How Much Do You Know About US State Capitals?


By: Maria Trimarchi

7 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

The United States has fifty state capitals and each has its own unique flavor, tradition and style. From small to large, these state capitals captivate the imagination, have historic achievements and will broaden your horizons. Think you know a ton about the U.S. capitals? Let's see how much you really know!

Do you know which state capital's residents are called Pierrites? Or, which state capital is located at the geographic center of its state? While every state capital is unique, some have popular local traditions that are only experienced in that state. For example, do you know which capital drops a giant lighted potato on New Years instead of a traditional lighted ball?

The capital of some states is often considered the biggest city with the best representation of the people, but history has something else to say about this. Do you know which state capitals are not the biggest cities in their states? Or can you name the five state capitals California has had in the past, before its current state capital? Yes, you read that right: California has had six different capitals throughout its history. 

So, if you think your topic on Friday quiz night is State Capitals, then you need to take this quiz to see if you really have what it takes!

Nicknamed the Mile High City, which state capital has more than 300 days of sunshine, on average, every year?

Denver's nickname, the Mile High City, is a reference to the city's elevation -- it's 5,280 feet, one mile, above sea level. And things are sunny Mile High, too, as Denver's known to have more than 300 days of sunshine (on average) in a year.


Which U.S. state capital rings in the new year by dropping a giant lighted potato instead of the traditional lighted ball?

New Year's Eve celebrations in Boise, Idaho, include fireworks, live entertainment (including a "Tuber Luge"), and what all the "Spec-Taters" are really in from of the Statehouse for --- the 400-pound illuminated "GlowTato" drop at midnight. The tradition of the Idaho Potato instead of a ball drop isn't so strange -- Brasstown, North Carolina, for instance, has a Possum Drop, and in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania they drop a 200-pound lighted Peep.


Birmingham may be more densely populated, but it's which city that's the capital of the state of Alabama?

It not be the biggest city by population -- Birmingham holds that title -- but size doesn't matter when it comes to capitals. Montgomery, the state capital of Alabama, is famous for its resident, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who, on December 1, 1955, refused to move to the back of the bus so a white passenger could have her seat.


Which state capital, located in the Sonoran Desert, doesn't follow daylight saving time?

Phoenix, Arizona, located in one of the greenest deserts in North America, the Sonoran Desert, is one of the few places in the U.S. not to follow daylight saving time -- that's right, no "spring forward" or "fall back." It's also one of about a dozen U.S. cities with franchises of NBA (Phoenix Suns), NFL (Arizona Cardinals), NHL (Arizona Coyotes), and MLB (Arizona Diamondbacks) major league teams.


Unlike the state it's in, which city and capital of Florida experiences all four seasons?

If you're looking for more than sunshine or rain in Florida, the capital, Tallahassee, is an anomaly; the city experiences all four seasons, and although ice and snow accumulation is rare, it can and does happen.


On which island is Hawaii's capital of Honolulu?

Honolulu is on the island of Oahu, on the south shore. When there, some of the popular tourist attraction include Iolani Palace, Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach.


Which capital city is located at the geographic center of the state of Arkansas?

Briefly renamed to "Arkopolis," it's Little Rock that's located close to the geographic center of the state of Arkansas. Little Rock is home to the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park -- which contains the presidential library of Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, and the offices of the Clinton Foundation.


A resident of the capital of South Dakota is known as what?

Residents of Pierre, South Dakota, are known as Pierrites. With 14,000 people, Pierre, the city on the river, is the second smallest state capital in the U.S.


Monterey, Vallejo, Benicia, San Francisco, and San Jose were all the state capitals of California before which capital, today?

This river town got its start because of the California Gold Rush. Sacramento is actually the sixth capital of the state, since 1854 -- others included, Monterey, Vallejo, Benicia, San Francisco and San Jose.


Which of these southern cities and state capital of Georgia has more than 55 streets with the name "Peachtree"?

