Infrared picture of galaxy NGC 6744. This is the closest representation of what the Milky Way looks like in our “immediate” vicinity. The most visible galaxies (to my eyes and according to my opinion – dunno if it’s scientifically accurate), I would have to say, are Andromeda and the Triangulum galaxies, with Andromeda being (usually) visible to the naked eye. I only mention them to illustrate how vast the “immediate vicinity” is. They are both 2.5 and 2.73 million light years away. NGC is 30 million light years away and only twice as dim. For being about 12 times further away than both the others, it’s quite bright and large. Andromeda is pretty similar to us, but NGC 6744 has the elongated nucleus, which shows up better in visible light (rather than this infrared view). That is what makes it, as well as the Milky Way, a barred spiral galaxy.