The municipality borders in the south to Robertsfors, and clockwise to Umeå, Vindeln, Norsjö, Arvidsjaur and Piteå. Norra Västerbotten is the local newspaper of Skellefteå. Skellefteå AIK is the local icehockey team. Skellefteå is situated around Skellefte Älv, a river that runs through the city. There is also a very central mountain, Vitberget, which is popular for skiing in the wintertime, and trekking in the summers.
Most of the amalgamations leading to the present municipality took place in 1967 when the then City of Skelleftå was merged with the rural municipality by the same name and also with Jörn Bureå and Byske. The enlarged city became a municipality of unitary type with the new local government act in 1971, and in 1974 Burträsk was added.