Can You Identify 40 Cities by Their Shape?



By: Olivia Cantor

7 Min Quiz

Image: shuoshu/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Do you know the shape of the city you're living in? Get a map and see! It's interesting to discover that different cities have different shapes.

A city's development largely depends on the population living in it. Ever notice how ancient civilizations developed near bodies of water? The Nile River, for example, became a literal and figurative lifeline for ancient Egyptian culture. It was a source of food and a gateway for commerce. No wonder communities grew near it. Eventually, cities formally emerged from such communities. That's how it starts. 

Those that didn't rely on water focused on something else. Any holy city in the world, for example, built their community around the existence of a worship place. These cities are square in basic shape so it's easier to find the central area where a church, mosque or temple stands. 

Meanwhile, two types of cities developed their areas according to the predominant mode of transport they have. Thus, we have transit cities where trains and subways dominate the place. The so-called automobile city depended on car-owning citizens so they developed suburbs located farther from the city centers. 

Formerly colonized countries contain many practically built cities that prioritized function over form. This is the city with the "everything's within reach" kind of mentality in planning. The opposite is the organic city or the walkable city wherein designers adapted their structures in consideration of the natural terrain.

From these city structure samples, you can now guess these cities by their shape. Let's try it!

Experts say this U.S. city somehow looks like a semicircle because it's a lakefront city. Know this one?

When heading to Chicago, you can have three interesting city itineraries to pursue. The foodie trail leads you to taste the famous Chicago deep-dish pizza. The gangster trail will lead you through Al Capone's history while the music trail will let you discover jazz and its origins.


Urban planning experts refer to this California city as a "future city" for its development potential. Do you know which one?

Experts eye San Francisco as a "future city" model since it's redefining certain things for the future today. For example, in workforce setups, many coworking spaces now exist here. That situation is rewriting how businesses and individuals now conduct their work duties.


Aloha! Come visit this U.S. city and find out why it's the 15th "happiest U.S. city" according to National Geographic.

Looking for a perfect spot to see the majestic overview of Honolulu? Look for Round Top Drive and find a scenic spot there. A good recommendation by residents is the Pu'u Ualaka'a State Wayside Park; you can see Pearl Harbor from there.


Heading to the Taj Mahal? Get off from the international airport in this city first. Do you know where?

New Delhi's capital city is part of the U.N. Women's Safe Cities initiative. That means the city implements the advocacy of providing safe public spaces for women and girls.


You can see one of the most iconic religious statues in the world in this South American city. Know the spot?

That famous statue is Cristo Redentor or Christ the Redeemer in English. Head to Rio de Janeiro's Parque Nacional da Tijuca to see it up close. If the hike tired you much, you can always head to Ipanema Beach after for cocktails and swimming.


This city legalized many things still deemed illegal in many parts of the world, like marijuana use. Know this European destination?

Amsterdam counts marijuana use, sex work and LGBT+ marriage as legal activities. However, marijuana use is legal in small quantities only, for smoking inside an official cafe-like shop that sells it. Sex workers, meanwhile, have official work permits and undergo mandatory health checkups.


Don't expect everyone in this city to know kung fu, OK? Which Asian city is this?

Hollywood thanks Hong Kong for giving us Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and the best martial arts fight choreographers around. Roam around the Tsim Sha Tsui area to see Lee's statue along the scenic Avenue of Stars. That's their version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


It was Napoleon's heir who ordered this city's major overhaul back in the day. Can you name the place?

Georges-Eugène Haussmann's name always comes up when discussing how modern-day Paris came to be. He was the urban planner commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III to restructure the city. He wanted the French capital to look more like London.


You can thank this Asian city for making "K-pop" a global success. Do you know which one?

Not a K-pop fan but still interested to immerse in South Korean culture? Walk your heart out in the 24/7 shopping complex found in Dongdaemun instead. If youth culture is more your thing, the Hongdae area offers a vibrant night life scene perfect for millennial visitors.


A California trip won't be complete without dropping by this City of Angels. Know where this is?

Los Angeles is a fairly manageable city to visit if you have a car. It's not as walkable as New York, but its primary destinations will be enough for you to walk around within a day. Try covering Universal Studios' rides and features in a day; it's impossible especially if you're a movie buff!


Elementary, my dear quiz taker, but can you name which European capital city is this?

Getting around London will be easier if you avail yourself of a city map and a Tube map for the Underground railway. Visitors’ guide offices and tourist information centers give these items free to tourists.


