The San Miguel Mission in Central California

Mission San Miguel

San Miguel Mission

San Miguel Mission, or Mission San Miguel Arcangel, was founded on July 25, 1797 as the 16th of the 21 California missions.

Mission San Miguel c. 1900

Mission San Miguel Quick Facts

Address: 775 Mission St., San Miguel (San Luis Obispo County)
(Google map – opens in new window)
GPS coordinates: 35.74506, -120.69713
Phone: (805) 467-3256
Church Hours: Open daily 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m
Museum (self-guided tours) Open daily 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
Gift Shop Open daily 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
Mission San Miguel Mass times (opens in new window)

More photos of Mission San Miguel


Interestingly, Mission San Miguel lies mid-way between the other 20 missions, with 10 to the north of San Miguel Mission and another 10 to the south, even if the mileage is not half-way.

The period of the founding of the missions was from 1769 to 1823 and 1797 again is about in the middle of these dates.

At this mission, along US route 101, are found the best preserved original murals of all the missions.

Mission San Miguel - Saint Anthony reredos mural

Mission San Miguel was badly damaged during the 6.5 magnitude San Simeon earthquake of Dec. 22, 2003. The church and many of the other mission buildings were closed due to safety concerns.

After an heroic effort by the Mission’s pastor, Father Ray Tintle, OFM, the necessary funds were raised to repair the damage to the church and it was re-opened on Sep. 29, 2009, the feast day of St. Michael the Arcangel, the patron of the mission.

While much has been done to save the mission, much work is still needed. Visit theMission San Miguel Restoration Project for information on the ongoing needs for restoration.

Mission San Miguel sketched in 1863

Edward Vischer 1863
The caption at the bottom of the sketch reads:

Church (the interior yet kept in good condition) of the Mission of San Miguel, and Ruins of the Casa Principal and Outbuildings. Sheriff and posse conducting a band of criminals towards San Luis Obispo.

Mission San Miguel South Wall Mural

If you visit some of the other missions, you might notice that some of the mural motifs found at Mission San Miguel were used during their restorations (Mission La Purisma especially comes to mind).

Mission San Miguel Collonade


In addition to the beauty of the church, there are many other things to explore on the mission grounds.

The arches along the front were purposely built of various shapes and sizes, unlike the uniformity of other missions.

Mission San Miguel fountain


The fountain in front, though not original, is based on the design of a fountain at the Mission Santa Barbara.

There are various other pieces of equipment such as a grist mill, an olive press, a beehive shaped oven for bread baking, a threshing floor and an old cart.

Beyond the line of buildings is a lovely shaded picnic area.

Be aware that besides being an active church, the other buildings of the mission are the home of the Franciscan friars that live there. That’s the reason you will see some signs restricting access on the self-guided tour.

Mission San Miguel restored after the 2003 earthquake

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