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Adjectives to describe a city

Updated on January 20, 2016

York City

York is a city in the north of the United Kingdom and was at one point the capital city. Today of course it is London. Here are some adjectives and expressions to describe a city like York:

Ancient: Very old (there is evidence people lived there 10,000 years ago)

Compact: Not very big.

Green: Full of nature, trees and parks. Even a big city like London can be described as having green areas as it has many parks.

Historical: When the city has a lot of history (rich in history) or historical buildings. London is also historical.

Idyllic: pleasing, pleasant. It can also mean perfect.

Picturesque: Like a picture, when something is so beautiful/stunning that it looks like a painting

Quaint: having old fashioned charm, charming. York is very quaint as it is an old fashioned city, but very charming. Old fashioned is usually negative and means not current.

Touristy: Visited by many tourists. It can also be described as a 'tourist trap' (noun).

Tranquil: peaceful / calm

Unspoilt: Untouched. When a place has not been modernised and has an unchanged or unaltered character.

New York City

Big Cities

New York and London are two examples of huge cities that are very famous and touristy. Here are some adjectives to describe larger cities:

Bustling: When a city is very busy and active, or the city is lively. New York is a bustling city and is often described as the city that never sleeps.

Crowded: (Negative) When there are a lot of people. If you want to be more extreme you can say over-crowded.

Hectic: (negative) crazy and very busy, never stopping. If you work all the time you could say you have a hectic life.

Huge: Very big

Modern: New or up-to-date, not an ancient city like York and while London has many old areas, places like Canary Wharf are very modern.

Polluted: (Negative) When a city is very dirty and has thick smoky fog (or smog). Somewhere like Beijing is said to be quite polluted.

Sprawling: when a city is very expansive and not compact, it can also said to be spread out,

A very dreary city
A very dreary city

Other useful adjectives:

Bleak: (Negative) It has a similar meaning to depressing. Other synonyms are sombre or gloomy.

Depressing: (negative) Makes you feel sad. Similar to dreary and dismal (See below)

Dreary: (negative) dismal (synonym) and makes you feel sad

Dull: (Negative) It can mean boring or without much colour. Drab is a synonym usually referring to grey buildings.

Fashionable: When a city is described as fashionable it means it is popular to live there, or trendy.

Grimy: (negative) covered in dirt or dirty, filthy

Remote: (slightly negative) Similar to Isolated / cut off and means it is far from amenities like shops and urban areas. You can also say it is 'in the middle of nowhere' (very negative)

Rustic: Having a country feel, like a farm in the countryside

Stunning: Beautiful

Tranquil: Peaceful.

Vibrant: Full of life and action or colourful.

Thanks for reading

Thank you very much for checking out the article! I hope it was useful! Please leave comments below if you have any questions or if you wish me to add any more adjectives that I haven't thought of or leave them on the site.

Head back to the website for more help with English.

All it leaves me to say is: Enjoy your lives and thanks again!


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    • Roy Woodhouse profile imageAUTHOR

      Roy Woodhouse 

      2 years ago from London, England

      Thank you so much Julimar! I'm glad that you liked it :)

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Amazing article ! So useful to study english. thank you so much


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