Can You Guess Which of These Two American Cities Is Furthest North?


By: Gavin Thagard

7 Min Quiz

Image: Ron and Patty Thomas/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

When the first European explorers came to America, they had no idea that this "New World" would transform into the vast country it is today, with 50 states and thousands of cities stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west. But that's exactly what happened, as the phrase "from sea to shining sea" became a reality. 

One of the more unique aspects of America's growth is how diverse the country has become during the transition from 13 colonies seeking independence to a nation filled with various ethnic groups who speak hundreds of languages. The unique cultures of these different groups have shaped cities all across the United States, no matter how far north or south they might be. After all, a city sitting on the coast of Oregon is far different from one located in the rural South, but they are still united in the American experience.

How familiar are you with the locations of famous and unique cities across America? Whether they're an hour apart or a day's drive, will you know which city is located further north on a map? Here's your chance to find out. When you're ready, take a shot at this quiz to see how well you know the makeup of America.

Los Angeles and San Diego are two cities in California that are known for beautiful weather, but do you know which of these coastal cities sits further north?

Today, Los Angeles is known for its sports and ties to the movie industry, but the city was once a huge producer of oil, which was discovered there in 1892. Even today, the city contains one of the largest oil fields in the United States.


A traveler could take I-20 east from Birmingham, Alabama, to Atlanta. Would they be further north when they reached Atlanta?

For people visiting Atlanta, directions can get quite confusing, especially if they're searching for any road called Peachtree. Dozens of streets throughout the city carry this name, which is derived from a Native American village and not from an actual peach tree.


Is Seattle further north than Olympia, the capital of Washington?

George Vancouver, a British explorer, was the first European to pass through what is now Seattle. He made his way to the region in 1792 while he was on a voyage to map out the West Coast.


St. Louis and Indianapolis are two major cities in the Midwest. Can you guess which one is north of the other?

The Indianapolis 500 is one of the oldest automobile races that's still being held annually. The first race took place in 1911 and was won by Ray Harroun. He raced in a car he helped engineer, called the Marmon Wasp.


How well do you know the location of these two cities in Ohio: Columbus and Cincinnati?

At the beginning of the 19th century, the government in Ohio struggled to settle on a capital for the state, moving it several times before choosing a central location in 1812. Columbus was incorporated in 1816.


Where are Houston and Dallas located on a map?

Dallas is home to the Dallas Cowboys, an NFL franchise that's known as "America's Team" because of its winning record and fame. The franchise saw the peak of its success in the '90s when it had three Super Bowl-winning teams.


Philadelphia and Boston are two cities rich in history, but a history buff would have to travel north to reach which city from the other?

Many key events during the American Revolution took place in Boston, including the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. Both events escalated tensions between the colonies and the British Crown, which ultimately made war inevitable.


The Wild West was shaped by cities like Tombstone, Arizona, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Would an outlaw be further north if they were in Tombstone or Santa Fe?

Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, was a Spanish colony in the 17th century, as Spaniards were the first Europeans to reach the area during the Age of Exploration. The city's full founding name reveals its Spanish roots: La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis.


Are you familiar with the locations of Orlando and Miami, two major cities in Florida?

Unlike many popular cities in Florida, Orlando does not sit on the ocean, but it is home to two major theme parks and resorts — Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World. These destinations attract millions of visitors each year, making Orlando one of the most visited cities in the United States.


Select the city that's further north: Baltimore or Washington, D.C.

Catholicism has major ties to Baltimore, as the first U.S. Roman Catholic diocese was founded there in 1789. By 1821, a cathedral, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was opened.


The Appalachian Mountains cover the eastern half of Tennessee, where Chattanooga and Knoxville are located. Which of these cities is further north?

Knoxville, Tennessee, hosted the World's Fair in 1982, where the touchscreen was demonstrated for the first time. The price for entry into the fair was $15.19 plus tax for two days.


Do you know whether Milwaukee or Chicago sits further north on Lake Michigan?

German immigrants in the middle of the 19th century helped shape Milwaukee into a brewing town. Seeking refuge from their home country, which was in turmoil at the time, these Germans immediately incorporated brewing practices that had been developed over centuries in Germany.


