July 10, 2023

How to Talk Like a Trucker: City Nicknames
How to Talk Like a Trucker: City Nicknames
Talk like a trucker on CB radios with city nicknames.

Truckers work on the road, frequently visiting Steel Town (Pittsburg), the Windy City (Chicago), and many other cities across the United States. Over the years, drivers have found their nicknames for certain cities that practically replaced their original names in talks on CB radios and amongst fellow truckers.

Many of these nicknames were created to shorten the time it takes to get a location out on radio channels, where it was essential to get the most information out without tying up the radio for too long. These names soon became a tradition used by truck drivers far and low, and the reasons behind the specific nicknames for certain cities are exciting and rooted in American history.

Talk Like a Trucker Using City Nicknames

Beantown: Boston, Mass.

Boston, Massachusetts, is commonly referred to as Beantown by truckers, and the reason isn’t surprising: they have excellent beans. Some may think of Chicago, Illinois when hearing the term Beantown because of its Cloud Gate sculpture, better known as “The Bean,” but Chicago is known as the “Windy City,” and Boston claims the name “Beantown.”

The famous Boston baked beans are unique because consumers started adding molasses to the beans in the mid-1800s. The sweet and savory side dish is still enjoyed today as an accompaniment to just about any main dish, especially barbeque meat. Boston is so mad about beans that they even have peanuts coated in red candy called Boston Baked Beans. Bring a candy box on the road if you can’t have the real thing.


Boston baked beans, traditionally made with bacon.

Beer City or Brew City: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is known to truckers as Beer City or Brew City because some consider it the “beer capital of the world.” German immigrants started the craze by opening breweries which then grew into the producers of some of the best-known beer in the country, like Miller, Schlitz, and Pabst.

Craft breweries opened all around Milwaukee, with traditions carried on even today. For many drivers, the world of OTR trucking takes you to many cities, and Milwaukee might be one of them. The next time you hear someone mention heading to Beer City, or Brew City, they’re most likely driving to Milwaukee.

Choo-Choo: Chattanooga, Tennessee

When trying to guess why Chattanooga might be nicknamed “choo-choo,” the first thought that comes to mind is someone found a creative way to shorten the name for faster CB radio communication. Come to find out, the city got its nickname a long time ago, made famous in a song introduced by the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1941. Chattanooga did have a train terminal that was later converted into a hotel, but the “Chattanooga Choo Choo” song is where many veteran truckers get its nickname from.

The Dome or The Astrodome: Houston, Texas

Many truck drivers refer to Houston, Texas, as the Astrodome or The Dome. The Astrodome is a piece of Houston history that dates to 1965 and is the world’s first indoor domed stadium. Many long-haul truckers remember the dome in its prime and still refer to the city as “the dome.” Sports games, entertainment, and events ranging from musical performances to political conventions took place at the dome until its closure in 2008. Plans for its renovation never came to be, and what was once called the “eighth wonder of the world” remains a landmark to a part of Houston’s history.

The Gateway: St. Louis, Missouri

Travelers driving through St. Louis, Missouri, may glimpse the towering Gateway Arch in the Gateway Arch National Park. It’s because of this arch that truckers nicknamed St. Louis “The Gateway.” The Gateway Arch is a monument to celebrate diversity and the leaders who helped shape what the U.S. is today.


The Gateway Arch

Guitar City or Music City: Nashville, Tennessee

Many may know Nashville, Tennessee, as “Music City,” but truckers and veteran Nashvillians know it as “Guitar City.” The acoustic guitar became the unofficial symbol of Nashville when the city became the capital of country music, cranking out one star after another.

“Guitar City” also cemented its name after Gibson moved production to Nashville from its origins in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The music note is now trying to become the city’s new symbol to represent all types of guitars and other instruments used in music. Some truck driver lingo is sacred, so the town might remain as “Guitar City.” Others will know it as a music city, but its influence on the music scene will stay the same.


Nashville is known as “Guitar City” to some truckers.

Mickey Mouse: Orlando, Florida

Why would a truck driver refer to a city as Mickey Mouse? Because Disneyworld is in Orlando, Florida, and chances of spotting Mickey Mouse in the city, even if you aren’t visiting the parks, are likely.

Shaky Town: Los Angeles, California

When C.W. Mccall sings about being “’bout a mile outta Shaky Town” in the song Convoy, he’s talking about Los Angeles, California. Due to its proximity to the San Andreas Fault, Los Angeles and most of California are prone to earthquakes during movement along the plate and other nearby plates. The earthquakes cause the buildings in the city to shake, dubbing Los Angeles with its nickname Shaky Town by truckers.

Other Trucker City Nicknames

Truckers have nicknames for almost every city, especially those they frequent with other drivers. Some cities are called the “Bigs,” followed by the first letter of the city name.

The Bigs:

1. Big A: Atlanta, Georgia
2. Big D: Dallas, Texas
3. Big L: Lubbock, Texas
4. Big M: Memphis, Tennessee
5. Big O: Omaha, Nebraska
6. Big T: Tucson, Arizona

Truckers have nicknames for just about every city, state, and place. The next time you hear a truck driver talking about being Badger bound, he’s probably on his way to Wisconsin.


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