Level of service (LOS) is a measure used by traffic engineers to determine the effectiveness of elements of transportation infrastructure. LOS is most commonly used to analyze highways by categorizing traffic flow with corresponding safe driving conditions. The concept has also been applied to intersections, transit, potable water, sanitary sewer service, solid waste removal, drainage, and public open space and recreation facilities.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as “Washington”, “the District”, or simply “D.C.”, is the capital of the United States. The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country’s East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state. The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. Named in honor of George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District. Washington had an estimated population of 672,228 as of July 2015. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city’s population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is a part, has a population of over 6 million, the seventh-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country. The centers of all three branches of the federal government of the United States are in the District, including the Congress, President, and Supreme Court. Washington is home to many national monuments and museums, which are primarily situated on or around the National Mall. The city hosts 176 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit organizations, lobbying groups, and professional associations. A locally elected mayor and a 13?member council have governed the District since 1973. However, the Congress maintains supreme authority over the city and may overturn local laws. D.C. residents elect a non-voting, at-large congressional delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, but the District has no representation in the U.S. Senate. The District receives three electoral votes in presidential elections as permitted by the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961.
Seattle is a West Coast seaport city and the seat of King County. With an estimated 662,400 residents as of 2015, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. In July 2013 it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States, and remained in the top five in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. The Seattle metropolitan area of around 3.6 million inhabitants is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the United States. The city is situated on an isthmus between Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington, about 100 miles (160 km) south of the Canada–United States border. A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle is the third largest port in North America in terms of container handling as of 2015. The Seattle area was previously inhabited by Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before the first permanent European settlers. Arthur A. Denny and his group of travelers, subsequently known as the Denny Party, arrived from Illinois via Portland, Oregon on the schooner Exact at Alki Point on November 13, 1851. The settlement was moved to the eastern shore of Elliott Bay and named “Seattle” in 1852, after Chief Si’ahl of the local Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. Logging was Seattle’s first major industry, but by the late 19th century the city had become a commercial and shipbuilding center as a gateway to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. By 1910, Seattle was one of the 25 largest cities in the country. However, the Great Depression severely damaged the city’s economy. Growth returned during and after World War II, due partially to the local Boeing company, which established Seattle as a center for aircraft manufacturing. The Seattle area developed as a technology center beginning in the 1980s, with companies like Microsoft becoming established in the region. In 1994 the Internet retail giant Amazon was founded in Seattle. The stream of new software, biotechnology, and Internet companies led to an economic revival, which increased the city’s population by almost 50,000 between 1990 and 2000. Seattle has a noteworthy musical history. From 1918 to 1951, nearly two dozen jazz nightclubs existed along Jackson Street, from the current Chinatown/International District, to the Central District. The jazz scene developed the early careers of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson and others. Seattle is also the birthplace of rock musician Jimi Hendrix and the alternative rock style grunge.
Madison is the capital of the State of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. As of July 1, 2013, Madison had an estimated population of 243,344, making it the second largest city in Wisconsin, after Milwaukee, and the 83rd largest in the United States. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau’s Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Dane County and neighboring Iowa, Green, and Columbia counties. The Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area had a 2010 population of 568,593.
Green Bay is a city in and the county seat of Brown County in the U.S. State of Wisconsin, located at the head of Green Bay, a sub-basin of Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the Fox River. It is located 581 feet (177 m) above sea level and 112 miles (180 km) north of Milwaukee. The population was 104,057 at the 2010 census. Green Bay is the third-largest city in the state of Wisconsin, after Milwaukee and Madison, and the third-largest city on the west shore of Lake Michigan, after Chicago and Milwaukee. Green Bay is home to the National Football League team Green Bay Packers. Green Bay is the principal city of the Green Bay Metropolitan Statistical Area, which covers Brown, Kewaunee, and Oconto counties; the MSA had a combined population of 306,241 at the 2010 census. Green Bay is an industrial city with several meatpacking plants, paper mills, and a port on Green Bay, an arm of Lake Michigan known locally as “the Bay of Green Bay”. Located in Green Bay are the National Railroad Museum; the Neville Public Museum, with exhibitions of art, history, and science; the Children’s Museum; and the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay.
Milwaukee is the largest city in the State of Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States. It is the county seat of Milwaukee County and is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. According to 2010 census data, the City of Milwaukee has a population of 594,833. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee–Racine–Waukesha Metropolitan Area with a population of 2,043,904 as of an official 2014 estimate. The first Europeans to pass through the area were French Catholic missionaries and fur traders. In 1818, the French Canadian explorer Solomon Juneau settled in the area, and in 1846 Juneau’s town combined with two neighboring towns to incorporate as the City of Milwaukee. Large numbers of German and other immigrants helped increase the city’s population during the 1840s and the following decades. Known for its brewing traditions, major new additions to the city include the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Wisconsin Center, Miller Park, an expansion to the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and Pier Wisconsin, as well as major renovations to the UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena. In addition, many new skyscrapers, condos, lofts and apartments have been constructed in neighborhoods on and near the lakefront and riverbanks.
Appleton is a city in Outagamie (mostly), Calumet, and Winnebago counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. One of the Fox Cities, it is situated on the Fox River, 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Green Bay and 100 miles (160 km) north of Milwaukee. Appleton is the county seat of Outagamie County. The population was 72,623 at the 2010 census. Of this, 60,045 were in Outagamie County, 11,088 in Calumet County, and 1,490 in Winnebago County. Appleton is the principal city of the Appleton, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Appleton-Oshkosh-Neenah, Wisconsin Combined Statistical Area.
La Crosse is a city in the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of La Crosse County. Lying alongside the Mississippi River, La Crosse is the largest city on Wisconsin’s western border. The city’s estimated population in 2014 was 52,440. The city forms the core of and is the principal city in the La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of La Crosse County and Houston County, Minnesota, with a combined population of 135,298. La Crosse is home to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo University, and Western Technical College. A regional technology and medical hub, La Crosse has received high rankings from some magazines in health, well-being, quality of life, and education.
Wisconsin Dells is a city in south-central Wisconsin, with a population of 2,678 people as of the 2010 census. It straddles four counties: Adams, Columbia, Juneau, and Sauk. The city takes its name from the Dells of the Wisconsin River, a scenic, glacially formed gorge that features striking sandstone formations along the banks of the Wisconsin River. Together with the nearby village of Lake Delton, the city forms an area known as “the Dells”, a popular Midwestern tourist destination.
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Greater Richmond Region. While it was incorporated in 1742, Richmond has been an independent city since 1871. As of the 2010 census, the population was 204,214; in 2014, the population was estimated to be 217,853, the fourth-most populous city in Virginia. The Richmond Metropolitan Area has a population of 1,260,029, the third-most populous metro in the state. Richmond is located at the fall line of the James River, 44 miles (71 km) west of Williamsburg, 66 miles (106 km) east of Charlottesville, and 98 miles (158 km) south of Washington, D.C. Surrounded by Henrico and Chesterfield counties, the city is located at the intersections of Interstate 95 and Interstate 64, and encircled by Interstate 295 and Virginia State Route 288. Major suburbs include Midlothian to the southwest, Glen Allen to the north and west, Short Pump to the west and Mechanicsville to the northeast. The site of Richmond had been an important village of the Powhatan Confederacy, and was briefly settled by English colonists from Jamestown in 1609, and in 1610–1611. The present city of Richmond was founded in 1737. It became the capital of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia in 1780. During the Revolutionary War period, several notable events occurred in the city, including Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775 at St. John’s Church, and the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom written by Thomas Jefferson. During the American Civil War, Richmond served as the capital of the Confederate States of America. The city entered the 20th century with one of the world’s first successful electric streetcar systems, as well as a national hub of African-American commerce and culture, the Jackson Ward neighborhood. Richmond’s economy is primarily driven by law, finance, and government, with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, as well as notable legal and banking firms, located in the downtown area. The city is home to both the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, one of 13 United States courts of appeals, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, one of 12 Federal Reserve Banks. Dominion Resources and MeadWestvaco, Fortune 500 companies, are headquartered in the city, with others in the metropolitan area.
Virginia Beach is an independent city located in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 437,994. In 2013, the population was estimated to be 448,479. Although mostly suburban in character, it is the most populous city in Virginia, having grown larger than the more urban neighboring city of Norfolk, and is the 39th most populous city in the United States. Located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is included in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. This area, known as “America’s First Region”, also includes the independent cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, as well as other smaller cities, counties, and towns of Hampton Roads. Virginia Beach is a resort city with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, and restaurants along its oceanfront. Every year the city hosts the East Coast Surfing Championships as well as the North American Sand Soccer Championship, a beach soccer tournament. It is also home to several state parks, several long-protected beach areas, three military bases, a number of large corporations, two universities, International headquarters and site of the television broadcast studios for Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment, and numerous historic sites. Near the point where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Cape Henry was the site of the first landing of the English colonists, who eventually settled in Jamestown, on April 26, 1607. The city is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest pleasure beach in the world. It is located at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, the longest bridge-tunnel complex in the world.
Fredericksburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2013, the population was 28,132. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Fredericksburg with neighboring Spotsylvania County for statistical purposes. Located 49 miles (79 km) south of Washington, D.C. and 58 miles (93 km) north of Richmond, Fredericksburg is part of the Northern Virginia region and is included in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. Located near where the Rappahannock River crosses the Fall Line, Fredericksburg was a prominent port in Virginia during the colonial era. During the Civil War, the town, located halfway between the capitals of the opposing forces, was the site of the Battle of Fredericksburg and Second Battle of Fredericksburg, preserved in part as the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Tourism is a major part of the economy, with approximately 1.5 million people visiting the Fredericksburg area annually, including the battlefield park, the downtown visitor center, events, museums and historic sites. Fredericksburg is home to several major commercial centers including Central Park (as of 2004, the second-largest mall on the East Coast) and Spotsylvania Towne Centre, located in Spotsylvania County adjacent to the city line. Major employers include the University of Mary Washington, Mary Washington Healthcare, and GEICO. Many Fredericksburg-area residents commute to work by car, bus, and rail to Washington DC and Richmond, as well as the counties of Fairfax, Prince William, and Arlington. There has been continuous debate about whether or not Fredericksburg is culturally a part of the rest of Northern Virginia.
Essex is a town in Chittenden County, Vermont, in the United States. The population was 19,587 at the 2010 census, with an estimated population of 20,724 in 2014. By population count, the town of Essex is the largest town in Vermont and the second-largest municipality (after Burlington). It is home to the village of Essex Junction, which includes the state of Vermont’s busiest Amtrak station and the state’s largest private employer, GlobalFoundries. Vermont Route 289 crosses the town from east to west.
Salt Lake City, often shortened to Salt Lake or SLC, is the capital and the most populous city in the U.S. state of Utah. With an estimated population of 191,180 in 2013, the city lies at the core of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a total population of 1,153,340 (2014 estimate). Salt Lake City is further situated within a larger metropolis known as the Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo Combined Statistical Area. This region is a corridor of contiguous urban and suburban development stretched along an approximately 120-mile (190 km) segment of the Wasatch Front, comprising a total population of 2,423,912 as of 2014. It is one of only two major urban areas in the Great Basin (the other being Reno, Nevada), and the largest in the Intermountain West. The city was founded in 1847 by Brigham Young, Isaac Morley, George Washington Bradley and numerous other Mormon followers, who extensively irrigated and cultivated the arid valley. Due to its proximity to the Great Salt Lake, the city was originally named “Great Salt Lake City”—the word “great” was dropped from the official name in 1868 by the 17th Utah Territorial Legislature. Home to the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and Temple Square, Salt Lake City was historically considered a holy city by members of the LDS church; Brigham Young called it a “Kingdom of Heaven on Earth”. Today, however, less than half the population of Salt Lake City proper are members of the LDS Church. Immigration of international LDS members, mining booms, and the construction of the first transcontinental railroad initially brought economic growth, and the city was nicknamed the Crossroads of the West. It was traversed by the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway, in 1913, and presently two major cross-country freeways, I-15 and I-80, intersect in the city. Salt Lake City has since developed a strong outdoor recreation tourist industry based primarily on skiing, and hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. It is the industrial banking center of the United States.
South Jordan is a city in the U.S. state of Utah. The city lies in the Salt Lake Valley between the 9,000-foot (2,700 m) peaks of the Oquirrh Mountains and the 12,000-foot (3,700 m) peaks of the Wasatch Mountains and is part of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area. The Jordan River flows through the middle of the valley and the city has a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) section of the Jordan River Parkway that contains fishing ponds, trails, parks and natural habitat. Salt Lake County fair grounds and equestrian park, 67-acre (27 ha) Oquirrh Lake and 27 other parks are located inside the city. As of the 2010 Census, its population was 50,418.
The city was founded 18 miles (29 km) south of Salt Lake City along the banks of the Jordan River in 1859 by Mormon settlers. An agrarian town for most of its history, today it is a rapidly growing bedroom community of Salt Lake City. Kennecott Land, a land development company, has recently begun construction on the master-planned Daybreak Community for the entire western half of South Jordan. Daybreak could potentially double South Jordan’s population. South Jordan is the first city in the world with two temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Jordan River Utah Temple and Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple). The city has two TRAX light rail stops, as well as one commuter rail stop on the FrontRunner.
South Jordan is a city in the U.S. state of Utah. The city lies in the Salt Lake Valley between the 9,000-foot (2,700 m) peaks of the Oquirrh Mountains and the 12,000-foot (3,700 m) peaks of the Wasatch Mountains and is part of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area. The Jordan River flows through the middle of the valley and the city has a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) section of the Jordan River Parkway that contains fishing ponds, trails, parks and natural habitat. Salt Lake County fair grounds and equestrian park, 67-acre (27 ha) Oquirrh Lake and 27 other parks are located inside the city. As of the 2010 Census, its population was 50,418. The city was founded 18 miles (29 km) south of Salt Lake City along the banks of the Jordan River in 1859 by Mormon settlers. An agrarian town for most of its history, today it is a rapidly growing bedroom community of Salt Lake City. Kennecott Land, a land development company, has recently begun construction on the master-planned Daybreak Community for the entire western half of South Jordan. Daybreak could potentially double South Jordan’s population. South Jordan is the first city in the world with two temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Jordan River Utah Temple and Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple). The city has two TRAX light rail stops, as well as one commuter rail stop on the FrontRunner.
