Boston nicknames

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Boston Common

The American city of Boston, Massachusetts, has many nicknames due to historical contexts. They include:

  • The City on a Hill, which 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, which 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, which 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, which was given in reference to the religion of the city's founders.
  • The Cradle of Liberty, which derives from Boston's role in instigating the American Revolution. Also a nickname of Philadelphia.
  • City of Notions, which was coined in the nineteenth century.[5]
  • America's Walking City, which was given due to Boston's compact and high density nature, which has 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 is the highest.
  • Beantown, which refers to the regional dish of baked beans. According to, back in colonial days, a favorite Boston food was beans baked in molasses for several hours. Boston was part of the "triangular trade" in which slaves in the Caribbean grew sugar cane to be shipped to Boston, in order to be made into rum and in turn sent to West Africa for the acquisition of more slaves. Sailors and traders called it "Beantown" while the locals did not refer to their city by that nickname. Even today, tourists often refer to Boston as "Beantown," while Boston natives look on and scoff.
  • Titletown, which refers to Boston's historic dominance in the world of sports, specifically the Boston Celtics, who have won 17 NBA Championships, and the New England Patriots, who have won five Super Bowl Titles.[6][7][8]
  • City of Champions, which—much like Titletown—refers to Boston's recent streak of dominance in sports, with the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and New England Patriots each winning national championships in the last decade.[citation needed] [9]
  • The Olde Towne, which comes from the fact that Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It is often used in reference to the Boston Red Sox (The Olde Towne Team).[10]


  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. ^ A Google search on September 28, 2007, gave 867 hits for +boston +"hub of the solar system" but 45,300 hits for +boston +"hub of the universe".
  3. ^ "Boston's nicknames: Beantown, Hub, the Walking City". The Boston Globe. August 10, 2006. 
  4. ^ "LCP Art". Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  5. ^ "Their Nicknames". Decatur Daily Dispatch: 2?. September 23, 1889.  Decatur, Illinois. Found at
  6. ^ "SPORTS CHART OF THE DAY: Boston Is The New "Title Town"". Business Insider. Retrieved 2015-02-02. 
  7. ^ "4 Rings in 6 Years makes Boston the real TitleTown". SF Gate. Retrieved 2015-02-02. 
  8. ^ ""Title-Town" --- How Boston Became the City of Champions". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2015-02-02. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Entries from Bostonist Tagged with "Olde Towne Team"