San Clemente

Your Guide to San Clemente

The Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens is an art and historic landmark in Southern California. It’s an award-winning gem that offers a wide selection of performances, lectures, and exhibitions to its visitors. Locals and other curious minds can also benefit from the workshops and tours that are available year-round.

As south Orange County one of the significant cultural institutions, this center has a reputation of offering various programs. These programs help bring international talents to the city of San Clemente. Get to know this significant part of San Clemente’s history by reading on.

Ole Hanson Home

Visitors can enjoy Casa Romantica Estate in various ways. One of which is taking a tour of the Ole Hanson Home. This home is where the family of Ole Hanson lived.

Ole Hanson is one of San Clemente’s founder. He as considered an ambitious and enterprising. With his humble beginnings in Wisconsin in hopes of becoming a lawyer, he rose to be the one the city’s treasured citizens.

He was the mayor of Seattle from 1918-1919. As a land developer, he’s made significant contributions to what we know now as the ‘Spanish Village by the Sea.’

It started when a financier called Hamilton COtton bought 2,000 acres of land. It was then known as Rancho Boca de la Playa. Back in 1923, that’s when Olsen thought of having a resort-style community that’s has a unique Spanish Colonial-revival architecture to it.

He took his mansion as the model. From the start, this Ole Hanson home served as a cultural and civic resource for the city of San Clemente. From its gracious design to the exotic gardens, everything was well-thought. It shows carefully appointed furnishings and a whole lot of vivid details. This is why Casa Romantica remains a unique and treasured destination.


Casa Romantica reflects Southern California’s great coastal beauty. When you visit Casa Romantica, you can also see the beauty of its unique gardens. With over 30 gardens, visitors can dive into the magic of plausible horticultural features and appeal.

In 2017, Casa Romantica commissioned The Beauty of the Butterfly. It’s a masterpiece by the internationally-recognized artist Matthew Placzek. You can find the sculpture in the Native Bowl Garden.

Have a better experience roaming around the Casa Romantica Gardens by following the guide to Casa’s top 10 signature gardens:

1. Courtyard

This garden has the king palm trees that were planted in the 1920s. Both of the giant hanging staghorn ferns here were donated.

2. Cactus Garden

You can find various specimens from all over the world here. Visitors love the orchid cactus with magenta blooms. You can also find the euphorbia here which are actually succulents.

3. Butterfly Garden

This portion of the center is a designated Monarch Way Station. It’s a safe home for butterflies. The heavy feeders in this garden include flowers like roses, angel trumpet, hibiscus, and orchid trees.

4. Native American Garden

This garden contains plants that the Native Achajamen people used. History says that white sage leaves were bundled and burned. This process created “smudge sticks” as protection from evil spirits

5. Spanky Chang Children’s Garden

Spanky is named in honor of the benefactor’s beloved Jack Russell Terrier
Plants. He loved kangaroo paws, yellow button flowers, sticky monkey flowers, and a lion’s tail. These plants are meant to inspire children’s imagination.

6. Story Circle

The Story Circle is a famous spot for visitors to sit and enjoy the spectacular ocean view. It’s also a popular photo destination for everyone.

7. Coastal Bluff/Ocean Terrace

You can find the yucca in the center of this garden. It was planted in the 1920s. The bell that sits to the right of the yucca is a reproduction of an iron bell.

8. Herb Garden

This experimental garden has all types of herbs and produce. You can find tomatoes, cantaloupe, strawberries, carrots, sage, curry, and artichokes here. There’s also the scented geraniums that provide natural bug control in the garden.

9. Native Bowl

This area is dedicated to California Natives. You can find here the Beauty of the Butterfly, our outdoor sculpture. It was commissioned and installed in 2017.

At the top of the pathway is the barrel cactus area. It features an old specimen donated by Ruth DeNault who is one of the founding members.

10. Woodland Garden

With an amphitheater and various flowery and leafy plants, this part of the center is an instant favorite for its visitors. You can find California forest Monterey cypress tree, Santa Barbara daisy, and ironwood tree. There’s also the redbud tree and Douglas iris that are all native to California.

Events and Ticket Prices

General admission is at $5.00. For children from ages 12 and under, they can enjoy free access. If you’re an active military with Military ID or a Casa Romantica Member, you can also get in for free.

If you want to catch the fun here for free, visit Casa Romantica Cultural Center and gardens on first Sundays of the month. Tickets may be purchased at the door.

Operating Hours:

Monday: Closed

Tuesday- Thursday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Friday- Sunday: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Note that Casa Romantica is closed on all federal holidays. It’s also closed on the following select dates:

  • March 22, 2019 (Friday)
  • May 4, 2019 (Saturday,)
  • September 17-22, 2019 (Tuesday- Sunday
  • December 7, 2019 (Saturday)

Casa Romantica produces up to a hundred cultural events every year. There goes the various events that involve music, art, and dance. These events also cover theater, horticulture, and a lecture series.

All these events and gatherings help bring international talent to south Orange County. This center also welcomes private events like weddings and corporate gatherings. Take advantage of the availability of this place. For questions and reservations, contact its designated private events team.

With the many historic spots in Southern California, Casa Romantica in San Clemente remains in the top spot of attractions to visit in the area. This cultural center affords every visitor the chance to get to know the early times of the city. With its prestigious structural designs down to every detail of its history, you will surely feel how San Clemente became as notable as it is today.

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      • 415 Avenida Granada, San Clemente, CA 92672, USA

        Operating Hours

        Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11am–4pm
        Friday: 10am–2pm
        Saturday – Sunday: 10am–2pm
        Monday: Closed

        The 2.5-acre coastal gardens of Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens provide beauty and peace for every visitor. It was Ole Hanson who first planted that later evolved into this beautiful landscape in the coastal environment.  As of today, there are over 30 gardens with distinctive horticultural features.

        Some of the 30 gardens found in Casa Romantica are the Courtyard Garden, the Butterfly Garden, the Cactus & Succulent Gardens, and the Native American Gardens.  Blooming gardens and butterflies in the area will allow visitors to enjoy the natural environment.

        In 2017, Matthew Placzek sculpted The Beauty of the Butterfly which was commissioned by Casa Romantica. You can find the sculpture in one of the 30 gardens in Casa Romantica, the Native Bowl Garden.

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