Cities Skylines Vanilla Maps Overview

Cities Skylines Maps

Cities Skylines Maps Overview Part 1. Vanilla.

Each new DLC brings several new maps. It takes a lot of time to select the most suitable map so I’ve decided to save you some time and create this ultimate guide on all Cities Skylines maps in all DLCs. I hope it’ll help you to choose Cities Skylines best vanilla map to begin with!

Cities Skylines Vanilla Maps

Sure we’re going to begin with Cities Skylines starting maps we received in the vanilla game. In fact, the default game contains the biggest number of Cities Skylines base maps – 12. Keep in mind that as these Cities Skylines default maps were created before any DLC, sometimes they lack places where you can play with some of the features that appeared later.

Cliffside Bay

That’s a piece of land with hills on the shore. 

Cliffside Bay

There are the following major things you need to know about it:

  • There is no current so you will need to use water towers because you will have to utilize a part of your waterfront for sewage
  • The connecting highways approach your tiles through the narrow valleys. This means you won’t have a lot of place for playing with intersections and additional loops. The good news is that you can use cable cars and wind plants well.
  • The map comes with sufficient raw materials though all of them are in the valley so your residential area may be forced to exist on the hills if you decided to use all the ore and oil deposits.
  • The good point is that the railway connection is pretty close to the initial tile thus you will be able to plan your rails on the earliest stages.
  • There is a nice place with a lot of rocks in the water which may be good to build some part next to it.

Foggy Hills

A couple of rivers are connected to a big lake. Your starting tile is on the bank of one of those rivers. A couple of hills, an interesting initial highway setup, and a sufficient amount of flat space.

It is important to know that the Foggy Hills Cities Skylines map has a European theme which means you will have nice European low residential buildings and more but you won’t have skyscrapers. To change this you will have to switch district style to Vanilla manually. Or choose another map of one of these map themes: temperate, boreal, or tropical.

Grand River

An interesting map with a wide river in the middle. Moreover, it crosses even your beginning tile. This will mean a lot of bridges, ferries, “slope too steep” issues, and an option to design a nice waterfront.

But here are two reasons why you may want to avoid this map:

  1. There is no oil at all
  2. If you connect two parts of the highway, the interstate traffic will start using the shortcut and your city will be overwhelmed with jams. 

Green Plains

Cities Skylines Green Plains map includes three rivers, two big lakes, and raw materials of all kinds. They say it’s Washington DC map and while there is a place where real Potomac and Anacostia rivers cross in the same way as in Green Plains Cities Skylines map, the real city lacks a huge lake connected to one of those rivers. This map is recommended for building a huge city and playing with some canals.


Narrow rivers, a small pond with a small island, a couple of hills, nothing special. The only distinctive thing of Cities Skylines Riverrun map is two highway connections from the starting tile which increases your chances to build a city with optimized traffic. The developers imply it’s a map of St Louis so you may be inspired by a real city while playing on this map.

Black Woods Cities Skylines Map

Cities Skylines Black Woods is a map inspired by Stockholm where you will have to use a lot of bridges and ferries. Challenging but interesting, probably not the best vanilla map Cities Skylines can offer for a newbie because of traffic challenges.


That’s Venice and you know what that means. You will get an estuary of two rivers, a couple of islands and a bay. A lot of waterfront fun, bridges, and so on. Oil deposits are on two islands which may mean having two industrial districts with limited connections. Also, that’s Cities Skylines best map for dam because only here you can place one with max output – 1600MW. Another good map but maybe not for a newbie.

Shady Strands

That’s Istanbul. You have a strait between two major pieces of land which looks like a wide river. A lot of waterfronts, a lot of challenges related to proper communication of two shores. To be honest, that’s the Cities Skylines best starting map in vanilla from my point of view.

Two Rivers

Another river map with a wide part where two rivers meet and a separate pond. That’s the only map in vanilla without naval connections. This means not only the fact that you can’t build harbors but also you won’t be able to unlock some unique buildings. In addition, there is a bug with plane trajectories which means your international airport won’t be working well. Thus it may make sense to ignore this map.

Sandy Beach

Looking to rebuild San Francisco in the game? Then this sandy map is for you. Palms, beaches, and hills are fun, especially with Parklife DLC.

Diamond Coast

Cities Skylines Diamond Coast is a Hong Kong map with a wide estuary, some sandy beaches, and hills. An alternative to the previous map with a pretty similar purpose. Also, you’re getting a cool abandoned house among palms.

Cities Skylines Diamond Coast
Diamond Coast Cities Skylines Map

Lagoon Shore

You’re not mistaken, they mean Greece here. Just one more nice map with sandy shores and islands.

Reviews of Cities Skylines all maps from DLCs can be found here:

All Cities Skylines Maps Overview – Part 2 – Snowfall and Disasters

All Cities Skylines Maps – Part 3 – Mass Transit and Green Cities

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