Mission San Gabriel Arcángel: Visiting the Forth California Mission
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is the fourth of the 21 California missions, and it is the closest of the missions to Los Angeles. Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is located south of Pasadena, and while it is not a particularly large mission, there is still a lot to see. I visited it on day two of my California mission trip that you can read about here, and you can read all about this mission itself below.
- Cost: $6
- Location: 428 S Mission Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776
- Highlights: Chapel, cemetery, wine-producing vines and the court of the missions
The mission is located off the 10 Freeway’s Ramona Street exit. Head north from the freeway till the road ends on Mission Road, and the mission is on the right. There is a large parking lot that can fit hundreds of cars, along with buses, attached to the mission.
When you pay your fee in the small shop, you will be given a map that highlights many of the main things there are to see. Here are some of my favorites.
All missions have a fountain, and it usually is a highlight for me. The fountain here butts up against a small wall, which makes it a lot different than the others that tend to be freestanding.
Behind the fountain, there is a historic cannon and an anchor as well.
Court of the Missions
This area right in the middle of the mission has models that were made in the 1930s of every one of the California missions. Since I was visiting them all, it was cool to see as they were large scale replicas.
There was also a unique sundial right in the middle of the replicas.
The cemetery here is one of the most beautiful of the missions. It is not just one section, but it includes many different graves along the various walkways and sections right outside the chapel.
These walkways were charming with hanging plants growing around them, and the graves that lined the path added a serene quality to the walk.
The chapel is the oldest building south of Monterey in California. The pulpit is original, and the altar was brought from Mexico in the 1790s.
The highlight of the altar is the painting of “Our Lady of Sorrows,” which is said to have been how they were able to start a conversation with the local Indians.
There is also a prayer room that has incredibly detailed and beautiful paintings on both the wall and the ceiling. It is off to the right of the main chapel room.
The walls of the chapel have a few unique pieces of art on them as well. They are not the traditional style that you see in the missions, but they still are depictions of Jesus’ crucifixion.
You can walk outside from here as well to see the chapel’s exterior.
The Wine Making Room
In the back of the mission, there is a room that spotlights all of the old tools that they used to make wine. Both olive oil and wine was made here.
Across from the wine area, there is a four-room museum that showcases a lot of the artifacts they have been able to secure from the mission’s history.
Father Junipero Serra
As with all of the missions, there is a statue of Father Junipero Serra here as well.
There is an old grapevine next to the statue that is a total beast. The sign says that it was planted in 1774, and you can tell by how massive the trunk is for it. I wonder what wine from it would taste like?
Soap & Candle Vats
In the front right, four large brick cisterns were created to make soap and candles. This mission supplied both to many of the other missions in Southern California.
Lastly, there is a kitchen building that was rebuilt to show what the kitchen would have been like. It is a replica, but it is very detailed and fun to see.
All of the California missions are great, and while this is not one of my favorites, it is still a fantastic example of California’s history. Since it is close to LA, it can be a great stop if you are in the area visiting. You can read more about my time exploring the California missions here and be sure to leave a comment below with your thoughts on this mission.