North Ogden is a city in Weber County, Utah, United States. The population was 17,357 at the 2010 census. North Ogden is on SR-235, three miles north of Ogden. It is a suburb of that city and is part of the Ogden –Clearfield, Utah Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States, located in Southeast Texas near the Gulf of Mexico. With a census-estimated 2014 population of 2.239 million people, within a land area of 599.6 square miles (1,553 km2), it also is the largest city in the Southern United States, as well as the seat of Harris County. It is the principal city of Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land, which is the fifth most populated metropolitan area in the United States. Houston was founded in 1836 on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou (now known as Allen’s Landing) and incorporated as a city on June 5, 1837. The city was named after former General Sam Houston, who was president of the Republic of Texas and had commanded and won at the Battle of San Jacinto 25 miles (40 km) east of where the city was established. The burgeoning port and railroad industry, combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city’s population. In the mid-twentieth century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center—the world’s largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions—and NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located. Houston’s economy has a broad industrial base in energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, and transportation. It is also leading in health care sectors and building oilfield equipment; only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters within its city limits. The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled. Nicknamed the Space City, Houston is a global city, with strengths in business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, medicine and research. The city has a population from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and a large and growing international community. Houston is the most diverse city in Texas and has been described as the most diverse in the United States. It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits, which attract more than 7 million visitors a year to the Museum District. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District and offers year-round resident companies in all major performing arts.
Dallas is a major city in the state of Texas and is the largest urban center of the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the United States. The city proper ranks ninth in the U.S. and third in Texas after Houston and San Antonio. The city’s prominence arose from its historical importance as a center for the oil and cotton industries, and its position along numerous railroad lines. The bulk of the city is in Dallas County, of which it is the county seat; however, sections of the city are located in Collin, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties. According to the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 1,197,816. The United States Census Bureau’s estimate for the city’s population increased to 1,281,047, as of 2014. The city is the largest economic center of the 12-county Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area (commonly referred to as DFW), which had a population of 6,954,330 as of July 1, 2014, representing growth in excess of 528,000 people since the 2010 census. In 2014, the metropolitan economy surpassed Washington, DC to become the fifth largest in the United States, with a 2014 real GDP over $504 billion. In 2013, the metropolitan area led the nation with the largest year-over-year increase in employment and advanced to become the fourth-largest employment center in the nation (behind New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago) with more than three million non-farm jobs. As of August 2015, the metropolitan job count has increased to just under 3.4 million jobs. The city’s economy is primarily based on banking, commerce, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare and medical research, and transportation and logistics. The city is home to the third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the nation (behind New York City and Houston). In the latest rankings released in 2013, Dallas was rated as a “beta plus” world city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network, and was 14th in world rankings of GDP by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Located in North Texas, Dallas is the main core of the largest metropolitan area in the South and the largest inland metropolitan area in the United States that lacks any navigable link to the sea. Dallas and nearby Fort Worth were developed due to the construction of major railroad lines through the area allowing access to cotton, cattle, and later oil in North and East Texas. The construction of the Interstate Highway System reinforced Dallas’ prominence as a transportation hub with four major interstate highways converging in the city, and a fifth interstate loop around it. Dallas developed as a strong industrial and financial center, and a major inland port, due to the convergence of major railroad lines, interstate highways, and the construction of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world.
Austin is the capital of the US state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas, Austin is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the fourth-most populous city in Texas. It is the fastest growing of the largest 50 US cities. Austin is also the second largest state capital in the United States, after Phoenix, Arizona. As of July 1, 2014, Austin had a population of 912,791 (U.S. Census Bureau estimate). The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 1,943,299 as of July 1, 2014. In the 1830s, pioneers began to settle the area in central Austin along the Colorado River. After Republic of Texas Vice President Mirabeau B. Lamar visited the area during a buffalo-hunting expedition between 1837 and 1838, he proposed that the republic’s capital, then located in Houston, be relocated to the area situated on the north bank of the Colorado River near the present-day Congress Avenue Bridge. In 1839, the site was officially chosen as the republic’s new capital (the republic’s seventh and final location) and was incorporated under the name Waterloo. Shortly thereafter, the name was changed to Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas” and the republic’s first secretary of state. The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas at Austin. After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city and, by the 1980s, it emerged as a center for technology and business. A number of Fortune 500 companies have headquarters or regional offices in Austin including Advanced Micro Devices, Apple Inc., ARM Holdings, Cisco, eBay, Google, IBM, Intel, Texas Instruments, 3M, Oracle Corporation and Whole Foods Market. Dell’s worldwide headquarters is located in nearby Round Rock, a suburb of Austin. Residents of Austin are known as Austinites. They include a diverse mix of government employees (e.g., university faculty and staff, law enforcement, political staffers); foreign and domestic college students; musicians; high-tech workers; blue-collar workers and businesspeople. The city is home to development centers for many technology corporations; it adopted the “Silicon Hills” nickname in the 1990s. However, the current official slogan promotes Austin as “The Live Music Capital of the World”, a reference to the many musicians and live music venues within the area, and the long-running PBS TV concert series Austin City Limits. In recent years, some Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan “Keep Austin Weird”. This interpretation of the classic “Texas-style” sense of independence refers to a desire to protect small, unique, local businesses from being overrun by large corporations. In the late 1800s, Austin also became known as the City of the “Violet Crown” for the wintertime violet glow of color across the hills just after sunset. Even today, many Austin businesses use the term “violet crown” in their name. Austin is known as a “clean-air city” for the city’s stringent no-smoking ordinances that apply to all public places and buildings, including restaurants and bars. The FBI ranked Austin as the second-safest major city in the U.S. for the year 2012.
San Antonio, officially the City of San Antonio, is the seventh most populated city in the United States of America and the second most populated city in the state of Texas, with a population of 1,409,019. It was the fastest growing of the top 10 largest cities in the United States from 2000 to 2010, and the second from 1990 to 2000. The city is located in the American Southwest, the south–central part of Texas, and the southwestern corner of an urban region known as the Texas Triangle. San Antonio serves as the seat of Bexar County. Recent annexations have extended the city’s boundaries into Medina County and, though for only a very tiny area near the city of Garden Ridge, into Comal County. The city has characteristics of other western urban centers in which there are sparsely populated areas and a low density rate outside of the city limits. San Antonio is the center of the San Antonio–New Braunfels Metropolitan Statistical Area. Commonly referred to as Greater San Antonio, the metropolitan area has a population of over 2.3 million based on the 2014 US Census estimate, making it the 25th-largest metropolitan area in the United States and third-largest in the state of Texas. Growth along the Interstate 35 and Interstate 10 corridors to the north, west and east make it likely that the metropolitan area will continue to expand. San Antonio was named for Saint Anthony of Padua, whose feast day is on June 13, by a 1691 Spanish expedition in the area. It is notable for Spanish colonial missions, the Alamo, the River Walk, the Tower of the Americas, the Alamo Bowl, and Marriage Island. Commercial entertainment includes SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks, and according to the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city is visited by about 26 million tourists a year. The city is home to the five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs and hosts the annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, one of the largest such events in the country. The US armed forces have numerous facilities in San Antonio: Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base (which constitute Joint Base San Antonio), and Lackland AFB/Kelly Field Annex, with Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley located outside the city. Kelly Air Force Base operated out of San Antonio until 2001, when the airfield was transferred to Lackland AFB. The remaining portions of the base were developed as Port San Antonio, an industrial/business park. San Antonio is home to six Fortune 500 companies and the South Texas Medical Center, the only medical research and care provider in the South Texas region. The missions of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park along with the Alamo, became part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites on July 5, 2015. The San Antonio Missions became the 23rd U.S. site on the World Heritage List, which includes the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty.
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. The city is located in North Central Texas and covers nearly 350 square miles (910 km2) in Tarrant, Denton, Parker, and Wise counties—serving as the seat for Tarrant County. According to the 2014 census estimates, Fort Worth has a population of 812,238. The city is the second-largest in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area (the “DFW Metroplex”). The city was established in 1849 as an Army outpost on a bluff overlooking the Trinity River. Today Fort Worth still embraces its Western heritage and traditional architecture and design. USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) is the first ship of the United States Navy named after the city. Fort Worth is home to the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and several world-class museums. The Kimbell Art Museum, considered to have one of the best collections in Texas, is housed in what is widely regarded as one of Texas’ foremost works of modern architecture designed by Louis Kahn and Renzo Piano. Also of note are the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, designed by Tadao Ando, and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, which houses one of the most extensive collections of American art in the world in a building designed by Philip Johnson. The city is also home to Texas Christian University, Texas Wesleyan University, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Texas A&M University School of Law, and many multinational corporations including Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin, American Airlines, Pier 1 Imports, Radio Shack, and others.
Corpus Christi is a coastal city in the South Texas region of the U.S. state of Texas. The county seat of Nueces County, it also extends into Aransas, Kleberg, and San Patricio Counties. The city’s political boundaries encompass Nueces Bay and Corpus Christi Bay. Its zoned boundaries include small land parcels or water inlets of three neighboring counties. The city’s population was estimated to be 316,381 in 2013, making it the eighth-most populous city in Texas. The Corpus Christi metropolitan area had an estimated population of 442,600. The city is also the hub of the six-county Corpus Christi-Kingsville-Alice Combined Statistical Area, with a 2013 estimated population of 516,793. The Port of Corpus Christi is the fifth-largest in the United States. The region is served by the Corpus Christi International Airport. The city’s name (Corpus Christi) in Latin means Body of Christ. The name was given to the settlement and surrounding bay by Spanish explorer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda in 1519, as he discovered the lush semitropical bay on the Catholic feast day of Corpus Christi. The city has been nicknamed “Texas Riviera” and “Sparkling City by the Sea”, particularly featured in tourist literature.
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. Nashville is the second largest city in Tennessee, after Memphis, and is the fourth largest city in the Southeastern United States. It is located on the Cumberland River in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the music, healthcare, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home to numerous colleges and universities. Reflecting the city’s position in state government, Nashville is home to the Tennessee Supreme Court’s courthouse for Middle Tennessee. It is known as a center of the music industry, earning it the nickname “Music City”. Since 1963, Nashville has had a consolidated city-county government which includes six smaller municipalities in a two-tier system. Thirty-five of 40 members are elected from single-member districts; five are elected at-large. According to 2013 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the total consolidated city-county population stood at 659,042. The “balance” consolidated population, which excludes the semi-independent municipalities and is the figure listed in most demographic sources and national rankings, was 634,464. The 2013 population of the entire 13-county Nashville metropolitan area was 1,757,912, making it the largest metropolitan statistical area in the state. The 2013 population of the Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Columbia combined statistical area, a larger trade area, was 1,876,933.
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the fourth Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers. Memphis had a population of 653,450 in 2013, making it the largest city in the state of Tennessee, the largest city on the Mississippi River, the third largest in the greater Southeastern United States, and the 23rd largest in the United States. The greater Memphis metropolitan area, including adjacent counties in Mississippi and Arkansas, had a 2014 population of 1,317,314. This makes Memphis the second-largest metropolitan area in Tennessee, surpassed by metropolitan Nashville. Memphis is the youngest of Tennessee’s major cities, founded in 1819 as a planned city by a group of wealthy Americans including judge John Overton and future president Andrew Jackson. A resident of Memphis is referred to as a Memphian, and the Memphis region is known, particularly to media outlets, as “Memphis & the Mid-South”.
Charleston is the oldest and second-largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina’s coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, or, as is locally expressed, “where the Cooper and Ashley Rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean.” Founded in 1670 as Charles Town in honor of King Charles II of England, Charleston adopted its present name in 1783. It moved to its present location on Oyster Point in 1680 from a location on the west bank of the Ashley River known as Albemarle Point. By 1690, Charles Town was the fifth-largest city in North America, and it remained among the 10 largest cities in the United States through the 1840 census. With a 2010 census population of 120,083 (and a 2014 estimate of 130,113), current trends put Charleston as the fastest-growing municipality in South Carolina. The population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties, was counted by the 2014 estimate at 727,689 – the third-largest in the state – and the 78th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States. Known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, distinguished restaurants, and mannerly people, Charleston has received a large number of accolades, including “America’s Most Friendly [City]” by Travel + Leisure in 2011 and in 2013 and 2014 by Condé Nast Traveler, and also “the most polite and hospitable city in America” by Southern Living magazine.
Providence is the capital and most populous city in Rhode Island. Founded in 1636, it is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It is located in Providence County, and is the third-largest city in the New England region after Boston and Worcester. Providence has a city population of 179,154 and is part of the 38th-largest metropolitan population in the country, with an estimated population of 1,604,291, exceeding that of Rhode Island by about 60%, as it extends into southern Massachusetts. This can be considered in turn to be part of the Greater Boston commuting area, which contains 7.6 million people. The city is situated at the mouth of the Providence River, at the head of Narragansett Bay. Providence was founded by Roger Williams, a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He named the area in honor of “God’s merciful Providence”, which he believed was responsible for revealing such a haven for him and his followers to settle. After becoming one of the first cities in the country to industrialize, Providence became noted for its jewelry and silverware industry. Today, the city of Providence is home to eight hospitals and seven institutions of higher learning, which has shifted the city’s economy into service industries, though it still retains significant manufacturing activity. Once nicknamed the “Beehive of Industry”, Providence began rebranding itself as the “Creative Capital” in 2009 to emphasize its educational resources and arts community.
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the fifth-most-populous in the United States, with an estimated population in 2014 of 1,560,297. In the Northeastern United States, at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill River, Philadelphia is the economic and cultural anchor of the Delaware Valley, a metropolitan area home to 7.2 million people and the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States. In 1682, William Penn founded the city to serve as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony. Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787. Philadelphia was one of the nation’s capitals in the Revolutionary War, and served as temporary U.S. capital while Washington, D.C., was under construction. In the 19th century, Philadelphia became a major industrial center and railroad hub that grew from an influx of European immigrants. It became a prime destination for African-Americans in the Great Migration and surpassed two million occupants by 1950. Based on the similar shifts underway the nation’s economy after 1960, Philadelphia experienced a loss of manufacturing companies and/or jobs to lower taxed regions of the USA and often overseas. As a result, the economic base of Philadelphia, which had historically been manufacturing, declined significantly. In addition, consolidation in several American industries (retailing, financial services and health care in particular) reduced the number of companies headquartered in Philadelphia. The economic impact of these changes would reduce Philadelphia’s tax base and the resources of local government. Philadelphia struggled through a long period of adjustment to these economic changes, coupled with significant demographic change as wealthier residents moved into the nearby suburbs and more immigrants moved into the city. The city in fact approached bankruptcy in the late 1980s. Revitalization began in the 1990s, with gentrification turning around many neighborhoods and reversing its decades-long trend of population loss. The area’s many universities and colleges make Philadelphia a top international study destination, as the city has evolved into an educational and economic hub. With a gross domestic product of $388 billion, Philadelphia ranks ninth among world cities and fourth in the nation. Philadelphia is the center of economic activity in Pennsylvania and is home to seven Fortune 1000 companies. The Philadelphia skyline is growing, with several nationally prominent skyscrapers. The city is known for its arts, culture, and history, attracting over 39 million domestic tourists in 2013. Philadelphia has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other American city, and Fairmount Park is the largest landscaped urban park in the world. The 67 National Historic Landmarks in the city helped account for the $10 billion generated by tourism. Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps, and is also the home of many U.S. firsts, including the first library (1731), first hospital (1751) and medical school (1765), first Capitol (1777), first stock exchange (1790), first zoo (1874), and first business school (1881). Philadelphia is the only World Heritage City in the United States.
