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How to Make Money in Cities Skylines

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How to Make Money In Cities Skylines

How to make money in cities skylines title picture

Having trouble making money in Cities Skylines? In this post, I will show you how to make money with the vanilla version, After Dark DLC, Park Life DLC, and Industries DLC. When you are done reading this post, you will have a completely profitable strategy for your city. This even works on console.

If you do not have any of these DLCs mentioned above, you can get them from Humble Bundle for Steam or get gift cards from Eneba to use on the console editions. 

What money-making Cities Skylines tips I will cover are:

  • Maximum taxes
  • Raise land value
  • Toll the roads
  • Use the nature Reserve for pedestrians to get from point a to point b
  • Use the Forestry and Farming buildings from the new Industrial DLC tab
  •  Only use the Bakery and Furniture Unique factories
  • City policies

The video below is part of a 3 video series. This covers the vanilla version and the After Dark DLC. If you like visuals better, please watch it. If not, skip for the written verison.

How to Make Money in Cities Skylines with no DLCs

There are many ways to make money in Cities Skylines without the fancy DLCs. One way is to increase your tax to 12% on all zones and 13% on the high-density commercial zone. This is the maximum the zones will allow because they start fussing about high taxes if you raise them higher. 

Of course, the higher the land value, the more you earn in taxes because it allows buildings to grow to the max level. To ensure high land value, make sure they have good coverage with public services and leisure spots. I also turn on high-tech housing policy.

Be sure to do proper zoning so that you do not decrease land value. 

Also, as soon as you can, place toll roads at the entrances and exits of your city that way you can charge incoming and outgoing traffic and make sure you raise the toll rate to the maximum. (This was added in an update.)

If you are profitable and in the green, do not pause the game. In fact, go for maximum speed instead. That way you are consistently increasing your money amount quickly. (Psst… If you didn’t hear about this tip before or want to know more about land value, check out my 7 Cities: Skylines tips to Make you a Better City Planner post.)

Be sure to turn on recreational use, Industrial Space Planning, Big Business Benefactor, and Small Business Enthusiast city policies for more money. 

How to Make Money In Cities Skylines with After Dark DLC

The great thing about After Dark DLC is the tourism. (This video by Cities Skylines will give you a brief overview.) Tourism brings in tourists and their money!! You need to make a tourist district and a leisure district close together. That way, the tourist have their fun and have a place to stay close by. 

However, do not make these districts too big to handle. If the districts are too big, then you will have several problems like not enough customers, abandoned buildings, not enough workers, etc. Start them off small and grown them when needed. 

This tourist and leisure district is a great way to make money in cities skylines
A small tourist and leisure is good for a smaller city.

Also, do not put too many unique buildings at the start. Unique buildings require maintenance and you do need some to attract tourists. However, putting too many will drain your pocket instead of making a profit. 

Keep in mind that tourists can only come in from outside connections so be sure to make use of the public transportations that can connect to outside traffic like trains. Later on, building a space elevator will bring in lots of tourists. 

How to Make Money IN Cities Skylines with Park Life DLC

The best parks to create in Cities Skylines are the Nature Reserve and City Park! You can build Nature parks along the river or even in people’s backyard. Not only that but the people are actually happy about losing their backyard to have the Nature Reserve park! City Parks do better as a central location.

The reason why these are the best park options is that it does not require a lot of buildings and props to give it a high entertainment value. Less building and props equal fewer maintenance costs which mean more profit. And people are more inclined to visit these parks which increase the number of tickets sold per week.

I have tried using the normal city parks behind people’s houses. These required a lot more buildings to raise the entertainment level and a lot of the buildings are really big and cannot fit in the park limits. Also, it took raising the park levels before I started making a profit because fewer people were going to these parks. This is why I use the Nature Reserve for this scenario.

As for the amusement park, many times I do not break even. In my opinion, it is just not worth it. 

At max levels, the nature reserve still was more profitable than any other park. (I have tested this across several save files, including scenarios.)

Now, that you understand which parks to use, the next thing to learn is how to use the park. I use this park to typically take people from point a to point b using paths to reduce traffic and make money at the same time. 

Outlines the park and shows profit
Park paths are highlighted in red!

For example, I like to make a nature reserve park that connects one side of the river to the other side, allowing people to walk across the river to get to where they need. This reduces traffic and the people have to pay to enter the park to get to one side and then pay again to get back home.  Since the water and waterfront are seen as attractive nature, the nature reserve will have a high entertainment value! Win-win. 

For City Parks, I put this in the center of the city and I connect the park to roads north, south, east, and west of it, to give the people access to more areas of the city. In the park policy tab, I make this park the main park and I also turn on celebrate. These policies plus the placed buildings will draw people to the park making you money and reducing traffic.

