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How does Chicago size up to other cities?

Written by
Clayton Guse

Anyone who's stepped foot in Chicago knows that it's pretty damn huge. Encompassing 234 square miles, the city is one of the most sprawling in the United States. But how does it compare in size to other massive metropolises across the globe? The graphics below show Chicago's borders superimposed on maps of other major cities so you can have a better idea of exactly how big (or small) the city really is.

Milwaukee: 97 square miles

Wisconsin has a lot of great features, but a huge city is not one of them. Milwaukee looks like a suburb when compared to Chicago. 

New York: 469 square miles

New York is way, way bigger than Chicago could ever hope to be, which has historically given Chicagoans an inferiority complex. The population of Brooklyn alone is almost as large as Chicago's, which only adds salt to the wound.

Boston: 89 square miles

Almost half of Boston's area is comprised of water. The city's land area is just 48 square miles, which is about one-fifth the size of Chicago.

Los Angeles: 503 square miles

LA is more than twice the size of Chicago, but its population density is significantly smaller. It's hard to understand how a city so large functions without a reliable public transit network.

San Francisco: 232 square miles

If you count the bay, San Francisco is about the same size as Chicago. Its land area, however, covers just 46.8 square miles. 

London: 671 square miles

Chicago looks like a slice in the pie that is the Greater London urban area. With nearly 10 million residents, the UK's capital makes Chicago feel very small.

Paris: 40 square miles

Paris is pretty tiny, but the French city somehow has a population of more than 2.2 million people.

Beijing: 6,336 square miles

Beijing makes Chicago look like an unincorporated farm town. China has more than 30 municipalities with a larger population than Chicago, which should do a good job of keeping your bloated American ego in check.

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