Pittsburgh is the second largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with a population of 305,842 and the county seat of Allegheny County. The Combined Statistical Area (CSA) population of 2,659,937 is the largest in both the Ohio Valley and Appalachia and the 20th-largest in the U.S. Pittsburgh is known as both “the Steel City” for its more than 300 steel-related businesses, as well as “the City of Bridges” for its 446 bridges. The city features 30 skyscrapers, 2 inclines, a pre-revolutionary fortification and the source of the Ohio River at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers. This vital link of the Atlantic coast and Midwest through the mineral-rich Alleghenies made the area coveted by the French and British Empires, Virginia, Whiskey Rebels, Civil War raiders and media networks. Aside from steel, Pittsburgh has led in aluminum, glass, shipbuilding, petroleum, foods, sports, transportation, computing, autos, and electronics. For much of the 20th century, Pittsburgh was behind only New York and Chicago in corporate headquarters employment, second to New York in bank assets and with the most U.S. stockholders per capita. America’s 1980s deindustrialization laid off area blue-collar workers and thousands of downtown white-collar workers when the longtime Pittsburgh-based world headquarters of Gulf Oil, Sunbeam, Rockwell and Westinghouse moved. This heritage left the area with renowned museums, medical centers, parks, research centers, libraries, a diverse cultural district and the most bars per capita in the U.S. In 2015, Pittsburgh was named on a list of the “eleven most livable cities in the world.” Google, Apple, Bosch, Disney, Uber, Intel and IBM are among 1,600 technology firms generating $20.7 billion in annual Pittsburgh payrolls, with the area serving as the long-time federal agency headquarters for cyber defense, software engineering, robotics, energy research and the nuclear navy. The area is home to 68 colleges and universities including research and development leaders Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. The nation’s fifth-largest bank, eight Fortune 500 companies, and six of the top 300 US law firms make their global headquarters in the Pittsburgh area, while RAND, BNY Mellon, Nova, FedEx, Bayer and NIOSH have regional bases that helped Pittsburgh become the sixth-best area for U.S. job growth. The region is a hub for both Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, sustainable energy, and energy extraction.
Portland is the largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the seat of Multnomah County. It is located in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. The city covers 145 square miles (376 km²) and had an estimated population of 619,360 in 2014, making it the 28th most populous city in the United States. Approximately 2,348,247 people live in the Portland metropolitan statistical area (MSA), the 24th most populous MSA in the United States. Its Combined Statistical Area (CSA) ranks 17th with a population of 3,022,178. Roughly 60 percent of Oregon’s population resides within the Portland metropolitan area. Named after the city on the coast of Maine (which was named after the English Isle of Portland), the Oregon settlement began to be populated in the 1830s near the end of the Oregon Trail. Its water access provided convenient transportation of goods, and the timber industry was a major force in the city’s early economy. At the turn of the 20th century, the city had developed a reputation as one of the most dangerous port cities in the world, a hub for organized crime and racketeering. After the city’s economy experienced an industrial boom during World War II, its hard-edged reputation began to dissipate. Beginning in the 1960s, Portland became noted for its growing liberal political values, and the city has earned a reputation as a bastion of counterculture, a view which has proceeded into the 21st century. According to a 2009 Pew Research Center study, Portland ranks as the 8th most popular American city, based on where people want to live. The city operates with a commission-based government guided by a mayor and four commissioners as well as Metro, the only directly elected metropolitan planning organization in the United States. The city government is notable for its land-use planning and investment in public transportation. Portland is frequently recognized as one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the world because of its high walkability, large community of bicyclists, farm-to-table dining, expansive network of public transportation options, and 10,000+ acres of public parks. Its climate is marked by warm, dry summers and chilly, rainy winters. This climate is ideal for growing roses, and Portland has been called the “City of Roses” for over a century. “Keep Portland Weird” is an unofficial slogan for the city.
Toledo is the county seat of Lucas County, Ohio. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, at the western end of Lake Erie bordering the state of Michigan. The city was founded by United States citizens in 1833 on the west bank of the Maumee River, and originally incorporated as part of Monroe County, Michigan Territory. It was re-founded in 1837, after conclusion of the Toledo War, when it was incorporated in Ohio. After construction of the Miami and Erie Canal, Toledo grew quickly; it also benefited from its position on the railway line between New York City and Chicago. It has since become a city with an art community, auto assembly businesses, education, healthcare, and local sports teams. The city’s glass industry has earned it the nickname, “The Glass City”. The population of Toledo as of the 2010 Census was 287,208, making it the 67th-largest city in the United States. It is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio after Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. The Toledo metropolitan area had a 2010 population of 651,429, and was the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the state of Ohio, behind Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Akron.
Put-in-Bay is a village located on South Bass Island in Put-in-Bay Township, Ottawa County, Ohio, United States. The population was 138 at the 2010 census. The bay played a significant role in the War of 1812 as the location of the squadron of U.S. naval commander Oliver Hazard Perry, who sailed from the port on September 10, 1813 to engage a British squadron just north of the island in the Battle of Lake Erie. The village is a popular summer resort and recreational destination. Ferry and airline services connect the community with Catawba Island, Kelleys Island, Port Clinton, and Sandusky, Ohio.
Columbus is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Ohio. It is the 15th largest city in the United States, with a population of 835,957 (2014 estimate). It is the core city of the Columbus, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which encompasses a ten county area. It is the third largest metropolitan area in Ohio, behind Cleveland and Cincinnati (which includes portions of Kentucky and Indiana). Under the Combined Statistical Area (CSA) model, the Columbus, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area was the 28th largest in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Columbus-Marion-Zanesville, OH Combined Statistical Area (which also includes Marion, Chillicothe, and Mount Vernon) has a population of 2,370,839, making it the second largest metropolitan area in Ohio behind Cleveland. It is also the fourth most populous state capital in the United States, and the third largest city in the Midwestern United States. Columbus is the county seat of Franklin County. The city proper has also expanded and annexed portions of adjoining Delaware County and Fairfield County. Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded in 1812 at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and assumed the functions of state capital in 1816. The city has a diverse economy based on education, government, insurance, banking, fashion, defense, aviation, food, clothes, logistics, steel, energy, medical research, health care, hospitality, retail, and technology. Columbus is home to the Battelle Memorial Institute, the world’s largest private research and development foundation; Chemical Abstracts Service, the world’s largest clearinghouse of chemical information; NetJets, the world’s largest fractional ownership jet aircraft fleet; and The Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in the United States. As of 2013, the city has the headquarters of five corporations in the U.S. Fortune 500: Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, American Electric Power, L Brands, Big Lots and Cardinal Health. The fast-food corporations Wendy’s and White Castle are also based in the Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area. In 2012, Columbus was ranked in BusinessWeek’s 50 best cities in America. In 2013, Forbes gave Columbus an A rating as one of the top cities for business in the U.S., and later that year included the city on its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. Columbus was also ranked as the no. 1 up-and-coming tech city in the nation by Forbes in 2008, and the city was ranked a top ten city by Relocate America in 2010. In 2007, fDi Magazine ranked the city no. 3 in the U.S. for cities of the future, and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was rated no. 1 in 2009 by USA Travel Guide.
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately 60 miles (100 kilometers) west of the Pennsylvania border. It was founded in 1796 near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, and became a manufacturing center owing to its location on the lake shore, as well as being connected to numerous canals and railroad lines. Cleveland’s economy has diversified sectors that include manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, and biomedical. Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Clinic. As of the 2013 Census Estimate, the city proper had a total population of 390,113, making Cleveland the 48th largest city in the United States, and the second largest city in Ohio after Columbus. Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, ranked 29th largest in the United States, and second largest in Ohio after Cincinnati with 2,064,725 people in 2013. Cleveland is part of the larger Cleveland-Akron-Canton, OH Combined Statistical Area, which in 2013 had a population of 3,501,538, and ranked as the country’s 15th largest CSA. Residents of Cleveland are called “Clevelanders”. Nicknames for the city include “The Forest City”, “Metropolis of the Western Reserve”, “The Rock and Roll Capital of the World”, “C-Town”, and the more historical “Sixth City”. Due to its proximity to Lake Erie, the Cleveland area is often referred to locally as “The North Coast”.
Cincinnati is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio that serves as county seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located on the north side of the confluence of the Licking with the Ohio River. The latter forms the border between the states of Ohio and Kentucky. Cincinnati is the third-largest city in Ohio and the 65th-largest city in the United States with a population of 296,945 people at the 2010 census. The larger Cincinnati metropolitan area had a population of 2,214,954 in 2010, making it the 28th-largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the United States and the largest centered in Ohio. The city is also part of the larger Cincinnati–Middletown–Wilmington Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which had a population of 2,172,191 in the 2010 census. In the early 19th century, Cincinnati was an American boomtown in the heart of the country; it rivaled the larger coastal cities in size and wealth. Throughout much of the 19th century, it was listed among the top 10 U.S. cities by population, surpassed only by New Orleans and the older, established settlements of the Eastern Seaboard; at one point holding the position of sixth-largest city for a period spanning consecutive census reports from 1840 until 1860. It was by far the largest city in the west. Because it is the first major American city founded after the American Revolution as well as the first major inland city in the country, Cincinnati is sometimes thought of as the first purely “American” city. Cincinnati developed with less European immigration or influence than eastern cities attracted in the same period; however, it received a significant number of German immigrants, who founded many of the city’s cultural institutions. By the end of the 19th century, with the shift from steamboats to railroads drawing off freight shipping, trade patterns had altered and Cincinnati’s growth slowed considerably. The city was surpassed in population by other inland cities, particularly Chicago, which developed based on commodity exploitation and the railroads, and St. Louis, for decades after the Civil War the gateway to westward migration. Cincinnati is home to two major sports teams, the Cincinnati Reds, the oldest franchise in Major League Baseball, and the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. The University of Cincinnati, founded in 1819, is one of the 50 largest in the United States. Cincinnati is known for its historic architecture. In the late 1800s, Cincinnati was commonly referred to as “Paris of America”, due mainly to such ambitious architectural projects as the Music Hall, Cincinnatian Hotel, and Shillito Department Store.
Youngstown is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Mahoning County. It also extends into Trumbull County. The municipality is on the Mahoning River, approximately 65 miles (105 km) southeast of Cleveland and 61 miles (100 km) northwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Youngstown has its own metropolitan area, but is often included in commercial and cultural depictions of the Pittsburgh Tri-State area and Greater Cleveland. Youngstown lies 10 miles (16 km) west of the Pennsylvania state line, midway between New York City and Chicago via Interstate 80. The city was named for John Young, an early settler from Whitestown, New York, who established the community’s first sawmill and gristmill. Youngstown is in a region of the United States that is often referred to as the Rust Belt. Traditionally known as a center of steel production, Youngstown was forced to redefine itself when the U.S. steel industry fell into decline in the 1970s, leaving communities throughout the region without major industry. Youngstown also falls within the Appalachian Ohio region, among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The 2010 census showed that Youngstown had a total population of 66,982, making it Ohio’s ninth largest city. The city has experienced a decline of over 60% of its population since 1959. According to the 2010 Census, the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) contains 565,773 people and includes Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio, and Mercer County in Pennsylvania. The Steel Valley area as a whole has 763,207 residents.
Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina as well as the seat of Wake County in the United States. It is the second most populous city in North Carolina, after Charlotte. Raleigh is known as the “City of Oaks” for its many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city. The city covers a land area of 142.8 square miles (370 km2). The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city’s population to be 439,896 as of July 1, 2014. It is also one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. The city of Raleigh is named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who established the lost Roanoke Colony in present-day Dare County. Raleigh is home to North Carolina State University and is part of the Research Triangle area, together with Durham (home of Duke University) and Chapel Hill (home of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). The “Triangle” nickname originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, located in Durham & Wake Counties partway between the three cities and their universities. The Research Triangle region encompasses the U.S. Census Bureau’s Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which had an estimated population of 2,037,430 in 2013. The Raleigh Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had an estimated population of 1,214,516 in 2013. Most of Raleigh is located within Wake County, with a very small portion extending into Durham County. The towns of Cary, Morrisville, Garner, Clayton, Wake Forest, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon, and Rolesville are some of Raleigh’s primary nearby suburbs and satellite towns. Raleigh is an early example in the United States of a planned city, chosen as the site of the state capital in 1788 and incorporated in 1792 as such. The city was originally laid out in a grid pattern with the North Carolina State Capitol in Union Square at the center. In the United States Civil War the city was spared from any significant battle, only falling in the closing days of the war, though it did not escape the economic hardships that plagued the rest of the American South during the Reconstruction Era. The twentieth century saw the opening of the Research Triangle Park in 1959, and with the jobs it created the region and city saw a large influx of population, making it one of the fastest growing communities in the United States by the early 21st century. Raleigh is home to numerous cultural, educational, and historic sites. The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Raleigh features three theater venues and serves as the home for the North Carolina Symphony and the Carolina Ballet. Walnut Creek Amphitheatre is a large music amphitheater located in Southeast Raleigh. Museums in Raleigh include the North Carolina Museum of Art in West Raleigh, as well as the North Carolina Museum of History and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences located next to each other near the State Capitol in Downtown Raleigh. Several major universities and colleges call Raleigh home, including North Carolina State University, the largest public university in the state, and Shaw University, the first historically black university in the American South and site of the foundation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, an important civil rights organization of the 1960s. One U.S. president, Andrew Johnson, was born in Raleigh.
