How to Make Money – Cities Skylines 2 Guide

How to Make Money - Cities Skylines 2 Guide
Written by Nik

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on maximizing revenue in Cities: Skylines 2, the highly anticipated sequel to the popular city-building simulation game. As a city planner, one of your primary responsibilities is to ensure the financial stability and prosperity of your city. In this guide, we will explore essential strategies and best practices for effective city management, covering vital aspects such as taxation, budget management, zoning, infrastructure investment, resource management, transportation, and trade.

We will provide valuable insights and tips that will enable you to transform your city into a thriving, prosperous, and sustainable urban environment. Through proper planning, infrastructure development, and strategic decision-making, you can optimize your city’s growth and create a metropolis that is both economically successful and a joy to inhabit.

Whether you’re a seasoned city planner or a newcomer to the world of urban management, this guide will equip you with the necessary tools and knowledge for maximizing revenue and sustaining your city’s growth in Cities: Skylines 2. So, join us as we delve into the essential techniques and strategies that will help you create a flourishing and financially sound metropolis.

Mastering Taxation and Budget Management in Cities: Skylines 2

How to Make Money - Cities Skylines 2 Guide

In Cities: Skylines 2, one of the most crucial aspects of building and maintaining a thriving city is having a strong financial foundation. One way to make money in the game and ensure your city’s continued growth is through effective taxation and budget management. It is essential to strike a balance between maximizing revenue and keeping your citizens satisfied.

In the early game, it is essential to set tax rates judiciously to establish a stable economic foundation. A higher tax rate may generate more income in the short-term but can lead to a decrease in city growth and potential citizen dissatisfaction. Keep your residential, commercial, and industrial tax rates between 9-12%. Find the sweet spot that maintains city growth without causing the populace to become unhappy.

For advanced taxation strategies, consider implementing progressive taxation and tax breaks in specific areas. Progressive taxation allows you to target high-income citizens who can contribute more to the city’s treasury. Additionally, offering tax breaks to designated regions, such as redevelopment zones or specialized industrial areas, can encourage growth and stimulate economic development.

Next, optimize your budget management by allocating funds strategically. Monitor your city’s individual services, such as healthcare, education, and transportation, and adjust your spending based on the current needs. Ensure you are not overspending on unnecessary services. For example, if a power plant is not fully utilized, consider lowering the budget for that sector to direct funds elsewhere.

Another helpful aspect of budget management is understanding: tackling loans. While taking loans can be useful to jump-start growth and fund essential projects early on, excessively relying on loans will burden your city with debt. Be cautious about how many loans you take, and make sure to pay them back as soon as possible to avoid excessive interest payments. This will help you maintain a stable financial foundation for your city.

Monitoring income and expenses is crucial for effective budget management in Cities: Skylines 2. Regularly checking your city’s financial reports will allow you to pinpoint areas of improvement and proactively adjust taxation and budget policies. Pay close attention to the balance between goods and service costs, and maximize profits by adjusting your budget accordingly.

In addition to monitoring your overall financial situation, consider searching for potential revenue streams that might be overlooked or under-utilized. For example, implementing road maintenance services can lead to increased road efficiency, which can result in more significant profits through transportation and trade. Or, research unique buildings that provide unique benefits or unlock tourist income. Exploring diversified revenue options will provide you with additional financial safety and buffer your city from potential economic downturns.

Finally, do not neglect the importance of contingency planning. Economic events may disrupt your city’s finances, necessitating the ability to adapt taxation and budgeting policies in response quickly. For example, if your city experiences a sudden population boom or a natural disaster, you may need to temporarily adjust taxes and budgets to address the new challenges and restore stability.

Read also: Best Mods to have in Cities Skylines in 2023

Efficient Zoning for Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Areas

How to Make Money - Cities Skylines 2 Guide

In Cities: Skylines 2, efficient zoning plays a crucial role in making money and ensuring a functioning economy. Creating well-planned residential, commercial, and industrial areas is essential to a city’s prosperity.

