What’s in a name? It’s funny, when we parents think about what names are best for our bundles of joy, we don’t always take into consideration what the name will sound like when our little ones aren’t so little anymore. Imagine if we had to actually name adults.
Would we choose entirely different names? Would they suit the individual’s personality? Would we be more inclined to name them after our grandfathers if they look like them as a grown man? Would we choose names that embody the religious faith they have taken on? What about names that showcase the one-time child’s favorite travel destination? Now there’s an idea.
Still, we aren’t naming adults. We’re naming babies that will one day be adults. That’s why city-based names are so popular. They’ll never change. Cities keep their vibe over time. New Orleans will always be Cajun and French. It’ll always be New Orleans. Annapolis will always be a seaside town with an elite following.
We can’t guarantee that a child will grow up to fulfill those same connotations, and we don’t suggest that anyone should name their child New Orleans, but cities are a great way to find inspiration for titling the newest member of the family.
When considering which city inspires us most, it’s important to take into account places we’ve been before. Often, some cities appear romanticized through film, television and pictures. It’s best to rely on personal experience if we really want to effect some kind of meaning in the name.
Still, if France hasn’t been in the budget, should a lack of ability to travel there prevent us from naming our sons after the Romans? We think not. Here’s to inspiration!
Some may say it’s cliché. Paris. It’s been done, and done again. To those people, we suggest they don’t name their child Paris. To the rest, this is a fantastic name choice with so much history and inspiration behind it.
Paris may very well be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is the number one tourist destination on the planet for a reason. Each year, some 32.2 million people flock to the French city to indulge in their culture.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not full of rude people who smoke everywhere. Instead, it’s a huge city with an impressive mass transit system that makes it easy as pie for visitors to make their way around all of the sights. The Eiffel tower, Notre Dame and the Louvre are just a few.
Stemming from New York, we love the idea of naming a child after the Big Apple. After all, what American city boasts more livelihood and success than NYC? It’s not for everyone, but if you’re one of those people who can appreciate the sound of chatter in the streets, honking horns and a climate that screams we’re really living life, here, a baby named York just might be right up your alley.
There’s plenty of inspiration behind the name with destinations like Central Park and Broadway shows to boot. New York City is a place where dreams come true. While we Americans may find it appealing to dream of a life in the French countryside on the outskirts of Paris, Parisians are often dreaming of a life inside the city limits of Queens.
If you’ve been there, you know why.
If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. Or so the song says. San Fran is definitely a hoppin’ stop tourist destination. It’s also a city that exudes warmth and love, but not the kind you get on the East coast. Nah, no Paula Deen types here. Instead, you’ll find that San Fran is like a world in itself.
Yes, there are summer breezes to be found, but it also might be a steady 55 degrees in June. You never know. The weather is unpredictable and odd at times in this city, but that’s Northern California for you. You see a lot of people buzzing about regardless of the weather. People in San Fran love to stay active.
Contrary to what you see in movies, the city actually has a much smaller downtown area than the film industry depicts. Most of it is scattered with houses upon houses, and they aren’t cheap to live in, either! If money is no issue and you love the thought of sweaters on summer evenings, maybe take a trip and see what it inspires in you and your little one to be.
Have you been to Minneapolis? If not, you’re missing out. Sure, it sounds like everything that lies between the two coastlines is a complete bore. That’s just what they want you to think. Alongside neighboring St. Paul, the two destinations have been termed the twin cities, and they’ve got a lot to offer.
Minneapolis is home to the Wells Fargo History Museum and the Basilica of St. Mary. The city is known for its theater productions and the famous Mall of America with its indoor roller coasters, swings and more is just a hop, skip and a jump outside of town in nearby Bloomington.
If that doesn’t intrigue you enough, keep in mind that the late musical genius, Prince was born and raised in Minneapolis. That’s not the only musical talent the city has ever seen, though. Bob Dylan attended college here and was a regular participant in the folk music scene in the early 1960s.
Johnny and June sang about it. Jackson. A city that’s hotter than a pepper sprout. Some would say it’s pretty darn cool, though. If you can get past the sweltering sun, Jackson is ripe for a good time. One of Jackson’s biggest attractions is the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, where tourists can learn about famed musical legends, like Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Brenda Lee.
Often dubbed the heart of the music highway, Jackson is nestled smack dab between Memphis and Nashville. It’s the perfect place for a pit stop if you’re making your way from one Tennessee town to the other in search of some good barbeque and sounds of the south. It’s also got the perfect amount of southern panache for handsome little boys.
While some New Yorkers give it a bad rap, and outsiders think Brooklyn is a scary place they should stay away from as a tourist, Brooklyn is actually a pretty hip place to hang out. It’s especially well known for its famous eats, like Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs and Peter Pan Donuts.
