Baby Names Inspired by Places
Baby names inspired by places come from all over the globe and can include city names, state names, country names, even mountain and ocean names. Place names have become so widely used that popular place names make a category of baby names all on their own. Most place names can be used for either baby girls or baby boys, but are more popular for one than the other. Along with Top 10 Charlotte, which in fairness was a person name before it was a city name, place names ranking in the US Top 300 for baby girls include Madison, Savannah, Brooklyn, London, Sienna, Dakota, and Aspen. Hudson is the top place name on the boys' side, with Austin, Kingston, Camden, Zion, Israel, and Phoenix also ranking in the Top 300. Baby names inspired by places are less widely-used for babies in other countries than they are in the US. Florence and Georgia rank in Britain's Top 100, but those place names have both been used as baby names for centuries. In the Netherlands, Milan ranks among the top names for boys. But many other European and English-speaking countries don't rank any place names at all among their top names for babies. Here, the most popular place names used for both girls and boys. For more exotic choices, see our list of Place Names Off The Map.
Description:One of the most romantic of appellations, as well as being a geographical name of the large salty sea between Asia and Europe that probably inspired C.S. Lewis to use it for the name of the hero of his children's novel, Prince Caspian, part of the Chronicles of Narnia series.
Origin:Variant of Adelheidis, German
Description:Adelaide is now heading straight uphill on the coattails of such newly popular sisters as Ava, Ada, and Audrey, and in the company of Adeline and Amelia. It was chosen by actress Katherine Heigl for the name of her second daughter.
Description:Florence is back, returning to the US Top 1000 girl names in 2017 after a nearly 40 year absence. Other English-speaking countries have been quicker to welcome Florence back into fashion.
Origin:Arizona place-name and Greek
Description:Phoenix rolls a lot of cool trends into one: it's a place-name and a bird name, it ends in the oh-so-hip letter x, and as the mythic bird that rose from the ashes, it's a symbol of immortality. It's also got celebrity chops, via the acting family that includes Joaquin and the late River, and as the child of an ex-Spice Girl.
Description:Hudson has risen quickly up the charts after emerging at the bottom of the list in 1995, now solidly in the Top 100.
Meaning:"place of pleasure, delight"
Description:Eden is an attractive, serene name with obvious intimations of Paradise, one of several place names drawn from the Bible by the Puritans in the seventeenth century.
Origin:English, shortened form of Augustine
Description:Austin is one of the most attractive city names for babies, with an attractive southwestern feel, place-name panache and the solid base of having long been an Anglo-Saxon surname and a first name since medieval times. Austin reached the Top 10 in the 1990s, but has been gradually slipping down the list.
Meaning:"son of Matthew"
Description:Madison originated as an English surname, a variant of Mathieson, meaning "son of Matthew." It is occasionally translated as "son of Maud," as Maddy was historically a nickname for Maud. It was introduced as a feminine given name in the 1984 movie Splash, in which the main character takes her name from New York’s Madison Avenue street sign.
Description:Zion has taken off in recent years, especially after singer Lauryn Hill used it for her son in 1997 and incorporated the name into a hit song. It combines a user-friendly Ryan-Brian sound with the gravitas of religious significance. The Hebrew pronunciation is 'tzeeyon'.
Origin:English, feminine variation of George
Description:Georgia is so rich, lush and luscious, it's almost irresistible. Georgia's now a rising star among the feminizations of George, helped by associations with the southern state (named for British King Geogre II) and painter Georgia O'Keeffe, with the Ray Charles song "Georgia On My Mind" or maybe "Sweet Georgia Brown" playing in the background.
Origin:Nature and place-name
Description:Aspen is part of two groups of stylish and unique baby names: nature names and place-names. The name of a graceful tree in the poplar family with heart-shaped leaves so delicate they quiver in the gentlest breeze, Aspen is also the name of a trendy Colorado ski resort. Aspen started as a unisex name possibility but now is much more frequently worn by girls.
Description:Camden is a surprise hit, probably as a result of some star baby cred: it has been chosen by no less than four celebrity parents since 2012. Camden is a Jersey Boy name, along with equally popular Trenton -- these are two cases where the names are more attractive than the places that inspired them.