To optimize city growth and revenue, consider implementing the following advanced zoning strategies:

  1. Residential Zoning: Focus on building attractive neighborhoods with a wide range of amenities, such as parks, schools, and healthcare facilities. In doing so, you’ll attract more citizens who will contribute to the city’s tax revenue. Pay close attention to land value, as higher land value increases housing density, leading to more significant tax income. Additionally, encourage city diversity by incorporating various zoning types, including low-density, high-density, and eco-friendly residential areas.
  2. Integrating Mixed-Use Developments: Cities: Skylines 2 allows for mixed-use zoning in certain buildings, meaning you can have residential and commercial spaces within the same structure. Utilizing mixed-use zoning to blend residential and commercial spaces in a neighborhood can lead to higher land values and more prosperous city districts while using up less area.
  3. Commercial Zoning: Allocate commercial zones strategically by placing them near residential neighborhoods and major transit areas. Citizens require convenient access to shops, services, and leisure facilities. Building commercial areas near public transportation hubs, such as bus and train stations, will boost the appeal of the commercial zones, leading to higher tax revenue. Additionally, consider creating specialized commercial zones, such as organic food markets and eco-friendly stores, to cater to varied population segments.
  4. Tourism and Leisure: Consider creating specialized leisure and tourism zones that attract visitors and generate additional income for the city. These zones can include amusement parks, stadiums, museums, and other cultural attractions that bring in tourists and elevate your city’s global profile. Ensure these zones are well connected via public transportation and road networks to help maximize their economic potential.
  5. Industrial Zoning: Allocate dedicated industrial zones to concentrate production and create specialized districts for the city’s various industries. Providing adequate transportation infrastructure, like cargo terminals and highways, will reduce traffic congestion and increase productivity, generating more substantial profits. Environmental considerations should also be taken into account as pollution can have adverse effects on residential and commercial areas; separating these zones can improve your city’s attractiveness.
  6. Education and Workforce Development: Proper education and workforce development are essential for the efficient functioning of residential, commercial, and industrial zones. Providing comprehensive education options, including elementary, high school, and higher education institutions, will foster an educated and skilled workforce. Consequently, this skilled workforce attracts high-tech industries and high-paying jobs, leading to increased tax revenue.
  7. City Policies and Zoning: Implement city policies that improve zoning efficiency and generate additional revenue. Examples include business improvement districts, leisure zones, and high-rise construction. These policies can attract new businesses, increase productivity, and create additional revenue streams for your city.

Investment in Infrastructure and Services

How to Make Money - Cities Skylines 2 Guide

Investing in infrastructure and services in Cities: Skylines 2 is crucial to maintaining a thriving city and generating revenue. In this guide, we will explore the best practices for investing in the public and private sectors to help players make money and improve their city’s overall attractiveness and efficiency.

Key infrastructure investments include:

  1. Transportation: Develop an efficient public transportation network that encompasses buses, trams, trains, subways, and even ferries and monorails, depending on your city’s geographical layout. Connecting residential, commercial, and industrial areas, you can reduce traffic congestion and increase your population’s overall satisfaction, leading to a growing and profitable city. Furthermore, improving road infrastructure, such as constructing highways, bridges, and efficient road layouts, is crucial in minimizing traffic and facilitating the flow of goods, services, and citizens throughout the city.
  2. Utilities: Ensuring access to essential utilities—like water, electricity, and waste management—increases the attractiveness of your city. Efficient utility distribution not only keeps your citizens happy but also reduces expenses by maximizing the use of existing infrastructure. When planning utility networks, consider upgrading to more efficient and environmentally friendly options, such as solar power plants and advanced water treatment facilities, as your city expands.
  3. Parks and Recreation: Invest in parks, plazas, and recreational facilities to improve the quality of life for your citizens. These amenities enhance the attractiveness of your city and increase land value, resulting in higher tax revenue. Furthermore, they provide essential buffers between various zones, reducing noise pollution and increasing happiness among residents.
  4. Education: An educated population is crucial for the development of a city, leading to higher-income job opportunities and a stronger economy. Invest in a robust education system that includes primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions to ensure a skilled and well-rounded workforce. As your city grows, consider investing in education-related unique buildings to further boost your city’s academic reputation, making it more appealing to high-tech industries and research centers.
  5. Healthcare and Emergency Services: A healthy population is a productive population. Ensure that healthcare and emergency services, including hospitals, clinics, fire, and police stations, are strategically placed throughout the city to provide comprehensive coverage to your citizens. Properly placed services increase citizen satisfaction and contribute to a safer and more appealing living environment.
  6. Landscaping and Environment: Investing in landscaping and environmentally friendly infrastructure contributes to the overall appeal and sustainability of your city. Implement environmental policies, such as recycling programs, or invest in renewable energy sources to reduce environmental impact. Additionally, incorporating green spaces, such as tree plantations and nature reserves, can improve air quality, reduce noise pollution, and boost the city’s overall well-being.
  7. Public Services and Unique Buildings: Throughout the city, ensure access to essential public services, such as libraries, eldercare and child care centers, post offices, and sports facilities. These amenities contribute to the quality of life for your citizens and increase land value, providing additional tax income. Unique buildings, such as famous landmarks or tourist attractions, can create additional revenue sources and make your city a more attractive destination for foreign tourists.