Wilmington is a port city and the county seat of New Hanover County in coastal southeastern North Carolina, United States. The population is 112,067; according to the 2010 Census it is the eighth most populous city in the state. Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that includes New Hanover and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina, which has a population of 263,429 as of the 2012 Census Estimate. Wilmington was settled by European Americans along the Cape Fear River. Its historic downtown has a one-mile-long Riverwalk, originally developed as a tourist attraction, and in 2014 Wilmington’s riverfront was named the “Best American Riverfront” by USA Today. It is minutes away from nearby beaches. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Wilmington, North Carolina, as one of its 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destinations. City residents live between the river and the ocean, with four nearby beach communities: Fort Fisher, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach, all within half-hour drives from downtown Wilmington. In 2003 the city was designated by the US Congress as a “Coast Guard City”. It is the home port for the USCGC Diligence, a United States Coast Guard medium endurance cutter.The World War II battleship USS North Carolina is held as a war memorial; located across from the downtown port area, the ship is open to public tours. Other attractions include the Cape Fear Museum, the Wilmington Hammerheads United Soccer Leagues soccer team. The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) provides a wide variety of programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and adult learners, in addition to cultural and sports events open to the community. Wilmington is the home of EUE Screen Gems Studios, the largest domestic television and movie production facility outside of California. “Dream Stage 10,” the facility’s newest sound stage, is the third-largest in the US. It houses the largest special-effects water tank in North America. After the studio’s opening in 1984, Wilmington became a major center of American film and television production. Numerous movies in a range of genres and several television series, including Iron Man 3, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, One Tree Hill, and NBC’s Revolution, were produced there. In recent years, however, the end of state tax credits to the industry has severely impacted filmmaking in the entire area.
New York—officially known as New York City or the City of New York to distinguish it from the State of New York, of which it is a part—is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York metropolitan area, the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States and one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. A global power city, New York exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment, its fast pace defining the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy and has been described as the cultural and financial capital of the world. Situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbors, New York City consists of five boroughs, each of which is a separate county of New York State. The five boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island – were consolidated into a single city in 1898. With a census-estimated 2014 population of 8,491,079 distributed over a land area of just 305 square miles (790 km2), New York is the most densely populated major city in the United States. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. By 2014 census estimates, the New York City metropolitan region remains by a significant margin the most populous in the United States, as defined by both the Metropolitan Statistical Area (20.1 million residents) and the Combined Statistical Area (23.6 million residents). In 2013, the MSA produced a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of nearly US$1.39 trillion, while in 2012, the CSA generated a GMP of over US$1.55 trillion, both ranking first nationally by a wide margin and behind the GDP of only twelve and eleven countries, respectively. New York City traces its roots to its 1624 founding as a trading post by colonists of the Dutch Republic and was named New Amsterdam in 1626. The city and its surroundings came under English control in 1664. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the country’s largest city since 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the Americas by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is a globally recognized symbol of the United States and its democracy. Many districts and landmarks in New York City have become well known, and the city received a record 56 million tourists in 2014, hosting three of the world’s ten most visited tourist attractions in 2013. Several sources have ranked New York the most photographed city in the world. Times Square, iconic as the world’s “heart” and its “Crossroads”, is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry. The names of many of the city’s bridges, skyscrapers, and parks are known around the world. Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world, and the city is home to the world’s two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. Manhattan’s real estate market is among the most expensive in the world. Manhattan’s Chinatown incorporates the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere, with multiple signature Chinatowns developing across the city. Providing continuous 24/7 service, the New York City Subway is one of the most extensive metro systems worldwide, with 469 stations in operation. New York City’s higher education network comprises over 120 colleges and universities, including Columbia University, New York University, and Rockefeller University, which have been ranked among the top 35 in the world.
Manhattan is one of the five boroughs of New York City, in the state of New York in the United States. The borough is coterminous with New York County, founded on November 1, 1683 as one of the state’s original counties. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the East, Hudson, and Harlem Rivers, and also includes several small adjacent islands and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood on the mainland. Manhattan is often said to be the economic and cultural center of the United States and hosts the United Nations Headquarters. Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world, and Manhattan is home to the world’s two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization: the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. Many multinational media conglomerates are based in the borough. Historically documented to have been purchased by Dutch colonists from Native Americans in 1626, for the equivalent of US$1050, Manhattan real estate has since become among the most expensive in the world, with the value of Manhattan Island, including real estate, estimated to exceed US$3 trillion in 2013. Although New York County is the United States’ second-smallest county by land area (ahead of only Kalawao County, Hawaii), it is also the country’s most densely populated county. It is also one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with a census-estimated 2014 population of 1,636,268 living in a land area of 22.83 square miles (59.13 km2), or 71,672 residents per square mile (27,673/km2). On business days, the influx of commuters increases that number to over 3.9 million, or more than 170,000 people per square mile (65,600/km2). Manhattan has the third-largest population of New York City’s five boroughs, after Brooklyn and Queens, and is the smallest borough in terms of land area. Many districts and landmarks in Manhattan have become well known, as New York City received a record 56 million tourists in 2014, and Manhattan hosts three of the world’s 10 most-visited tourist attractions in 2013: Times Square, Central Park, and Grand Central Terminal. The borough hosts many world-renowned bridges, such as the Brooklyn Bridge; skyscrapers such as the One World Trade Center, one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world; and parks, such as Central Park. There are many historically significant places in Manhattan: Chinatown incorporates the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere, and the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village is considered the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. In addition, the city of New York was founded at the southern tip of Manhattan, and the borough houses New York City Hall, the seat of city government. Numerous colleges and universities are located in Manhattan, including Columbia University, New York University, and Rockefeller University, which have been ranked among the top 35 in the world.
Buffalo is a city in Western New York and the seat of Erie County, located on the eastern shores of Lake Erie at the head of the Niagara River. As of 2014, Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state after New York City with 258,703 residents, and the metropolitan area is the 53rd largest in the United States. Buffalo experienced significant growth in the 19th and 20th centuries as a direct result of the Erie Canal, railroads and Lake Erie, providing an abundance of fresh water and an ample trade route to the Midwestern United States, while grooming its economy for the grain, steel and automobile industries during the 20th century. Since experiencing an economic downturn in the latter half of the 20th century, Buffalo’s economy has transitioned to sectors that include financial services, technology, biomedical and education. Residents of Buffalo are called “Buffalonians”. Nicknames for the city of Buffalo include “The Queen City”, “The Nickel City”, “The City of Good Neighbors”, and less commonly, the “City of Light”.
Long Island is an island located just off the northeast coast of the United States and a region within the U.S. state of New York. Stretching east-northeast from New York Harbor into the Atlantic Ocean, the island comprises four counties: Kings and Queens (these form the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, respectively) to the west; then Nassau and Suffolk to the east. However, many people in the New York metropolitan area (even those living in Queens and Brooklyn) colloquially use the term “Long Island” (or “The Island”) exclusively to refer to the Nassau-Suffolk county area collectively, which is mainly suburban in character. North of the island is Long Island Sound, across from which lie the states of Connecticut and a small part of Rhode Island. With a Census-estimated population of 7,804,968 in 2014, constituting nearly 40% of New York State’s population, Long Island is the most populated island in any U.S. state or territory, and the 18th-most populous island in the world (ahead of Ireland, Jamaica, and Hokkaid?). Its population density is 5,571 inhabitants per square mile (2,151/km2). If Long Island geographically constituted an independent metropolitan statistical area, it would rank fourth most populous in the United States; while if it were a U.S. state, Long Island would rank 13th in population and first in population density. Both the longestand the largest island in the contiguous United States, Long Island extends 118 miles (190 km) eastward from New York Harbor to Montauk Point, with a maximum north-to-south distance of 23 miles (37 km) between Long Island Sound and the Atlantic coast.With a land area of 1,401 square miles (3,629 km2), Long Island is the 11th-largest island in the United States and the 148th-largest island in the world — larger than the 1,214 square miles (3,140 km2) of the smallest state, Rhode Island. Two of the New York City metropolitan area’s three busiest airports, JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, as well as two major air traffic control radar facilities, the New York TRACON and the New York ARTCC, are located on the Island. Nine bridges and 13 tunnels (including railroad tunnels) connect Brooklyn and Queens (and thus Long Island) to the three other boroughs of New York City. Ferries connect Suffolk County northward across Long Island Sound to the state of Connecticut. In addition, the Long Island Railroad is the busiest commuter railroad in North America and operates 24/7.
Atlantic City is a city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States, and an internationally renowned resort city for gambling, conventions, and leisure. The city also served as the inspiration for the original version of the board game Monopoly. Atlantic City is located on Absecon Island on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
Jersey City is the second-most populous city in the U.S. state of New Jersey, after Newark. It is the seat of Hudson County, as well as the county’s largest city. As of 2014, Jersey City’s Census-estimated population was 262,146, with the largest population increase of any municipality in New Jersey since 2010, representing an increase of 5.9% from the 2010 United States Census, when the city’s population was enumerated at 247,597. Part of the New York metropolitan area, Jersey City is bounded on the east by the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay and on the west by the Hackensack River and Newark Bay. A port of entry, with 11 miles (18 km) of waterfront and significant rail connections, the city is an important transportation terminus and distribution and manufacturing center for the Port of New York and New Jersey. Financial and service industries as well as direct rapid transit access to Manhattan in New York City have played a prominent role in the redevelopment of the Jersey City waterfront and the creation of one of the nation’s largest downtown central business districts. After a peak population of 316,715 measured in the 1930 Census, the city’s population saw a half-century long decline to a low of 223,532 in the 1980 Census, but since then the city’s population has grown, with the 2010 population reflecting an increase of 7,542 (+3.1%) from the 240,055 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 11,518 (+5.0%) from the 228,537 counted in the 1990 Census.
Manchester is the largest city in the U.S. state of New Hampshire, the tenth largest city in New England, and the largest city in northern New England, an area comprising the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. It was first named by the merchant and inventor Samuel Blodget (after whom the Samuel Blodget Park in Manchester North is named). Blodget’s vision was to create a great industrial center similar to that of Manchester in England, which was the world’s first industrialized city. It is located in Hillsborough County along the banks of the Merrimack River, which divides the city into eastern and western sections. Manchester is near the northern end of the Northeast megalopolis. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 109,565, and its 2014 population estimate was 110,448. As of the 2014 population estimate, Manchester is the largest New England city north of Boston, including other Massachusetts cities. The Manchester-Nashua metropolitan area, with an estimated population in 2014 of 405,184, is home to nearly one-third of the population of New Hampshire. Manchester often appears favorably in lists ranking the affordability and livability of American cities. In 2009, CNNMoney.com rated Manchester 13th in a list of the 100 best cities to live and launch a business in the United States. In addition, Kiplinger voted Manchester the second most tax-friendly city in the United States, second only to Anchorage, Alaska. Also in 2009, Forbes magazine ranked the Manchester region first on its list of “America’s 100 Cheapest Places to Live.” According to the Equality of Opportunity Project, released in 2013, Manchester ranked as the seventh best metropolitan area in terms of upward income mobility in the United States.
Las Vegas officially the City of Las Vegas and often known as simply Vegas, is a city in the United States, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, the county seat of Clark County, and the city proper of the Las Vegas Valley. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, fine dining and nightlife and is the leading financial and cultural center for Southern Nevada. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino–hotels and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, Las Vegas is the 29th-most populous city in the United States, with a population of 603,488 at the 2013 United States Census Estimates. The 2013 population of the Las Vegas metropolitan area was 2,027,828. The city is one of the top three leading destinations in the United States for conventions, business, and meetings. In addition, the city’s metropolitan area has more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world, and is a global leader in the hospitality industry. Today, Las Vegas is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Established in 1905, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1911. At the close of the 20th century, Las Vegas was the most populous American city founded in that century (a similar distinction earned by Chicago in the 19th century). The city’s tolerance for numerous forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films, television programs, and music videos. Las Vegas is generally used to describe not just the city itself, but areas beyond the city limits—especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip—and the Las Vegas Valley. The 4.2 mi (6.8 km) stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Las Vegas Strip is in the unincorporated communities of Paradise, Winchester, and Enterprise, located in Clark County.
Lincoln is the capital of the state of Nebraska and the county seat of Lancaster County. The city covers 92.81 square miles (240.38 km2) with a population of 277,348 in 2015. It is the second most populous city in the state of Nebraska and the 72nd largest in the United States. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area in the southeastern part of Nebraska called the Lincoln-Beatrice Metropolitan Area. The metropolitan area is home to 345,478 people making it the one-hundred-fifth largest combined statistical area in the United States.The city was founded in 1856 as the village of Lancaster on the wild salt marshes of what was to become Lancaster County. In 1867, the village of Lancaster became Nebraska’s state capital and was renamed Lincoln. The Bertram G. Goodhue designed state capitol building was completed in 1932 and is the second tallest capitol in the United States. As the city is the seat of government for the state of Nebraska, the state and the United States government are major employers. The University of Nebraska was founded in Lincoln in 1867. The university is the largest university in Nebraska with 25,006 students enrolled and is the city’s third largest employer. Other primary employers fall within the service and manufacturing industries, including a growing high tech sector. The region makes up a part of what is known as the greater Midwest Silicon Prairie.Designated as a “Refugee Friendly” city by the U.S. Department of State in the 1970s, the city was the 12th largest resettlement site per capita in the United States by 2000. Refugee Vietnamese, Karen (Burmese ethnic minority), Sudanese, and Yazidi (Iraqi ethnic minority) people have been resettled in the city. Lincoln Public Schools during the school year of 2015-16 provided support for approximately 2,600 students from 118 countries, who spoke 96 different languages.
