaths in Saint Serra’s handwriting, the last crucifix he held, and old photographs showing the extent of the mission’s dereliction prior to restoration efforts.

4. Garden Statues

Four charming statues of St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of the Native Americans; St. Serra; St. Joseph, saint of Serra’s expedition; and St. Francis keep vigil over the inner garden.


Statue of St. Anthony of Padua

5. Chapel

Taken from a Carmelite monastery in Plasencia, Spain, this small chapel features choir stalls, a throne, and an altar dating from the 1300s. The choir stalls are held together by grooves rather than nails. The raised seats allowed the monks to stand while singing.

6. Cemetery

Although it no longer contains real graves, this is the oldest cemetery in California. The crosses are made of original mission tiles. A memorial honors Native Americans who died during the mission era.

7. El Camino Real

Also called the Royal Road or King’s Highway, this linked the state’s 21 missions, each a day’s distance apart on foot.

8. Church

The width of a mission church depended on available beams. Restored to specifications of a former 1813 church on this site, it features adobe bricks, the original floor tiles, and wooden door beams.


The church at Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá

9. Gardens

Exotic plants add to the lush landscape around the mission. With few indigenous Californian species available, missionaries and settlers brought plants from all parts of the world, including cacti from Mexico and bird of paradise from South Africa.


The lush gardens at the mission

10. Padre Luis Jayme Memorial

On November 5, 1775, Native Americans attacked the mission. A cross marks the approximate spot where the Kumeyaay tribe killed Jayme, California’s first martyr.


Franciscan father Saint Junípero Serra spent 20 years in Mexico before coming to California. Few of his companions survived the tough “Sacred Expedition” across the desert. Serra, undeterred, established California’s first mission in 1769. His sainthood was controversial for many Native Americans as they felt the mission system had helped to fragment their culture.

..................Content has been hidden....................

You can't read the all page of ebook, please click here login for view all page.