This partial list of city nicknames in the United States compiles the aliases, sobriquets and slogans that cities are known by (or have been known by historically), officially and unofficially, to municipal governments, local people, outsiders or their tourism boards or chambers of commerce. City nicknames can help in establishing a civic identity, helping outsiders recognize a community or attracting people to a community because of its nickname; promote civic pride; and build community unity. Nicknames and slogans that successfully create a new community "ideology or myth" are also believed to have economic value. Their economic value is difficult to measure, but there are anecdotal reports of cities that have achieved substantial economic benefits by "branding" themselves by adopting new slogans.
In 2005 the consultancy Tagline Guru conducted a small survey of professionals in the fields of branding, marketing, and advertising aimed at identifying the "best" U.S. city slogans and nicknames. Participants were asked to evaluate about 800 nicknames and 400 slogans, considering several criteria in their assessments. The assigned criteria were: whether the nickname or slogan expresses the "brand character, affinity, style, and personality" of the city, whether it "tells a story in a clever, fun, and memorable way," uniqueness and originality, and whether it "inspires you to visit there, live there, or learn more."
The top-ranked nickname in the survey was New York City's "The Big Apple," followed by "Sin City" (Las Vegas), "The Big Easy" (New Orleans), "Motor City" (Detroit), and "The Windy City" (Chicago). In addition to the number-two nickname, Las Vegas had the top-rated slogan: "What Happens Here, Stays Here." The second- through fifth-place slogans were "So Very Virginia" (Charlottesville, Virginia), "Always Turned On" (Atlantic City, New Jersey), "Cleveland Rocks!" (Cleveland, Ohio), and "The Sweetest Place on Earth" (Hershey, Pennsylvania).
Some unofficial nicknames are positive, while others are derisive. The unofficial nicknames listed here have been in use for a long time or have gained wide currency.
Read more about List Of City Nicknames In The United States: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Contemporary Nicknames, Historic Nicknames, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico
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“I made a list of things I have
to remember and a list
of things I want to forget,
but I see they are the same list.”
—Linda Pastan (b. 1932)
“On the whole, yes, I would rather be the Chief Justice of the United States, and a quieter life than that which becomes at the White House is more in keeping with the temperament, but when taken into consideration that I go into history as President, and my children and my childrens children are the better placed on account of that fact, I am inclined to think that to be President well compensates one for all the trials and criticisms he has to bear and undergo.”
—William Howard Taft (18571930)
“We cannot feel strongly toward the totally unlike because it is unimaginable, unrealizable; nor yet toward the wholly like because it is staleidentity must always be dull company. The power of other natures over us lies in a stimulating difference which causes excitement and opens communication, in ideas similar to our own but not identical, in states of mind attainable but not actual.”
—Charles Horton Cooley (18641929)
“It is a curious thing to be a woman in the Caribbean after you have been a woman in these United States.”
—Zora Neale Hurston (18911960)
“A mans interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“This city now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie
Open unto the fields and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.”
—William Wordsworth (17701850)