The first decision you must make when playing Cities: Skylines is the map you want to build on. Numerous factors go into map selection, from resources to buildable land percentages to transportation connections. Perhaps your map choice is purely aesthetic.

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There are plenty of maps to choose from the base game and the DLCs. Heck, you can even mod some maps into your game. Whatever your case may be, some maps are better for making cities, and some have the perfect blend of everything. If you pick your map and city plan right, you can make some incredible cities.

13 Best Vanilla Tropical Map: Diamond Coast

A starting view of the Diamond Coast Map in Cities: Skylines

The Diamond Coast is a perfect blend of practicality and aesthetic beauty, and it has a healthy 69% of buildable area. There are plenty of industry opportunities with the Diamond Coast, with Forestry and Ore being the most prevalent. The topical backdrop and beaches also make it a perfect choice for designing an idyllic tourist destination. Either way, you will have all connections to choose from, so there are plenty of ways to move products or bring tourists into town.


12 Best Vanilla European Map: Grand River

A starting view for the Grand River Map in Cities: Skylines

The Grand River boasts an impressive 84% buildable area, which means that it is by far the best map to build on if you are a beginner. The map design is a large river intersecting large flat areas of land. That means you will have an excellent method of removing sewage and a constant source of clean water. Plus, the Grand River has connections to all four transport options, so you will have plenty of choices for distributing goods and lots of travel options for people.

11 Best Vanilla Boreal Map: Green Plains

A starting view of the Green Plains Map in Cities: Skylines

The Green Plains map is another excellent choice as it has a 74% buildable area. It is relatively flat, has plenty of rivers, and has plenty of trees. Therefore, making it an excellent location for forestry-based industries. Also, it can connect to all four types of outside connections allowing for easy export of your lumber.

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As a Boreal map, there is a chance (25% to be precise) of seeing the Northern Lights, a beautiful backdrop for any city.

10 Best Vanilla Temperate Map: Two Rivers

A starting view of the Two Rivers Map in Cities: Skylines

The Two Rivers map is a smart choice for new players because it has a 78% buildable area. In addition, it has preexisting highway infrastructure, which makes it easier to expand. Also, it has plenty of forests for a lumber industry and has most connections, except for cargo ships. Although, if you're a beginner, railways are more than enough for your industry areas. It might even teach you how to prioritize different transport options so as not to congest your highways.

9 Best Snowfall Map: Snowy Coasts

A starting view of the Snowy Coast Map in Cities: Skylines

The Snowfall DLC brought several new maps to the game, but Snowy Coasts was the standout from the crowd. Aesthetically, this map looks the best and is reminiscent of a Scandinavian coastline in the winter. It features a solid 68% buildable area, lots of forests, and every connection one would want. The map layout has a few rivers emptying into a large bay of water, which with the proper planning, can be functional and beautiful. If you’re lucky, you’ll also have an even greater chance of seeing the Northern Lights (50%).

8 Best Natural Disaster Map: The Dust Bowl

A starting view of the Dust Bowl Map in Cities: Skylines

The Dust Bowl is part of the Natural Disasters DLC, so proceed with caution. The map has 82% of buildable map space, making it easier to build a metropolis or even a megalopolis. Well, that is if you can survive the horrific and impending disasters.

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If you do survive, you will have lots of areas to expand into and plenty of water to keep your city hydrated, and the most connections to the outside world so you can bring lots of visitors into your disaster zone.

7 Best Mass Transit Map: Seven Lakes

A starting view of the Seven Lakes Map in Cities: Skylines

The Seven Lakes map is the most interesting in the Mass Transit DLC. The map has an Ozarks quality, so you will have lots of waterways to work with, but you will retain 81% of the buildable area, so expansion is relatively simple. The unique challenge of this map is creating unique public transit options that work around the lakes. Other great features of this map are its connections, forests, and the Northern Lights.

6 Best Green Cities Map: Lavender Lake

A starting view of the Lavender Lake Map in Cities: Skylines

In a counterintuitive way, Lavender Lake is an excellent map for industries. It has a variety of terrain types, plenty of resources, and every transportation option to export your goods. Plus, its 75% buildable area means that you have more than enough space to build a big city. It is part of the Green Cities DLC, so you will probably want to ensure that you are sustainable while demolishing the natural landscape to build your city.

5 Best Park Life Map: Mountain Meadows

A starting view of the Mountain Meadows Map in Cities: Skylines

The Mountain Meadows map is the older brother of the Grand River Map. Its map design is essentially the same, but the buildable area is reduced to 69%. In addition, there is less flat terrain, and its resources are more limited. That said, its natural landscape is more appealing, and you still have every transportation option. If you have the Park Life DLC, this map is a perfect step up from Vanilla and will challenge you to retain the natural beauty of your city while maintaining growth.

4 Best Industries Map: Pearl Bay

A starting view of the Pearl Bay Map in Cities: Skylines

The Pearl Bay map is unique on this list because of its low 58% of buildable area. But it makes up for it with an abundance of natural resources, which makes sense seeing as this is part of the Industries DLC pack. These resources benefit from Pearl Bay's array of transportation connections.

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Furthermore, the map design is incredibly unique and fun to play with as it has islands, steep terrain, large rivers, and lots of coastlines. It is not a map for beginners and will suit more experienced players.

3 Best Campus Map: Murky Coast

A starting view of the Murky Coast Map in Cities: Skylines

If you want to create the perfect college in the College Campus DLC, you should consider the Murky Coast map. This map has a healthy 71% buildable area and every transportation connection your students need. Plus, you will be able to keep your town's economy booming with plenty of natural resources. On top of all of that, Murky Coast has a great map layout that follows two intertwining rivers, which should inspire some creative-looking districts for your city.

2 Best Sunset Harbor Map: Azure Gulf

A birds eye view of the Azure Gulf Map in Cities: Skylines

If you are looking for an idyllic paradise, Azure Gulf is your answer. It has a beautiful coastline, plenty of natural resources, every transportation connection, and a beautiful map layout. While 65% buildable area might sound limiting to some, it is a worthwhile concession to make because your city will look gorgeous on this piece of land. If you have the industry's DLC, the Azure Gulf makes for an excellent fishing town.

1 Best Mod Map: 7th Island

A starting view of the 7th Island Map in Cities: Skylines
  • Mod Map designed by 섭지디

The 7th Island map is stunningly beautiful and makes for a unique building experience. This map has dramatic geographical features that look stunning. To access it, you’ll need to install it from the Steam Workshop. Be warned this map is not beginner-friendly as it has lots of complicated water connections and challenging terrain.

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