Discover 8 Cities That Start With The Letter R

Written by Justin Sexton
Published: November 28, 2023
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The letter R represents a written abbreviation meaning king or queen. It is also short for the Latin words “rex” and “regina.” The letter R is also the eighteenth letter in the alphabet and starts off several city names across the world. This article will further cover several important cities around the world that start off with the letter R, how they got their name, and some general information about the city.

Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia, USA Downtown Skyline

Richmond, Virginia, USA downtown skyline at dawn.

©Sean Pavone/iStock via Getty Images

The capital of Virginia has become a much more popular city in the past decade thanks to its rising streetwear and hip-hop culture. Richmond, Virginia originally got its name from William Byrd II. William named the town after a place in England and how the James River’s bend at the Church Hill neighborhood in East End Richmond looked similar to the bend of the River Thames in Richmond, England.

Richmond played a significant role in America’s history since the original thirteen colonies days pre-Revolutionary War. After the Revolutionary War, Richmond and Virginia grew into a strong southern state that was the capital of the Confederacy in the Civil War. After the city burned down, it became a more progressive southern city compared to its southern state counterparts.

What Is Richmond, Virginia known for?

Richmond, Virginia is the home of Maggie L. Walker, the first woman and black person to open up a national bank. The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank is still open to this day in her neighborhood of Jackson Ward. The city of Richmond is also an educational city as it has three colleges in the city: Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond, and Virginia Union University.

The city’s current population is 226,000 people and has grown exponentially in the past twenty years. Buzzfeed said Richmond is an underrated city to live in. They said it’s an affordable city, has great beer, and is at a great location that’s driving distance from major cities in the mid-Atlantic. It is also an uprising music city with talents like Butcher Brown, Nickelus F, Fly Anakin, GWAR, D’Angelo, Peter Sun, FNF Chop, Radio B, and Michael Millions. Alongside the music scene, it’s a growing foodie city providing food from many different cultures.

Richmond, Virginia is two hours away from Washington DC, three hours away from Baltimore, four hours away from Durham, two hours away from Virginia Beach, four hours out of West Virginia, eight hours out of New York City, and eight hours out of Atlanta, Georgia.

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

view of the carnival and its spectators in 2015, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A view of the carnival and its spectators in 2015, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

©Terry George / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

Rio De Janeiro is the largest city that starts with the letter R. Its current population is six million. How did Rio De Janeiro get its name? On January 1, 1502, Portuguese navigators who came upon the land mistook the entrance of a bay for the mouth of a river. In the Portuguese language, “Rio” stands for river, and “Janeiro” stands for the month of January. Rio De Janeiro has a tropical savanna climate that experiences warm and sunny winters with long periods of rain from December to March. Their summers are sweltering and humid.

What Is Rio De Janeiro Famous For?

Rio De Janeiro was once the former capital of Brazil for close to 200 years. The beauty that the city has thanks to its beaches and peaks is like no other sight city. It’s a leisure center for citizens and foreigners alike. One of the best times to be in Rio De Janeiro is during the pre-Lent Carnival. Costumed people perform samba dances while parading through the streets. While the parade is going on, there are plenty of smaller parties and balls taking place with singing, dancing, and drinking all around. The liveliness of the city makes it one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere.

One of the city’s best features is its beaches. Some of their famous beaches are Barra de Tijuca, Ipanema, Leblon, and Copacabana. They also held the finals of the 1950 and 2014 World Cup and is home to several other major football (or for Americans, soccer) championships.

Rio De Janeiro is home to the Christ The Redeemer statue on top of the Corcovado Mountain has garnered popularity over a hundred years. The idea came about in 1850 but after several hurdles, it was constructed after World War I. How did the large statue end up on top of the Corcovado Mountain? Well, it was built on top of the mountain. The workers and the materials needed were transported to the mountaintop via wheel train.

Rome, Italy

Castle Sant Angelo (Mausoleum of Hadrian), bridge Sant Angelo and river Tiber in Roma, Italy. Architecture and landmark of Rome. Cityscape of Rome.

Castle Sant Angelo (Mausoleum of Hadrian), bridge Sant Angelo and river Tiber in Roma, Italy. Architecture and landmark of Rome. Cityscape of Rome.

©Catarina Belova/

You know what they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And that is entirely true. It took 1,229 years from the time it was founded to the collapse of its empire to build Rome. So how did this city with the letter R get its name? Based on historical context, Rome was founded by two demigods, Romulus and Remus. After a conflict involving a she-wolf and an argument between the two brothers, Romulus killed Remus and then named Rome after himself.

What Is Rome Famous For?

Rome is one of the most famous cities in the world for its historical significance and many different sights. The rise of the Roman Empire in the first century BCE through a mix of militant power, economic expansion, and political flexibility. It became the capital of Italy and became a significant city that changed the Mediterranean. It’s famous for the Roman Colosseum where many gladiators fought as a form of entertainment and punishment for criminals.

