Advertising on Billboards In Chicago, IL

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the city

About Chicago

Chicago may be called the Second City, but there’s really nothing second-rate about it. From the deep dish pizza that bears its name to the Magnificent Mile to the beloved sports teams to the river turning green each St. Patrick’s Day, Chicago is a wonderful place to live, visit and work. It plays an outsized role in popular culture and history, too, with references from A (Al Capone) to Z (Lincoln Park Zoo, the country’s fourth-oldest).

Do you want to spread your message to Chicago residents in high-impact areas? Billboard advertising is an efficient way to reach them. Learn more about the landscape, including information on pricing, inventory and visibility.

the Landscape

Data for Billboard Advertisers in Chicago, IL

With a population of 2.696 million, Chicago is the country’s third-biggest city. It’s very diverse, with Latinos making up nearly a third of the population and one in five people born outside the United States. The city’s residents are also fairly educated, with almost 42% holding a bachelor’s degree, higher than the national average. About 7.5% of residents have a disability.

Chicago has 500 billboards, more than other cities in the Midwest but comparable to New York City. Only Los Angeles (600 billboards) has more billboards among the major cities.

Here’s a complete demographic rundown on the Chicago DMA.

Chicago, ILPopulation: 2.696 million

Woman Population


Men Population


White 33
Hispanic 29
Black 29
Hispanic 29
Asian 7
Other 2



Foreign-born residents:


Persons per household:


Percent who speak a non-English language at home:


High school graduates


Hold at least a bachelor’s degree:


Median household income:



Types of Billboards Available

There are three main kinds of billboard advertising in Chicago.


You can find the most common type of billboard along the highways roping around the city, bringing tourists to a weekend getaway. The signs often remind those tourists about fast food restaurants, gas stations and family entertainment coming up at the next exit, but they can also build brand awareness. They are the biggest of the regular billboards, and in Chicago, you find them on highways like I-290, I-55 and I-90/94.


Bulletins measure 48 feet wide x 14 feet tall.


Posters are essentially smaller bulletins. They’re about half as long, though nearly as tall, and you find them inside the city or in more residential neighborhoods. The signs are just as effective as bulletins at drawing attention, and you can buy them for a lower cost.

Dimensions +

Most posters measure 24 feet, 6 inches wide x 12 feet, 3 inches tall. Sometimes, you’ll find one that measures a couple feet less on either end.

Digital Billboards

Much of Chicago’s digital inventory is in the form of 10 feet x 10 feet “squares” dotted throughout the city. They have great locations, though in our experience, they don’t grab the same attention as a digital bulletin, which is bigger. The Windy City has a few high-profile digital locations, but most of the visible inventory is static.

Dimensions +

Digital bulletins measure 48 feet wide x 14 feet tall.
Digital posters measure 24 feet, 6 inches wide x 12 feet, 3 inches tall.


Like many huge cities, Chicago also has wallscape opportunities. Wallscapes are larger billboard ads painted onto the side of a building, often a skyscraper with a lot of blank space. Wallscapes tend to be more artistic and whimsical than traditional billboards. They draw lots of extra attention, too, with people sharing pictures of them on social media. There is no standard size, as it varies based on the size of the building. Though the standard run for a billboard lasts four weeks, wallscapes stay up longer since they take more time to create and take down.

places to advertise

Best Places in Chicago to Advertise on a Billboard

Based on our experience, here are some of the best places to reach a large audience through outdoor advertising in downtown Chicago and the surrounding areas.

The Loop:

The country’s second-largest business district, the Loop is chock full of businesspeople who make an excellent target audience. Top categories include alcohol, luxury brands, entertainment and more.

Near North Side:

Pricing is slightly lower in this section of town close to River North that includes the Magnificent Mile (on Michigan Avenue), Navy Pier and Museum of Contemporary Art. It draws loads of visitors, with tourists also flocking to 360 Chicago to see the views from 94 flights up. Top categories range from entertainment to lifestyle apparel to beauty.

Lincoln Park:

Also located on the North Side, Lincoln Park is an affluent neighborhood where advertisers can reach an upscale audience. It includes the Zoo and North Beach Avenue, so you can also connect with families. Top categories include entertainment, alcohol, mobile and telecom, lifestyle apparel and jewelry.

Wrigley Park:

We hear from lots of brands who want to advertise near Wrigley Park, home of the Chicago Cubs (it’s a much bigger draw than Soldier Field, the tiny-for-the-NFL stadium where the Chicago Bears play). Top categories include cannabis, sports, sports apparel and entertainment.

Kennedy Expressway:

The city has digital inventory here, which commuters will see as they work their way into the city to visit McCormick Center, Chinatown, University of Illinois Chicago and other places. Best categories include lifestyle apparel, mobile, sports and political.


Cost of a Billboard in Chicago

The cost of a billboard depends on location and visibility. The most in-demand locations get the highest premiums, and in Chicago, that means downtown. Most advertisers want their ads near the Loop, the central business district. All quotes are based on the most recent averages we’ve seen in the market and cover a four-week period

The Cheapest Billboards in Chicago

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Digital squares: $2,000 to $3,000

Vector 1

Bulletins in the suburbs/outskirts of the city: $6,000 to $8,000

The Most Expensive Billboards in Chicago

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Bulletins and digital bulletins downtown: $10,000 to $20,000


Chicago Creative Examples


Thinking About Advertising in Chicago?

Whether you want to place a digital billboard ad or commission a wallscape, we can help you execute effective ad campaigns. Get in touch with us today to learn more about billboard costs and availability in high-traffic areas of Chicago.

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