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10+ Must-Have Mods for "Cities: Skylines"

Brittany is a PC gaming addict! Her favourite genres are simulation games, tycoons, RPG, city-builders, puzzles, and more!

10+ Must-Have Mods for "Cities: Skylines"

10+ Must-Have Mods for "Cities: Skylines"

Cities: Skylines is easily one of the best city-building games to come out in a long time. Created by indie game developer, Collasal Order, Cities: Skylines allows players to build their own city, manage everything from the bus lines to the laws, and do it all with beautiful, realistic graphics.

As awesome as the game is, however, there are a few things that make the game a bit tricky to play. Some of the finer details of city managing can be difficult once your city grows to a bigger population, and you'll quickly notice things like dead bodies piling up and big lines of traffic.

Thankfully, Cities: Skylines comes with a built-in system for adding in game mods and plenty of amazing creators have created mods which fix some of the problems in the game, make things easier, or just make Cities: Skylines more fun, overall.

If you haven't played around with mods yet, or don't know which mods are essential for Cities: Skylines, this is the article for you!

How To Install Mods For "Cities: Skylines"

Installing mods on Cities: Skylines is extremely simple. You can browse for mods via the Steam Community workshop either on your browser or through your Steam client. Once you find a mod that you'd like to add to your game, simply click on the plus button to subscribe, and the mod will be automatically downloaded via Steam to your game.

When you launch your game, go into 'Content Manager' and open the 'Mods' tab. From there you can turn on the mod you just downloaded (or turn off mods you don't want in your game).

Alternatively, if you download mods from a source other than Steam, navigate to %LOCALAPPDATA%\Colossal Order\Cities_Skylines. From there, there should be an Addons folder (if not, create one). Inside there should be a Mods folder (again, create one if there's not one made already); simply drag and drop your mods (they should be packaged in folders) into this folder, then close the windows and start your game.

How to Subscribe to These Mods:

If you want to see a list of all the mods listed below in the Steam workshop, subscribe to them individually, or even just subscribe to all of them in one click, check out my collection page on Steam. All the mods in this article are listed there for you to easily subscribe to!

1. Automatic Bulldoze

Automatic Bulldoze mod created by	mexahuk

Automatic Bulldoze mod created by mexahuk

One of the things that becomes really frustrating is buildings becoming abandoned and burning down. The game requires you to bulldoze these buildings, and if you don't the people around them will start complaining, the land value will go down, the other buildings near it will start to become abandoned, and so on. Who has time for all that when you're also trying to zone a new district, and make sure that there's enough electricity in all your areas?

Thankfully, there's the Automatic Bulldoze mod, which does just what it says: automatically bulldozes all abandoned and burned buildings. Thank God; now you can finally focus on the things that really matter, like legalizing drug use in your hipster district of town.

2. Automatic Emptying

Automatic Emptying mod created by Sadler

Automatic Emptying mod created by Sadler

Created by the same user who made Automatic Bulldoze, Automatic Emptying is a mod that does just what its title suggests: automatically empties cemeteries and garbage facilities when they get full.

In my opinion, the fact that you have to manually empty out cemeteries and landfills when they reach capacity is a bit too much micromanaging, especially when there's so many other fun/more important things to occupy your time while playing the game.

Lucky for us, this mod takes the stress out of managing your landfills and does it for you- just make sure you have adequate facilities for your trash to go into.

3. First-Person Camera

First Person Camera created by tony56a

First Person Camera created by tony56a

It's awesome to build your city and see it all from a birds-eye view, but there's something infinitely better about zooming in and seeing a street view.

The First-Person Camera mod lets you do just that; you can either choose a car, or even a person, to zoom into and view things from a close-up perspective.

My husband and I love to build our cities then zoom into a random cim and watch life through their eyes; follow them in their car to work, watch them walk down the streets we've built and go into the shops we've plopped down (there's no view inside of buildings, of course), watch as they enter the parks we've added, etc.

It really adds to the experience, and honestly is something I'm surprised wasn't included in the vanilla gameplay.

4. Find It!

Find It! created by SamsamTS

Find It! created by SamsamTS

Once you really get into Cities: Skylines and the Steam Workshop, chances are you'll have hundreds- if not thousands- of assets added to your game. It can be a real hassle trying to track them all down when you're ready to place them in the game, and that's when the Find It! mod comes in handy.

This helpful mod adds a custom menu/search bar in your game and allows you to search for assets (ones that came with the game/DLC as well as custom ones), roads, props, and anything else you can set down in the game.

It also has some custom options that allow you unlock everything (without going back to the main menu of the game). Really helpful for when you're just starting out on a map and want to lay down a road that's locked until later; you can unlock everything through Find It!, put down those roads, and then lock it all again so you don't feel like you're full-on cheating in the game.

This mod is so useful and is one of my absolute favourites!

5. Move It!

Move It! created by SamsamTS

Move It! created by SamsamTS

I've really got to give it to SamsamTS- he makes super useful mods! Move It! is no exception; this mod gives you some powerful tools to move anything in the game, wherever you want!

The vanilla game is very rigid when it comes to moving things that have been placed, or setting things down wherever you want. This mod removes that restriction and allows you to place buildings on places without roads, or move entire sections of your city and move them elsewhere. You can copy and paste things, delete en masse, basically, edit your city quickly and easily like never before!

I love using this mod when I'm laying down roads for a city, because I can copy and paste sections of my grid that I've built and it takes literally seconds to do, rather than wasting hours setting down each individual road.

This is another absolute game-changer for city planning!

