15 Philadelphia Nicknames You Should Know

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A city skyline near a river and trees under a blue sky
Philadelphia's welcoming and vibrant culture has led to the creation of many monikers

Philadelphia is one of the United States' most historically significant locations, teeming with interesting landmarks and attractions. Its profound historical and cultural heritage has resulted in the Pennsylvania city gaining a multitude of nicknames over time.

From well-known Philadelphia nicknames, like Philly and the City of Brotherly Love, to a few more obscure monikers, this article delves into 15 fascinating alternate names for the area. Keep reading to discover the history behind a handful of Philadelphia's unique nicknames!

15 Nicknames for Philadelphia

A sundial with a base statue in a park with many cherry blossom trees
Philadelphia, America's Garden Capital, is famed for its horticultural attractions

America's Garden Capital

America's Garden Capital is a name given to Philadelphia due to its many public gardens, parks, and other horticultural attractions. Many of these gardens are even Philadelphia landmarks, like Morris Arboretum & Gardens.

In fact, Philadelphia's horticultural history dates back to the founding of the nation, offering the city another nickname, the Cradle of Horticulture.


Some of Philadelphia's monikers don't show the city in the best light, like Filthadelphia. This name is a combination of "filth" and "Philadelphia," suggesting some parts of the city are not very clean.

This hasn't always been the case, though, in the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin founded one of the country's first street-sweeping programs. Even in the 1950s, Philadelphia was ranked one of the cleanest cities in the US.

This changed after the 2008 financial crash, and it slowly became one of the dirtiest big cities in the country. Obviously, locals don't love this nickname, and the city is trying hard to clean up its image and shake the Filthadelphia name.

A city skyline with skyscrapers under a bright blue sky with some clouds
Philly is one of the most popular Philadelphia nicknames


One of the most well-known Philadelphia names is Philly. This name is a fun, shortened version of the city name that locals like and use frequently. Even the area's baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies, used this be-loved moniker in their name.

The Athens of America

A more unique nickname for the city is the Athens of America. This name came about after the American Revolution, when the city of Philadelphia was a hub of artistic and intellectual activities, likening the area to Ancient Greece and the Greek capital of Athens.

Some of Philadelphia's initial architecture was also inspired by Greek design, and the name Philadelphia is a combination of two Greek words. Even today, the city has many cultural and educational institutions, from galleries and museums to well-regarded universities. For similar reasons, this is also a nickname for Boston.

A red brick building with a clock tower in the middle and flowers in the foreground
The United States Declaration of Independence was drafted in Philadelphia

The Birthplace of America

Due to its significant role in the founding of the United States, Philadelphia is often referred to as the Birthplace of America. During the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers met in the city frequently to discuss the new nation of the United States.

Philadelphia was also the first US capital. Another interesting Pennsylvania fact about Philly is that Independence Hall is where the contents of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were discussed. Due to all these historical events in the nation's early years, it's not surprising that Philadelphia is named the Birthplace of America!

The City of Brotherly Love

The City of Brotherly Love is probably the most well-known moniker for the city. But why is Philadelphia called the City of Brotherly Love? Interestingly, this nickname is a close translation of the city's name in Greek.

Philadelphia's founder, William Penn, wanted to create a city full of love and religious tolerance. He, therefore, combined the Ancient Greek words "phílos" and "adelphós," which mean "love" and "brother," respectively, to get "Philadelphia." From these meanings, the name City of Brotherly Love was created and is still used frequently today.

Khairil Azhar Junos/Shutterstock.com
A facade of a building with sports team logos and a sign saying "Wells Fargo Center"
Philadelphia's professional sports teams have won many championships

The City of Champions

Many cities claim the nickname the City of Champions, including another Pennsylvania city, Pittsburgh. But Philadelphia has its own claims to this sports moniker. The city has a team in all four of the major American sports leagues (NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA), and all of these teams have won at least one championship.

