[Top 15] Cities Skylines Best Maps (Base Game and DLC)

Cities Skylines Best Maps (Base Game and DLC)
A developed city on "Northwood Hills" Map, although I could do better

Amongst the large expanse of city-builders released in the last few decades, Cities: Skylines has cemented itself as one of the cleanest and most versatile in the genre. With hundreds of different in-game assets and building types, you can create the city of your dreams and watch it grow into a world-renowned metropolis. But for those just starting out, it may seem a little daunting to hop in and begin building. So I’ve compiled a list of the best maps across the base game and DLCs for newbies and veterans alike.


15. Foggy Hills [Vanilla]

A top-down view of Foggy Hills with its starting highways and rivers.

Foggy Hills is a great starter map with 74% buildable area and access to the two flowing rivers in the center, which also serve as a land divider. With a flat structure, this map is perfect for you beginners to experiment with different mechanics and buildings within the game.

Although it isn’t the prettiest place out there, it's ideal for figuring out your planning style and getting familiarized with the more technical aspects of Cities: Skylines.


14. Oracle Lake [Plazas & Promenades]

A top-down view of Oracle lake, even though it look like a river.

Oracle Lake, unlike its name, is home to a large river cutting south through the western side of the map with wider areas and runoffs forming lakes. This body of water essentially cuts your map into two, giving you a separate plot of land to do with as you wish.

Despite the large river, this map still provides a 78% buildable area with large flatlands and hills cresting on the west and east borders, providing more variety in your city.


13. Noyou Port [Airports]

A top-down view of Noyou Port, sadly the port is really far away.

Noyou Port is the first map on this list offering bay access, opening the doors for you to experiment with Cargo Shipping as well as the various leisure possibilities of a coastal area. Although it's hidden away in the southwest corner, it still offers two rivers in the center, giving you three large chunks of land to build a more stylized city.

With 80% buildable area, a very flat terrain, and two connecting highways, Noyou Port might just be the home for your next metropolis.


12. Seven Lakes [Mass Transit]

A top-down view of Seven Lakes, that's kind of all it has.

Welcome to the beautiful land of Seven Lakes. As the name suggests, this map is the home of seven unique lakes across the center. Even with all the water though, these lands still boast 81% buildable area and allow for more style in the structure of your city center.

Made for more of a confident and creative Mayor, Seven Lakes offers a bit of pizazz to your next city. Plus, the population requirement for “Busy Town” (the last milestone to offer many general buildings and services) is significantly less at 4200 compared to the usual 5500.


11. Grand River [Vanilla]

A top-down view of Grand River, its more or a decent-sized river.

Simply put, the Grand River is a flat expanse of plains with slight hills to the south and a large, or grand, river flowing through its center. With 84% buildable area and highways on either side, its basic format allows for much versatility in the creation of your next city.

Although maybe not the most unique map, it’s another good beginner map as no DLC is required and it also allows for the use of more “niche” buildings like hydroelectric dams. Plus, having the two separate sections of land allows once again for a more stylized layout for your town.


10. Two Rivers [Vanilla]

A top-down view of Two Rivers, and two lakes.

Two Rivers is another great vanilla map as it offers two intersecting rivers, creating a lake in the center, set on a flat expanse squared off by three highways. These features allow you to have more variety in the amenities your city can offer its residents. Also allowing you to explore more of the minute mechanics and services in Cities: Skylines.

With 78% buildable area and the addition of another separate lake in the south, your creativity can run wild. From a quiet, rural lakeside town to a unique island home, Two Rivers might just be the ideal place for your next project.


9. Garden River [Green Cities]

A top-down view of Garden River with its many bumps.

Garden River is the first map on this list with the addition of mountains. Although small in size, it allows for a bit more geographical variety throughout your city. But it wouldn’t have its name without the presence of a large river flowing through the southern half of the map. Even with all these masses, you still get 80% buildable area to do with as you wish.

A quite unique offering of Garden River though, is the 4 bay-like areas of the river itself. This not only gives you more of a dedicated section for coastal areas and amenities, it also gives you the choice of a beachside or mountainside coastal community. With this extra variety of features, Garden River should be a definite contender for your next city.


8. Meandering River [Map Pack]

A top-down view of Meandering River doing its thing: meandering.