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska, United States, and is the county seat of Douglas County. It is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 10 miles (15 km) north of the mouth of the Platte River. Omaha is the anchor of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area, which includes Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the Missouri River from Omaha. According to the 2010 census, Omaha’s population was 408,958, making it the nation’s 41st-largest city. According to the 2014 Population Estimates, Omaha’s population was 446,599. Including its suburbs, Omaha formed the 60th-largest metropolitan area in the United States in 2013 with an estimated population of 895,151 residing in eight counties. The Omaha-Council Bluffs-Fremont, Nebraska-IA Combined Statistical Area is 931,667, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 estimate. There are nearly 1.3 million residents within a 50-mile (80 km) radius of the city’s center, forming the Greater Omaha area. Omaha’s pioneer period began in 1854 when the city was founded by speculators from neighboring Council Bluffs, Iowa. The city was founded along the Missouri River, and a crossing called Lone Tree Ferry earned the city its nickname, the “Gateway to the West.” It introduced this new West to the world when in 1898 it played host to the World’s Fair, dubbed the Trans-Mississippi Exposition. During the 19th century, Omaha’s central location in the United States spurred the city to become an important national transportation hub. Throughout the rest of the 19th century, the transportation and jobbing sectors were important in the city, along with its railroads and breweries. In the 20th century, the Omaha Stockyards, once the world’s largest, and its meatpacking plants, gained international prominence. Today, Omaha is the home to the headquarters of five Fortune 500 companies: packaged-food giant ConAgra Foods; the U.S.’s largest railroad operator, Union Pacific Corporation; insurance and financial firm Mutual of Omaha; one of the world’s largest construction companies, Kiewit Corporation; and mega-conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway is headed by local investor Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, according to a decade’s worth of Forbes Magazine rankings, some of which have ranked him as high as No. 1. Omaha is also the home to five Fortune 1000 headquarters: TD Ameritrade, West Corporation, Valmont Industries, Green Plains Renewable Energy and Werner Enterprises. First National Bank of Omaha is the largest privately held bank in the United States. Headquarters for Leo A Daly, HDR, Inc. and DLR Group, three of the US’s largest 10 architecture/engineering firms, are based in Omaha. The Gallup Organization, of Gallup Poll fame, also is based in Omaha, with its riverfront Gallup University. Enron began in Omaha as Northern Natural Gas in 1930 before taking over a smaller Houston company in 1985 to form InterNorth, which was moved permanently to Houston in 1987 by the notorious Kenneth Lay. The modern economy of Omaha is diverse and built on skilled knowledge jobs. In 2009, Forbes identified Omaha as the nation’s number one “Best Bang-For-The Buck City” and number one on “America’s Fastest-Recovering Cities” list. Tourism in Omaha benefits the city’s economy greatly, with the annual College World Series providing important revenue and the city’s Henry Doorly Zoo serving as the top attraction in Nebraska. Omaha hosted the U.S. Olympic swim trials in 2008, 2012, and will host the event again in 2016. Notable modern Omaha inventions include the TV dinner, developed by Omaha’s then-Carl Swanson Co.; Raisin Bran, developed by Omaha’s Skinner Macaroni Co.; cake mix, developed by Duncan Hines, then a division of Omaha’s Nebraska Consolidated Mills, the forerunner to today’s ConAgra Foods; Butter Brickle Ice Cream and the Reuben sandwich, conceived by a chef at the then-Blackstone Hotel on 33rd and Farnam Streets; center-pivot irrigation by Omaha’s now-Valmont Corporation; the bobby pin and the “pink hair curler”, at Omaha’s Tip Top; the ski lift, in 1936, by Omaha’s Union Pacific Corp; the “Top 40” radio format, pioneered by Todd Storz, scion of Omaha’s Storz Brewing Co., and head of Storz Broadcasting, which was the first in the U.S. to use the “Top 40” format at Omaha’s KOWH Radio. A character in a Rudyard Kipling essay claimed “dice were invented in Omaha, and the man who invented ’em, he made a colossal fortune.”
Columbia is a city in and the county seat of Boone County, Missouri, United States. Founded in 1820 as the county seat and home to the University of Missouri, it had a 2014 estimated population of 116,906, and it is the principal city of the Columbia Metropolitan Area, the state’s fourth most populous metropolitan area. As a midwestern college town, the city has a reputation for progressive politics, public art, and powerful journalism. The tripartite establishment of Stephens College (1833), the University of Missouri (1839), and Columbia College (1851) has long made the city a center of education, culture, and athletic competition. These three schools surround Downtown Columbia on the east, south, and north; at the center is the Avenue of the Columns, which connects Francis Quadrangle and Jesse Hall to the Boone County Courthouse and the City Hall. Originally an agricultural town, the cultivation of the mind is Columbia’s chief economic concern today. Never a major center of manufacturing, the city also depends on healthcare, insurance, and technology businesses. Several companies; such as Shelter Insurance, Carfax, and Slackers CDs and Games among them; were founded in the city. Cultural institutions include the State Historical Society of Missouri, the Museum of Art and Archaeology, and the annual True/False Film Festival. The Missouri Tigers, the state’s only major athletic program, play football at Faurot Field and basketball at Mizzou Arena as members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The city is built upon the forested hills and rolling prairies of Mid-Missouri, near the Missouri River valley, where the Ozark Mountains begin to transform into plains and savanna; limestone forms bluffs and glades while rain carves caves and springs which water the Hinkson, Roche Perche, and Petite Bonne Femme creeks. Surrounding the city, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Mark Twain National Forest, and Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge all form a greenbelt preserving sensitive and rare environments. The first humans were nomadic hunters who entered the area at least twelve thousand years ago. Later, woodland tribes lived in villages along waterways and built mounds in high places. The Osage and Missouria nations were expelled by the exploration of French traders and the rapid settlement of American pioneers. The latter arrived by the Boone’s Lick Trail and hailed from the slave-owning culture of the Upland South, especially Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, giving Boonslick the name “Little Dixie” during the American Civil War. German, Irish, and other European immigrants soon joined. The modern populace is unusually diverse, over eight percent foreign-born. While White and Black remain the largest ethnicities, Asians are now the third-largest group. Today’s Columbians are remarkably highly educated and culturally midwestern, though traces of their Southern past remain. The city has been called the “Athens of Missouri” or a reference to its classic beauty and educational emphasis, but is more commonly called “CoMo”.
St. Louis is a city and port in the U.S. state of Missouri. The city developed along the western bank of the Mississippi River, which forms Missouri’s border with Illinois. In 2010, St. Louis had a population of 319,294; a 2014 estimate put the population at 317,419, making it the 60th-most populous U.S. city and the second-largest city in the state in terms of city proper population. The St. Louis metropolitan area includes the city as well as nearby areas in Missouri and Illinois; with an estimated population of 2,905,893, it is the largest in Missouri and one of the largest in the United States. St. Louis was founded in 1764 by Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau and named after Louis IX of France. Claimed first by the French, who settled mostly east of the Mississippi River, the region in which the city stands was ceded to Spain following France’s defeat in the Seven Years’ War. Its territory east of the Mississippi was ceded to the Kingdom of Great Britain, the victor. The area of present-day Missouri was part of Spanish Louisiana from 1762 until 1803. After the United States acquired this territory in the Louisiana Purchase, St. Louis developed as a major port on the Mississippi River. In the late 19th century, St. Louis was ranked as the fourth-largest city in the United States. It separated from St. Louis County in 1877, becoming an independent city and limiting its political boundaries. In 1904, it hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the Summer Olympics. Immigration has increased, and the city is the center of the largest Bosnian population in the world outside their homeland. The economy of St. Louis relies on service, manufacturing, trade, transportation of goods, and tourism. The city is home to several major corporations including Express Scripts, Peabody Energy, Ameren, Ralcorp, Monsanto and Sigma-Aldrich, as well as a large medical and research community. St. Louis has two professional sports teams: the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball, and the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League. The city is commonly identified with the 630-foot (192 m) tall Gateway Arch in Downtown St. Louis.
Kansas City is the largest city in the U.S. State of Missouri and the sixth largest city in the Midwest. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city had an estimated population of 475,378 in 2015, making it the 36th largest city by population in the United States. It is the anchor city of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which straddles the Kansas–Missouri border. Kansas City was founded in the 1830s as a Missouri River port at its confluence with the Kansas River coming in from the west. On June 1, 1850 the town of Kansas was incorporated; shortly after came the establishment of the Kansas Territory. Confusion of distinguishing the two ensued, and the name Kansas City was assigned to distinguish them soon thereafter.Sitting on Missouri’s western border, with Downtown near the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, the modern city encompasses some 319.03 square miles (826.3 km2), making it the 23rd largest city by total area in the United States. Most of the city lies within Jackson County, but portions spill into Clay, Cass, and Platte counties. Along with Independence, it serves as one of the two county seats for Jackson County. Major suburbs include the Missouri cities of Independence and Lee’s Summit and the Kansas cities of Overland Park, Olathe, and Kansas City.The city has several distinguished neighborhoods, each with its own rich history, such as: one of America’s largest public farmers’ markets located in the River Market District in the north, the cradle of a distinctive form of jazz in the 18th and Vine District in the east, and the Spanish-styled architecture and upscale shops of the Country Club Plaza in the south. Kansas City is also known for its cuisine (most notably its distinctive style of barbecue), its craft breweries, and its major league sports teams.
Springfield is the third largest city in the state of Missouri and the county seat of Greene County. According to the 2010 census data, the population was 159,498, an increase of 5.2% since the 2000 census. It is one of the two principal cities of the Springfield-Branson Metropolitan Area, which has a population of 537,631 and includes the counties of Christian, Dallas, Greene, Polk, Webster, Stone and Taney. Springfield’s nickname is the “Queen City of the Ozarks” and is known as the “Birthplace of Route 66”. It is also home of several universities including Missouri State University, Drury University, and Evangel University.
Saint Paul is the capital and second-most populous city of the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of 2014, the city’s estimated population was 297,640. Saint Paul is the county seat of Ramsey County, the smallest and most densely populated county in Minnesota. The city lies mostly on the east bank of the Mississippi River in the area surrounding its point of confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Minneapolis, the state’s largest city. Known as the “Twin Cities”, the two form the core of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.5 million residents. Founded near historic Native American settlements as a trading and transportation center, the city rose to prominence when it was named the capital of the Minnesota Territory in 1849. Though Minneapolis is better-known nationally, Saint Paul contains the state government and other important institutions. Regionally, the city is known for the Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild, and for the Science Museum of Minnesota. As a business hub of the Upper Midwest, it is the headquarters of companies such as Ecolab. Saint Paul, along with its Twin City, Minneapolis, is known for its high literacy rate. It was the only city in the United States with a population of 250,000 or more to see an increase in circulation of Sunday newspapers in 2007. The settlement originally began at present-day Lambert’s Landing, but was known as Pig’s Eye after Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant established a popular tavern there. When Lucien Galtier, the first Catholic pastor of the region, established the Log Chapel of Saint Paul (shortly thereafter to become the first location of the Cathedral of Saint Paul), he made it known that the settlement was now to be called by that name, as “Saint Paul as applied to a town or city was well appropriated, this monosyllable is short, sounds good, it is understood by all Christian denominations”.
Minneapolis is the county seat of Hennepin County, and larger of the Twin Cities, the 14th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, containing approximately 3.8 million residents. As of 2016, Minneapolis is the largest city in the state of Minnesota and 46th-largest in the United States with 407,207 residents. Minneapolis and Saint Paul anchor the second-largest economic center in the Midwest, behind Chicago. Minneapolis lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, just north of the river’s confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Saint Paul, the state’s capital. The city is abundantly rich in water, with twenty lakes and wetlands, the Mississippi River, creeks and waterfalls, many connected by parkways in the Chain of Lakes and the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. It was once the world’s flour milling capital and a hub for timber, and today is the primary business center between Chicago and Seattle, with Minneapolis proper containing America’s fifth-highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies. As an integral link to the global economy, Minneapolis is categorized as a global city. Minneapolis’ name is attributed to the city’s first schoolteacher, who combined mni, a Dakota Sioux word for water, and polis, the Greek word for city.
Detroit is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the fourth-largest city in the Midwest and the largest city on the United States–Canada border. It is the seat of Wayne County, the most populous county in the state. Detroit’s metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 5.3 million people, making it the fourteenth-most populous metropolitan area in the United States and the second-largest in the Midwestern United States (behind Chicago). It is a major port on the Detroit River, a strait that connects the Great Lakes system to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The City of Detroit anchors the second-largest economic region in the Midwest, behind Chicago, and the thirteenth-largest in the United States. Detroit is the center of a three-county urban area (population 3,734,090, area of 1,337 square miles (3,460 km2), a 2010 United States Census) six-county metropolitan statistical area (2010 Census population of 4,296,250, area of 3,913 square miles [10,130 km2]), and a nine-county Combined Statistical Area (2010 Census population of 5,218,852, area of 5,814 square miles [15,060 km2]). The Detroit–Windsor area, a commercial link straddling the Canada–U.S. border, has a total population of about 5,700,000. The Detroit metropolitan region holds roughly one-half of Michigan’s population. Detroit was founded on July 24, 1701, by the French explorer and adventurer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac and a party of settlers. With expansion of the automobile industry, the Detroit area emerged as a significant metropolitan region within the United States in the early 20th century, when the city became the fourth-largest in the country for a period. In the 1950s and 1960s, expansion continued with construction of a regional freeway system. Due to industrial restructuring and loss of jobs in the auto industry, Detroit lost considerable population from the late 20th century to present. Between 2000 and 2010 the city’s population fell by 25 percent, changing its ranking from the nation’s 10th-largest city to 18th. In 2010, the city had a population of 713,777, more than a 60 percent drop from a peak population of over 1.8 million at the 1950 census. This resulted from suburbanization, industrial restructuring, and the decline of Detroit’s auto industry. Following the shift of population and jobs to its suburbs or other states or nations, the city has focused on becoming the metropolitan region’s employment and economic center. Downtown Detroit has held an increased role as an entertainment destination in the 21st century, with the restoration of several historic theatres, several new sports stadiums, and a riverfront revitalization project. More recently, the population of Downtown Detroit, Midtown Detroit, and a handful of other neighborhoods has increased. Many other neighborhoods remain distressed, with extensive abandonment of properties. The Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, declared a financial emergency for the city in March 2013, appointing an emergency manager. On July 18, 2013, Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history. It was declared bankrupt by Judge Steven W. Rhodes of the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on December 3, 2013; he cited its $18.5 billion debt and declared that negotiations with its thousands of creditors were unfeasible. On November 7, 2014, Judge Rhodes approved the city’s bankruptcy plan, allowing the city to begin the process of exiting bankruptcy. The City of Detroit successfully exited Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy with all finances handed back to the city at midnight on December 11, 2014.
Lansing is the capital of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located mostly in Ingham County, although portions of the city extend west into Eaton County and north into Clinton County. The 2010 Census placed the city’s population at 114,297, making it the fifth largest city in Michigan. The population of its Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was 464,036, while the even larger Combined Statistical Area (CSA) population, which includes Shiawassee County, was 534,684. It was named the new state capital of Michigan in 1847, ten years after its admittance as a state. The Lansing Metropolitan Area, colloquially referred to as “Mid-Michigan”, is an important center for educational, cultural, governmental, commercial, and industrial functions. The area is home to two medical schools, one veterinary school, two nursing schools, two law schools—including Western Michigan University and Michigan State University—a Big Ten Conference university (Michigan State), the Michigan State Capitol, the state Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, a federal court, the Library of Michigan and Historical Center, and headquarters of four national insurance companies. Lansing is the only U.S. state capital (among the 47 located in counties) that is not also a county seat. The seat of government of Ingham County is Mason, but the county maintains some offices in Lansing.
Boston is the capital and largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. Boston also served as the historic county seat of Suffolk County until Massachusetts disbanded county government in 1999. The city proper covers 48 square miles (124 km2) with an estimated population of 655,884 in 2014, making it the largest city in New England and the 24th largest city in the United States. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.7 million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country. Greater Boston as a commuting region is home to 8.1 million people, making it the sixth-largest combined statistical area in the United States. One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston. Upon American independence from Great Britain, the city continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub, as well as a center for education and culture. Through land reclamation and municipal annexation, Boston has expanded beyond the original peninsula. Its rich history attracts many tourists, with Faneuil Hall alone drawing over 20 million visitors per year. Boston’s many firsts include the United States’ first public school, Boston Latin School (1635), and first subway system (1897). The area’s many colleges and universities make Boston an international center of higher education and medicine, and the city is considered to be a world leader in innovation. Boston’s economic base also includes finance, professional and business services, biotechnology, information technology, and government activities. Households in the city claim the highest average rate of philanthropy in the United States; businesses and institutions rank amongst the top in the country for environmental sustainability and investment. The city has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, though it remains high on world livability rankings.
