What makes a great town or city? Is it the people? The places? Maybe the layout of the streets? Your answer may be just one or all of these factors. Regardless of what you prefer, it’s important to know the English vocabulary to name the places where you eat, party, study, and run errands. This post is here to answer all your questions about where things are in cities and towns, plus you’ll get a chance to test your knowledge with some free exercises. 

Differences between cities and towns

Let’s start by answering this common question. So, what’s the difference between a city and a town? Well, a town is a populated area with fixed boundaries and a local government. A city is a large or important town. There are also villages, which are even smaller communities located in rural areas.  

city or town
New York is the biggest city in the United States.

Most people can easily name cities around the world. It’s easy because they are the centers of finance, business, and tourist destinations.  It may not be easy to name towns in other countries, but they are no less important. In some countries, more people live in rural areas like towns or villages than in the cities. Some of our favorites include Aspen in the United States and Monteverde in Costa Rica. What’s your favorite town? Tell us in the comments! For a complete list of America’s most charming small towns, check out this link. 

Running errands: learn more about this English phrase

We can’t talk about places around town without mentioning this popular expression. To run errands means to make a short trip to complete a specific task or chore. These are activities like going to the bank, picking up the dry cleaning, shopping for groceries, getting the car repaired, etc. Other versions of this expression are: go on an errand or do an errand.  

"Running errands" is a popular phrase in English that means to do tasks outside the home.
Many parents run errands on the weekend.

Check out these examples so that you can start using this idiom more often: 

  • I’ve got to run an errand. I’ll be back by lunch. 
  • Mary is not here. She has gone out on an errand. I’m not sure when she will be back. 
  • I’m so tired. I’ve been running errands all day! 

The complete list of places around town 

We will divide this into 8 different sections of places around town: places related to shopping, places related to food, places to have fun, places related to healthcare, places to study, places that offer specific services, places that help protect the community, and places related to transportation. Keep reading! 

Here are some of the places around town that you can go to buy things you need:

  • Bookstore: you can buy books, magazines, newspapers, and stationery items. 
  • Clothing store: you can buy clothes and accessories. 
  • Department store: they usually sell clothes, shoes, cosmetics, household appliances, toys, and more. The most famous department stores are Macy’s, in New York City, and Harrods, in London. 
  • Florist: where you can buy flowers and plants. 
  • Games store: the place to buy games, video games consoles, and accessories. 
  • Pet shop: you can buy accessories, medicine, and food for pets, as well as take them to take baths. 
  • Shoe store: you can buy shoes, socks, purses, backpacks, and more. 
  • Shopping center: shopping centers, which are also called malls, have everything you need. Besides all types of stores, you can also find a food court, a movie theater, and more.  
  • Toy store: the place where you buy toys. 
English vocabulary example: Most towns or cities have a bookstore as one of the places.
Does your town or city have a bookstore?
  • Bakery: a place to get bread, cakes, and other goodies. 
  • Butcher’s: where you can buy different cuts of meat. 
  • Coffee shop: a place to get a cup of coffee and something to eat. 
  • Farmer’s market: where you can buy fresh vegetables and fruits. 
  • Fast-food restaurant: this type of restaurant offers sandwiches, french fries, and other types of fast-food. Some examples are McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Pizza Hut. 
  • Restaurant: there are different types of restaurants: casual dining, fine dining, buffet-style, and family-style. You can eat in or take out. 
  • Supermarket: the place you go to get groceries. 

Places to have fun 

These places around town are the ones you go to have a good time with friends and family:

  • Amusement park: a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. 
  • Bar or pub: a place where drinks, especially alcoholic drinks, are sold and drunk, or the area in such a place where the person serving the drinks stands.  
  • Bowling alley: a place where you can play bowling. 
  • Movie theater: the place you go to watch movies. You buy a ticket at the ticket booth and you can buy popcorn and drinks at the concession stand. 
  • Museum: a building in which objects of historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest are stored and exhibited. 
  • Night club: the place you go for some nighttime entertainment. You can get some drinks and dance. 
  • Park: a large public green area in a town, used for recreation. One of the most famous parks in the world, Central Park, is located in the middle of New York City. 
  • Stadium: a sports arena with tiers of seats for spectators. 
  • Zoo: an establishment that maintains a collection of wild animals, typically in a park or gardens, for study, conservation, or public display.
  • Clinic: an establishment or hospital department where outpatients are given medical treatment or advice, especially of a specialist nature. 
  • Dental office: a place where you can get dental treatment. 
  • Hospital: an institution providing medical and surgical treatment and nursing care for sick or injured people. 
  • Pharmacy: a store where medicinal drugs are dispensed and sold. Pharmacies are also known as drugstores. 
  • Spa: a commercial establishment offering health and beauty treatment through such means as steam baths, exercise equipment, and massage. 
English vocabulary example: a pharmacy is one of the most important places around town.
One of the most important places around town is the pharmacy, where you can pick up medicine.

Places around town to go study 

  • College or university: an educational institution or establishment, in particular one providing higher education or specialized professional or vocational training.
    Tip: Read this post to learn more about the differences between college and university.
  • Library: a building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for people to read, borrow, or refer to. 
  • School: institutions for educating children.  
English vocabulary example: Another place around town is the university or college.
Most universities have libraries on campus.

Places that offer specific services 

  • Bank: a financial establishment that invests money deposited by customers, pays it out when required, makes loans at interest, and exchanges currency. 
  • Beauty salon: an establishment in which hairdressing, makeup, and similar cosmetic treatments are carried out professionally. 
  • Church: a building for public and especially Christian worship 
  • City hall: the administration building of a municipal government. 
  • Dry cleaner’s: a shop where clothes, etc. are cleaned with chemicals 
  • Gym: A gym is a club, building, or large room, usually containing special equipment, where people go to do physical exercise 
  • Hotel: an establishment providing accommodations, meals, and other services for travelers and tourists. 
  • Laundromat: an establishment with coin-operated washing machines and dryers for public use. 
  • Post office: the public department or corporation responsible for mail services. 
english vocabulary example: another important place around town is the health club or gym.
The gym is a place you can go to do specialized workouts.

Places around town that help protect the community 

  • Fire station: a building where fire engines are kept, and where firefighters wait until they are called to put out a fire. 
  • Jail: a place for the confinement of people accused or convicted of a crime. 
  • Police station: a building that serves to accommodate police officers and other members of staff. 
  • Prison: a building in which people are legally held as a punishment for a crime they have committed or while awaiting trial. 
  • Airport: a complex of runways and buildings for the takeoff, landing, and maintenance of civil aircraft, with facilities for passengers. 
  • Bus station: a terminal where buses arrive and depart. 
  • Car park: an area or building where cars or other vehicles may be left temporarily. Also known as a parking lot or parking garage. 
  • Gas station: an establishment beside a road selling fuel for motor vehicles. 
  • Subway station: a terminal where subways arrive and depart. 
  • Train station: a terminal where trains arrive and depart. 
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Let’s practice!

Now you know most of the places we usually find in a town or city. If we missed a place that you often go to in your city, let us know in the comment section below! Happy studying!