There are so many reasons to name your baby after a location you love, or a destination where you’d love to go. I know someone who named her daughter Nola, after the abbreviation for New Orleans, Louisiana, where she and her husband had honeymooned.
Naming your child after a city isn’t a new thing — in 1820, “founder of modern nursing” Florence Nightingale was named after her birth city of Florence, Italy, and she was hardly the first.
These days, though, place names are downright trendy. But, like staying in the same locale too long, some of them are starting to feel stale.
Here’s a list of the ones that we predict will be — well, going places.
(Find the complete list here.)
Aspen. A Colorado ski resort town known for its outdoor recreation and high-end restaurants and boutiques. As a name, it has moved up almost 400 spots on the popularity charts in the last ten years.
Holland. Conjuring up images of wooden shoes, windmills, and vibrant tulip fields, this name has the possibility of the cute nickname Holly.
Memphis. As a name, it appeared on the popularity charts in 2006 at #934, and has continued its climb to its current position of #575. Steeped in rhythm and blues, and legendary artists that made their music there such as Elvis Presley and B.B. King, Memphis, Tennessee is synonymous with rock and roll. Oh, and barbecue.
Indio. Located in the Coachella Valley of southern California, and home to — you guessed it — the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It’s a bit more unique than Indy (which is also a cute place name) and a leans a bit more unisex, or even male, than India.
Everest. This one has an undeniably rugged feel, thanks to Mt. Everest: the highest mountain above sea level, located in the Himalayas.
Boston. Founded in 1630, Boston is Massachusetts’ capital (and largest city). When the name first hit popularity charts in 2004, it was at #909; now it’s at #659, with a preppy, clean-cut vibe.
Berkeley. Located in Northern California, Berkeley is considered to be one of the most socially liberal places in the entire country. It’s home to UC Berkeley, which ranks as the world’s #1 public university (and 4th best university overall). Only 119 babies were given this name, which means it isn’t even in the top 1,000 — still unique, at this point.
Salem. Famous for being the place in Massachusetts where the Salem Witch Trials were held — but it’s also a well known city in Oregon as well. Despite — or maybe because of? — its “edgier” feel, its use is on the rise.
Rome. The name of the ancient Italian capital has a fresh, cosmopolitan appeal, whereas the name Roman is starting to feel a little dated (“Days of Our Lives,” anyone?).
Harlem. A vibrant Manhattan neighborhood that still reflects the impact of the Harlem Renaissance that took place there in the 1920s, when black artists, musicians, and writers moved in, leading to a boom in creative output. And as names go, Harlem is artsy and creative, too.
Denver. Besides Aspen, Colorado has another destination name to offer: Denver. This city averages more sunshiny days per year than even Miami Beach (yes! Really!), is rich in culture, and boasts the second-highest most educated population in the U.S. As a name, it’s still low in the top 1,000 (#823 currently and rising) but that means it’s still unique. Want a less urban-sounding homage to Colorado? Try Rocky, as in the mountains.
Egypt. Warm, exotic, and mysterious, Egypt is a name that feels right at home on a boy or a girl. As does its equally-trendy capital city …
Cairo. The site of the Great Pyramids of Giza and the largest city in the Middle East, Cairo is steeped in rich history, but sounds contemporary as a unisex baby name.
Juneau. Alaska boasts the only U.S. capital city not accessible by road — and as a name, it’s cool (literally!) and rugged. It also sounds like Juno, the mythological patron goddess of Rome.
Berlin. The name of Germany’s capital (and largest) city, and a cultural treasure trove: There are 180 museums in the city. Actor Jeremy Renner used it as a middle name for his daughter, Ava Berlin.
Caspian. Who says you have to use a land-based location for a place name? Located between Europe and Asia, the beautiful Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world — and it’s a name you won’t see everywhere.
Whether you’ve visited any of these places or just have them on your bucket list, the fresh, fun names they inspire will put your kid on the map.
Need baby name inspiration beyond the atlas? Find meanings, lists, and more in the Scary Mommy Baby Name Database!