Springfield is a city in western New England, and the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts, in the United States. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers: the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern Mill River. As of the 2010 Census, the city’s population was 153,060. Metropolitan Springfield, as one of two metropolitan areas in Massachusetts (the other being Greater Boston), had an estimated population of 698,903 as of 2009. The first Springfield in the New World, it is the largest city in Western New England, and the urban, economic, and cultural capital of Massachusetts’ Connecticut River Valley (colloquially known as the Pioneer Valley). It is the third-largest city in Massachusetts and fourth-largest in New England, after Boston, Worcester, and Providence. Springfield has several nicknames – The City of Firsts, because of its many innovations (see below for a partial list); The City of Homes, due to its Victorian residential architecture; and Hoop City, as basketball – one of the world’s most popular sports – was invented in Springfield by James Naismith. Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, lies 23.9 miles (38 km) south of Springfield, on the western bank of the Connecticut River. Bradley International Airport, which sits 12 miles (19 km) south of Metro Center Springfield, is Hartford-Springfield’s airport. The Hartford-Springfield region is known as the Knowledge Corridor because it hosts over 160,000 university students and over 32 universities and liberal arts colleges – the second-highest concentration of higher-learning institutions in the United States. The city of Springfield itself is home to Springfield College; Western New England University; American International College; and Springfield Technical Community College, among other higher educational institutions.
Baltimore is the largest city in the U.S. state of Maryland, and the 26th-most populous city in the country. It is the largest independent city in the United States. Baltimore has more public monuments than any other city per capita in the country and is home to some of the earliest National Register historic districts in the nation, including Fell’s Point (1969), Federal Hill (1970) and Mount Vernon Place (1971). More than 65,000 properties, or roughly one in three buildings in the city, are listed on the National Register, more than any other city in the nation. Founded in 1729, Baltimore is the second largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States and a major manufacturing center. After a decline in major manufacturing, industrialization and rail transportation, Baltimore shifted to a service-oriented economy, with the Johns Hopkins Hospital (founded 1889), and Johns Hopkins University (founded 1876), now the city’s top two employers. Baltimore had a population of 622,104 in 2013; in 2010, that of Baltimore Metropolitan Area was 2.7 million, the 20th largest in the country. With hundreds of identified districts, Baltimore has been dubbed “a city of neighborhoods”. Famous residents have included the writers Edgar Allan Poe, Edith Hamilton, Frederick Douglass, and H.L. Mencken; jazz musician James “Eubie” Blake; singer Billie Holiday; actor and filmmaker John Waters; and baseball player Babe Ruth. In the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote The Star-Spangled Banner, later the American national anthem, in the city. Almost a quarter of the jobs in the Baltimore region are in science, technology, engineering and math, in part attributed to its extensive undergraduate and graduate schools.
Lewiston is a city in Androscoggin County in Maine, and the second-largest city in the state. The population was 36,592 at the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included within the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan New England city and town area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area, which as of 2006 census estimates has a combined population of 107,702. It is also part of the extended Portland-Lewiston-South Portland, Maine combined statistical area, which has a combined population 621,219 as of 2006 estimates. A former mill town, it is located in south-central Maine, at the falls of the Androscoggin River, across from Auburn. Lewiston and Auburn are often considered a single entity and referred to as Lewiston–Auburn, colloquially abbreviated as L-A or L/A. They have a combined population of 59,647 people. Together, Lewiston-Auburn is somewhat smaller than Maine’s largest city, Portland (excluding its own suburbs). Lewiston is home to Bates College, the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College, and two significant regional general hospitals: Central Maine Medical Center and Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center.
Louisville is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the 30th-most populous city in the United States. It is one of two cities in Kentucky designated as first-class, the other being the state’s second-largest city of Lexington. Louisville is the historical seat and, since 2003, the nominal seat of Jefferson County.Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark and is named after King Louis XVI of France, making Louisville one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains. Sited beside the Falls of the Ohio, the only major obstruction to river traffic between the upper Ohio River and the Gulf of Mexico, the settlement first grew as a portage site. It was the founding city of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, which grew into a 6,000-mile (9,700 km) system across 13 states. Today, the city is known as the home of the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Fried Chicken, the University of Louisville and its Louisville Cardinals athletic teams, Louisville Slugger baseball bats, and three of Kentucky’s six Fortune 500 companies. Its main airport is also the site of United Parcel Service’s worldwide air hub.Since 2003, Louisville’s borders have been the same as those of Jefferson County because of a city-county merger. The official name of this consolidated city-county government is the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, abbreviated to Louisville Metro. Despite the merger and renaming, the term “Jefferson County” continues to be used in some contexts in reference to Louisville Metro, particularly including the incorporated cities outside the “balance” which make up Louisville proper. The city’s total consolidated population as of the 2014 census estimate was 760,026. However, the balance total of 612,780 excludes other incorporated places and semiautonomous towns within the county and is the population listed in most sources and national rankings.The Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), sometimes also referred to as Kentuckiana, includes Louisville-Jefferson County and 12 surrounding counties, seven in Kentucky and five in Southern Indiana. As of 2014, the MSA had a population of 1,269,702, ranking 43rd nationally
Lexington, consolidated with Fayette County, is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 61st largest in the United States. Known as the “Horse Capital of the World”, it is the heart of the state’s Bluegrass region. With a mayor-alderman form of government, it is one of two cities in Kentucky designated by the state as first-class; the other is the state’s largest city of Louisville. In the 2014 U.S. Census Estimate, the city’s population was 310,797, anchoring a metropolitan area of 489,435 people and a combined statistical area of 708,677 people. Lexington ranks tenth among US cities in college education rate, with 39.5% of residents having at least a bachelor’s degree. It is the location of the Kentucky Horse Park, The Red Mile and Keeneland race courses, Rupp Arena, the world’s largest basketball-specific arena, Transylvania University, the University of Kentucky and Bluegrass Community & Technical College.
Frankfort is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the seat of Franklin County. Based on population, it is the fifth-smallest state capital in the United States. It is a home rule-class city in Kentucky; the population was 25,527 at the 2010 census. Located along the Kentucky River, Frankfort is the principal city of the Frankfort, Kentucky Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Franklin and Anderson counties.
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana and the county seat of Marion County. With an estimated population of 848,788 in 2014, Indianapolis is the largest city in Indiana, second largest in the American Midwest, and 14th largest in the U.S. Indianapolis–Carmel–Anderson is the 33rd largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with nearly 2 million inhabitants. Residents of the city are occasionally referred to as “Indianapolitans,” although this archaic term is rarely used. Indianapolis was founded in 1821 near the confluence of the White River and Fall Creek as a planned city for the new seat of Indiana’s state government. The city’s economy is diverse, including health care, life sciences, manufacturing, motorsports, and transportation and logistics, contributing to a gross domestic product (GDP) of $125.8 billion in 2014. Three Fortune 500 companies are based in the city: Anthem Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, and Calumet Specialty Products Partners. Nicknamed the Crossroads of America, Indianapolis is the junction for four Interstate highways and six U.S. highways. Indianapolis International Airport is a major international cargo hub, ranking as the 23rd busiest airport in the world by cargo traffic in 2014. Indianapolis is considered a “high sufficiency” global city. Indianapolis hosts several notable sporting events annually, including the largest half marathon in the U.S. and the largest single-day sporting event in the world, the Indianapolis 500. The cars competing in the latter race are known as IndyCars as a reference to the event. As headquarters for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the city frequently hosts the Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments. Indianapolis hosted Pan American Games X in 1987 and Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.
Bloomington is a city in McLean County, Illinois, United States and the county seat. It is adjacent to Normal, and is the more populous of the two principal municipalities of the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area. The mayor of Bloomington is Tari Renner. The 2010 census showed the city had a population of 76,610, making it the 12th most populated city in Illinois, and the fifth-most populous city in the state outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Combined with Normal, the twin cities have a population of roughly 130,000.
Fort Wayne is a city in the U.S. state of Indiana and the seat of Allen County. Located in northeastern Indiana, the city is 18 miles (29 km) west of the Ohio border and 50 miles (80 km) south of the Michigan border. With an estimated population of 258,522 in 2014, Fort Wayne is the 77th most populous city in the United States and the second largest in Indiana, after Indianapolis. It is the principal city of the Fort Wayne metropolitan area, consisting of Allen, Wells, and Whitley counties, a combined population of 419,453 as of 2011. In addition to the three core counties, the combined statistical area (CSA) includes Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, and Steuben counties, with an estimated population of 615,077. Under the direction of American Revolutionary War statesman Anthony Wayne, the United States Army built Fort Wayne last in a series of forts near the Miami tribe village of Kekionga in 1794. Named in Wayne’s honor, the European-American settlement developed at the confluence of the St. Joseph, St. Marys, and Maumee rivers as a trading post for pioneers. The village was platted in 1823 and underwent tremendous growth after completion of the Wabash and Erie Canal and advent of the railroad. Once a booming manufacturing town located in what became known as the Rust Belt, Fort Wayne’s economy in the 21st century is based upon distribution, transportation and logistics, healthcare, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and financial services. The city is a center for the defense industry which employs thousands. Fort Wayne was an All-America City Award recipient in 1982, 1998, and 2009. The city also received an Outstanding Achievement City Livability Award by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 1999.
Elkhart is a city in Elkhart County, Indiana, United States. The city is located 15 miles (24 km) east of South Bend, Indiana, 110 miles (180 km) east of Chicago, Illinois, and 150 miles (240 km) north of Indianapolis, Indiana. Elkhart has the larger population of the two principal cities of the Elkhart-Goshen Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn is part of the South Bend-Elkhart-Mishawaka Combined Statistical Area, in a region commonly known as Michiana. The population was 50,949 at the 2010 census. Despite the shared name, it is not the county seat of Elkhart County; that position is held by the city of Goshen, located about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Elkhart.
Michigan City is a city in LaPorte County, Indiana, United States. It is one of the two principal cities of the Michigan City-La Porte, Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City Combined Statistical Area. Located in the region known to locals as Michiana, it is approximately 50 miles east of Chicago and 40 miles west of South Bend. The city had a population of 31,479 at the 2010 census. Michigan City is noted for both its proximity to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and for bordering Lake Michigan. Due to this, Michigan City receives a fair amount of tourism during the summer months, especially by residents of Chicago and of nearby cities in Northern Indiana. The lighthouse is a notable symbol for the city and is incorporated in the heading of Michigan City’s sole newspaper, The News Dispatch, and the city’s official seal.
Merrillville Indiana is a town in Ross Township, Lake County, Indiana. The population was 35,246 at the 2010 census. Merrillville is located in the east-central portion of Lake County, in the Chicago metropolitan area. On January 1, 2015, Merrillville became the most populated town in Indiana, as Fishers in Hamilton County was converted from a town to a city.
Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States. With over 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the state of Illinois and the Midwest. The Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, has nearly 10 million people and is the third-largest in the U.S. Chicago is the seat of Cook County. Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837, near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed, and grew rapidly in the mid-nineteenth century. The city is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation: O’Hare International Airport is the busiest airport in the world when measured by aircraft traffic; it also has the largest number of U.S. highways and rail road freight. In 2012, Chicago was listed as an alpha global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and ranked seventh in the world in the 2014 Global Cities Index. As of 2014, Chicago had the third largest gross metropolitan product in the United States at US$610.5 billion. In 2014, Chicago had 50.2 million international and domestic visitors. Chicago’s culture includes the visual arts, novels, film, theater, especially improvisational comedy, and music, particularly jazz, blues, soul, gospel and house music. It also has professional sports teams in each of the major professional leagues. Chicago has many nicknames, the best-known being the Windy City.
Atlanta is the capital of and the most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia, with an estimated 2013 population of 447,841. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5,522,942 people and the ninth largest metropolitan area in the United States. Atlanta is the county seat of Fulton County, and a small portion of the city extends eastward into DeKalb County. Atlanta was established in 1837 at the intersection of two railroad lines, and the city rose from the ashes of the American Civil War to become a national center of commerce. In the decades following the Civil Rights Movement, during which the city earned a reputation as “too busy to hate” for the progressive views of its citizens and leaders, Atlanta attained international prominence. Atlanta is the primary transportation hub of the Southeastern United States, via highway, railroad, and air, with Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport being the world’s busiest airport since 1998. Atlanta is considered an “alpha-” or “world city”, ranking 36th among world cities and 8th in the nation with a gross domestic product of $270 billion. Atlanta’s economy is considered diverse, with dominant sectors including logistics, professional and business services, media operations, and information technology. Topographically, Atlanta is marked by rolling hills and dense tree coverage. Revitalization of Atlanta’s neighborhoods, initially spurred by the 1996 Olympics, has intensified in the 21st century, altering the city’s demographics, politics, and culture.
Savannah (/s??væn?/) is the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia and is the county seat of Chatham County. Established in 1733 on the Savannah River, the city of Savannah became the British colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. A strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War, Savannah is today an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport. It is Georgia’s fifth-largest city and third-largest metropolitan area. Each year Savannah attracts millions of visitors to its cobblestone streets, parks, and notable historic buildings: the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA), the Georgia Historical Society (the oldest continually operating historical society in the South), the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences (one of the South’s first public museums), the First African Baptist Church (one of the oldest African-American Baptist congregations in the United States), Temple Mickve Israel (the third oldest synagogue in America), and the Central of Georgia Railway roundhouse complex (the oldest standing antebellum rail facility in America). Savannah’s downtown area, which includes the Savannah Historic District, the Savannah Victorian Historic District, and 22 parklike squares, is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States (designated by the U.S. government in 1966). Downtown Savannah largely retains the original town plan prescribed by founder James Oglethorpe (a design now known as the Oglethorpe Plan). Savannah was the host city for the sailing competitions during the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta.