In the center of Rome is the Vatican City. Vatican City is the world’s smallest sovereign state. Its two-millennium history is tied to religious beliefs. It became independent from Rome through the Lantern Treaty in 1929. The Vatican City is ruled by the Pope, who is the bishop of Rome. Vatican City is governed by the Holy See. It contains the famous Vatican Gardens which is famous throughout the world, but it is not open to the general public. However, people can plan private tours of the gardens in advance. The Vatican City relies on different sources of income for its economy and one of the major driving factors is its tourism. No passports are needed to enter the city. A few of the museums require an entrance fee.

Nowadays, the city of Rome is famous for its historical monuments, wines, Italian food, and the Vatican City.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina at sunrise.

Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina at sunrise.

©Chansak Joe/

Raleigh is another state capital that starts with the letter R. This city is up there in popularity with other North Carolina cities such as Durham and Charlotte. Raleigh got its name from Sir Walter Raleigh. Sir Walter Raleigh tried to establish the first colony on the shores of the New World in the 1580s. Raleigh’s current population is 472,540 and is the largest city in the United States that starts with the letter R.

What is Raleigh Famous For?

One of Raleigh’s names is the “City of Oaks” as they have plenty of oak trees in and around the city. Another nickname the city is associated with is “The Triangle” alongside Durham and Chapel Hill. If you draw three lines to connect the cities on a map, it forms a triangle. The nickname “The Triangle” is a reference to the college basketball rivalries between Duke, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina. Their southern location makes the city synonymous with BBQ and fried foods that many people eat at the tailgates for college basketball games.

There are several popular trails that run through Raleigh. Some of those trails include the American Tobacco Trail, Neuse River Greenway, Art To Heart Trail, Lake Johnson Trail, and Umstead State Park. It is also home to the oldest public park in North Carolina along with one of the oldest parks in the United States.

Nowadays, Raleigh is also known as the “Smithsonian of The South.” Several of the major state museums in Raleigh include the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the North Carolina Museum of History. The oldest HBCU is based in Raleigh, Shaw University. It is another college city that has several different popular state universities that attract new residents and help the city’s economy.

Raleigh is just over four hours out of Atlanta, three to four hours out of Richmond, Virginia, and a few hours out from the East Coast beaches.

Riverside, California

Sunset aerial view of historic downtown Riverside, California.

Sunset aerial view of historic downtown Riverside, California.

©Matt Gush/

Riverside, California is a Southern California city based in the Inland Empire region over an hour east of Los Angeles. The city’s name explains itself. It’s named for its location beside the Santa Ana River. It currently is the county seat for Riverside County. The city has a prominent Asian-American and African-American history dating back to the late 1800s and the early 1900s.

What Is Riverside, California Famous For?

Riverside, California is famous as the birthplace of the citrus industry. Riverside grows the most citrus in the entire state of California. The first orange trees were planted in 1871, but the true birth of the citrus industry began two years later. Eliza Tibet received two Brazilian navel orange trees from a friend from the Department of Agriculture in Washington. Those trees did really well thanks to the Southern California environment and the rest was history. The agricultural discovery led to a different type of Gold Rush for California. By 1882, more than half a million citrus trees were planted which boosted the California economy even more.

One of the main tourist attractions alongside Riverside is the Mission Inn. The Mission Inn is a hotel that’s over 100 years old. In its illustrious past, it was a popular location famous to celebrities, presidents, and tourists for its mission-style architecture. The hotel puts on a light festival during Christmas and it’s one of the more popular light festivals in the United States.

Riverside also has plenty of nature for people to explore. It has several parks like Citrus State Park, Fairmont Park, and The Santa Ana Trails. The UCR Botanical Gardens are also one of the city’s main exhibits that allow people to explore the college campus. The garden is free to visit and has over 3,500 different plant species present in the garden. It is also home to the Fox Theater in downtown Riverside. It was open for several decades and was fully renovated in 2009. Now, the Fox Theater is home to plenty of shows, plays, and community events.

Reno, Nevada

Downtown Reno skyline, Nevada, with hotels, casinos and surrounding mountains

Downtown Reno skyline, Nevada, with hotels, casinos, and the surrounding High Eastern Sierra foothills.

©miroslav_1/iStock via Getty Images

Reno, Nevada is alongside the Nevada/California border and is several miles away from Lake Tahoe. So, how did Reno get its name? Reno, Nevada is named after a former Civil War general Jessee L. Reno. Jesse was killed in battle. It is the third largest city in Nevada only behind Henderson and Las Vegas.

What Is Reno Famous For?

Like Vegas, Reno has plenty of casinos and hotels. It’s like a mini Vegas but has its own flair. Reno is historically known for its gaming tourism industry. However, in the past decade, Reno’s arts, foodie, and culture scene has made Reno a place to be. It is also home to several museums like the National Automobile Museum, Fleischman Planetarium and Science Center, and other additional museums. The city is also home to many different breweries.

Head shot of a bobcat

Bobcats are cute, wild, and yet ferocious medium-sized cats that live just about anywhere in North America. They can be seen in the Animal Ark.