According to a Guardian article, this Canadian city subscribes to the notion that skylines "represent modernity, power and economic growth." Know which one?

It's possible to go on a road trip from Vancouver, British Columbia to Los Angeles, California. But Vancouver-born celebrities popular in Hollywood might have pursued a different route. Some of these celebs include Ryan Reynolds, Seth Rogen, Hayden Christensen and Cobie Smulders, to name a few.


Which Australian city is the most walkable one for tourists and residents?

Travelers swear by Sydney as a walkable city since it has many marked walkways that are easy to follow. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the most popular walkable destinations here. Visitors can see a great view of the famous Sydney Opera House from here.


Vietnamese food lovers come to this city for the yummy offerings and its history. Know where in Southeast Asia this is?

The Bun Cha eatery became popular when former President Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain dined there for the latter's travel show. This Hanoi hole-in-the-wall now serves a "Combo Obama" meal made up of what the president ordered during his visit. It's 85,000 Vietnamese dong or about 4 U.S. dollars.


"Start spreading the news" if you're going to this glitzy city. We know you know this one!

We often hear "archipelago" applied to countries, but what about cities? Technically, New York City is also an archipelago since it's made up of different islands. These include Long Island, Staten Island, and Manhattan.


Evita always vouches for this vibrant city in the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical. Which South American city is this?

If tango is your thing, you have to experience Buenos Aires' nightlife. They have events and clubs called "milonga" specifically for tango dancing. Milongas feature different types of events, though; there's one for traditional-style dancing and one that features live music playing, among others.


Anime lovers make an artistic pilgrimage to this city because of Studio Ghibli. Know which Asian city this is?

Not an anime or manga fan but still interested in the arts? Head to the Yayoi Kusama Museum in Tokyo's Shinjuku area instead. If you're a foodie, sampling authentic ramen and sushi in the Tsukiji Market is a must, too.


This Massachusetts city also has its own Little Italy. Know which one?

Head to the North End to experience "Little Italy" in Boston. Walk down Hanover Street, where you can find Italian-inspired fare inside restaurants, cafes, pastry shops and—of course—gelateria or ice cream shops.


Which Chinese city has been rebuilding itself as a modernized global city?

When you roam around Shanghai's Pudong area, you'll encounter a modern-looking metropolis. The city's financial district intends to give this "future city" impression full of economic growth potential. The skyscrapers visible within the city's skyline enhance this impression further.


Which among these two-word cities can Charlize Theron visit if she travels to the land of her birth?

Establishing safe commuting initiatives was Cape Town's response to address violence and crime. This was the city's focus when they adapted U.N. Women's Safe Spaces initiative to eliminate sexual harassment against women and girls in public spaces.


Followers of the Islamic faith are fairly familiar with this city's shape. Do you know this one?

Saudi Arabia prepares for an expected annual influx of about three million visitors. This happens during the hajj when Muslims make a pilgrimage journey to Mecca. It's the recognized birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, so non-Muslims can't enter the city.


Canadians in this city like to bike around a lot. Can you tell us the coordinates of this one?

Being bike-friendly isn't new to Montreal in the province of Quebec. This Canadian city built bicycle paths for cyclists way back in the '80s. It's a great way to roam around the city while experiencing the Montreal International Jazz Festival here.


This watery city also has great walkways for the active and cafes for the weary. Which European city is this?

Even though it's famous for its watery canals, Venice is also a walkable city. Cars don't share roads with people here so pedestrians are safe to explore on foot. Start in St. Mark's Square then stroll along the villages to observe and experience authentic Venice living.


It's the city in New Zealand that offers great java for coffee lovers. Know which city this is?

New Zealand and Australia have had friendly debates regarding food origins, and that includes flat white. Aussies claim a Sydney barista invented it, but Kiwis claim a Wellington business owner did it first. Regardless of the debate, head to Wellington and sample their great coffee culture there.


Stay in this South American capital city to experience its country's great wine products. Know which one?

Looking for exquisite Chilean wine to take home to your wine connoisseur friends? Buy a bottle of their recommended wines made from Carménère in Santiago. Another recommendation is the Syrah; it's like their version of Shiraz.


As Bogart said, "Here's looking at you, kid." In which city did he utter this famous movie line?

First-time tourists to Morocco always ask about the safety of their target destinations. Seasoned travelers always advise that any city like Casablanca can be crime hot spots. But that never stopped tourists from coming to this wonderful country and culturally rich city.


