Mission San Miguel Arcangel, San Miguel

4.5
#5 of 9 in Historic Sites in San Luis Obispo County
Mission San Miguel Arcangel is located in San Miguel. Arrange your visit to Mission San Miguel Arcangel and discover more family-friendly attractions in San Miguel using our San Miguel holiday maker tool .
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Mission San Miguel Arcangel Reviews
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4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Beautiful active mission. So authentic. Love the old details - the entrance, chapel, landscape, and bell tower. This mission is a MUST SEE! Easy to get to off North 101.  more »
  • I have passed San Miguel a hundred time going up and down Hyw 101. Today, I finally stopped. It is great pretty and it was built in 1797 and remains one of the most unrestored of the mission. Nice lad...  more »
  • This is a lovely mission and well worth the minimal admission fee. It is stunning to see the inside of the mission, quite beautiful in its early depiction of the Catholic saints and fascinating to lea...  more »
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  • Mission San Miguel Arcangel, the 16th mission, was founded by Franciscan Fr Fermin Lasuen in 1797. After the death of Father Junipero Serra in 1784, Fr Lasuen became Father-President and took charge in the establishment of new missions. This was the 7th mission founded by Father Lasuen. The purpose of Mission San Miguel was to shorten the travel distance between Mission San Antonio de Padua and Mission San Luis Obispo. Along the Camino Real (the King's Road), missions were plotted to be a day's ride (or 3 days walking) apart from one another. Missions were also established to be near a water source, to have fertile lands capable of supporting multiple crops and/or livestock, and to be near native villages. Becoming self-sufficient became as equally necessary as the intended goal of seeking Catholic converts (neophytes) itself. The site was selected because this location filled the last gap (day's ride) all the way to Mission San Francisco. Also, the Salinas River and a large Salinan village were nearby. A temporary wooden church was built, replaced with an adobe church in 1798. A destructive fire in 1806 burned the roof of the church (thatched), many buildings and much of its stored grain. By 1814, the mission's population had grown to over 1,000 neophytes. A larger (current) Mission San Miguel was built from 1816-1818. It was built with a tile roof. By this time, the mission was prosperous by growing wheat, corn, barley, peas, grapes, cattle, horses, sheep and pigs. With the Mexican Secularization Act of 1833, Mission San Miguel was seized by the Mexican government in 1836. Purchased by William Reed for $600 in 1846, his family lived there until they were murdered in 1848. The mission was then converted into a hotel, saloon and stores. In 1859, President Buchanan returned the mission to the Catholic Church. But by then, its buildings were in ruins. It was not until 1878 that an assigned priest re-established a small parish. In 1928, Franciscan Friars from the Santa Barbara Diocese returned to Mission San Miguel Arcangel. In 2003, Mission San Miguel was severely damaged by the devastating 6.5 magnitude San Simeon (San Andreas Fault) earthquake. Retrofitting has continued for years, with the church finally reopening in 2009. Funding to complete retrofitting continues to this day. Unique to Mission San Miguel is its original native frescos on its chapel walls. It is the artwork of Esteban Munras and other Salinan artists, completed in 1821. This is the only CA Camino Real mission with its original (unretouched) frescos. Also, its series of 12 walkway arches are original. Mission San Miguel contains the most surviving original structure than any other CA mission. If Mission San Antonio is considered the least visited CA mission due to its distance from Hwy 101, then Mission San Miguel should be considered the easiest. It is located just feet away from its Highway 101 exit. What is most remarkable about a visit here is the interior of the Mission. Its rooms are truly representative to its times; its chapel is simply breathtaking in still having its original frescos on its walls. If driving along Camino Real in a mission quest in search of the best, then Mission San Miguel should be on your list.
  • Large mission that I wish had a larger tour. The garden is nice but it's off limits. I do hope the full grounds can eventually be restored since they are really gorgeous. The church is beautiful as well with the original paintings. Enjoy!
  • After zooming by San Miguel for so many years, we finally decided to stop and check it out. This is an amazingly intact mission settlement with a really authentic and undeveloped feel. It really feels like stepping back in time 200 years! Highly recommend stopping here – especially if you’re driving the 101 on a long road trip – much better than stopping at a boring rest stop!
  • A truly beautiful place. The most amazing thing for me is that I believe the grounds contain part of the original El Camino Real which you can observe as you approach the Mission from the south.
  • Hidden gem on our road trip to Monterey, glad we stopped by and paid a tour inside to get to know all mission history and appreciated the art. Very meaningful!
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