©Victor Arita/

Reno is home to the Animal Ark, which supports injured and non-releasable wildlife. Animal Ark is home to some North American predators such as bobcats, black bears, and owls. It’s also home to exotic predators such as cheetahs and tigers. People can also visit Lake Tahoe and go swimming, fishing, kayaking, and camping. And if visitors want to get away to a cooler climate, they can go snow skiing at the Mount Rose Ski Resort.

Rancho Cucamonga, California

A video explaining some of the best things to do in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Rancho Cucamonga is a famous suburban city and a city that starts with the letter R, in Southern California. It is actually only thirty minutes away from Riverside, California. The city has been in many different shows and films such as Next Friday and Bring It On 2. How did Rancho Cucamonga get its name? The Rancho Cucamonga school district noted that it got its name from the Gabrielino tribe. “Cucamonga” is a word derived from a Shoshone word meaning “sandy place” and it was home to many cattle farms. Today, the suburbs of Rancho Cucamonga are one of the more popular places to live. It has a population of 176,000.

What Is Rancho Cucamonga Famous For?

Aside from being a famous location for films and shows, it is home to some award-winning wineries. The wineries offer tours and tastings regularly. Route 66 actually runs through the Ranch Cucamonga area and throughout Southern California. Car culture is big on Route 66 so there are car shows often in the area.

Rancho Cucamonga is also near the San Gabriel mountains and only a few miles away from Mount Baldy in Upland, CA. Mount Baldy has a popular skiing resort and many different trails to hike. The Pacific Electric Trail also runs through the Rancho Cucamonga city.

It has a famous shopping center in Victoria Gardens. The Victoria Gardens shopping center is filled with different shops, and gyms, and has live events in place. It has well-maintained infrastructures and popular healthcare facilities.

Rancho Cucamonga is only an hour out from Los Angeles, three hours out of San Diego, three hours out of Las Vegas, thirty five minutes out of Redlands, twenty-five minutes out of San Bernardino, and nine hours of San Francisco.

Redlands, California

Kimberly Crest House, a castle in Redlands, CA.

This Châteauesque style castle, with French Renaissance and Gothic Revival components, was built as a vacation home.

©Oleknutlee / Public Domain – License

Redlands, California is one of the more underrated cities in the Southern California region. It is also in the Inland Empire region of Southern California. Redlands happens to be one of the oldest cities in California as it was incorporated in 1888. So how did this city that starts with the letter R get its name? The city got its name from its red adobe soil color. Nowadays, it is one of the wealthiest cities in the Southern California area.

What Is Redlands, California Famous For?

Some of the first orange groves in Southern California were planted in the late 1880s. They have plenty of orange groves across the town today that people can visit and pick oranges from. The city also has a popular university called the University of Redlands. U of R gives money to the city every year. They donate more than one million dollars to the city annually. The city is also the home of Southern California Edison, which is one of the biggest electrical companies in California.

The neighborhoods in Redlands are considered a “Victorian Treasure” in the Inland Empire. It is the halfway point between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. The Kimberly Crest House, Edwards Mansion, and the Morey Mansion are some of the most exquisite homes in the Inland Empire and Redlands. The owners of the houses painted them in bright colors to stand out from the other neighbors. At the time, people announced that they would be moving to the neighborhood and then go on to build their houses. Many of those houses are now historical landmarks. Nowadays, the houses are very popular wedding locations where people get married. It is a very popular city that starts with the letter R in southern California.

Some of the houses are even used for residential purposes. The city’s economy is well based on its history of economic wealth and its citrus industry. Oranges are painted along the sidewalks of downtown Redlands and oranges are etched onto glasses at different shops.

Summary of Famous Cities That Starts With The Letter R

  • Richmond, VA
  • Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  • Rome, Italy
  • Redlands, CA
  • Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Riverside, CA
  • Reno, VA

Here are some additional cities that start with the letter R:

  • Rochester, NY
  • Richmond, California (not Virginia)
  • Riyadah, Saudi Arabia
  • Braba, Morocco
  • Ranchi, India
  • Rockford, Illinois
  • Rio Rancho, New Mexico
  • Richardson, Texas
  • Roseville, California
  • Round Rock, Texas
  • Rochester, Minnesota
  • Rosario, Argentina
  • Riga, Latvia

The photo featured at the top of this post is © jsdeoliv/ via Getty Images

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About the Author

Justin is an A-Z Animals Writer that loves to cover places, unique natural disasters, and travel. He has eight years of experience as a writer in the medical and media fields. He wrote for the likes of VCU Health, theMSQshop, PayDay LA, and Comic Book Resources under the penname Jay Guevara. Although he's a full time writer, Justin graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2019 with a Bachelors in Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science with a background in Community Engagement. After spending over two decades in Richmond, Virginia, Justin now resides in the suburbs of Rancho Cucamonga, California. He's a dedicated gymrat. He's also a two-time poetry author who's influenced by rappers Joe Budden and IDK along with Dante Alighieri.

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