Cities: Skylines is a city management game where you become the mayor of a budding new city, and you’re in charge of designing it however you like. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are the 15 best layouts in Cities: Skylines.
The Best City Layouts in Cities: Skylines
We’ll start off the guide by showcasing some of our favorite designs for Cities: Skylines. Note that while most of these designs focus on efficiency and neatness, there are some designs that are just way too cool to pass up, but aren’t the most optimal. That being said, there should be a design for everyone on this list.
1. Efficient City Layout
This is a layout by Reddit user keen1342, showcasing a potential layout designed in CSL Map View, a mod for Cities: Skyline. You can use CSL Map View to plan out elaborate designs such as this one, and it comes with a nifty exporting tool so that you can share your designs.
Despite the “most efficient” title is mostly a joke by the creator, this layout is actually pretty good, and it uses a clean city grid layout, which makes it pretty easy on the eyes as well. It does have some spots for potential traffic congestion, but you can tweak the design to alleviate some of the issues.
2. Small Town Layout
This layout comes from Reddit user PhilJ223, showcasing a quaint little town center that’s fully modular. This town center is intersected by two main streets, with surrounding parks. The northeast buildings with the dark grey backgrounds are meant for commercial and industrial spaces.
The rest of the buildings with the white backgrounds can be used for housing, or more commercial space if you’d prefer. It’s just nice to have the houses near the parks, and the best thing about this layout is how flexible it is.
By the way, if you like Cities: Skylines, you might also enjoy TheoTown on mobile. It’s another great city builder, and if you decide to try it out, be sure to check out our TheoTown codes guide.
3. Bullseye Neighborhood
This one comes from Reddit user kalimashookdeday, who showcases a rather unorthodox but honestly really cool looking design. Dubbed the “bullseye” design, this design is a ring filled with neighborhood spaces filled throughout. Two highways cross over into the center of the ring, with a main street going out the top. Obviously this layout isn’t the most efficient one out there, but man does it look really nice!
4. Simple Starting Layout
This one is for all the beginners out there looking for a nice starting point. Reddit user Just_Aviation_Guy shares his starting city layout, and it’s actually a fantastic starting point. The main street cuts through all regions, and there’s enough space for some balanced growth. You can make a fully functional city by just copying this template and making multiple sections of it.
5. Mega Spiral City
If you detest grid-based city layouts, this one is for you. This design comes from Reddit user spector111, who made a mega-sized neighborhood in a spiral ring shape. The outer ring is dotted with neighborhoods, while the inner rings are filled with commercial and industrial zones. On top of this crazy layout, there’s an underground ring that mimics the surface level, creating a double-layered city.
6. City Center Road Layout
Another road layout for those looking for general city layout inspiration. This design comes from Reddit user DabOnYourFlabs, who showcases a very intricate and neat layout for a city center area. This is a fantastic starting road layout, as there is good road hierarchy here, which allows for better traffic flow. It also looks stunning, thanks to it blending standard grid-design with rounded streets.
7. Clean Grid City
Though the screenshot isn’t of the greatest quality, Reddit user BBQ_Baked_Chips shows off their master city plan, and it looks great. This city layout is very clean and efficient, thanks to the neatly laid out streets and traffic circles. While it’s mostly grid-based, it does get a little creative with some curvy roads, making it very nice to look at as well.
8. Couplet City Entrance
One of the biggest hurdles for new players getting started in Cities: Skylines is the starting freeway entrance into your city, on top of how to build your first layout. YouTuber Cities by Diana has an elegant solution to both problems with her couplet city entrance layout. This layout not only looks great and is pretty realistic, but it’s also very cheap, and money can be huge issue for new players.
9. Road Hierarchy Traffic-Efficient City
YouTuber T4rget has an excellent video that explains the concept of “road hierarchy,” which is the methodology that actual city planners use when deciding on road layouts. At the end of the video he showcases this beautiful spiral layout that is connected through a main highway. We highly recommend watching the video the whole way through to under the road hierarchy concept better, as it will surely help you design some excellent cities.
10. Best Beginner’s City
YouTuber Lee Hawkins has a fantastic series of videos all based on Cities: Skylines, and this one in particular is geared towards absolute beginners. The video itself is a 20-minute long video where he walks us through all the details you need to know for making a successful city, and it ends up being built into the one you see above.
Not only is this a great layout to base your city on, it’s also a great way to understand the intricacies of Cities: Skylines‘ mechanics. If you’ve got the time, we strongly recommend checking it out.
11. Ultimate Realistic City
YouTuber Infrastructurist has an insanely detailed guide on how to make a pretty realistic bay city in his “Ultimate Beginners Guide to Starting a Realistic City” video. Though he creates the city in Cities: Skylines 2, a lot of same core principles still apply, and you can still use the general layout in Cities: Skylines. This is one of the best videos we’ve seen so far when it comes to designing a realistic city, so check it out if you’ve got the time.
12. The Epicenter
Another layout by YouTuber T4rget, The Epicenter is another beautiful circular layout. More and more players are getting away from grid designs for their cities, instead turning to the ring cities. This is a great layout to follow if you’re looking to try out a ring city layout.
13. Quarter City
Another circular-type layout from T4rget, this one is very similar to the previous Epicenter city, but the Quarter City has some key differences. Instead of a balanced distribution of zones, this city focuses on quartering all of its major districts, which gives the city a very distinct look. Just look at that massive park in the lower-left quadrant!
14. Triforce Town
T4rget blesses us yet again with another fantastic design, this time themed after The Legend of Zelda. Triforce Town is perhaps the coolest city design we’ve seen thus far—it’s a city shaped like the legendary Trifroce from the Zelda series, and each section of the Triforce is a different zone based on the Triforce of Power, Courage, and Wisdom. This absolutely needs to be seen to be believed, so be sure to check out the video.
15. Realistic Road Layout
We’ll finish off this list by pulling it in a bit and going back to the basics. Here’s a fantastic and simple layout from YouTuber Lee Hawkins again, in which he elegantly builds a realistic city layout with a very efficient road network. Whether you’re starting out a new city or need to rework an existing neighborhood, this is a great layout to follow as it’s both extremely efficient and beautiful.
Tips for Making Your Own Great Layouts in Cities: Skylines
So, if you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably a little more experienced in developing good, functional city and road layouts. To help you out some more, we’ll recap with the most important factors to keep in mind when you’re designing your city.
The most important thing to keep in mind when building your city is traffic congestion and road hierarchy. Understanding and applying the concepts of road hierarchy is critical, and we highly recommend watching T4rget’s video for a more in-depth review. Your city can have smartly placed zones, but if your traffic gets too bad, it won’t be able to benefit from the zones.
Cities: Skylines is a complex game, so don’t feel bad if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Although it’s rather daunting, the best way to learn in this game is to just try building and learning from the experience, and there are some mods that can help you with that.
On the main menu of Cities: Skylines, go to Content Manager, then in the categories, select Mods. The game comes with some built-in mods already installed, and they do helpful things like grant unlimited money, all progression milestones unlocked, and so forth. These mods are a fantastic way to fiddle around with building layouts in a pseudo sandbox mode as you can build test cities to see what works and what doesn’t, so make good use of them.
That’s all for our list of the best layouts for Cities: Skylines. Have a layout you want to share with us? Show us in the comments below!
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