The state capital of Georgia has more than 55 streets with the name "Peachtree" -- so relying on GPS in Atlanta can sometimes be tricky. Atlanta is also home to the Eastern Continental Divide, an invisible line where waters to the east are routed to the Atlantic Ocean and those to the west are routed to the Gulf of Mexico.


Which New England state capital is home of the oldest continuously operating newspaper, the Courant?

Hartford, once nicknamed "New England's Rising Star," is home to the oldest continuously operating newspaper: The Hartford Courant has been published since 1764. It began as a weekly publication, and became daily in 1837 (the weekly was discontinued in 1896).


Which East Coast capital city is home to a race track that's hosted at least two NASCAR races every year since 1969?

The Dover International Speedway, in Dover, Delaware, opened in 1969, and has since held at least two NASCAR races every year since.


Which state capital is known for the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, ending segregation in U.S. public schools?

Topeka, Kansas, is home to the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which in 1954 effectively overturned the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson decision of "separate but equal," and declared racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional.


Which state capital is home to the United States Naval Academy, since 1845?

More than 4 million people visit this Sailing Capital of the World every year, but every summer 1,200 "plebes" come to Annapolis to enter the United States Naval Academy. The USNA, often called just "Annapolis," was founded in October 1845, and has been educating Naval and Marine Corps officers since.


First, the capital was Kaskaskia. Then Vandalia. Which was the third -- and current -- city to become the capital of Illinois?

Illinois became a state in the Union in 1818, but its capital wasn't Springfield as it is now. First, it was Kaskaskia (today, population 14). Then, in 1819 the capital was moved to the town of Vandalia, which is less than 70 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. Vandalia remained the capital until 1839, when it was moved to Springfield after "The Long Nine," made up of Abraham Lincoln and eight other Sangamon County representatives to the Illinois General Assembly, successfully lobbied for the change.


Which city, located within a four-hour drive of the New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. metro areas, is the capital city of Pennsylvania?

Philadelphia may be the largest city in the state, but it's Harrisburg that's the capital of Pennsylvania. Located in the South Central region of the state, the capital is within a four-hour drive of several metro areas including New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.


Which city is not only the capital of New Hampshire, but also home to the World's Largest Meatball?

With a population of 42,695, Concord is not just the capital but the third-largest city in the state of New Hampshire. But it just might be a meatball that makes it famous: Nonni's Italian Eatery put Concord, New Hampshire, on the map when they made the World's Largest Meatball -- 222 pounds.


Which southern capital city is one of four cities in the world chosen to host the International Ballet Competition?

Jackson, named after Andrew Jackson, lies on the western bank of the Pearl River. It's one of just four cities around the world to be sanctioned by The International Theater-Dance Committee to host the two-week long International Ballet Competition. The other cities? They're Moscow (Russia), Varna (Bulgaria), and Helsinki (Finland).


Which city is the state capital with the highest elevation?

Santa Fe, short for "La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis" (which translates to "The Royal City of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi"), tops all other state capitals in elevation. At 7,199 feet above sea level, the city recommends 48 hours to adjust to the thinner air.


Which of these state capitals is named for Christopher Columbus, and nicknamed Cowtown and Cbus?

As many as 50 percent of the U.S. population lives within a 600-mile radius of Columbus, Ohio. The city and Ohio state capital is named for the explorer, Christopher Columbus.


There are no roads connecting which state capital to the rest of the state?

The size of the area Juneau, Alaska, is located is not only larger than the state of Delaware, it's also larger than the state of Rhode Island -- and the area is almost larger than the square footage of both states combined. There are no roads connecting Juneau to the rest of the state, though, but there is ferry service.


The game of basketball was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts. But it was in which New Jersey city, its capital, where the first professional game was played?

Basketball as it's played today began in Springfield, Massachusetts, in December 1891. But it wasn't until November 1896 that the first professional game was played -- between the Trenton YMCA and the Brooklyn YMCA at the Trenton Masonic Temple. Trenton won, 16-1.