In Oregon, Salem is only an hour's drive from Portland, but does that drive take you north?

Portland, Oregon, has some oddities that have shaped the city into the unique cultural center it is today. One of its unique traditions is the World Naked Bike Ride, which takes place annually in the city.


Can you guess which of these Alaskan cities is further north: Juneau or Anchorage?

Anchorage, Alaska, was hit by the strongest earthquake in North American history, which measured at a magnitude of 9.2, on March 27, 1964. The earthquake devastated the city's infrastructure and took 115 lives in Alaska. Oregon and California reported a combined total of 16 fatalities as well.


If the residents of New York City wanted to escape to the state capital in Albany, would they have to travel north?

Theodore Roosevelt, who served as the governor of New York before becoming president, used to run up and down the steps at the state capitol in Albany, New York, for exercise. Known for his competitiveness, Roosevelt even challenged reporters to beat him to the top if they wanted an interview.


Is Charlotte or Raleigh further north in North Carolina?

Raleigh gets its name from Sir Walter Raleigh, an English explorer. Because of the vast number of oak trees located throughout the city, it was also given the nickname City of Oaks by the city's founding fathers.


A journey down the Mississippi River will eventually take a boater to Louisiana, where they will pass through Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Where are these cities located along America's second longest river?

Baton Rouge, which is French for "red stick," gets its name from an actual red stick spotted by the French explorer Sieur d'Iberville. The stick, made of cypress wood and covered in animal blood, was used to divide territories between two Native American tribes.


If you're in Carson City, Nevada, are you traveling north to go gambling in Las Vegas?

Las Vegas is often mistaken as the capital of Nevada, but that honor goes to Carson City. Originally a stopover for people heading to California, the city grew in popularity in the 19th century when silver was found in the Comstock Lode.


How well do you know the location of these two major cities in California: San Francisco and Sacramento?

Covered in elms, oaks and sycamores, Sacramento, California, received the nickname City of Trees for a reason. In fact, the city has more trees per capita than any other major city in the United States.


Colorado is known for its high elevations, and that includes cities like Colorado Springs and Denver. But which of these two cities is further north?

Visitors to Denver, Colorado, will immediately notice the skies are much bluer, and it's not a trick. The city's sky views benefit from the high elevation and little water vapor, which means the sun is usually shining over Denver.


Lansing is the capital of Michigan, even though Detroit is the state's largest city. Do you know if Michigan placed its capital further north than its largest city?

Detroit was actually the first capital of Michigan, but there were concerns because the city was close to Canada, which was controlled by Britain at the time. The capital was moved to Lansing in 1847, where it's been located ever since.


Identify the city that sits further north on a map: Oklahoma City or Salt Lake City.

Even though the roots of Kentucky Fried Chicken can be traced back to North Corbin, Kentucky, the first location to actually carry the name Kentucky Fried Chicken was located in Salt Lake City. The original restaurant in Kentucky was called Sanders Court and Cafe.


If you live in Jackson, Mississippi, will a vacation to Nashville, Tennessee, take you north?

Nicknamed Music City, Nashville, Tennessee, is known for its vibrant music culture. Its early reputation as a music town can be traced to the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University, an a capella group composed of African American singers. Their performance greatly pleased Queen Victoria back in the 1800s, and she remarked that they must be from a city of music.


Does the trip from Frankfort to Lexington, Kentucky, take you north?

Frankfort, Kentucky, is named after American pioneer Stephen Frank, who was killed by Native Americans at the end of the 18th century. According to tradition, Frank was killed near a ford in the Kentucky River, thus the name "Frank's Ford."


Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, are two historical cities located on the East Coast. Which of these coastal cities is north of the other?

Charleston, South Carolina, was named in honor of King Charles II of England. The original settlers of the region honored Charles II after they helped restore him to power in 1660, which resulted in the king rewarding them with the Carolina territory.


Can you guess if Tampa is further north than Tallahassee, Florida?

The Civil War devastated the South — Union Forces captured capital after capital throughout the region as the war came to a close. However, Tallahassee, Florida, is the only Southern capital east of the Mississippi River that was not taken by the Union.