6. Extra Landscaping Tools

Extra Landscaping Tools created by BloodyPenguin

Extra Landscaping Tools created by BloodyPenguin

Beautifying your town has never been easier with this mod! The Extra Landscaping Tools mod does what it says in its title and gives you more landscaping tools in the game.

There's a tree brush (so you no longer have to plop down trees tedious is that, anyway?!), easier to use terrain tools, a configurable water tool (to easily create lakes and ponds) and a resources brush, which you can use to place resources like iron, ore, etc. on the land with just a few clicks. There's even a prop brush, so you can set down several props in one click, rather than individually placing them.

This mod makes map editing so easy, and is definitely one I'd recommend for anyone looking to change the look of their town beyond what the game allows you to do during regular game play.

7. All 25 Areas Purchasable

A beautiful shot of a city in C:S!

A beautiful shot of a city in C:S!

Do you ever see people share Cities: Skylines screenshots of huge, sprawling cities and just wonder how it's possible in the measly 9 areas the game allows us to build on by default? Chances are those players are using mods to allow them to purchase more areas in the game, and this one is a pretty popular.

This mod allows you to unlock 25 areas on the map, instead of the default 9, giving you more space to build and beautify on.

There's another mod that allows you to unlock 81 tiles, but I'd use it at your own discretion- just keep in mind that more space unlocked means more frame-rate drops on your computer. If your computer can handle it, go for it, but 25 areas is a pretty decent amount of space!

8. Citizen Lifecycle Rebalance

Citizen Lifecycle Rebalance V2 created by Whitefang Greytail

Citizen Lifecycle Rebalance V2 created by Whitefang Greytail

Experienced Cities: Skylines mayors have faced this scenario before: you're reaching 50k population and suddenly you're hit with what the fandom calls a "death wave"; tens of thousands of cims start dying, your population starts rapidly dropping and next thing you know, you're back down to 30k pop, and finding buildings getting abandoned and demolished, with no quick option to recover.

This happens because the AI for Cities: Skylines is a bit wonky and makes it so that when you zone new residential, many of the cims who move in are the same age and then die at the same time. If you zone large patches of residential at one time (and let's be honest, who doesn't do this?), then you'll end up with lots of citizens of the same age moving in, who all grow older at the same time, and then die at the same time, dropping your population in these death waves.

This mod re-balances things so that cims of all ages groups move in when residential is zoned. It also does things like change the mode of travel for your cims depending on wealth and age, allows citizens to have different education levels when moving in (instead of the majority starting off uneducated), and just gives a better overall balance to the life/death cycles of your citizens in the game.

This mod is a definite must-have for any long-term players of the game!

9. Achieve It!

Achieve It! created by Keallu

Achieve It! created by Keallu

Cities: Skylines and Steam does an odd thing when you're playing with Mods- it removes the ability to gain Steam achievements, which I find super unfair. I suppose the game devs look at it in the sense that you should only get an achievement by mastering the vanilla game and not using mods or "cheats", but is it really cheating to be able to use a tree brush (something that should be in the vanilla game), for example?

This mod removes that restriction and allows you to earn Steam achievements while playing with mods! I love this mod because I really enjoy getting Steam achievements and before I came across the mod, I had 50+ hours played without a single achievement to my name. Not anymore!

Because, let's face it- even with mods enabled, this game can be very difficult and we should all be rewarded for our mayoral abilities, even if we are having our landfills automatically emptied.

10. Unlimited Trees Mod

Unlimited Trees Mod v1.11 Created by DRen72

Unlimited Trees Mod v1.11 Created by DRen72

This might not be seen as a super important mod, but I've still included it, especially if you're using Extra Landscaping Tools.

This mod does exactly as its title says and gives you the ability to plop close to 2 million trees (so, not quite "unlimited" but close enough!) in your city, rather than the default cap of 262,144 trees.

Who doesn't love a lush, green city? I know I do!

11. Traffic Manager: President Edition

Traffic Manager: President Edition created by LinuxFan

Traffic Manager: President Edition created by LinuxFan

I'll try not to get on my high horse when I say that I've never needed a traffic mod when playing Cities: Skylines; I've usually build lots of freeways, good public transport routes, and keep my traffic at about 85% flow or higher, even in my 300k+ pop cities.

But a lot of players find issues with the AI traffic, and there's been several different mods which address the traffic issues in the game. This is the community favourite at the moment- as this mod allows you to have total control over traffic in your city. You can change vehicle restrictions for specific roads (not just by district), create speed limits, and even determine which way cars turn in lanes. The mod also comes with its own Advanced Vehicle AI which changes the way cims choose their lanes when driving.

This mod is a definite must-have for any mayor with traffic problems, or even just someone starting out, because all cities in Cities: Skylines eventually have traffic problems (unless you're one of those really skilled people who just figure their traffic out right from the start).

Can't/don't want to use the Steam Workshop for your "Cities: Skylines" mods?

Check out SKYMODS. It's a safe site that you can download mods directly from. Just install them using the manual method I outlined above!

Which mod are you most excited to try? Let me know in the comments section below!

Questions & Answers

Question: Just bought Cities Skylines from Amazon 4/24/19 after playing SimCity Cities of Tomorrow. I like both. Skylines is very detailed, as a beginner to Skylines, what do you recommend, achievement base beginning or infinite money/resources/accessibility?

Answer: In the beginning, I'd definitely say it's best to go for the infinite money/resources, etc. as the game has a bit of a steep learning curve and you'll run out of money fast otherwise. Once you've got the hang of the game, definitely play again with no cheats and try for those achievements!

© 2015 Brittany Brown


MoeTown1904 on December 11, 2019:

Thanks for the article! That citizen age rebalancer is clutch, I never thought about that.

Keep updating this! C:S is one of my faves