Although Minneapolis is a bigger city, it's not the state capital. Which is Minnesota's capital city?

Although it's the smaller of the Twin Cities, it's Saint Paul, not Minneapolis, that's the capital city of Minnesota. The city, known as the Most Livable City in America, lies on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River.


There's a Portland in Maine and another in Oregon. Which is the capital of its state?

Actually, neither Portland is a state capital. Although Portland, Maine, was the first capital city of Maine, the seat was moved in the mid-19th century to a more centrally-located city, Augusta. And Portland, Oregon, which is named for Portland, Maine, is the "capital of karaoke," but not the state.


Which state capital is the only U.S. capital with three words in its name?

Originally named Great Salt Lake City, it dropped the "Great" in 1868. But Salt Lake City, Utah, is still the only U.S. capital with three words in its name. It's also the home to the leading manufacturer of rubber chickens in the U.S., Loftus Novelty.


Before it was named for the Duke of York, which settlement -- and now capital of New York -- was called "Beverwyck"?

If you lived in the Albany area prior to 1664, when the English named it for the Duke of Albany, you knew the settlement as "Beverwyck," named for the beaver fur trade that was booming at the time. In fact, Albany is the oldest continuous settlement from the original 13 colonies, having been established as a fort before 1614.


Which city and state capital of Texas is considered to be the Live Music Capital of the World?

Austin, Texas isn't just the state capital of Texas; with more than 200 live music venues, it's also considered to be the Live Music Capital of the World. It's also home to America's only Formula 1 race, the United States Grand Prix, which takes place at the Circuit of the Americas course.


During the U.S. Civil War, which current state capital of Virginia served as the capital of the Confederate States of America?

Richmond, which has been the capital of Virginia since 1780, also served as the capital of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Washington, D.C., where President Lincoln was leading the North, was just 100 miles away.


Before they became the Red Sox, which capital city's baseball team was known as the Americans, the Pilgrims, the Puritans, the Plymouth Rocks and the Somersets?

The Boston Red Sox didn't become the BoSox until 1907, reflecting the uniform change to red stockings in the 1908 season. Previously, the Massachusetts capital city's team had been known as the Americans, the Pilgrims, the Puritans, the Plymouth Rocks and Somersets.


Which city is the smallest state capital in the U.S., but the biggest producer of maple syrup in the country?

With a population of fewer than 9,000, Montpelier, Vermont, is the smallest state capital in the country. But size doesn't always matter -- the Green Mountain City may be small, but it's the largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S.


Which Iowa city isn't only the state capital, but home to the Iowa State Fair?

Incorporated first as Fort Des Moines in 1851, Des Moines, as it became six years later, isn't just the state capital and site of the first caucuses of the U.S. presidential primary cycle. But what may be its best-attended event is the Iowa State Fair, with its 600-pound butter cow sculpture and fried foods on sticks.


Which capital city is also the most populous city in West Virginia?

According to the 2010 census, there were 51,400 residents of Charleston, making it the most populous city in the state of West Virginia -- and it's also the state's capital city.


Nebraska's capital city was originally named Lancaster, but was renamed to honor which president after his assassination?

Lincoln is the state capital, and the second most-populous city in Nebraska, behind Omaha. Originally named Lancaster, after Lancaster, Pennsylvania, it was renamed in honor of President Abraham Lincoln after his assassination.


Officially nicknamed, "The Capital of Southern Hospitality," which capital city was one of the first planned cities in the U.S.?

Columbia, named for Christopher Columbus, was one of the first planned cities in the country. Incorporated as a city in 1854, Columbia is now the largest city in the state, with 131,686 residents, and known as "The Capital of Southern Hospitality."


The original capital of Indiana was Corydon, but only for four years. Which city has been the capital since?

Indianapolis wasn't the first capital city of Indiana. That was Corydon, which was the state capital for four years after Indiana became the 19th state in the Union in 1816. Its name, the story goes, was picked by an Indiana Supreme Court judge who added the Greek word, "polis," which means a city-state, to the state name.


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