100 Cities and Their Nicknames

I like nicknames, they define us better than our names, they are clever and funny, and they tell so much about our personality and sometimes, about our aspect, although this might be the worst case. I’ve had plenty of nicknames from “Bal”  and “Maimu” to “Blondy”, but now everyone calls me by using diminutives of my name. That’s why when someone calls me “Miruna”, I know something is definitely wrong.

I know the Internet is full of lists with cities’ nicknames but I decided to make my own, composed of the world’s most important cities, and I hope this will be useful for my readers.

Cloud Gate Chicago

Photo by Mike Warot

1. Paris – The City of Love, The City of Light, La Ville-Lumiere

2. Prague – The City of Hundred Spires, The Golden City, The Mother of Cities

3. New York – The Big Apple

4. Las Vegas – Sin City

5. Chicago – The Windy City

6. Vancouver – The Big Smoke

7. Montreal – La Belle Ville, Frenchtown, The City-Mountain

8. Los Angeles – The City of Angels

9. New Orleans – The Big Easy

10. Philadelphia – City of Brotherly Love, Philly

11. Amsterdam – Venice of the North

12. Venice – La Serenissima, Bride of the Sea

13. Vienna – The Imperial City

14. London – The Square Mile, The Old Smoke, The Smoke

15. Detroit – Motor City

16. Miami – The Magic City, Little Cuba

17. Memphis – Bluff City

18. Petra – The Rose Red City

19. Pittsburg – Iron City

20. Rome – The Eternal City, City of the Seven Hills

21. Seattle – The Emerald City

22. Bucharest – Little Paris

23. Florence – The City of Lilies

24. Barcelona – The City of Counts, The City of Gaudi

25. Budapest – Pearl of the Danube

26. Toronto – Queen City, Muddy York, The Big Toe

27. Dublin – The Fair City

28. Jerusalem – The Holy City

29. Boston – The Hub

30. San Francisco – Frisco

31. Moscow – The Whitestone, The Forty Forties, Third Rome

32. Edinburgh – Auld Reekie

33. Geneva – The Peace Capital

34. Rio de Janeiro – Marvelous City

35. Salzburg – White City

36. Mumbai – The City of Dreams

37. Singapore – The Lion City

38. Naples – City of the Sun

39. Bologna – Red City

40. Torino – City of Four Rivers

41. Genova – The Superb

42. Palermo – The Happy

43. Milano – Fashion Capital of the World, The Drinkable City

44. Cairo – Paris of the Nile

45. Buenos Aires – Paris of the Americas, Queen of the Plata

46. Ushuaia – The End of the World

47. Melbourne – City by the Bay, Bleak City, Europe of Australia

48. Sydney – The Harbour City

50. Sao Paulo – Brazil’s Locomotive, Land of Drizzle, Sampa

51. Dubrovnik – The Pearl of the Adriatic

52. Helsinki – The White City of the North

53. Bordeaux – City of Wine

54. Nice – Angels City

55. Berlin – The Grey City

56. Jaipur – The Pink City

57. Oslo – Tiger Town

58. Warsaw – Default City, Big Village in the Middle of Nowhere

59. St Petersburg – The Mind of Russia

60. Madrid – El Foro, The Forum

61. Athens – The City of Violet Crown

62. Dallas – Big D

63. Hong Kong – Pearl of the Orient

64. Munich – World City with Heart

65. Birmingham – The City of a Thousand Trades, Brum

66. Lisbon – City With a Future

67. The Hague – City of Peace and Justice

68. Calcutta – City of Palaces, City of Love, City of Joy

69. Beijing – The Forbidden City

70. Adelaide – City of Churches

71. Zagreb – Little Vienna

72. Bruges – Venice of the North

73. Marseille – Phocean City

74. Tel Aviv – The City that never stops

75. Bolzano – The Door to the Dolomites, The German One

76. Sanremo – The City of Dreams

77. Tivoli – City of Delights

78. Vicenza – City of Gold

