Forums » Elder Scrolls

POLL Your favourite Skyrim city

    • 773 posts
    March 1, 2018 4:49 AM EST

    I've been playing Skyrim again recently... yay!

    And I have been struck by the little nuances and individual idiosyncracies of the various cities that, when doing those big playthroughs, you don't always tend to notice.

    So with Skyrim now more than 6 years old, I thought it would be a good time to resurrect a poll that, yes, has been done before. 

    What is YOUR favourite Skyrim city - and, of course.. WHY?

    Try and resist the obvious 'Well, Whiterun was the first city I visited (really???) - so it will always be my favourite'. Think about the different people, the different atmospheres - how the 'vibe' in Morthal is different to Dawnstar. Maybe about how the people in Solitude have a different attitude to life than those in Riften? Even how the (few) people in Winterhold are clinging to life against all odds...

    So, vote in the poll - and don't forget to tell us all on this thread why you made your choice.

    • 82 posts
    March 1, 2018 5:46 AM EST

    I was the second one to vote! Just wanted to share that...


    My favorite city is Riften because I like the Thieves Guild and the whole, underworld society thing.

    • 1467 posts
    March 1, 2018 5:49 AM EST

    Hmm, I have to say that my answer kinda changes with Mods, I'm still gonna vote for my favourite Vanilla City, but there's a lot to be said about how modders have changed them as well.

    Without them, I'd have to say that Solitude is my favourite because it has a combination of interesting quests, a few characters I really like, is pretty unique looking (being such a 'massive' city that's almost too well maintained) and well...I really like Sheogorath. With mods, I'd have to put it as either Morthal or Winterhold, because there are just so many different quests that change them up. I mean, Immersive College of Winterhold, Midden Expanded, and probably a few others I can't quite remember off the top of my head.

    Oh and there's just something about how depressing Morthal seems all the time. I mean, Falkreath is mildly close, but there's just something about Morthal that kind of makes me dread going there...Which is good, it's probably the only city that I try and avoid but end up enjoying once I get there (if I get there, I play plenty of games where it's the only city I never visit.)

    Yeah, Winterhold (with Mods) is pretty awesome, but I'll vote Solitude in the end.

    This post was edited by SpookyBorn2021 at March 1, 2018 5:51 AM EST
    • 82 posts
    March 1, 2018 5:55 AM EST

    Dragonborn1921 said:


    ...I'd have to say that Solitude is my favourite because it has a combination of interesting quests, a few characters I really like,

    Out of curiosity, might I ask the names of some of those characters?

    • 1467 posts
    March 1, 2018 6:01 AM EST

    Out of curiosity, might I ask the names of some of those characters?

    Rikke, Elisif, Vampire Mage who's name I can't spell without looking it up, Sheogorath (IT COUNTS), I quite like Jaree-Ra and the owners of Radiant Raiment (the characters are enjoyable, annoying but enjoyable). 

    • 82 posts
    March 1, 2018 6:25 AM EST

    Dragonborn1921 said:

    Out of curiosity, might I ask the names of some of those characters?

    Rikke, Elisif, Vampire Mage who's name I can't spell without looking it up, Sheogorath (IT COUNTS), I quite like Jaree-Ra and the owners of Radiant Raiment (the characters are enjoyable, annoying but enjoyable). 

    Understandable, understandable, Sybole Senator or something, it doesn't count, those last two, why? Just, why?

    • 585 posts
    March 1, 2018 9:40 AM EST

    Always liked Markarth eventhough I never end up going there. The rock and metal design is awesome, homes are inside the mountain which is badass, and building on that the fact that the city is built up the side of a mountain is cool and the levels make the city interesting. The Forsworn threat makes the giant wall feel justified, the depressing corruption, plus the presence of a very noticeable underclass make it one of the more pessimistic settlements (and in my mind more effective than Falkreath or Morthal, where it's not as visible) which gives it depth. Yeah everyone's horrible and if you live there you're either corrupt or constantly under threat from the corrupt, but something about the place is just appealling. Plus having a cannibalistic cult nearby is kinda cool.