Although more of a niche map, Meandering River offers quite the layout for those of you that like a lot of variety in the physical features across your map. Sometimes limiting the amount you can do in your city, certain unique geographical aspects can breathe that extra bit of life into your experience.

With a windy river cutting through the center, dense forests strewn about, mountains to the south and an 83% buildable area, this map might just be the one you needed to start your next world-renowned city.


7. Northwood Hills [Campus]

A top-down view of Northwood Hills, as well as rivers and lakes.

Northwood Hills may have the lowest buildable area on this list at 72%, but if you fancied the variety of the last one, it might be a pretty good option for your project. Adorned with a river that splits in two at the center of the map, another small river in the northwest, five different lakes, and plenty of mountains in the South, this map doesn’t fall short of variety in its geography.

It might take a bit more vision to weave a bustling city into this system of natural features, but it does offer a bit of help with a low end population requirement for “Busy Town” at only 4400 residents. So if you’re up for a bit more of a challenge, Northwood Hills awaits.


6. Lavender Lake [Green Cities]

A top-down view of Lavender Lake, looks kind of plain but thats a good thing.

Lavender Lake is a return to the more vanilla style maps like those earlier on in this list. But where it falls short in visual stimulation, it makes up for in its large plains ready for whatever big ideas you can think up. 

Plus, it still has a few hills across the map in addition to a decent-sized lake in the center and a river in the northwest. This map also offers quite the unique spot as one of the hills looks over the lake giving your residents quite the picturesque view. And with 75% buildable area, Lavender Lake is quite the clean slate for your next big city. 


5. Farmland Flats [Map Pack] 

A top-down view of Farmland Flats, quite the nice landscape.

Farmland Flats is one of the most unique across all of Cities: Skylines. If you’re looking for a map with a lot of style and inspiration, this might be it. Home to a small river that splits off and forms a small lake as well as a few hills along the edges, this map also has quite the feature list.

Its unique style is found in its sectioned chunks strewn across the majority of the land, giving you all different shapes and sizes to play with. Farmland Flats also has one of the only two-sided starting highways and boasts one of the highest buildable area percentages at 90%. 


4. Splitz Tributary [Plazas & Promenades]

A top-down view of Splitz Tributary, and no, I don't know what tributary means either.

If you like the idea of a large mountain community but still want a lot of open land, let me introduce you to Splitz Tributary. With a large mountain range in the south and a network of small rivers in the north, this map has a lot to offer. Even with these features taking up space though, it still manages to give you a whopping 89% buildable area.

It also uniquely has two starting highways and a few small lakes in the northwest. In addition to your large mountain town, Splitz Tributary gives you a lot of opportunities to make interesting riverside towns and a network of bridges.


3. Biomes Valley [Map Pack]

A top-down view of Farmland Flats looking quite flat, and farmy.

Maybe you liked the style of Farmland Flats but also wanted a bit more variety. If so, welcome to Biomes Valley. Painted with a large winding river splitting into small streams and even forming a large lake in the southeast, this map has quite the list of features.

Sectioned farmland in the east, dense forests along the river, a large desert area in the south, mountains in the corners, and a respectable 73% buildable area on top of it all. Biomes Valley might just have all the specs you want for your next build.


2. Mountain Taper [Map Pack]

A top-down view of Mountain Taper, with lots of water access.

To round out the Map Pack additions, Mountain Taper makes the last map look as plain as can be. Its feature list is quite extensive including: a large beach, two separate rivers ending in lakes, a mountain in one corner, a large bay area in the other, plenty of sectioned farmland, multiple forest areas, a more secluded coastal region, and a very unique two-sided starting highway setup. 

But if you were scared that all these things would leave you with little workable space, Mountain Taper still offers 78% buildable area to allow you all the space to experiment with the many different styles of the land. 


1 . Asanu Beach [Airports]

A top-down view of Asuna Beach, my personal favorite from this (totally non-bias) list.

To round out this list, I figured I’d give you a good mix of utility and looks. Asanu Beach offers a large expanse of flatlands, a small desert area, a smooth river cutting through the center, a huge beach area, and a small lake secluded from the coast by a few small mountains. This map gives you a lot of workable space for your city with a 75% buildable area, as well as the addition of several natural features to give life to your project.

As the mayor of Asanu Beach, you can experiment with multiple styles of town, many different modes of transport, and plenty of space to create your next mecca of the world.


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