Meaning:"flat tropical grassland"
Description:A place name with a deep Southern accent, the once-obscure Savannah shot to fame, with others of its genre, on the heels of the best seller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was set in the mossy Georgia city of Savannah. Originally a substitute for the overused Samantha, Savannah is now becoming overused itself, long among the top girls' names starting with S.
Origin:Spanish variation of Catherine
Description:This name of a touristed island in sight of Los Angeles makes an attractive and newly stylish variation on the classic Catherine or overused Caitlin.
Description:Jordan became one of the top unisex baby names in the heyday of basketball's Michael Jordan, and is still among the most popular unisex names starting with J. The name was originally given to those baptized in holy water brought back by Crusaders from the River Jordan, the only river in Palestine, and the one in which Christ was baptized by John the Baptist.
Description:Rio is a reductive ranchero place-name with an attractive Tex-Mex lilt. No Doubt's Tom Dumont has a son named Rio Atticus.
Origin:Place-name: the capital of Austria
Description:Vienna is one of the more popular of the European place-names, with a particularly pleasant sound, evoking elegant images of the Blue Danube, of castles and cafes, sweets and sausages and Strauss waltzes—and Sigmund Freud. It could be a possible substitute for the popular Sienna.
Description:A biblical place name with trumpeting verve and strength.
Origin:Biblical place-name or Arabic
Description:Salem is a biblical place-name in Canaan, believed to be the same as Jerusalem. Americans may be more familiar with Salem as the name of the Massachusetts town famous for its witch trials in the late 1600s. It's also a popular Arabic name widely-used for both genders.
Origin:Dutch place name
Description:Holland is one of the coolest geographical names, unadorned and elegant, evocative of fine Rembrandt portraits and fields of pink and yellow tulips. It first entered the US Top 1000 in 2014.
Description:Sierra is a name borrowed from the western mountain range, with Latin rhythm and cowboy charm, that has led to many offshoots: Cierra, Cyara, and so on. It is now probably past its peak but retains its pretty-yet-strong sound. The meaning refers to the sharp, irregular peaks of some of the Western mountains such as the Sierra Nevada.
Description:Virginia is a lovely place name starting with the fashionable V and having deep historical roots, yet, unlike some other other girls' classics, has been sorely neglected in recent years.
Origin:Native American tribe and place name; Sioux
Description:A Native American tribe name which is found in the names of two US states, Dakota was one of the first trendy nineties place names, but is now flagging a little in popularity. The cultural question around using a Native American tribe name as a baby name may be partly to blame.
Description:Chosen for their first son by musical couple Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, this Jamaican place and elegant British surname also boasts the more regal yet user-friendly short form, King.
Description:This lovely orange-scented Spanish place-name would make an inventive namesake for an Aunt Valerie.
Origin:Place-name, world's tallest mountain
Description:A twist on the standard Everett takes it to lofty heights. The snow-capped Everest would surely stand out in a classroom, yet has an acceptable name-like feel.
Origin:Greek and Coptic place-name
Meaning:"Enduring and beautiful"
Description:A place name with so much history, from Ancient Egypt, where so many pyramids were built, to the US blues southern city. The name also has a great meaning. Although it's being given to babies of both genders, Memphis (unlike most place names) is much more common for boys than girls.
Meaning:"from Mount Olympus"
Description:With its relation to Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods, and to the Olympic games, this name has an athletic, goddess-like aura, making it the perfect Olivia substitute.
Description:State name Alaska stems from an Aleutian word for the land mass itself. The number of baby girls named Alaska has doubled in the past five years, and is sure to continue increasing as more place names are annexed as baby names. Wilder but as habitable as Dakota or Cheyenne, Alaska is a girls' name choice for the future.
Origin:Italian place name or Slavic
Description:As Mila rises for girls, so Milan is becoming a more popular option for boys, especially after singer Shakira chose it for her son. After a 55-year hiatus, it reentered the Top 1000 in 2013 and is heading dramatically upward.
Meaning:"under God's rule, companion in night conversation"
Description:Alluring and lovely — and much more distinctive now than Samantha or Tamara. Samara is a city in western Russia, a winged seed like the whirlygigs that fall from maple trees, as well as a bona fide first name that could make a more unusual update on Samantha or Mara. It can also be a variant spelling of the Arabic name Samira or Sameera.