    • 694 posts
    March 1, 2018 10:13 AM EST

    My favorite is Falkreath. I love that it's a quiet, sleepy little open city. The city's emblem is my favorite in the game, and I just love the creepy names and that the townsfolks almost seem to have a sense of humor about it. I like that the Ill Met By Moonlight quest is set there, and so I guess between all those things and having a priest of Arkay nearby, it just gives the whole place this almost supernatural feeling.

    Plus with the Hearthfire DLC, its my favorite place to build out an abode. Great view of Lake Ilinalta. :)

    This post was edited by Edana at March 1, 2018 10:17 AM EST
    • 20 posts
    March 1, 2018 3:08 PM EST

    I also loaded up Skyrim again last week for the first time in a while and was just thinking yesterday about which city I like the best, so I'm all prepared for this!

    My vote has to go up to Riften. I love the wooden log-cabin feel and the multilayered canal. I also like the contrast between all the corrupt people mixed with the honest, good-meaning folk. For as much slack as it gets for being so corrupt, when you look at it person-by-person, Riften has nothing on Markarth. Everyone there is crooked basically. Riften has a good number of honest folk just trying to get by (Maran priests, Bee and Barb owners, Bolli, poor Brand-Shei, etc). Plus the lake view is nice and the autumn forests are so pretty. Then there's the obvious Thieves' Guild (I think the best faction in Skyrim) and the best misc. quests.

    It's a hard call though. Windhelm seems so impressive and ancient, Markarth has amazing architecture, Solitude is super pretty and rather nice compared to the corruption and racism of the other cities, plus it has my favorite side quest in the game (Wolf Queen). So many goodn's but Riften just edges them out for me.

    • 284 posts
    March 1, 2018 3:27 PM EST

    Windhelm, hands down. Especially in the Special Edition with a few graphic mods. I also like how you can step from a Nordic city into the Dunmer slums. A different culture around the corner.

    • 122 posts
    March 1, 2018 11:05 PM EST
    Probably Whiterun, honestly. I like how it’s a city that is teetering in the edge of war and trying to figure out which side it belongs on. I like the Companions, most of the townspeople, and I even like the jarl. No matter how obnoxious his court Zara is, the jarl of Dragonsreach seems like a good man, overall (even though his youngest son wasn’t born to his wife apparently).
    • 197 posts
    March 1, 2018 11:12 PM EST

    Whiterun. Because I’m a basic who can’t get enough of the Companions. And I love the Gildergreen. The modded Whiterun is what I think heaven must be like, if there is one. I also really like Ulfberth and Adrienne. And Amren. And True story, before I added the “no dead merchants” mod, Adrienne got killed by vampires, and it sucked. Ulfberth was sad all the time, and I had to go inside to trade. So, I reverted to my last save before she died, and added the mod. I lost 10 levels because of that and lots of quests, but it was worth it. And I’ve never been able to side with the Stormcloaks in game, not even once, even though I would like to shoot Tullius right in the face (I have done that, and it’s amazing), because I just can’t attack Whiterun. Can’t do it. 


    I might have a problem. 


    Second is Riften. It’s gorgeous. And all the merchants are outside, so it means no load screens for trading. I’d really like to kick out Haelga’s slut-shaming niece, though, not going to lie. 

    This post was edited by ilanisilver at March 1, 2018 11:37 PM EST
    • 1595 posts
    March 3, 2018 12:55 PM EST

    I don't think my answer to this question has ever changed down the years, I'm still always drawn back to Morthal and Solitude. I think everyone's first playthrough had it share of "oh, wow" moments, but dusk in the fog near the Tomb of Jurgen Windcaller in Hjaalmarch was a particularly cool moment that still stands out years later. So atmospheric, and with the Solitude arch looming in the distance, a place nowhere like it in all of Skyrim.

    Solitude wins, though. The place is just incredible to look at and walk through, especially to and from the Blue Palace and the views east out to sea. So much history there, still a place of slight darkness and the weight of past deeds felt in the stones.

    That said, SE and HD Fire and Flames really make Windhelm stunning, as DeltaFox said above. The way Candlehearth Hall glows at night, an orange contrast to the old stone and snow, is just beautiful and almost mesmerising these days. It feels so warm and inviting that I sort of immerse and feel cold, want to go in just to warm up a bit.

