10 Cincinnati Nicknames You Should Know

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A city skyline next to a small park with a path through trees and grass
Cincinnati has more nicknames than you might think, all with interesting origins

Nestled along the banks of the Ohio River, Cincinnati is a city that wears many names to showcase its rich history and culture. From the Paris of America to the Athens of the West, these Cincinnati nicknames tell a unique story.

Each nickname reflects the city's enduring spirit and Cincinnatians' pride in their home. So, whether you're a proud Cincinnatian or just a curious traveler, prepare to unravel the fascinating story behind Cincinnati's many names. Keep reading to discover 10 monikers, plus their origins and uses today.

10 Nicknames for Cincinnati

A city skyline next to grass and a river with a blue bridge over it
One of the most fascinating Cincinnati nicknames is Athens of the West

Athens of the West

The first Cincinnati nickname is one that's constantly under debate, Athens of the West. Many other cities in the United States, as well as countries like France and the United Kingdom, claim this nickname.

Cincinnati began using this name because of the city's unique culture and history. Since Cincinnati is on the border of Kentucky, which used to be a slave-owning state, many abolitionists lived there, drawing in artists as well.

Due to this, Cincinnati became a beacon of culture, which led to the creation of this nickname. It's not really used today, as it's a more popular nickname for cities like Lexington in Kentucky and Jacksonville, Illinois.


Another heavily debated nickname is Cincy, as some people argue it should be spelled Cinci since it's a short form of Cincinnati. Most locals agree that Cincy is the better nickname, stating that Cinci just doesn't look right.

Even the University of Cincinnati has picked a side as some of their merchandise features the Cincy moniker. Since Cincinnati is a long name, many people, both locals and visitors, prefer to use Cincy. Additionally, the Greater Cincinnati region, including Covington and Newport in Kentucky, is sometimes called the Cincy Region.

A metal sculpture of a pig with wings in a playground next to trees and buildings
Pig sculptures can be seen around Cincinnati referring to its nickname Porkopolis


In the 1800s, Cincinnati became the country's chief pork processing hub, as the city had easy access to farmland and river transport. There were so many pigs that they would just wander around the city, leading to the nickname Porkopolis.

Locals were embarrassed by the presence of pigs and the subsequent Cincinnati slogan. Therefore, they were glad when Chicago replaced Cincinnati as the primary meat processing center in America in 1861. Locals now embrace the history, often using pigs in their art and marketing, like the flying pig sculpture on the city's riverfront.

The 'Nati

Another way people shorten Cincinnati is by calling it the 'Nati. It's a newer nickname, as the first known use of it was in 1998.

A nonprofit organization called Keep Cincinnati Beautiful started a litter-prevention campaign at the time, introducing the "Don't trash the 'Nati" catchphrase. The nickname is still popular today, especially among locals.

Cory Woodruff/Shutterstock.com
The Birthplace of Professional Baseball is one of the popular Cincinnati nicknames
The Cincinnati Red Stockings earned a place in history as the first pro baseball team

The Birthplace of Professional Baseball

The first ever professional baseball team was the Cincinnati Red Stockings, earning the city the nickname the Birthplace of Professional Baseball. They declared themselves a professional team in 1869, playing their first game on May 4th the same year.

Before this, baseball was considered an amateur sport. This nickname isn't really used today except by sports lovers and fans of the Cincinnati Reds, but it showcases Cincinnati's history and contributions to the country.

The Blue Chip City

In 1984, Cincinnati's Chamber of Commerce wanted to rebrand the city as the Blue Chip City. Blue chip stocks, which are profitable stocks of high-quality companies, inspired this nickname because the Chamber of Commerce wanted to brand the city as economically stable to attract new business.

The nickname never really caught on. However, the city kept trying. The Blue Chip Cookie Company was even invited to open a store in the city in 1986 to market the nickname. Today, the name is known by many locals but still isn't used much in conversation.

Houses built going up a hill with a church at the top next to a river
Cincinnati has several hills, like Mt. Adams, leading to the City of Seven Hills name

The City of Seven Hills

Another nickname the city created to encourage immigration and tourism is the City of Seven Hills. The government in the 19th century wanted to equate Cincinnati to Rome, which was built on seven hills.

This nickname never really caught on either since Cincinnati has more than seven hills, such as Mount Adams and Walnut Hills. This fact led to a constant debate about which hills to highlight in the list of seven. Another reason the name didn't catch on for Cincinnati is that most people already know Rome as the City of Seven Hills.

The Tri-State

The nickname, the Tri-State, is one used for many areas across the United States. The Cincinnati Tri-State area, also known as Greater Cincinnati, includes 15 counties across Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

The government and news outlets, like the Cincinnati Enquirer, primarily use this nickname. However, they may choose to use the formal name for the area instead, "Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area." No one else really uses it to refer to just Cincinnati, as it could be confusing with so many Tri-State areas across the US.

A large red sign that says "Sing the Queen City" on a lawn next to buildings
The Queen City is one of Cincinnati's most well-known alternate names

The Queen City

One of the most popular Cincinnati names is the Queen City or Queen of the West. Between 1835 and 1850, Cincinnati was the fastest-growing city in the nation. This helped it become a cultural hub, encouraging proud citizens to create this nickname.

Today, the name is still used, especially in the media. You can find it in books, songs, and even poems, like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Poem Catawba Wine, which mentions the Queen of the West variation of the moniker.

Paris of America

Many cities also share the nickname the Paris of America, or the Paris of the West, like Denver and Detroit. Cincinnati claims this nickname for a number of reasons, but primarily because of its historic architecture from the 1800s.

Iconic buildings like the Cincinnatian Hotel and the Cincinnati Music Hall were ambitious for their time, inspired by the unique architecture in Paris. The city was also full of theatres, saloons, and breweries, granting Cincinnati this nickname. It's not really popular today, but locals may remember the nickname's origin.

In Summary

Cincinnati shares some of its nicknames with many other cities around the world. However, there are still names that reflect the city's unique history and culture, like the Queen City or the Birthplace of Professional Baseball.

One thing that's clear in all of these nicknames is that Cincinnatians love their city. They believe it has plenty to offer, so it may be worth a visit if you've never been.

You can impress locals with your knowledge by calling it Cincy or the Nati to fit in. You can even visit the flying pig statue; just don't forget to share the origin of the nickname Porkopolis with your travel companions.

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Written by Rebecca Low

rebeccalow WRITER After travelling around the world and living abroad in Spain and Singapore, freelance writer and editor Rebecca has settled down in her hometown, Toronto, to write about her unique travel experiences.

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