79. Kuala Lumpur – Golden Triangle

80. Cuernavaca – The City of Eternal Spring

81. Tijuana – Television Capital of the World

82. Rotterdam – Manhattan upon Meuse

83. Lima – City of the Kings

84. Manila – City by the Bay

85. Porto – The Invincible City

86. Cadiz – The Little Silver Cup

87. Bilbao – El Bocho

88. Zurich – Little Big City

89. Kiev – The Mother of Rus’ Cities

90. Honolulu – Sheltered Bay

91. Macau – Oyster City

92. Wroclaw – City of Hundred Bridges

93. Beirut – Paris of the Middle East

94. Udine – Capital of the Great War

95. Ancona – Doric City

96. Tehran – The City of 72 Nations

97. Bangalore – The City of Gardens

98. Leipzig – Bimbo Town

99. Split – The Diocletian’s City

100. Grenoble – Capital of the Alps

Do you know other cities’ nicknames?

61 Responses / Leave a comment

  1. Cheryl-Anne Sturken Reply

    Great list! Philadelphia, the city of “Brotherly Love;” Las Vegas, “Sin City,” New York, “The Big Apple.”

  2. Nancy Reply

    Great list, Miruna! Don’t forget that New York City is also known as “The City That Never Sleeps.”

  3. Hugo Reply

    What’s in a (nick)name? Interesting topic and nice list, Miruna. Of course, you could add hundreds of other cities with beautiful nicknames. Some of my favorites are: Bologna (‘the fat one’), Toulouse (‘the pink city’), Cadiz (‘little silver cup’), Cuzco (‘the navel of the world’) and San Gimignano (‘Manhattan of the Middle Ages’). There are also several lesser known Belgian towns with funny nicknames, like Schaerbeek (‘donkey town’).

    And one day I’d like to travel to all the European villages and cities with a nickname related to Venice (there must be at least 25) .

    • Miruna Reply

      Thank you, Hugo
      I had no idea about San Gimignano – Manhattan of the Middle Ages? Wonderful!
      Thanks for the tips. I bet those villages and European cities with a nickname related to Venice are beautiful. Would you mind if I wold write a post about them? I think it’s a great idea for an article, bur it’s you idea:).

    • Miruna Reply

      Thanks, it’s very nice of you, Hugo. I’ll let you know when I’ll write the post:).

  4. princesssillypants Reply

    HongKong is not the Pearl of the orient seas – it’s the Philippines
    My students came across this site & got a mistake in their assignment…

    • Miruna Corneanu Reply

      Hello “princesssillypants”,
      First of all this is not a manual of geography, second, Hong Kong is often called “The Pearl of the Orient” (I haven’t called it “Pearl of the Orient Seas”, as you said). It got this nickname from its Colonial Coat of Arms (between 1959 and 1997), depicting a lion with a pearl in its hands.

  5. Vandan Patel Reply

    Auckland – The City of Sails
    Christchurch – The Garden City

  6. skyduster Reply

    A much more common and better known one for Athens is “the glorious city” (το κλεινόν άστυ)

  7. Leighanne Stainer Reply

    If you called San Francisco “Frisco” back in 1872, you would have been fined $25, which was lots of money back then. Most people still disapprove of it’s usage.

  8. Amcheers Reply

    Alexandria, Egypt: The Pearl of the Mediterranean
    And thank you for taking the time to put all these together :)

      • physicsgirl Reply

        Gotta agree with the poster. I’ve lived in Vancouver and all over BC for 30 years and have never heard it called the Big Smoke. We call it Raincouver and the Wet Coast though.

    • Neil Reply

      And Wkipedia is wrong! (Not a valid source for facts!) Vancouver doesn’t have the heavy industry to warrant the nickname that is Toronto’s!!