Fans of '90s music know this U.S. city as the birthplace of pre-emo grunge music. Know which one?

Seattle is in a Time Out survey of the best cities to visit because there is so much to do and see here. Visit the ghosts of Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain, stop by the Fremont Troll, and catch a ferry across Puget Sound where you'll see seals, eagles, and maybe even an orca if you're lucky!


Fans of great architecture should check out Gaudí's creations in this city. Which European destination is this?

Art fans familiar with Antoni Gaudí include Barcelona for their Spain itinerary. The work-in-progress church called La Sagrada Familia is his most popular creation in the city. Other pieces of interest include the Casa Calvet, Colonia Güell, Casa Milà and Casa Vicens, to name a few.


Craft beer fans should head here for a taste of award-winning local brews. Which south central U.S. city is this?

There's a Great American Beer Festival event and Austin won a few honors there in the past. That's because this Texas city is now home to many enterprising craft breweries. The city also has a vibrant sub-culinary culture where they do pairings of local brews and Texas food items as a game.


This city is one of the most famous religious pilgrimage destinations year in and year out. Can you name it?

When visiting Jerusalem, try to get a map of the old city for easier navigation. Pilgrims and visitors find this older structure more interesting to discover. Walk or ride around the various quarters there and stop by the historic Western Wall.


According to the European startup Movinga, this is an ideal city for job seekers. Which German city is this?

In the "Cities of Opportunity" study, Munich appeared in second place as a great city to find new jobs. The survey considered the following elements: standard of living, economic strength, opportunities for women and youth, and immigration rates. A U.S. city topped that study, though: Boston.


This African city is waking up with coffee lately and less tea. Know which one?

Since Kenya was under British rule from the 1800s to the 1960s, they had a tea-drinking culture for a long time. But its capital city of Nairobi jump-started their latest coffeehouse culture back in the late '90s. Today, around 150,000 coffee farms in the country profit from this java surge.


It's a great place for women as The Little Mermaid can probably attest! Which Nordic city is this?

According to the U.S. News & World Report, Denmark is one of the top countries for women to live in. They're safe, have no gender pay gap and gender equality is a reality here. So of course, the city capital of Copenhagen embodies these traits, too!


Jean-Claude Van Damme was born here; enough said! Do you know this European city?

Van Damme got the Hollywood nickname "Muscles from Brussels" thanks to his Belgian birthplace. It's also the birthplace of certain waffle types as well as the Brussels sprout. It's also a great city to get great beer since Belgium manufactures great beer types, too.


A survey of LGBT+ travelers revealed that this city is very LGBT+-friendly. Know this Mexican city?'s tally of 15 cities recommended by LGBT+ travelers includes Guadalajara, Mexico. This isn't so surprising since the city is also part of U.N. Women's Safe Cities initiative, so not only is it LGBT+-friendly, but it's friendly to women as well.


This Buddhist city welcomes all visitors from all faiths. Know which Asian city this is?

Thailand is primarily a kingdom which strategically preserved their centuries-old heritage culture. This mix of old and new is evident when you roam around their capital city of Bangkok. In addition, it's bike-friendly, LGBT+-friendly, a walkable city, and safe for solo women travelers!


History enthusiasts who are also foodies should head to this famous ancient city. Know which one?

Head over to Giza, the area in Cairo where you can access the famed Egyptian pyramids. When you get hungry after gazing at these magnificent structures, look for street food vendors around. Two must-try specialties include the tomato-based dish and the lamb-based kofta kebab.


If you'd like to believe National Geographic's "Happiest cities of the U.S." survey, this place won the top spot. Which southwestern city is this?

From replies by 250,000 survey respondents in 190 metropolitan cities, Boulder came out as the happiest city to live in. This Colorado city also prides itself of being bike-friendly. If you're curious to know which city's in second place, it's Santa Cruz-Watsonville in central California.


This Canadian east coast city boasts of a multicultural vibe. Which one is this?

Outside the U.S., Toronto holds the distinction of having one of the greatest urban lakefronts. If you're not a fan of water attractions, head downtown to get an urban vibe. Movie buffs shouldn't miss the Toronto International Film Festival, too; visit the TIFF Bell Lightbox in King Street West.


Can you channel the artist Fernando Botero and sense which South American city has this unique shape?

It's rare to see tourism guides feature a crime heat map of their area; but that's what Medellín did since they can't deny that fact existing in their beautiful city. This historic Colombian city's recent renovations is worthy of visiting to see how the new merges with the old here.


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