Nicknames of Boston

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Boston has many nicknames, inspired by various historical contexts. They include:

The City on a Hill
came from governor John Winthrop's goal, of the original Massachusetts Bay Colony, to create the biblical "City on a Hill." It also refers to the original three hills of Boston.
The Hub
is a shortened form of a phrase recorded by writer Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Hub of the Solar System.[1] This has since developed into The Hub of the Universe.[2][3]
The Athens of America
is a title given by William Tudor, co-founder of the North American Review, for Boston's great cultural and intellectual influence. Also a nickname of Philadelphia.[4]
The Puritan City
was given in reference to the religion of the city's founders.
The Cradle of Liberty
derives from Boston's role in instigating the American Revolution. Also a nickname of Philadelphia.[5]
City of Notions
was coined at least as early as 1823.[6][7]
America's Walking City
was given due to Boston's compact nature and high population density, which have made walking an effective and popular mode of transit in the city. In fact, it has the seventh-highest percentage of pedestrian commuters of any city in the United States, while neighboring Cambridge has the highest.
refers to the regional dish of Boston baked beans. In colonial days, a favorite Boston food was beans slow-baked in molasses.[8]
refers to Boston's historic dominance in professional sports, specifically the Boston Celtics, who have won 17 NBA Championships, and the New England Patriots, who have won six Super Bowl Titles.[9][10][11]
City of Champions
much like Titletown—refers to Boston's history of dominance in sports, with the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and New England Patriots each having won multiple national championships.[12][13][14][15]
The Olde Towne
comes from the fact that Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It is also used in reference to the Boston Red Sox (The Olde Towne Team).[16]


  1. ^ Holmes, Oliver Wendell (1858). The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. Phillips, Sampson and Company.; Holmes, Oliver Wendell (1891) [1858]. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. Houghton, Mifflin and Company. p. 172 "A jaunty-looking person... said there was one more wise man's saying that he had heard; it was about our place—but he didn't know who said it.... 'Boston State-House is the Hub of the Solar System. You couldn't pry that out of a Boston man if you had the tire of all creation straightened out for a crow-bar.'"
  2. ^ Bulfinch, Thomas (1942). Klapp, W. H. (ed.). The Age of Fable. Kingsport, Tennessee: Kingsport Press. p. vii.
  3. ^ "Boston's nicknames: Beantown, Hub, the Walking City". The Boston Globe. August 10, 2006.
  4. ^ "LCP Art". Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  5. ^ "Words and Their Stories: Nicknames for Philadelphia and Boston". Voice of America. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  6. ^ "Their Nicknames". Decatur Daily Dispatch: 2?. September 23, 1889. Archived from the original on September 27, 2006. Decatur, Illinois. Found at
  7. ^ For 1823 reference see: Woodstock (VT) Observer, 5/13/1823, p.3.
  8. ^ "10 classic Boston dishes, and 5 places to find each one". Boston Globe Media Partners. Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  9. ^ "SPORTS CHART OF THE DAY: Boston Is The New "Title Town"". Business Insider. Retrieved 2015-02-02.
  10. ^ "4 Rings in 6 Years makes Boston the real TitleTown". SF Gate. 17 June 2011. Retrieved 2015-02-02.
  11. ^ ""Title-Town" --- How Boston Became the City of Champions". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2015-02-02.
  12. ^ "Tom Menino was a proud mayor when Boston was a city of champions - Sports - The Boston Globe". Archived from the original on 2014-11-04.
  13. ^ "City of champions".
  14. ^ ""Title-Town" --- How Boston Became the City of Champions (Part 1: Patriots)". Bleacher Report.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Entries from Bostonist Tagged with "Olde Towne Team"