Origin:Place name, from the River Indus
Description:Euphonious and long stylish in England, India was one of the fastest-rising names on the 2013 list, after jumping 240 spots back into the Top 1000.
Description:Extreme makeover: Brooklyn has gone from jokey Borough Boy name in the 1990s to the leading girls' name starting with B. The status of New York's Brooklyn as hipster heaven is ironic as few bona fide Brooklyn hipsters would choose this name.
Meaning:"people of a different language"
Description:The name of a courageous tribe, Cheyenne became quite popular in the 1990s, inspiring a wide range of spelling variations—Shyanne is one example that's still on the rise.
Origin:American place-name and Arabic
Description:Zuma was entered in the American name lexicon when musicians Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale chose it for their son. Californians will recognize Zuma as the name of a beautiful beach in Malibu, and it's also the surname of a South African president. With the lovely meaning of peace and its place-name associations, Zuma is one of those American names that literally sprang from the earth.
Origin:Place-name and Irish
Description:Relaxed, laid-back cowboy name with broad appeal, although none of the western place-names packs the same style power they did a few years ago.
Description:Exciting place name possibility with upbeat o ending. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015.
Origin:Swiss place-name or French
Description:Unlike its somewhat formal Swiss city namesake, this is a lively and appealing place-name that also has a real history as a female name.
Origin:Variation of Caroline; also place-name
Description:Languid, romantic, and classy, this variation heats up Caroline and modernizes Carol, adding a southern accent.
Meaning:"the river that swallows all rivers"
Description:An African place name—Zaire was a Central African state from 1971 to 1997—it comes from a Kongo term meaning "the river that swallows all rivers." A bold and wearable choice for a son.
Description:Siena is a soft and delicate Tuscan town name given a big fashion boost by lovely young actress/gossip column staple Sienna Miller. A real up-and-comer.
Origin:English or French place-name and surname
Description:Before there was Aspen, Denver was the Colorado city name of choice, and it reentered the US Top 1000 in 2015 after a 14 year absence as a stylish two-syllable boys’ name with its trendy -er ending. Its decade of greatest use was the 1920s, when it reached as high as Number 422.
Description:There's only one Trenton, New Jersey, but it's a widely used name, more for its fashionable -on ending than the reference to the city. Since 2007, however, Trenton has been on a steady decline. Trenten is another popular spelling.
Description:The capital of the United Kingdom makes a solid and attractive twenty-first-century choice, with a lot more substance than Paris. It's in the unisex column, with one boy starbaby (Saul 'Slash' Hudson) and one girl (Neal McDonough).
Origin:London and New York place-name
Description:Chelsea is still being used, but it was much more popular a few decades ago--it peaked at Number 15 in 1992. Chelsea first entered the American consciousness in a major way via the character Jane Fonda played in On Golden Pond in 1981 and later of course was frequently in the headlines when Chelsea Clinton (whose name was inspired by the lyric of a the Joni-Mitchell-Judy Collins song "Chelsea Morning") became First Daughter.
Meaning:"land of the Indians"
Description:This state name emerged in the eighties along with westerners Dakota and Montana, and it's still used occasionally by high-profile parents such as Summer Phoenix and Casey Affleck. Action man Indiana Jones (played by Harrison Ford) makes Indiana "Indy" forever cool for a boy.
Description:This spelling of Devon, as opposed to Devin or Devan, makes it a pretty and popular British place-name, evoking the beautiful county of farmlands and dramatic seascapes and moors in southwest England. A stylish ambi-gender name particularly well used in the early nineties, Devon remains an attractive option--though be aware that at this point in time, it is used more frequently for boys.
Meaning:"he who struggles with God"
Description:Though it was used by the Puritans in the sixteenth century, the founding of the modern Jewish state in 1948 transformed Israel from a traditional favorite into an icon of Judaism.
Description:Paris, a one-time mythical and Shakespearean boys' name, peaked in 2004 at Number 157 at least in part due to the highly publicized Paris Hilton. Michael Jackson used it for his daughter.