However, because Philadelphia's teams are not as successful as those in other cities, like Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, many non-locals say they don't necessarily deserve the nickname. Philadelphia residents tend to disagree, though, and support the name City of Champions!

The City of Firsts

Another Philadelphia nickname is the City of Firsts. Not only was Philadelphia one of the first cities in the United States, but it has also been the first to accomplish various feats.

These include being home to some of the first banks, the first medical school, and the first anti-slavery society in the US. Philadelphia has continued to be an innovative city into the 21st century, remaining a city of many notable "firsts."

A street with trees and red brick houses with window shutters and flags on them
Philadelphia has been dubbed the City of Neighborhoods for its diverse areas

The City of Neighborhoods

An interesting and somewhat lesser-known nickname is the City of Neighborhoods. The exact origins of this name are unclear, but it's thought to describe the area's many neighborhoods, which have distinct historical backgrounds and cultures. As you explore these different neighborhoods, you'll find something unique, with each having its own charm and things to offer.

The City of Homes

The City of Homes nickname is another lesser-known moniker. It relates to the City of Neighborhoods nickname and a similar name, the City of Residences. This name dates to the 1870s and is thought to relate to the high level of home ownership that was present in the city at the time.

An installation with letters L, O, V, and E surrounded by a fountain and buildings
The City That Loves You Back was a tourist slogan in the 1990s

The City That Loves You Back

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation created the City That Loves You Back nickname in the 1990s. It was, in part, a challenge to nearby NYC's "I Love New York" slogan. It was also developed to try and shed some of Philadelphia's image at the time of being a non-welcoming and even somewhat dangerous city.

While not used that much today, it's still decently well-known. Locals would also say it still applies, with the city offering a welcoming atmosphere to those that visit and move there.

The Cradle of Liberty

The Cradle of Liberty is another nickname for Philadelphia that the city shares with Boston. This is also another name that dates back to the founding of the United States.

It relates to Philadelphia being the place where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were drafted, with these documents declaring the country would offer "freedom and liberty for all." This led to the Cradle of Liberty moniker, which is somewhat of a synonym for "birthplace of liberty."

You can learn more about the founding of the United States and its connection to Philadelphia by visiting Pennsylvania landmarks located in the city, like Independence Hall.

A top of a building with a statue of a man near skyscrapers
Many of the first residents of Philadelphia, including its founder, were Quakers

Quaker City

Many of Philadelphia's nicknames are historical in nature, including Quaker City. The city's founder, William Penn, was a Quaker, as were many of the first residents in the city. While there is no evidence of Penn using the Quaker City moniker, the area's early ties to this community led to the nickname developing over time.

The Sixth Borough

There are many cities in the US, as well as some international cities, using the Sixth Borough moniker, including Philadelphia. The name references cities with close ties to New York City's five boroughs, making these additional areas a "sixth borough."

Philadelphia is the closest large city to NYC, and residents of both areas move between the two quite frequently for both short trips and longer-term relocations, hence being one of the cities to use this nickname.

The Workshop of the World is one of the historical Philadelphia nicknames
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Philadelphia was renowned for manufacturing

The Workshop of the World

The Workshop of the World is a name dating to the 19th and early 20th centuries and the Industrial Revolution. Philadelphia was a large manufacturing area during this time, with production facilities for various things, from locomotives and streetcars to textiles and cigars.

While these items were mainly made in large factories, not small workshops, the more quaint Workshop of the World nickname was created. It describes how Philadelphia was, at the time, one of the biggest manufacturing hubs in the world.

In Conclusion

There's no shortage of other names for Philadelphia to learn about. While you probably knew some of these, like Philly, others may have been new to you. No matter how many monikers you were aware of before reading this article, you should now have a good understanding of 15 of the city's unique nicknames and the interesting history behind them!

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell FORMER WRITER Currently based in Canada, Alli has also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and traveled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She loves finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever she goes.

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