Miami is a city located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida and the county seat of Miami-Dade County. The 44th-most populated city proper in the United States, with a population of 430,332, it is the principal, central, and most populous city of the Miami metropolitan area, and the most populous metropolis in the Southeastern United States after Washington, D.C. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Miami’s metro area is the eighth-most populous and fourth-largest urban area in the United States, with a population of around 5.5 million. Miami is a major center, and a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade. In 2012, Miami was classified as an Alpha?World City in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory. In 2010, Miami ranked seventh in the United States in terms of finance, commerce, culture, entertainment, fashion, education, and other sectors. It ranked 33rd among global cities. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Miami “America’s Cleanest City”, for its year-round good air quality, vast green spaces, clean drinking water, clean streets, and city-wide recycling programs. According to a 2009 UBS study of 73 world cities, Miami was ranked as the richest city in the United States, and the world’s fifth-richest city in terms of purchasing power. Miami is nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America”, is the second largest U.S. city with a Spanish-speaking majority, and the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality. Downtown Miami is home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States, and many large national and international companies. The Civic Center is a major center for hospitals, research institutes, medical centers, and biotechnology industries. For more than two decades, the Port of Miami, known as the “Cruise Capital of the World”, has been the number one cruise passenger port in the world. It accommodates some of the world’s largest cruise ships and operations, and is the busiest port in both passenger traffic and cruise lines.
Miami Beach is a coastal resort city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. It was incorporated on March 26, 1915. The municipality is located on a variety of natural and man-made barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the latter of which separates the Beach from Miami. The neighborhood of South Beach, comprising the southernmost 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2) of Miami Beach, along with downtown Miami and the Port of Miami, collectively form the commercial center of South Florida. As of the 2010 census, Miami Beach had a total population of 87,779. It has been one of America’s pre-eminent beach resorts since the early 20th century. In 1979, Miami Beach’s Art Deco Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Art Deco District is the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world and comprises hundreds of hotels, apartments and other structures erected between 1923 and 1943. Mediterranean, Streamline Moderne and Art Deco are all represented in the District. The Historic District is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the East, Lenox Court on the West, 6th Street on the South and Dade Boulevard along the Collins Canal to the North. The movement to preserve the Art Deco District’s architectural heritage was led by former interior designer Barbara Capitman, who now has a street in the District named in her honor.
Orlandois a city in the U.S. state of Florida, and the county seat of Orange County. Located in Central Florida, it is the center of the Orlando metropolitan area, which had a population of 2,387,138, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released in March 2016, making it the 24th largest metropolitan area in the United States, the sixth largest metropolitan area in the Southern United States, and the third largest metropolitan area in Florida. As of July 1, 2014, Orlando had an estimated city-proper population of 262,372, making it the 73rd largest city in the United States, the fourth largest city in Florida, and the state’s largest inland city.The City of Orlando is nicknamed “The City Beautiful” and its symbol is the fountain at Lake Eola. Orlando is also known as “The Theme Park Capital of the World” and in 2014 its tourist attractions and events drew more than 62 million visitors. The Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the thirteenth busiest airport in the United States and the 29th busiest in the world. Buddy Dyer is Orlando’s mayor.As one of the world’s premier tourist destinations, Orlando’s famous attractions form the backbone of its tourism industry: Walt Disney World, located approximately 21 miles (34 km) southwest of Downtown Orlando in Bay Lake, opened by the Walt Disney Company in 1971; the Universal Orlando Resort, opened in 1999 as a major expansion of Universal Studios Florida; SeaWorld; Gatorland; and Wet ‘n Wild. With the exception of Walt Disney World, most major attractions are located along International Drive. The city is also one of the busiest American cities for conferences and conventions, the Orange County Convention Center is the second-largest convention facility in the United States.Like other major cities in the Sun Belt, Orlando grew rapidly during the 1980s and into the first decade of the 21st century. Orlando is home to the University of Central Florida, which is the second-largest university campus in the United States in terms of enrollment as of 2012. In 2010, Orlando was listed as a “Gamma?” level of world-city in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory. Orlando ranks as the fourth most popular American city based on where people want to live according to a 2009 Pew Research Center study.
Tampa is a city in and the county seat of Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. It is located on the west coast of Florida on Tampa Bay, near the Gulf of Mexico, and is part of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Area. The city had a population of 346,037 in 2011. The current location of Tampa was once inhabited by indigenous peoples of the Safety Harbor culture most notably the Tocobaga and the Pohoy, who lived along the shores of Tampa Bay. The area was explored by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, resulting in violent conflicts and the introduction of European diseases, which wiped out the original native cultures. Although Spain claimed Florida as part of New Spain, it did not found a colony in the Tampa area, and there were no permanent American or European settlements within today’s city limits until after the United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1819. In 1824, the United States Army established a frontier outpost called Fort Brooke at the mouth of the Hillsborough River, near the site of today’s Tampa Convention Center. The first civilian residents were pioneers who settled near the fort for protection from the nearby Seminole population, and the small village was first incorporated as “Tampa” in 1849. The town grew slowly until the 1880s, when railroad links, the discovery of phosphate, and the arrival of the cigar industry jump-started its development, helping it to grow from a quiet village of less than 800 residents in 1880 to a bustling city of over 30,000 by the early 1900s. Today, Tampa is part of the metropolitan area most commonly referred to as the “Tampa Bay Area”. For U.S. Census purposes, Tampa is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. The four-county area is composed of roughly 2.9 million residents, making it the second largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the state, and the fourth largest in the Southeastern United States, behind Miami, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. The Greater Tampa Bay area has over 4 million residents and generally includes the Tampa and Sarasota metro areas. The Tampa Bay Partnership and U.S. Census data showed an average annual growth of 2.47 percent, or a gain of approximately 97,000 residents per year. Between 2000 and 2006, the Greater Tampa Bay Market experienced a combined growth rate of 14.8 percent, growing from 3.4 million to 3.9 million and hitting the 4 million population mark on April 1, 2007. A 2012 estimate shows the Tampa Bay area population to have 4,310,524 people and a 2017 projection of 4,536,854 people. Tampa was ranked as the 5th best outdoor city by Forbes in 2008. Tampa also ranks as the fifth most popular American city, based on where people want to live, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center study. A 2004 survey by the NYU newspaper Washington Square News ranked Tampa as a top city for “twenty-somethings.” Tampa is ranked as a “Gamma+” world city by Loughborough University, ranked alongside other world cities such as Phoenix, Charlotte, Rotterdam, and Santo Domingo.
Jacksonville is the largest city by population in the U.S. state of Florida, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. Consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits; with an estimated population of 853,382 in 2014, it is the most populous city proper in Florida and the Southeast, and the 12th most populous in the United States. Jacksonville is the principal city in the Jacksonville metropolitan area, with a population of 1,345,596 in 2010. Jacksonville is in the First Coast region of northeast Florida and is centered on the banks of the St. Johns River, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia state line and about 340 miles (550 km) north of Miami. The Jacksonville Beaches communities are along the adjacent Atlantic coast. The area was originally inhabited by the Timucua people, and in 1564 was the site of the French colony of Fort Caroline, one of the earliest European settlements in what is now the continental United States. Under British rule, settlement grew at the narrow point in the river where cattle crossed, known as Wacca Pilatka to the Seminole and the Cow Ford to the British. A platted town was established there in 1822, a year after the United States gained Florida from Spain; it was named after Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and seventh President of the United States. Harbor improvements since the late 19th century have made Jacksonville a major military and civilian deep-water port. Its riverine location facilitates two United States Navy bases and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida’s third largest seaport. The two US Navy bases, Blount Island Command and the nearby Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay form the third largest military presence in the United States. Significant factors in the local economy include services such as banking, insurance, healthcare and logistics. As with much of Florida, tourism is also important to the Jacksonville area, particularly tourism related to golf. People from Jacksonville may be called “Jacksonvillians” or “Jaxsons” (also spelled “Jaxons”).
Tallahassee is the capital of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Leon County, and is the 126th largest city in the United States. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida, then the Florida Territory, in 1824. In 2010, the population was 181,376, and the Tallahassee metropolitan area is 375,751 as of 2014. Tallahassee is the largest city in the Northwest Florida region. Tallahassee is home to Florida State University, ranked the nation’s forty-third best public university by U.S. News & World Report. It is also home to the Florida A&M University, one of the country’s largest historically black universities by total enrollment. Tallahassee Community College is a large community college which serves mainly as a feeder school to both Florida State and Florida A&M. Tallahassee qualifies as significant college town with a student population exceeding 70,000. Tallahassee is a center for trade and agriculture in the Big Bend (Florida) region and Southwest Georgia and is served by Tallahassee International Airport and Interstate 10. As a capital city, Tallahassee is home to the Florida State Capitol, Supreme Court of Florida, Florida Governor’s Mansion, and nearly 30 state agency headquarters. The city is also known for its large number of law firms, lobbying organizations, trade associations and professional associations, including the Florida Bar and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. It is also a recognized regional center for scientific research, and home to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Hartford is the capital of Connecticut and the historic seat of Hartford County until Connecticut disbanded county government in 1960. As of the 2010 Census, Hartford’s population was 124,775, making it Connecticut’s fourth-largest city after the coastal cities of Bridgeport, New Haven, and Stamford. Nicknamed the “Insurance Capital of the World”, Hartford houses many insurance company headquarters, and insurance remains the region’s major industry. Founded in 1637, Hartford is among the oldest cities in the United States. Hartford is home to the nation’s oldest public art museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum; the oldest publicly funded park, Bushnell Park; the oldest continuously published newspaper, The Hartford Courant; the second-oldest secondary school, Hartford Public; Trinity College, an elite, private liberal arts college, and the Mark Twain House where the author wrote his most famous works and raised his family, among other historically significant attractions. In 1868, resident Mark Twain wrote, “Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see this is the chief.” Following the American Civil War, Hartford was the richest city in the United States for several decades. Today, Hartford is one of the poorest cities in the nation with 3 out of every 10 families living below the poverty line. In sharp contrast, the Hartford metropolitan area is ranked 32nd of 318 metropolitan areas in total economic production and 7th out of 280 metropolitan statistical areas in per capita income. Highlighting the socio-economic disparity between Hartford and its suburbs, 83% of Hartford’s jobs are filled by commuters from neighboring towns who earn over $80,000, while 75% of Hartford residents who commute to work in other towns earn just $40,000.
Bridgeport is the largest city proper in the American state of Connecticut and the 5th-largest in New England. Located in Fairfield County at the mouth of the Pequonnock River onto Long Island Sound, the city had a population of 144,229 during the 2010 Census. It is bordered by the towns of Trumbull to the north, Fairfield to the west, and Stratford to the east. The Greater Bridgeport area is the 48th-largest urban area in the United States, just behind Hartford (47th), and forms part of the Greater New York City Area. Bridgeport was inhabited by the Paugussett Indian tribe at the time of its English colonization. The English farming community became a center of trade, shipbuilding, and whaling. The town incorporated itself to subsidize the Housatonic Railroad and rapidly industrialized following its connection to the New York and New Haven. Manufacturing was the mainstay of the local economy until the 1970s. Industrial restructuring and suburbanization caused the loss of many jobs and affluent residents, leaving Bridgeport struggling with problems of poverty and crime. In the 21st century, conversion of office and factory buildings to residential use and other redevelopment is attracting new residents. The showman P.T. Barnum was a resident of the city and served as the town’s mayor in the late 19th century. Barnum built four houses in Bridgeport, and housed his circus in town during winter. The first Subway restaurant opened in the North End section of the city in 1965. The Frisbie Pie Company was located here, and Bridgeport is credited as the birthplace of the Frisbee.
Denver (officially, The City and County of Denver) is the capital and most populous municipality of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of 2014, Denver is also the most populous county in Colorado. Denver is located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Denver downtown district is located immediately east of the confluence of Cherry Creek with the South Platte River, approximately 12 mi (19 km) east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is nicknamed the Mile-High City because its official elevation is exactly one mile (5,280 ft or 1,610 m) above sea level, making it one of the highest major cities in the United States. The 105th meridian west of Greenwich, the longitudinal reference for the Mountain Time Zone, passes directly through Denver Union Station. Denver is ranked as a Beta- world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. With a 2014 estimated population of 663,862, Denver ranks as the 21st-most populous U.S. city. The 10-county Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated 2013 population of 2,697,476 and ranked as the 21st most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical area. The 12-city Denver-Aurora, CO Combined Statistical Area had an estimated 2013 population of 3,277,309, which ranks as the 16th most populous U.S. metropolitan area. Denver is the most populous city of the Front Range Urban Corridor, an oblong urban region stretching across two states with population of 5,467,633 in 2010. Denver is the most populous city within a 500-mile (800 km) radius and the most populous city in the Mountain West and the third-most populous city in the Southwestern United States after Phoenix, Arizona and El Paso, Texas. Its metropolitan population is the second-largest in the Southwest after that of Phoenix. Denver ranks No. 1 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the 2016 Best Places to Live in the USA.
Boulder is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Boulder County, and the 11th most populous municipality in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 5,430 feet (1,655 m). The city is 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Denver. The population of the City of Boulder was 97,385 at the 2010 United States Census, while the population of the Boulder, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area was 294,567. Boulder is famous for its colorful Western history, being a choice destination for hippies in the late 1960s, and as home of the main campus of the University of Colorado, the state’s largest university. Furthermore, the city of Boulder frequently acquires top rankings in health, well-being, quality of life, education and art.
Los Angeles (Spanish for “The Angels”), officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the second-largest city in the United States after New York City, the most populous city in the state of California, and the county seat of Los Angeles County. Situated in Southern California, Los Angeles is known for its mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, sprawling metropolis, and as a major center of the American entertainment industry. Los Angeles lies in a large coastal basin surrounded on three sides by mountains reaching up to and over 10,000 feet (3,000 m). Historically home to the Chumash and Tongva, Los Angeles was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo for Spain in 1542 along with the rest of what would become Alta California. The city was officially founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, thereby becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood. The city experienced rapid growth with the discovery of oil. The city is the focal point of the larger Los Angeles metropolitan area and the Greater Los Angeles Area region, which contains 13 million and over 18 million people, respectively, as of 2010, making it one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world as well as the second-largest in the United States. Los Angeles is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated county in the United States. The city’s inhabitants are referred to as Angelenos. Nicknamed the City of Angels, Los Angeles is a global city with a diverse economy in entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, medicine and research. It has been ranked sixth in the Global Cities Index and 9th Global Economic Power Index. The city is home to renowned institutions covering a broad range of professional and cultural fields and is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States. The Los Angeles combined statistical area (CSA) has a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third-largest in the world, after the Greater Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles includes Hollywood and leads the world in the creation of television productions, video games, and recorded music; it is also one of the leaders in motion picture production. Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1932 and 1984, and is currently bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California and the only consolidated city-county in California. San Francisco encompasses a land area of about 46.9 square miles (121 km2) on the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, which makes it the smallest county in the state. It has a density of about 18,187 people per square mile (7,022 people per km2), making it the most densely settled large city (population greater than 200,000) in the state of California and the second-most densely populated major city in the United States after New York City. San Francisco is the fourth-most populous city in California, after Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose, and the 13th-most populous city in the United States—with a Census-estimated 2014 population of 852,469. The city and its surrounding areas are known as the San Francisco Bay Area, and are a part of the larger OMB designated San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland combined statistical area, the fifth most populous in the nation with an estimated population of 8.6 million. San Francisco (Spanish for Saint Francis) was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate and Mission San Francisco de Asís named for St. Francis of Assisi a few miles away. The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in 1856.After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. In World War II, San Francisco was the port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, massive immigration, liberalizing attitudes, along with the rise of the “hippie” counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States. Politically, the city votes strongly along liberal Democratic Party lines. San Francisco is a popular tourist destination, known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman’s Wharf, and its Chinatown district. San Francisco is also the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc., Salesforce.com, Dropbox, Reddit, Square, Inc., Dolby, Airbnb, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, Uber, Mozilla, Wikimedia Foundation, and Craigslist. It has several nicknames, including “The City by the Bay”, “Fog City”, “San Fran”, and “Frisco”, as well as older ones like “The City that Knows How”, “Baghdad by the Bay”, and “The Paris of the West”. As of 2015, San Francisco was ranked high on world livability rankings.
