The Listno. 8

Great local nicknames

Photo: Associated Press


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Though its origins remain disputed, the designation "the DMV" is gaining traction in the District, Maryland, and Virginia. In honor of the DMV's ascent, we take a look at the monikers, epithets, and distinctions that have distinguished DMV neighborhoods for the last 200 years.

  1. "So Very Virginia"

    This ambiguous Charlottesville slogan was ranked as the second-best city nickname in the U.S. by a consultancy firm in 2005.

  2. "City of Magnificent Distances"

    Charles Dickens sniffed at this moniker upon visiting D.C. and said that the avenues "that begin in nothing and lead nowhere" would more aptly be called "City of Magnificent Intentions."

  3. "Hottest-Guy City"

    Total Beauty magazine gave Bethesda this distinction in 2009.

  4. "City within a City"

    Nickname for vibrant Columbia Heights until riots damaged businesses and buildings in 1968.

  5. "Chocolate City"

    So dubbed for its majority African-American population, the District now has fewer black residents than the surrounding suburbs.

  6. "Millionaires' Row."

    Stretch of Massachusetts Avenue in the late 19th and early 20th centuries named for the impressive mansions that lined the street. Today it hosts embassies.

  7. "One of 10 Great Places to Retire for Wine Lovers"

    U.S. News & World Report granted Leesburg this wordy but nicely specific accolade in 2009.

  8. "Where History Never Gets Old"

    Fredericksburg, Va. boasts a variety of Civil War-era attractions. As the city's tourism website says: "It's all here. It's TIMELESS."

  9. "The Forgotten River"

    The Anacostia River earned this name for its long and sad history of pollution, neglect, and underuse.

  10. "The City that Reads"

    Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke had this wishful slogan painted on every bus stop in town in the '90s. Graffiti artist later altered many of the benches to read "The City that Breeds."

  11. "The Greatest City in America"

    Perhaps even more wishfully, Mayor O'Malley had the benches repainted with this self-assigned moniker in 2000.


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  1. wnewcott wnewcott

    Bill Newcott

    Aug 11, 2010 - 01:22:30 PM

    Great list! You might add the nickname given to the city by John Adams' secretary of the treasury, Oliver Wolcott: "Capital of Miserable Huts."

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  2. Dan Rowinski Dan Rowinski

    Dan Rowinski

    Aug 13, 2010 - 08:25:24 PM

    I dunno about the CVille one. Lived there for 10 years, on and off, and never heard that.

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  3. Shashi Bellamkonda Shashi Bellamkonda

    Shashi Bellamkonda

    Aug 11, 2010 - 02:57:14 PM


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