This is the kind of city that you drop in on and wish you could swing the price tag on a one bedroom flat here. Forget about bringing all the kids; it’s most likely you can’t afford it. Yes, even Brooklyn is out of budget.
Still, the historic buildings with pop-up shops and Chinese restaurants scattered amongst them lend this city a certain amount of appeal. It’s the vibe that we love about Brooklyn, and you can carry on with that vibe by lending its name to your newest bundle of joy. We love Brooks for a boy, too!
If you step into the downtown scene of Charlotte, North Carolina, you’ll find a few fountains, a lot of skyscrapers, and a nighttime skyline that can compete with any industrial nation’s capital. Charlotte is the best of both worlds. It boasts a booming cityscape that keeps us on our feet, but the suburbs aren’t out of reach, either.
Charlotte is also home to one of the most beautiful tree-lined neighborhoods in the south, the Fourth Ward. It’s perfectly painted Victorian era homes and brick mansions will have you drooling over the dream home you never knew you dreamt about.
Speaking of dreams… when you find out you’re having a girl, you just might want to lend that same old timey character, charm and appeal to the name you bestow upon your little angel. Charlotte isn’t a bad city to be named after. We can’t think of one unsightly thing about it.
Just when you thought I was going to tell you how lovely a small town in Ohio was that you’ve never heard of, I’m actually going to introduce you to the Hamilton of Bermuda that you’ve never heard of. This capital city is a hoppin’ tourist destination and also the hub of Bermuda’s economy. Bermuda belonging to the Brits, it’s only fair that the city boast wealth and garner adoration from visitors from around the globe. Cruise ships dock here on a regular basis.
If that’s not enough to pique your interest, you might prefer the more European destination of Hamilton, New Zealand. Located in the country’s Waikato region, Hamilton offers visitors everything from crystal caverns and waterfalls to hiking trails where they can view animals in their natural habitats. Either city is a great pick to name your child after.
Rock Hudson. The Hudson River. Hudson, New York. Need we say more? When you travel to the aforementioned city, don’t forget to swing by the Olana State Historic Site and marvel in awe at the architecture that once was in this great country. The former home or artist, Frederic Edwin Church is truly inspiring.
Take a cruise along the Hudson River before dining at one of Hudson’s renowned restaurants, such as the Crimson Sparrow and the Red Dot. Then make your way to the Stageworks Hudson theater and check out the local actors who render Broadway-worthy performances right in the heart of the riverside city. Booking your trip yet? It’s the perfect place for couples to take in a babymoon before little baby Hudson is born.
Kensington and Chelsea is actually a borough to London, England. While it may be the smallest London borough, it’s the most densely populated in all of the United Kingdom with close to 160,000 residents. With excessive public transportation available, town folk and visitors to the region can pack a lot of sightseeing into one day. Holland Park by Yorkshire Stacked is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area, beloved for its retreat to nature amongst the city.
Tourists love stopping by the Golborne Road market to check out the local finds and look for something small enough to take back home with them in a suitcase. The Westway outdoor climbing wall attracts a lot of interest from locals who are seeking a new way to get their workouts in without being bored. This kind of wall-climbing can defy gravity and will certainly give your core a workout.
But no one’s really naming their baby after a city because it has great wall-climbing resources, right? How about their expanse street markets that set a city vibe like no other amongst historic architectural backdrops that make you feel like you’re literally living on the set of a British film. Yeah, that’s what we’re talkin’ about.
If you head down to that place you learned was on the bottom of the globe, you’ll end up in the warm and inviting climate of Australia. There are quite a few cities we could drool over down under, but Adelaide takes the cake. People don’t visit Adelaide without stopping by the Central Market to live like a local and shop some of the region’s produce.
The Glenelg tram takes visitors and locals alike all over the city so that their trips from the Adelaide Botanical Garden to the Adelaide Oval aren’t wasted with commute times. The Barossa Valley is known for its sweet wines and Kangaroo Island for its scenery. You can’t go there and not relax. If you’re hoping for a baby girl that is as sweet as a sea breeze and easy on the eyes, Adelaide isn’t a bad thing to call her.
Cleveland is such an historic city. Try not to forget that this bustling city is actually home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. While Cleveland boasts an impressive orchestra and plenty of museums, it’s got far more up its sleeve than other cities. A lot of tourists love checking out the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and Steamship William G. Mather while they’re there. Still, one of the city’s most famed tourist destinations is none other than the house from the hit film A Christmas Story.
To outsiders, it may seem like this place has nothing better to offer than sports. On the inside, it’s a gem that the locals like to keep to themselves. Parents who are looking for a name for their little one that speaks to their inner beauty that can’t be captured without an up-close glimpse, Cleveland just maybe it.
If you’re intrigued by the name Selma, but aren’t too keen on naming your child after Selma Montgomery — though we don’t know why you wouldn’t be — fear not. Down in Selma, Alabama, people have been reveling in the laid-back ole timey lifestyle for what seems like forever.