    This post was edited by Paws at March 3, 2018 12:56 PM EST
    • 168 posts
    March 3, 2018 7:12 PM EST

    Windhelm has to be my favorite design. The city itself looks mighty, I love the architecture. And that huge bridge! Also Hjerim is the best house you can have in the game (besides ones built yourself) even if it's got the steepest ownership requirements. The fact that Windhelm's docks are basically the only way to and from Solstheim, plus the amount of merchants in the city, means that I end up spending a lot of time there.


    I've also taken a liking to Dawnstar's layout, how it's kind of in a C shape around its docks, and there's a couple elevation levels too.

    I also like Mothal's sorta swampy appearance, I'd hang around there more often but the town lacks both a blacksmith and a general store, and not much else happens around there.

    • 70 posts
    March 4, 2018 4:59 PM EST


    Just the Atmosphere of the swamp and the Quest with the little Ghost Girl and the Vampire is awesome. 

    • 558 posts
    March 4, 2018 8:48 PM EST

    Definitely Markarth. I love the Dwemer architecture and the verticality of the city. I like the Cidna Mine quest and the home you can buy, theNPC's like the orc smith and the useless assistant, the warrior poet, and that Dwemer scholar. Namira's and Malacath's quests are also very memorable.

  • March 5, 2018 11:54 AM EST

    Whiterun. A good position in the world, filled with good people, with a great ruler. And outside of the circle of the companions, no secret shadiness plaguing it like most of the other cities. Jarl Balgruuf is my second favorite jarl, simply because he is well minded and understands that he must do what is best for his people. He knows when to bury his pride and what is beyond his control. And the populace is pretty great. Aside from Nazeem and Olfric, there aren't too many intolerable people in the city. It's just an overall good place to spend most of your time in. 

    • 215 posts
    March 6, 2018 5:41 AM EST

    After thinking a bit about it I voted for Windhelm.  I rarely side with the Stormcloaks but from a city standpoint it really stands out as a true city (the only other one is really Whiterun) where you have the keep and then various areas.  The slums area (for the dark elves), the merchant district, the high rent zone, the "wrong side of the tracks" area (where the Taratino (sp?) boy lives).  Just so defined and well laid out. 

    • 44 posts
    March 6, 2018 5:51 AM EST

    Falkreath hands downs! It's located middle of the nature and trees. There is that one small waterfall with spring nearby, too. I spend most of the time in area because it's lovely and green!

    I also like Morthal because it's creepy at the swamp and deadly quiet at times and deathbells!

    • 1 posts
    March 12, 2018 2:32 PM EDT

    Windhelm. Skyrim is a 'Real Men' themed game. I can feel this at peak there. They are racist but who isn't in Tamriel? Windhelms' snowy atmosphere is a very blyatiful place. My most characters' main city is Windhelm.

    • 1595 posts
    March 13, 2018 2:43 PM EDT
    Windhelm is definitely a very manly city, I think that's a pretty accurate description LordWage :D I do like the place, and Hjerim is a really nice house. I think there are just too many hoops to jump through to get it, so normally I just use the Hrota house mod for a manly man type character. Welcome to the site, BTW :)
    • 127 posts
    March 15, 2018 9:48 AM EDT

    Markarth takes the prize for me. It's gorgeous architecture, the corruption, and that just about everybody there has a secret they don't want getting out (talos worship, forsworn sympathies, freaking cannibalism) makes it easily the city I will always return to. That the Reach is my favourite hold is only a bonus.


    This post was edited by J.D. Primrose at March 15, 2018 9:50 AM EDT
    • 1 posts
    March 21, 2018 11:44 PM EDT

    My favorite city is Solitude. I like the idea of it being Skyrim's capital city. I like the "royal" feel. 


    • 457 posts
    March 22, 2018 3:07 PM EDT

    Tough call! For its peaceful ambiance, you just can't beat Falkreath; however, from a gameplay perspective, I'd have to go with Solitude. Great quests, lots of merchants close together, and if you still want ambiance, there's beautiful scenery just outside the front gate :D

    BTW, the poll is currently being featured on the Vault's Twitter and Facebook pages :D

    • 1467 posts
    March 22, 2018 7:01 PM EDT

    Is it weird that Dawnstar literally has 0 votes? I mean, just none, not even one, which is just super strange.