Though it’s often overshadowed by a handful of high profile neighborhoods that steal the spotlight, the Zaferia District is home to a rich and diverse history. It’s currently being re-energized by a new wave of internationally inspired eateries, hipster boutiques, and craft cocktail joints. The area has humble roots as a farming community and later, a stopover on the Pacific Electric Line. It gradually modernized and was later it was incorporated into Long Beach. The Zaferia District has become one of Long Beach’s hippest and most exciting neighborhoods!
The “Little Town” Comes of Age
While many have searched for the origin of the district’s name, its roots point in several directions. Some researchers suggest the Zaferia Pass in Andalucía, Spain is the inspiration. Others cite R.H. Zaferia, a historic resident and school board member as a possible namesake. However, more likely than not, Zaferia is simply a reference to a nickname in antiquated Spanish. It roughly translates to “little town.” Exactly how the district began.
Zaferia was once a small village of farmhands from the nearby Rancho Los Alamitos. It was known for its patchwork landscape of mustard and sugar beet fields. In the early 1900s, Henry Huntington began laying track for his Electric Pacific Rail Road. Soon “Zaferia Station,” on Anaheim Road and Redondo Avenue became a popular stop. Long Beach was legally dry at the time. So the Zaferia’s bars and pool halls offered an opportunity to enjoy an alcoholic beverage.
The increase in commerce from the rail line vitalized the little town. In 1909 it added a fire department, a post office in 1910, and its first newspaper in 1913. The original Virginia Country Club, was located it was is now Recreation Park. But at the time, it was located in Zaferia. This added another layer of social stratification to the growing community. On Labor Day 1920, the Zaferia District was officially ushered into the city limits as East Long Beach. Flyers from the event called on residents to add a fresh layer of paint to their houses, plant palm and eucalyptus trees, and otherwise beautify the newly dubbed neighborhood. This attitude of creativity and optimism isn’t too far from the current vision of Zaferia trendsetters and business owners.
Zaferia’s New Landscape of Dining, Drinks, and Design
Currently, the East Anaheim corridor is the main artery of Zaferia. It extends north and south of Anaheim Street from Junipero Avenue to Pacific Coast Highway.
An outing along East Anaheim Street allows you to explore new boutiques, restaurants, bars, and coffee houses that have popped up in the heart of the district. Grab a handcrafted coffee from Commodity on Coronado Street. Or, browse the midcentury, repurposed material, and gloriously retro home decor wares of Urban Americana in Zaferia’s design district.
Later, discover Zaferia’s burgeoning food scene at contemporary casual dining establishments like The Crooked Duck. Dive into a broad range of internationally inspired eateries showcasing the area’s diverse cultural makeup. A handful of hipster-friendly bars stretch from Redondo to Junipero Avenue where you can step into the past at a classic no-frills beer and sandwich joint like Joe Jost’s.
Pre-Covid, Zaferia also had a vibrant nightlife scene. There was a solid rotation of live music and art pop-ups, and we have no doubt it’s coming back after the pandemic. Ditto with live theater at the Long Beach Playhouse.
Check out all of the most current Zaferia District happenings HERE.
A Great Opportunity to Own
Zaferia features a mosaic of varied architectural styles. It has a mix of classic older homes, apartments, and multi-unit housing. Spanish style homes sit side by side with Craftsman bungalows, duplexes, and newer condos and apartment buildings. Many of the lots are 5,000 to 6,000 square feet. So some residents have nice sized back yards. As a result, Zaferia’s real estate market is the perfect place for a first-time buyer. It grants the opportunity to plant roots and join an up and coming community.
The need for affordable housing was once a driving force for the neighborhood’s development. However, the Zaferia of today focuses on preserve existing historic elements and building from vintage cues. Close proximity to Recreation Park, Cal State Long Beach, and rows of dining and entertainment add to the allure and accessibility of the Zaferia. This makes it one of the hidden gems of Long Beach real estate.
If you’re looking to own in this affordable, in-demand, and progressive community, let our team of experts help you discover what Zaferia has to offer!
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