Is Chicago a State or a City?

Aerial view of Chicago

Chicago has made a huge impact on American culture, from its signature Art Deco architecture to its world-class cuisine. And with such a big personality, some out-of-towners wonder “Hey, is Chicago a state or a city?” Even though Chicago encompasses a sprawling grid of neighborhoods, it is actually a city in Cook County, Illinois. Get to know more about what makes Chicago so celebrated with the experts from Skydeck, and learn how you can see the iconic Chicago skyline up close in the Willis Tower!


How Big is Chicago?

One reason people mistake Chicago for a state is due to its enormous population. Chicago’s population hovers around three million people, which makes it not just the largest city in the state but the third-largest in the entire country! Plus, it is among the top metropolises in the United States. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about Chicago:

  • What Country is Chicago In? The city of Chicago is located in the United States of America, and it draws in tourists and business travelers from all over the world.
  • What State is Chicago located in? The city of Chicago is located in Illinois. However, the greater Chicagoland area extends well into southeastern Wisconsin and northwestern Indiana.
  • What is the Capital of Chicago? Chicago has no capital, and many are surprised to hear that the city is not even the official capital of Illinois. The city of Springfield has that honor!

What’s the Best Way to Experience Chicago?

Chicago may be a city, but it contains worlds of sights and sounds to explore. If you’re new to the area, we recommend doing a little research in advance to help you get the most out of every second of your visit. 

  • Whether you want to snap photos in front of the Bean or check out a local taqueria, there are tons of different ways to get around town. Try the elevated subway system, known as the L, or grab a Divvy bike on a sunny day. These low-cost options will make you feel like a local.
  • If you want to catch an unbeatable view of the city skyline, head to the Willis Tower. This is the third tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, and it’s home to a glass viewing platform known as the Skydeck. The Skydeck Ledge offers 360-degree views up to 50 miles extending into four different states! 
  • Can’t make it out to the city just yet? Check out the Chicago Virtual Tour to preview the Windy City before your next big trip!

Learn More With Skydeck

Now that you know a little more about the city of Chicago, why not plan your visit? No trip to the city is complete without a visit to the Willis Tower, so be sure to contact us at Skydeck with any questions. From advanced tickets to customized Welcome Wall messages, our team is ready to help make your stay unforgettable!

Important Notice Regarding COVID-19

Willis Tower and Skydeck Chicago have implemented measures consistent with CDC and local and federal guidance to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on the premises, including enhanced cleaning protocols. Even with these procedures in place, PLEASE BE ADVISED that building occupants, building and Skydeck visitors, or others currently or previously present upon this property and/or the Skydeck MAY HAVE CONTRACTED OR BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, and may expose you. By accessing and using building common areas, the Skydeck, and their associated amenities, you and your party voluntarily assume all risks of your use—INCLUDING THE RISK OF EXPOSURE TO INFECTIOUS DISEASE—and you waive all claims, including claims for negligence, against Willis Tower, Skydeck Chicago, and their respective owners, managers, affiliates, agents and representatives, arising out of such use. The above parties hereby disclaim all liability for any injuries arising out of your use of this property and the Skydeck, including exposure to infectious disease.

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