Utilizing Natural Resources, Transportation, and Trade

How to Make Money - Cities Skylines 2 Guide

Harnessing your city’s natural resources, investing in efficient transportation networks, and facilitating trade are key factors in generating revenue in Cities: Skylines 2.

  1. Natural Resources: Identify and exploit natural resources such as forests, fertile land, oil, and ore, to create specialized industry zones. Producing goods from these resources yields higher profits than generic industry zones. Be mindful of balancing resource extraction with environmental concerns and plan for the eventual depletion of non-renewable resources.
  2. Renewable Energy: In addition to traditional natural resources, consider investing in renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower. These clean energy options can provide an additional source of income while reducing pollution and improving your city’s overall environmental health.
  3. Transportation Infrastructure: Invest in a comprehensive transportation infrastructure that caters to various modes of transport, such as roadways, train lines, shipping lanes, and air routes. Efficient transportation networks are crucial for moving goods, workers, and tourists around the city, directly impacting the local economy.
  4. Import and Export: Find the right balance between importing and exporting goods to maximize profits. Monitor your city’s production capacity and import necessary goods that cannot be produced locally or efficiently. Exporting your city’s surplus goods to neighboring cities and regions can generate additional income. Keep track of global market prices for these goods and adjust your trade policies accordingly.
  5. Cargo Terminals and Logistics: Well-planned cargo terminals and logistics centers are essential for efficient trade. Invest in cargo train stations, harbors, and airports to enable seamless transportation of goods between your city and other regions. Increasing the capacity of your cargo infrastructure allows for more significant trade volume and increased profits.
  6. Regional Connection Points: Connect your city to neighboring regions and cities via efficient transport hubs such as roads, rails, and waterways. These connections increase the potential for trade and provide access to new markets and resources. Additionally, establishing functional transit connections between different areas of your city ensures a smooth flow of goods, workers, and resources.
  7. Tourism and External Trade: Attract tourists to your city by investing in tourist attractions, unique buildings, and entertainment venues. Efficient public transportation and lodging facilities will encourage more tourists to visit and spend money in your city. Additionally, creating a well-connected and robust transportation network will facilitate the growth of external trade, further boosting your city’s economy.
  8. Monitoring and Adjusting: Continuously monitor your city’s production, consumption, and trade data to identify trends and potential issues. Responding proactively to changes in demand and adjusting trade policies accordingly will ensure your city remains economically competitive and financially stable.


In conclusion, Cities: Skylines 2 offers numerous ways for players to make money and create thriving, prosperous cities. By mastering taxation and budget management, implementing efficient zoning, investing in infrastructure and services, and tapping into the full potential of natural resources and trade, you can successfully grow your city while increasing your bottom line.

Remember, a balance between growth and improving your citizens’ quality of life is the key to creating a self-sustaining economy. This Cities: Skylines 2 guide has provided insight into various methods of revenue generation, but it is up to you, as the city planner, to adapt and apply them to your unique city and playstyle. Explore, innovate, and adapt – as long as you keep your citizens’ needs front and center, your city will flourish.

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