Head to the southern half of Texas, and you'll find Austin and San Antonio. How well do you know their exact locations?

Most people are familiar with Silicon Valley in San Francisco, but fewer know that Austin, Texas, is known as Silicon Hills for many of the same reasons. Today, the city is home to numerous tech companies, including IBM, Dell computers and Google.


Are you heading north if you take the James River from Norfolk to Richmond, Virginia?

When Virginia decided to secede from the Union after the attack on Fort Sumter, the capital of the Confederacy was moved from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia. The move was made because of Virginia's history as a leader during the American Revolution, along with its manufacturing importance.


Minnesota and North Dakota are two states that border Canada, but is Minneapolis or Bismarck further north?

Bismarck, North Dakota, did not receive its current name until 1873, when the Northern Pacific Railway named it after Otto Von Bismarck. Previously, the city had been called Edwinton, after Edwin F. Johnson.


Would you travel north to get to Topeka from Wichita, Kansas?

Former Vice President Charles Curtis, who served under Herbert Hoover, was from Topeka, Kansas. A member of the Kaw Nation, Curtis remains the only Native American to ever serve as vice president of the United States.


Between Memphis, Tennessee, and Little Rock, Arkansas, can you select the city that's further north?

Memphis, Tennessee, received its name from Memphis, Egypt. In Egypt, Memphis served as an ancient capital of the Egyptian dynasties before it was moved to Alexandria, sometime in the 4th century B.C.


The bulk of Pennsylvania lies between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, but do you know which of these cities sits further north in the state?

Fred Rogers, better known as Mister Rogers, lived in Pittsburgh for quite a while, when he filmed his show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." The show was filmed at WQED, a television station affiliated with PBS.


Two of West Virginia's largest cities, Charleston and Morgantown, are nestled in the Appalachian region in the Mountain State. Which of these cities is further north on a map?

West Virginia was once part of Virginia, but it split off from its mother state during the Civil War because residents in the western half of the state didn't support secession. When West Virginia obtained statehood on June 20, 1863, Morgantown was part of the new state.


Will a trip from Reno, Nevada, to San Jose, California, take you further north?

The history of blue jeans can be traced back to Reno, Nevada, where a tailor named Jacob Davis first started working on them for miners who needed sturdier clothing. Eventually, Davis teamed up with Levi Strauss to patent the idea, and, thanks to that patent, mom and dad jeans are embarrassing kids everywhere.


What Nebraskan city is further north: Omaha or Lincoln?

Omaha, Nebraska, was the location of a Japanese balloon bomb explosion during WWII, which occurred in the city's Dundee neighborhood. It's one of only a few Japanese bombs to make it that far inland.


Would you take a boat north to get from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Ocean City, Maryland?

Atlantic City, New Jersey, was home to the first Miss America Pageant, which was held there in 1921. The pageant was an attempt to attract visitors to the city after Labor Day, when the beaches weren't as much of an attraction.


Can you guess which city in Arizona is further north: Phoenix or Tucson?

There's plenty of mystery as to how Phoenix, Arizona, got its name, but one story follows Darrell Duppa, a graduate of Cambridge. According to the story, Duppa saw the ruins of Hohokam and believed another civilization would rise in its place, just like the phoenix of legend.


Where on a map will you find Boise, Idaho, and Cheyenne, Wyoming?

The Boise State Broncos are a popular college football team, especially for residents of Idaho. The school is known for its famous blue turf, located at Albertsons Stadium. This field was the first university football field covered in a color other than green, and the school even patented the idea.


Both Chicago and Cleveland are located on the Great Lakes, but which is further north?

Chicago was a popular location for alcohol consumption throughout the '20s and early '30s, after alcohol was prohibited nationwide. Al Capone, a bootlegger in Chicago, made millions of dollars during this time by providing illegal beverages to residents of the city.


The capitals of Maine and Vermont, two states in the far Northeast, are Augusta and Montpelier, respectively. Which capital is further north?

This one was tough — Augusta is ever-so-slightly further north than Montpelier! The history of Augusta, Maine, dates back to before the American Revolution. Part of that history can be seen at Fort Western, a National Historic Landmark, which is the oldest wooden fort in the United States.


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