San Diego (Spanish for “Saint Didacus”) is a major city in California, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, approximately 120 miles (190 km) south of Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the border with Mexico. With an estimated population of 1,381,069 as of July 1, 2014, San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest in California. San Diego is the birthplace of California and is known for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbor, extensive beaches, long association with the U.S. Navy, and recent emergence as a healthcare and biotechnology development center. Historically home to the Kumeyaay people, San Diego was the first site visited by Europeans on what is now the West Coast of the United States. Upon landing in San Diego Bay in 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the entire area for Spain, forming the basis for the settlement of Alta California 200 years later. The Presidio and Mission of San Diego, founded in 1769, formed the first European settlement in what is now California. In 1821, San Diego became part of newly independent Mexico, and in 1850, became part of the United States following the Mexican–American War and the admission of California to the union. The city is the seat of San Diego County and is the economic center of the region as well as the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. San Diego’s main economic engines are military and defense-related activities, tourism, international trade, and manufacturing. The presence of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), with the affiliated UCSD Medical Center, has helped make the area a center of research in biotechnology.
Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the seat of government of Sacramento County. It is at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California’s expansive Central Valley. Its estimated 2014 population of 485,199 made it the sixth-largest city in California. Sacramento is the cultural and economic core of the Sacramento metropolitan area, which includes seven counties with a 2010 population of 2,414,783. Its metropolitan area is the fourth largest in California after the Greater Los Angeles area, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the San Diego metropolitan area, and is the 27th largest in the United States. In 2002, the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University conducted for TIME magazine named Sacramento “America’s Most Diverse City”. Sacramento became a city through the efforts of the Swiss immigrant John Sutter, Sr., his son John Sutter, Jr., and James W. Marshall. Sacramento grew quickly thanks to the protection of Sutter’s Fort, which was established by Sutter in 1839. During the California Gold Rush, Sacramento was a major distribution point, a commercial and agricultural center, and a terminus for wagon trains, stagecoaches, riverboats, the telegraph, the Pony Express, and the First Transcontinental Railroad. The city was named after the Sacramento River, which forms its western border. The river was named by Spanish cavalry officer Gabriel Moraga for the Santísimo Sacramento (Blessed Sacrament), referring to the Catholic Eucharist. California State University, Sacramento, more commonly known as Sacramento State or Sac State, is the largest university in the city and one of 23 campuses in the California State University system. University of the Pacific’s Sacramento Campus is a private university with one of its three campuses in Sacramento. In addition, the University of California, Davis, is in nearby Davis, 15 miles (24 km) west of the capital. The UC Davis Medical Center, a world-renowned research hospital, is located in the city of Sacramento.
Fresno, the county seat of Fresno County, is a city in the U.S. state of California. As of 2015, the city’s population was 520,159, making it the fifth-largest city in California, the largest inland city in California and the 34th-largest in the nation. Fresno is in the center of the San Joaquin Valley and is the largest city in the Central Valley, which contains the San Joaquin Valley. It is approximately 220 miles (350 km) northwest of Los Angeles, 170 miles (270 km) south of the state capital, Sacramento, or 185 miles (300 km) south of San Francisco. The name Fresno means “ash tree” in Spanish, and an ash leaf is featured on the city’s flag.
Orange County is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 3,010,232 making it the third-most populous county in California, the sixth-most populous in the United States, and more populous than twenty-one U.S. states. Its county seat is Santa Ana. It is the second most densely populated county in the state, second only to San Francisco County. The county’s four largest cities, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, and Huntington Beach each have populations exceeding 200,000. Several of Orange County’s cities are on the Pacific coast, including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and San Clemente. Orange County is included in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Thirty-four incorporated cities are located in the county; the newest is Aliso Viejo, which was incorporated in 2001. Anaheim was the first city, incorporated in 1870, when the region was still part of neighboring Los Angeles County. Whereas most population centers in the United States tend to be identified by a major city, there is no defined urban center in Orange County. It is mostly suburban except for some traditionally urban areas at the centers of the older cities of Anaheim, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Orange, and Santa Ana. There are several edge city-style developments such as Irvine Business Center, Newport Center, and South Coast Metro. The county is famous for its tourism as the home of attractions like Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and several beaches along its more than 40 miles (64 km) of coastline. It is also known for its political conservatism — a 2005 academic study listed three Orange County cities as among America’s 25 most conservative, making it one of two counties in the nation containing more than one such city. (Maricopa County, Arizona also has three cities on the list.) It is part of the Tech Coast. Orange County was at one time the largest county to have declared bankruptcy. In 1994, longtime treasurer and Democratic party politician Robert Citron’s investment strategies left the county with inadequate capital to allow for any rise in interest rates for its trading positions. When the residents of Orange County voted down a proposal to raise taxes in order to balance the budget, bankruptcy followed soon after. Citron later pleaded guilty to six felonies regarding the matter
Palm Springs is a desert resort city in Riverside County, California, United States, within the Coachella Valley. It is located approximately 55 mi (89 km) east of San Bernardino, 107 mi (172 km) east of Los Angeles, 123 mi (198 km) northeast of San Diego, and 268 mi (431 km) west of Phoenix, Arizona. The population was 44,552 as of the 2010 census. Palm Springs covers approximately 94 square miles (240 km2), making it the largest city in the county by land area. Biking, golf, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, and tennis in the nearby desert and mountain areas are major forms of recreation in Palm Springs. The city is also famous for its mid-century modern architecture and design elements.
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona. With 1,445,632 people (as of the 2010 U.S. Census), Phoenix is the most populous state capital in the United States, as well as the sixth most populous city nationwide. Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is a part of the Salt River Valley. The city is the 13th largest metro area by population in the United States, with approximately 4.3 million people in 2010. In addition, Phoenix is the county seat of Maricopa County and is one of the largest cities in the United States by land area. Settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, Phoenix incorporated as a city in 1881. Located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a subtropical desert climate. Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community, many of the original crops remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus and hay (which was important for the cattle industry). In fact, the “Five C’s” (Cotton, Cattle, Citrus, Climate, and Copper), remained the driving forces of Phoenix’s economy until after World War II, when high tech industries began to move into the valley. The population growth rate of the Phoenix metro area has been nearly 4% per year for the past 40 years. While that growth rate slowed during the Great Recession, it has already begun to rebound. Phoenix is the cultural center of the Valley of the Sun, as well as the rest of Arizona.
Mesa is a city in Maricopa County, in the U.S. state of Arizona, and is a suburb located about 20 miles (32 km) east of Phoenix. Mesa is the central city of the East Valley section of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is bordered by Tempe on the west, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community on the north, Chandler and Gilbert on the south, and Apache Junction on the east. As of the 2010 Census Mesa became Arizona’s center of population.
Mesa is the third-largest city in Arizona, after Phoenix and Tucson, and the 38th-largest city in the US. The city is home to 439,041 people as of 2010 according to the Census Bureau. Mesa is home to numerous higher education facilities including the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University.
Scottsdale is a city in the eastern part of Maricopa County, Arizona, adjacent to the Greater Phoenix Area. Named Scottsdale in 1894 after founder Winfield Scott and incorporated in 1951 with a population of 2000, the 2015 population of the city is estimated to be 236,839 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The New York Times described downtown Scottsdale as “a desert version of Miami’s South Beach” and as having “plenty of late night partying and a buzzing hotel scene.” Its slogan is “The West’s Most Western Town.”Scottsdale, 31 miles long and 11.4 miles wide at its widest point, shares boundaries with many other municipalities and entities. On the west, Scottsdale is bordered by Phoenix, Paradise Valley, and unincorporated Maricopa County land. Carefree is located along the western boundary, as well as sharing Scottsdale’s northern boundary with the Tonto National Forest. To the south Scottsdale is bordered by Tempe. The southern boundary is also occupied by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, which extends along the eastern boundary, which also borders Fountain Hills, the McDowell Mountain Regional Park and more unincorporated Maricopa County land.
Birmingham is the largest city in the U.S. state of Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. The city’s population was 212,237 according to the 2010 United States Census. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of about 1,128,047 according to the 2010 Census, which is approximately one quarter of Alabama’s population. Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction period, through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, notably, former Elyton. It grew from there, annexing many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation center with a focus on mining, the iron and steel industry, and railroading. Birmingham was named for Birmingham, England, UK; one of that nation’s major industrial cities. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. In one writer’s view, the city was planned as a place where cheap, non-unionized, and African-American labor from rural Alabama could be employed in the city’s steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast. From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the South. The pace of Birmingham’s growth during the period from 1881 through 1920 earned its nicknames The Magic City and The Pittsburgh of the South. Much like Pittsburgh, Birmingham’s major industries were iron and steel production, plus a major component of the railroading industry, where rails and railroad cars were both manufactured in Birmingham. In the field of railroading, the two primary hubs of railroading in the Deep South were nearby Atlanta and Birmingham, beginning in the 1860s and continuing through to the present day. The economy diversified during the later half of the twentieth century. Though the manufacturing industry maintains a strong presence in Birmingham, other businesses and industries such as banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have risen in stature. Mining in the Birmingham area is no longer a major industry with the exception of coal mining. Birmingham ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeastern United States and is also one of the largest banking centers in the United States. In addition, the Birmingham area serves as headquarters to one Fortune 500 company: Regions Financial, along with five other Fortune 1000 companies. In higher education, Birmingham has been the location of the University of Alabama School of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Alabama) and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry since 1947. Since that time it has also obtained a campus of the University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham (founded circa 1969), one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama System. It is also home to three private institutions: Samford University, Birmingham-Southern College, and Miles College. Between these colleges and universities, the Birmingham area has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. The city has three of the state’s five law schools: Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, and Miles Law School. Birmingham is also the headquarters of the Southeastern Conference, one of the major U.S. collegiate athletic conferences.
Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the central part of the far northern region of the U.S. State of Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County. Huntsville’s population was 180,105 as of the 2010 census. The Huntsville Metropolitan Area’s population was 417,593. Huntsville is the fourth-largest city in Alabama and the largest city in the five-county Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area, which at the 2013 census estimate had a total population of 683,871. In 2010, the Huntsville metropolitan area became the 2nd largest in Alabama with a population of 417,593. By 2014, the Huntsville metropolitan area reached 441,000 people, up 5.6 percent since 2010.
A stripper is a professional erotic dancer who performs a contemporary form of striptease at strip club establishments, public exhibitions, and private engagements. Unlike in burlesque, the performer in the modern Americanized form of stripping minimizes the interaction of customer and dancer, reducing the importance of tease in the performance in favor of speed to undress. Not every stripper will end her performance completely nude, though full nudity is common where not prohibited by law.
A stripper or exotic dancer is a person whose occupation involves performing striptease in a public adult entertainment venue such as a strip club. At times, a stripper may be hired to perform at a bachelor party or other private event. Modern Americanized forms of stripping minimize interaction by strippers with customers, reducing the importance of tease in the performance in favor of speed to undress (strip). Not every stripper will end a performance completely nude, though full nudity is common where not prohibited by law. The integration of the burlesque pole as a nearly ubiquitous prop has shifted the emphasis in the performance toward a more acrobatic, explicit expression compared to the slow-developing burlesque style. Most strippers work in strip clubs. A house dancer works for a particular club or franchise, while a feature dancer tends to have her own celebrity, touring a club circuit making appearances. Entertainers (dancers) are often not actual employees of the club itself but perform as independent contractors. Until the 1970s, strippers in Western cultures were almost invariably female, performing to male audiences. Since then, male strippers have also become common. Certain male and female strippers also perform for LGBT as well as for both sexes in pan sexual contexts. Before the 1970s, dancers of both sexes appeared largely in underground clubs or as part of a theater experience, but the practice eventually became common enough on its own. Performances are usually fully choreographed, involve dance routines and a costume of some sort. Male strippers have become less common in the 21st century.
A striptease is an erotic or exotic dance in which the performer gradually undresses, either partly or completely, in a seductive and sexually suggestive manner. The person who performs a striptease is commonly known as a “stripper” or exotic dancer. In Western countries, the venues where stripteases are performed on a regular basis are now usually called strip clubs, though they may be performed in venues such as public houses (especially in the UK), theaters and music halls. At times, a stripper may be hired to perform at a bachelor party. In addition to providing adult entertainment, stripping can be a form of sexual play between partners. This can be done as an impromptu event or – perhaps for a special occasion – with elaborate planning involving fantasy wear, music, special lighting, practiced dance moves, or unrehearsed dance moves. Striptease involves a slow, sensuous undressing. The stripper may prolong the undressing with delaying tactics such as the wearing of additional clothes or putting clothes or hands in front of just undressed body parts such as the breasts or genitalia. The emphasis is on the act of undressing along with sexually suggestive movement, rather than the state of being undressed. In the past, the performance often finished as soon as the undressing was finished, though today’s strippers usually continue dancing in the nude. The costume the stripper wears before disrobing can form part of the act. In some cases, audience interaction can form part of the act, with audience urging the stripper to remove more clothing, or the stripper approaching the audience to interact with them. Striptease and public nudity have been subject to legal and cultural prohibitions and other aesthetic considerations and taboos. Restrictions on venues may be through venue licensing requirements and constraints and a wide variety of national and local laws. These laws vary considerably around the world, and even between different parts of the same country. H. L. Mencken is credited with coining the word “ecdysiast” – from “ecdysis”, meaning “to molt” – in response to a request from striptease artist Georgia Sothern, for a “more dignified” way to refer to her profession. Gypsy Rose Lee, one of the most famous striptease artists of all time, approved of the term.
Mike Barnes is the owner of Hunks & babes Strippers. He created the company in 2002.
Hunks & Babes is a nationwide stripping agency that provides exotic dancers for private parties.
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