To maximize this, I turned on Prefer Parks and Parks and Recreation policies on the city policy board, and celebrate and night tours on the park policy tab. I also created walking tours to circle through and around the park to attract more people. Placing one of these parks, probably the nature reserve, in the tourist/leisure districts will be enticing to tourists as well. 

Make sure you use your transportation services effectively so people can get to these parks. 

If you are a pc user and like using mods, you can watch Biffa on Youtube to watch him use the city park as a money-making scheme. 

Statue of Colossalus

Also, there are unique buildings that really help tourism that came with this DLC. Build a city arch over a road to increase the tourist capacity of roads by 5%. Make sure to build the old market street near these districts to increase the tax income of nearby commercial zones by 5%. Build the clock tower if you use passenger trains as it speeds trains up by 20%.

The Sea Fortress and the Statue of Colossalus need to be built by the shore and the first increase ship and airport capacity by 5% and the other increases the length of the tourists’ vacations by 20%. The last one is to build the observation tower to increase parks’ radius by 10%. 

Park Exploit

If you want to see this exploit in action, watch the video below. Otherwise, skip for the written version.

I got this idea from Spiffing Brit. (You can watch his video for great comedy relief. Just tell him I sent you. Maybe he will start to notice my channel. Lol.) He shows a park exploit in the video but he did it on the pc version. Because of this, I needed to test it on the console edition to see if it worked. (Good news, it does.)

So in order for this exploit to work, you need to make sure that the park is the only way for residents to get to their jobs. To do this, you need to separate the residential districts from the industrial and commercial districts. Make sure you leave adequate space between them to make a park area.

Now for the road structure. You need to have an entrance to the residential area from the highway, however, make sure you do not build an exit to the highway from the residential area. Once the residents move in, you want them to be stuck.

For the industrial and commercial districts, you can have an entrance to these areas from the highway, but make sure you have an exit to the highway as well. Also, make sure that these districts never have roads that connect to the residential district. 

Now use the space between the residential area and the industrial/commercial area for a nature reserve park. What we are going to do is make the residents go through several park gates on the way to work. What this does is make the residents pay multiple park entrance fees.

Now in order for the cims to not despawn, you need less than 10 park gates, Also, do not make the route very large. 

If you noticed, the park gates can only be placed on roads, so in order for this to work, we will be placing roads inside the park to place multiple gates.  In my park, I have a total of 8 gates. This makes you more money and raises the park level fast. 

Keep in mind, however, that the services have no way to reach the buildings near these gates. So these buildings can have death, crime, etc. To get rid of this, just turn the building off and then back on again. However, this doesn’t work for trash but the trash icon never goes red so it isn’t much of a problem. 

Since this is the only way for the cims to get to work, they have no choice but to go through all the park gates and give out their money. When the park levels up, you can increase the price of the tickets.

Make sure to make a bus line where the bus stops at the park. This brings even more traffic to the park. Using this trick will net you tons of money. Happy exploiting!

How to make money In Cities Skylines with the Industries DLC

I’m gonna be honest, I think that half of the industrial zones are not worth it because if you are playing on scenarios or playing for achievements, you cannot use unlimited resources. Non-renewable resources like oil and ore tend to drain real fast once you put industries on them. Once the resources are gone, the city will have to import the resources, costing you money. 

So what industries are the best ones to use? Forestry and Farming are the best industries because their resources are renewable meaning they will never run out. What this means is that there will be no import costs. 

How to make money in city skylines with industry

What I do is mix the yellow industry zone and Industrial DLC zone together in the same area. For example, I will place yellow farming industry zones on top of the fertile land with farm buildings, fields, etc, in the same area. Not only does this look good but it helps meet the industry demand because the buildings from the Industrial DLC tab do not count toward the demand.  

Then I will only build 2 different unique factories for more profit. Bakery for the farming industries and a furniture factory for the forestry because they only require materials from that industries. The other unique factories need materials from other types of industries as well as farming and forestry and if these factories are too far away from the industries they need materials from, they will not receive the materials ever, even with adequate transportation solutions. 

Be sure to turn on advanced automation to increase the output of these areas by 10%. 

Now you know how to make money in Cities Skylines

When I get more DLCs for the console, I will update with more money-making strategies. Just a recap the money-making strategies are:

  • Maximum taxes
  • Raise land value
  • Toll the roads
  • Use the nature Reserve for pedestrians to get from point a to point b
  • Use the Forestry and Farming buildings from the new Industrial DLC tab
  •  Only use the Bakery and Furniture Unique factories
  • City Policy
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Amber Borden

Amber is an avid gamer. The first game she ever played was Super Mario Bros on the NES. She has seen many genres of videos games due to her 30 years of gaming. However, Amber typically sticks to RPGs, Sandbox and Simulation.
Since she loves gaming, her first job was at a Gamestop. Also, she has written guides for Gamefaqs. Amber was a full time worker in the retail world, but now she is working on this site from home. No matter what, however, she still plays her video games.

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