You know those towns that just exude old South charm with a few rough edges? The kind that seem like they only exist in movies like Fried Green Tomatoes alongside Jessica Tandy. You can experience the real deal down in Selma.
It’s such a small town that most of its notable sights to see are architectural parts of the city, like the Old Live Oak Cemetery and Brown Chapel AME Church and Edmund Pettus Bridge. The Museum of Slavery and Civil Rights and the Old Depot Museum are trademarks of the small Alabama city that will have you feeling like you’ve stepped back in time. If you’re searching for a classic name with old South style, Selma just may be it!
Because Nebraska is boring, let’s stick to Lincoln for Lincolnshire, as in England — which to anyone living outside of England, is never boring. Ha! Seriously, though. Have you seen the Lincoln Catherdral? Talk about jaw-dropping.
There’s also Lincoln Castle and Steep Hill — a street full of row houses turned shops that has been great inspiration for many films. With everything from wildlife parks to beaches to keep you busy in this town, the locals tend to stick closer to the inner city and spend their time supporting the large local arts scene and regional farms.
The city is also home to many beautiful memorials and even more beautiful churches. The church buildings date back hundreds of years and boast all of the grace and splendor that one would expect of religious sects in the 1600s. If you’re shooting for a name that is strong, bold, and steeped in history, Lincoln is it.
Stemming from the Latin florens, meaning to blossom or bloom, Florence is the perfect name for the central coastal region of Italy. A city like Florence is immersed in such depths of history. Piazzale Michelangelo overlooks the gorgeous city with architectural backdrops that instantly create a romantic vibe.
Florence is located in the Tuscany region of Italy. This region is known for one thing above all else, and that’s food. Anyone who visits the region is certain to pack on a few pounds tasting the local delicacies while there. Those who are really smart will take in a cooking class or two before they leave, as well.
While the flats in Florence can be lackluster without big budgets, it’s important to understand that most of the people living in this city prefer to be out in it, rather than at home curled up in their pajamas in bed and binge-watching Netflix. Florence embodies the Italian way of life, as a city and, as a name.
If you’re a fan of all things white and love a good snow storm, the name Aspen may be right up your alley. Home to celebrities like Kevin Costner and the Koch brothers, Aspen is dripping with wealth and elitism.
The good news is, you don’t have to be rich to visit. Contrary to popular opinion, Aspen does have a variable climate. It’s not always snowy, guys. While their Spring season is usually fleeting, and fall may blend with snow sooner than most climates, Aspen offers plenty to do for the days when there isn’t any snow to ski on.
Castle Creek Road, John Denver’s Sanctuary and Grottos trail are just a few. An old English word meaning the tree, Aspen is ranked in the 372nd position in the United States among baby names. That means it’s just as rare as it is beautiful. This unisex name is a great pick for anyone who loves to embrace the outdoors.
Back in Britain, London is the first name on most people’s lips when they’re asked to name a European city. It’s recognized worldwide as the New York City of Europe. The bustling city is home to 8.63 million people, and more than 31.5 million visitors frequented the English city last year.
Modern visitors to the city might take in tours like the Making of Harry Potter and the London Eye Ticket, but the real love and heart of this city lies in its history. While staples like the Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London are likely to be on everyone’s list of things to do, locals aren’t as impressed with these architectural feats.
While they acknowledge their beauty, Londoners know that much of the beauty of this city lies in the local pubs and eateries, as well as on the outskirts in villages like Surrey, out in the countryside. This is where the city folk run to for an escape from their busy lifestyles. Still, they wouldn’t say it’s often, because who wants to escape London? While it’s not exactly uncommon these days, we still think the name is perfect, and a terrific option for both boys and girls!
If you polled a group of people and asked them what city of the South they find to be the most beautiful, most regal, most resembling what it means to be a Southern belle city, it’s no doubt that a large number who speak up and say Savannah.
The warm and inviting oceanside city is home to many of the South’s elite and wealthy. The tree-lined streets and brick-paved downtown sect are dreamlike. The brownstones dotted along those same streets are worthy of a little gawking. Better yet, you won’t be yelled at to get off the steps like you might when visiting Carrie Bradshaw’s brownstone in Manhattan. Since it’s the South, it’s all about manners and extending a friendly hand.
Savannah’s culture is stepped in history and it’s been the setting for many films, books and fables. Fans of celebrities like Paula Deen and sometimes catch a glimpse of the star at her local restaurant, The Lady and Sons when she’s not holed up in her Savannah mansion on Wilmington Island.
Back in the concrete jungle, lovers of the city life can relish all that a place like the Bronx has to offer. If you thought Brooklyn has the best sushi in town, you haven’t ventured to the Bronx yet, where the Chinese delivery guy will show up even at 2 AM, because this is the city within the city that never sleeps.
