Cerritos is located in the heart of the Los Angeles/Orange County metrocenter, midway between Downtown Los Angeles and the business centers of Irvine, Santa Ana and Anaheim. Because Cerritos is virtually the geographic center of the Los Angeles Basin, it has become one of Southern California’s premier commercial crossroads. Cerritos is served directly by three major freeways and is close to two others.
The city of Cerritos is located in what used to be known as Dairy Valley, as the area was once littered with Dairy Farms. Prior to its popularity as an agricultural area, Cerritos was part of the “Rancho Los Nietos,” a large plot of land, or rancho, that included many cities that currently neighbor Cerritos and was given by the Spanish king to soldier Jose Manuel Nieto. When the rancho was later divided among Nieto’s heirs, Juan Jose Nieto received a section of the land where modern-day Cerritos sits called “Rancho Los Coyotes” which he referred to as “cerritos” or “little hills”, though there are no natural hills remaining in Cerritos. In 1956 the area became incorporated as the City of Dairy Valley, and years later in 1963, after undergoing significant suburban development, formally changed its name to “Cerritos."
While Cerritos’ central location has spurred its growth, innovation and leadership have sustained it. The City has pioneered in many areas, including building America’s first solar heated city hall, undergrounding all utility lines and constructing a recycled water system to irrigate parks and street medians, which saves approximately 815 million gallons of potable water per year.