  9. Luis Reply

    City of Mexico, The City of Palaces, (Von Humboldt assessment) the Venice of Indies
    Monterrey, MX, the Sultan of the North (of Mexico)
    Guadalajara, MX, The Pearl of Occident (of Mexico)
    Puebla, MX, City of Angels
    Pachuca, MX, La bella airosa (similar to the windy city, from its winds and altitude)
    Veracruz, MX, The Key of Mexico

  10. vancouver's cutest little wolf pup Reply

    Vancouver is also called Raincity!

  11. vancouver's cutest little wolf pup Reply

    and Denver is The Mile High City

  12. Eddie Reply

    London in not called the square mile. The city of London is the square mile! And also it’s the big smoke not old smoke.
    Reference : I’m a Londoner!

  13. kondolpatola Reply

    Davao City, Philippines is known as “The New Jerusalem”

  14. Benny Boom Reply

    As a native of San Francisco, people still to this day frown on SF being called “Frisco”. More suitable nicknames for SF: The City, The City By the Bay

  15. CJ Reply

    What about Shanghai, China? I’ve been here for work 3 times and unable to find the nickname.

  16. physicsgirl Reply

    My understanding is that the Forbidden City is a palace IN Beijing – not the nickname of Beijing itself

  17. physicsgirl Reply

    These are great nicknames but I think you made a mistake with Toronto. It’s T.O. not Toe. I googled the big toe and toronto and all I got was podiatry sites.

  18. Dave McClain Reply

    Cleveland – “The North Coast”, “The Best Location in the Nation”

  19. Heather Reply

    I am a Miami native and I’ve never heard it referred to as “Little Cuba”. Interesting… San Diego (California) is “America’s Finest City”

  20. gabriele Reply

    hi, in italian naples is also called “città partenopea”, in english i think “partenope”, but i’m not sure. Bergamo, an italian city, is called “città dei mille” that in english is “city ​​of a thousand”. Bologna is called ” la dotta, la grassa, la rossa” that in english is “the learned, the fat , the red” .
    source: i’m italian :)

  21. TimmyBoy Reply

    Edmonton, although smaller than most of those cities, is called The City of Champions

  22. Leon Reply

    Istanbul is known as ‘The Second Rome’ (when it was still called Byzantium) because it was made the capital of the East Roman empire after the West Roman Empire collapsed. It is also know as ‘The city of the seven hills’ becuase it was built on, unsurprisingly, seven hills.
    Cape Town is referred to as ‘The Mother City’ because it was the first European settlement in South Africa whilst Johannesburg is known as ‘The city of Gold’ due to the gold mines in the hills by which it is surrounded.

  23. Christopher Murphy Reply

    I was doing a little research on this, as it has been used to create a study guide in Memrise. I don’t think that Toronto goes by any of the names here still. They did go by Muddy York, but a long time ago. Queen City is a nickname for the largest city in any state/region with ties to England but once again this has fallen out of usage. And the big Toe is not listed anywhere. I do admit that I might have used a poor source, but it seems that T.O. and T-dot are more common. Anybody from Hogtown that can validate the name you use?

  24. ms Reply

    I was looking for something else and accidentally checked my home city….
    Warsaw – Default City, Big Village in the Middle of Nowhere???
    While I have never heard of ‘Default City’ but I heard the 2nd (offensive term) pronounced by some superiority complex idiots from other Polish cities. I’d suggest checking how many hits you get from Google on your ‘nickname’ vs. very common nickname Warsaw Phoenix City

  25. Len Reply

    NO NATIVE of San Francisco EVER calls it ‘Frisco’. To do so automatically outs you as a tourist.

    People here just call it ‘The City’. ‘City By The Bay’ is much less used, but also acceptable.

  26. Josh Lamsdale-Lloyd Reply

    Wales has two monikers to its name: “The Land of Song”, cause of our annual tradition, the Eisteddfod. (Basically, a showcase of songs, dance, acting and poems), and the “Land of Castles” for some of our remaining castles that still stands from the medieval times. :)

  27. Wayne Reply

    Kansas City, MO is known as the City of Fountains. Rumored to have more Fountains in KCMO than any other city in the world besides Rome.

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