The City on a Hill, which came from governor John Winthrop's goal, of the original Massachusetts Bay Colony, to create the biblical "City on a Hill." It also refers to the original three hills of Boston.
The Hub, which is a shortened form of a phrase recorded by writer Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Hub of the Solar System. This has since developed into The Hub of the Universe.
The Puritan City, which was given in reference to the religion of the city's founders.
The Cradle of Liberty, which derives from Boston's role in instigating the American Revolution.
City of Notions, which was coined in the nineteenth century.
America's Walking City, which was given due to Boston's compact and high density nature, which has made walking an effective and popular mode of transit in the city. In fact, it has the seventh-highest percentage of pedestrian commuters of any city in the United States, while neighboring Cambridge is the highest.
Beantown, which refers to the regional dish of baked beans. This nickname is almost exclusively used by non-Bostonians and is rarely used by natives. According to Boston-Online.com, back in colonial days, a favorite Boston food was beans baked in molasses for several hours. Boston was part of the "triangular trade" in which slaves in the Caribbean grew sugar cane to be shipped to Boston, in order to be made into rum and in turn sent to West Africa for the acquisition of more slaves. Sailors and traders called it "Beantown" while the locals did not refer to their city by that nickname.
The Olde Towne, which comes from the fact that Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It is often used in reference to the Boston Red Sox (The Olde Towne Team).
^Holmes, Oliver Wendell (1858). The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. Phillips, Sampson and Company.; Holmes, Oliver Wendell (1891) . The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. Houghton, Mifflin and Company.p. 172 "A jaunty-looking person... said there was one more wise man's saying that he had heard; it was about our place—but he didn't know who said it.... 'Boston State-House is the Hub of the Solar System. You couldn't pry that out of a Boston man if you had the tire of all creation straightened out for a crow-bar.'"
^A Google search on September 28, 2007, gives 867 hits for +boston +"hub of the solar system" but 45,300 hits for +boston +"hub of the universe".