11 Cities That Are "Unofficial" State Capitals main image
Scroll Down To Continue

11 Cities That Are "Unofficial" State Capitals

11. New York City, New York

11. New York City, New York

NYC is the largest city in the country, and one of the largest on the planet. It's a massive hub for commerce and the arts, and yet it's technically a "second city" to Albany. Albany! Look, New York is basically the capital of the world. You know it, I know it, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys know it. Are you really going to argue with Jay-Z?

10. Chicago, Illinois

10. Chicago, Illinois

How many people that you know could even tell you what the capital of Illinois is? Doesn't everyone just assume that it's Chicago anyway? Unless you live in Illinois, your sole vested interest in caring that Springfield is the capital comes from being the kind of person who pushes the bridge of their glasses up their nose while saying, "well actually..." Besides, when people hear "Springfield," they think of the Simpsons first and never Illinois. When you're upstaged by a fictional city, it's time to give up.

9. Burlington, Vermont

9. Burlington, Vermont

Montpelier has great restaurants, phenomenal bars, and a distance-learning college of the arts that's rapidly gaining renown. It's also very, very small. Locals take pride in pointing out that they live in the only state capital with neither a Walmart nor a McDonald's (nearby Barre has both). Yet, one can't help but wonder whether a capital ought to have those things, or at least enough people to support them. Meanwhile, Burlington has the world's tallest filing cabinet. It's hard to argue with that.

(image via Flickr)

8. Los Angeles, California

8. Los Angeles, California

Sacramento's newspaper is called the Bee and their basketball team plays home games at Sleep Train Arena. Nobody has heard of any of these things. Meanwhile, L.A. is flashing its lights and its "Hollywood" sign while Randy Newman sings songs about it. Randy Newman never wrote a song about Sacramento. Nobody did.

7. Literally Anywhere Else in Florida

7. Literally Anywhere Else in Florida

Tallahassee was made the capital of Florida because it was situated midway between the largest cities in the state at that time: St. Augustine and Pensacola. An interesting corollary to that fact is that nobody cares. Neither of those cities is among Florida's top ten most populous anymore. Jacksonville is the largest city, by far, with Miami and Tampa following behind. Even Disney World has more visitors every week than Tallahassee has residents.

6. Portland, Oregon

6. Portland, Oregon

Let's start with the fact that Oregon's capital, Salem, is minuscule compared to Portland. The Buckeye State's hipster utopia is nearly four times larger than its ostensible capital. That's not to mention Portland's national renown as a cultural icon. Salem just makes people think of Massachusetts. Some people might think that making Portland the capital means symbolically ceding the whole state to the hipsters, but you know what? Let them have it. We need more state-to-state cultural diversity right now because the only state that really stands out culturally is Louisiana.

5. Seattle, Washington

5. Seattle, Washington

Off the top of your head, name a couple of cities in Washington. Seattle comes first, right? It should; it's three times larger than the second-largest city. Then maybe you think of Spokane or Tacoma. Maybe Yakima if you're from the Pacific Northwest region. Does Olympia come to mind at all? Didn't think so. Seattle gave us Nirvana, along with the entire grunge movement. It gave us Modest Mouse and Heart. It houses Amazon and Starbucks. Olympia's given us some cool people, but most of those people move to Seattle when they're looking to make their mark. The state government should consider following suit.

(image via Flickr)

4. Las Vegas, Nevada

4. Las Vegas, Nevada

You may protest, but Las Vegas is a monument to tacky kitsch! Do we really want that to have a place in our government? And the answer to that, of course, is a silent finger pointing to Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Not every part of America can be a bastion of restraint and taste. This is simply a question of fair representation, which is a guiding principle of our government. Tackiness deserves a voice, too. Besides, Carson City is one-tenth the size of Vegas. If you really can't stomach the thought of Vegas being the capital, at least give it to Reno.

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has many cities that would make a great capital, places that exemplify the diverse things that the state has to offer. From Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love and cream cheese, to Pittsburgh, which has a really cool art music scene. Some people across the country might even argue for Scranton to take the honor, on the basis of the U.S. version of The Office. But nobody is going to come out swinging in favor of Harrisburg, which we literally just now learned is the capital of the state of Pennsylvania.

(image via Flickr)

2. New Orleans, Louisiana

2. New Orleans, Louisiana

Maybe New Orleans wasn’t “American enough” to qualify as a capital city for a U.S. state. Walking these streets has a distinctly European feel. Yet, the Crescent City is by far the cultural force of not only Louisiana but the entire Gulf Coast. Baton Rouge has its merits, but NOLA takes the cake…or beignet, in this instance.

(image via Flickr)

1. Boston as the Capital of New England

1. Boston as the Capital of New England

Yes, Boston is already a capital, but this powerhouse city dominates the entire New England region. Let's just all be honest about this. It's time to move Connecticut's, Maine's, New Hampshire's, Rhode Island's, and Vermont's capitals straight to Boston, and start a petition to preserve those states as the "federally protected backyard of Massachusetts."