Every city in Skyrim, ranked by how much I’d actually want to live there

Oh to sip on an iced vanilla latte in Whiterun

I would hesitantly call Skyrim my favourite game of all time. I know it’s not perfect, I know it’s a glitchy mess, but it’s MY glitchy mess. It came out when I was 16 and of the perfect age to get lost in its huge world, and it’s one of the first games I remember taking really seriously and not just fucking about in an open world and causing chaos. I absolutely love it. I love the map, I love the quests and I’ve pumped 100s of hours into it. One of the things I love most about Skyrim is the cities that make up the province – nothing can beat those first times you enter them and have somewhere new and full of lore to get stuck into. But not all of the cities in Skyrim are somewhere you’d want to live, and that’s putting it lightly. Here are all the Skyrim cities, ranked by how much I’d actually want to live there.

9. Windhelm

A vile place. Despite the fact the city is historically important – it’s the oldest city in Skyrim and possibly in the whole of Tamriel – if I had my way it would be bulldozed into rubble. Windhelm is a city built on racism. The Dunmer are shoved into the derogatory termed ‘Grey Quarter’. Argonians aren’t even allowed to live within the city walls. Even if these issues were resolved, I still hate Windhelm. It’s full of snow, the architecture is brutal and harsh and the whole city feels like the least cosy place to live imaginable. All of that and the fact there’s a serial killer there and you’ve got the biggest hell hole in the province.

8. Morthal

Freezing, small and boring. The most interesting thing that can happen to you here is you might get devoured by vampires.

7. Dawnstar

Skyrim cities ranked

Kind of like Morthal but a bit prettier and with a bit more going on. The city is plagued with nightmares that you have to solve a Daedric quest to end and has a really high dragon spawn rate raising the chance you might get burnt alive but that aside it’s a peaceful little life.

6. Winterhold

Skyrim cities ranked

Most of Winterhold crumbled into the Sea of Ghosts and now it’s just a few buildings overlooked by the huge dominating presence of the College of Winterhold. For this Skyrim cities ranked rundown, I’m assuming me living there means I’m Arch Mage, because if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be caught dead here. Freezing, tiny and in ruins – unless you’re a mage.

5. Falkreath

Skyrim cities ranked

Of all the boring minor cities in Skyrim, I’d like to live in Falkreath the most. There’s no snow, it’s cosy – and whilst there’s a big spooky cemetery I can forgo that for the pleasure of living within the trees. Quite gorg!

4. Markarth

Skyrim cities ranked

I’m not the biggest fan of Dwemer architecture, and the mere thought of all the Markarth steps is already giving me shinsplints. It’s full of danger and hostility, but hey – who wants a boring life! Not me! The beds look rock hard too, which is a slight issue – but I think being by the rushing waterfalls and in the mountains would please me more than the snowy Skyrim cities ranked lower and it’s just got more to do than Falkreath. Even if I’m more likely to be murdered in my sleep here.

3. Riften

Sure your insurance would be through the roof due to all the rampant theft, but who wouldn’t love to live on a lake in lovely houses! I would! Do not bring to my door that the water is stagnant and the canal is dead – I am an optimist. If I lived here I’d make it a utopia. Feels like the only place in Skyrim you might get a tan.

2. Solitude

Skyrim cities ranked

The Skyrim equivalent of moving to London. So much to do, so much to wow at. Look at that breathtaking CLIFF! It’s all medieval but all stone, so as modern as it’s getting. The Blue Palace is beautiful and it has the best house in the game for players to live in. Forget the fact you’ve only got a limited number of years here before that archway of cliff that the city stands on erodes away and crumbles into the sea, just live in the moment.

1. Whiterun

Skyrim cities ranked

For nearly every player, Whiterun will be the first city you enter when you play Skyrim. If you’re anything like me, for that reason it always feels like home. It’s not the most developed, it’s not the most creative – but it is the city that feels the most… right. It feels like it has warmth, dynamic, familiarity and still manages to be imposing and impressive. Whenever I go off around Skyrim and return to Whiterun, it has a way of making you feel like all will be well. I’d move in tomorrow.

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