The Bronx is all about hard knocks. You’ll need street smarts to make it there. Home to the New York Yankees, most people who’ve been to the stadium never take the time to step outside its walls and experience all that the Bronx has to offer. From the zoo to City Island Edgar Allan Poe’s cottage, there are a multitude of sights when it comes to entertaining the kids and also taking in some local history.
Don’t skip out on the Bronx because of its reputation in the media and films, and don’t skip out on this name either.
For those of you who are still drooling over Florence, make room for Verona. It’s places like the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore that make this city what it is. Located in the lesser-known Veneto region of Italy, the Piazza Bra houses the Arena. This amphitheater is often not recognized by name, but by sight.
It has been pictured in many films and photographs. Often the quintessential picture of history, the Arena was built all the way back in the first century. Not only is it still standing today, but it’s still in use.
There is no history on the etiology of the name Verona, and there’s also no data on its use as a name for a person beyond the year 1935. That means this name is prime for picking. It’s far from the first city with Roman roots to inspire a baby name, but we love that the next person who picks it as their child’s name could be the first in multiple decades. The city of Verona deserves such recognition.
Once known only as Devonshire, the small city of Devon, located in the Southwest part of England, is home to many smaller suburbs, like Plymouth, Exeter and Beer. This city dates back to the end of the last ice age when it became home to some of England’s first settlers, alongside other cities.
Today, it has a booming arts scene and a vast collection of museums and historical facilities where people can flock to learn more about the city’s roots and how it came to be the tourist mecca that it is today.
Devon can be spelled in several ways to sit varying tastes. The original name for the town, Devonshire, stems from the Dumnonii, a Celtic tribe. So, anyone in search of a name with seriously historical roots for their son or daughter might want to start here.
Home to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and Museum, this small town in Kansas is a Mid-westerner’s dream town. Ever fantasize about settling down in a place where you can leave your doors unlocked and not worry about your kids when you send them outside to play? Abilene is it, y’all.
While you won’t find world-renowned theaters or celebrity chef restaurants in Abilene, you can find the Russell Stover Candy Company, one of the town’s primary providers of employment, and the Greyhound Hall of Fame. Yep, doesn’t get any quirkier than that!
We like Abilene, not just for the small town feel it lends to any girl’s name, but the way it rolls off the tongue and makes people ask “Abilene, where’d you come up with that?”
With a population of just over 15,000 people, Lourdes, France is home to plenty more than just its people. Recent use of this title as a child’s name is limited. Lourdes is nestled in the Pyrenees Mountains and therein resides the Grotto of Massabielle.
The Chateau Fort of Lourdes and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes are both popular tourist destinations, too. Many millions of people travel to the Grotto each year in hopes of finding healing for their ailments and emotional recovery for their heartbreaks.
The entire city is steeped in the Catholic faith. There are certainly enough churches to go around and in the midst of it all, you can get lost in the steeples, pitches and peaks of every rooftop. The cobblestone pavements that adorn several sects of the city are a testament to its history. This is exactly the kind of city you can name a child after.
It wouldn’t surprise anyone if you’ve never heard of Wyatt, Missouri. It’s not the kind of place that makes its way into movies. No one famous is from the small town of just 313 people. Yes, it’s that small. Truth be told, there isn’t a whole lot to keep oneself busy in Wyatt.
This is a town built on faith. Its multiple church congregations can speak to that. This tiny town is made up of just 84 families as of the last census poll in 2010. It’s the kind of tight-knit community that most people never experience in their lives. Literally, everybody knows everybody in Wyatt.
For moms and dads who are expecting a son, Wyatt, stemming from the surname Wyot, which means a brave battle. While it is ranked as the 34th most popular name in the United States and the 30th most popular in Canada, European countries haven’t taken as much interest in the name. Will you?
Hailing from Montana, the town of Darby is where 733 people call home. The Old Norse language for deer town was used to label the town of Derby years ago in England. Darby was a derivative that came along later.
Visitors to the Montana town can take in the sights at Lake Como Recreation Center, Painted Rocks Lake and Skalkaho Falls. Territories like the Magruder Corridor are what this town is all about. Tall trees that melt into the lakeside like a Bob Ross painting lend the small Big Sky Country city its charm.
Darby is a vastly unpopular name across all nations. It can be used for both boys and girls, and it pairs well with most last names, too. Darby’s Discovery Nature Trail is a great analogy for the process we parents go through in naming our babies. At first glance, we things we like, but with further introspection, we find a deeper meaning in other things we hadn’t seen before.
When searching for the perfect name for your little one, look beyond the tree lines, beyond your state’s borders, perhaps even beyond your nation. Search for inspiration. You never know where you’ll find it.
Sources: Daily Mail, World Population Review, The Guardian