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SimCity Strategy Guides


Culture & Tourism


Culture isn't a complete specialisation like gambling and the commodities industries. Rather it is a collection of attractions and landmarks which can be used to generate revenue and encourage tourists into your city. Tourists can be used to drive a Gambling business, or simply to make a little extra money for the city treasury.

The following sections can be found in this article:

  • Tourist Behavior
  • Event Centers
  • Landmarks
  • Tourist Behavior

    Setting up a tourist town can be a tricky business. Fortunately (and I say this with the utmost respect and kindness), Maxis did a lazy and half-arsed job at programming the AI in SimCity, with the result that tourists will behave much like regular Sims in many respects.,/p>

    Just like regular Sims they will have different tolerances for city problems depending on their wealth level. Just like your resident shoppers they want to find places that make them happy without having to move very far. They'll also be particular about which types of mass transit they get on, again depending on their wealth level. They will also amble about your city with no real purpose other than to roll into whatever the nearest suitable building is, provided they don't get stuck in a loop at an intersection.

    When developing a tourist city, it is a good idea to watch tourists in the tourism data map to see where they are drawn to in your city. Like all Sims, they will be assigned a specific task to do. Unlike regular Sims these tasks have a relatively narrow range of possible outcomes. If a tourist is programmed to look for an attraction, they are limited to 3 or fewer options. This leads to patterns of predictable behaviour and areas where higher densities of tourists develop. If you find them wandering off somewhere unexpected, take a closer look at the area to find out why. If they're heading to a hotel then perhaps add more accomodation to your casinos, or more commercial zones near attractions (and hope they spawn hotels). If on the other hand they're heading to a mass transit stop to leave the city, well then perhaps put something attractive in their way!

    For more information:

  • Government: Understanding Data Maps
  • Things tourists like

    Tourists like attractions, casinos, commercial areas, particularly ones that contain hotel businesses. They also like appropriate level mass transit options, not having to walk very far to get to where they are going, and for some reason they also like going on mass killing sprees every time they see a roulette wheel (apparently). Tourists will also use city parks.

    Things tourists don't like

    Tourists particularly dislike crime, pollution and traffic (hypocritical much?). They don't like being bored, if they cannot find suitable buildings to visit which are conveniently located, they will take the nearest route out of your city.


    If visitors have money left over at the end of the day they will go to the nearest hotel of appropriate wealth level. If casinos have rooms, they will stay there. If they do not, or all the rooms are full, they will go to the nearest hotel that appears in a zoned commercial area.

    Hotels appearing in zoned commercial areas are something of a wildcard, you have no direct control over whether they spawn or not, and no particular way of encouraging hotels of specific wealth levels to appear in commercial areas (although I believe that adding tourist attractions may make it more likely that nearby commercial zones develop hotels). The difficulty is that of course if a hotel appears in an odd location across the city, it can radically alter the general pattern of how tourists travel around the city, which may reduce necessary traffic around your carefully chosen casino routes. Bulldozing these 'rogue' hotels is of course always an option, as is bulldozing nearby commercial buildings until you get a new hotel spawned, but altogether the process is very hit and miss! On balance I'd suggest leaving them alone until such time as your casinos suddenly start losing money because tourist traffic is no longer going past them in sufficient volume.

    For more information:

  • Zoning: Commercial
  • Event Centers

    There are a few buildings in the landmarks which function as event centers and require you to pay for a scheduled event. Events can be run once a day at a fixed time and can make a profit if you have sufficient tourists and residents attending the event.

    The table below lists each event center and individual events, the center capacity, the ticket price for the event, the total cost per day assuming an event is run, the maximum profit achievable from the event and lastly the maximum net profit. For some reason there is a lot of variation, some of them will generate a lot of money, others will generate very little and frankly aren't worth the bother of scheduling the event every day (at least that is my opinion).

    Event Center Event Capacity Ticket Price Cost/day Max Profit Net Profit
    Expo Center Motocross 3,000 Sims $22 $22,200/day $66,000/day $43,800/day or $1825/hr
    Expo Center Sports Event 3,000 Sims $37 $37,200/day $111,000/day $73,800/day or $3075/hr
    Expo Center Rock Concert 3,000 Sims $52 $52,200/day $156,000/day $103,800/day or $4325/hr
    Pro Stadium Monster Truck Rally 15,000 Sims $20 $164,400/day $300,000/day $135,600/day or $5650/hr
    Pro Stadium World Championship 15,000 Sims $30 $239,400/day $450,000/day $210,600/day or $8775/hr
    Pro Stadium Legends Of Rock 15,000 Sims $30 $314,400/day $600,000/day $285,600/day or $11900/hr
    Globe Theatre Event 3,000 Sims $14 $30,000/day $42,000/day $12,000/day or $500/hr
    Oslo Opera House Event 1,364 Sims $76.25 $100,000/day $104,000/day $4,000/day or $167/hr
    Sydney Opera House Event 3,000 Sims $35.34 $101,000/day $106,000/day $5,000/day or $208/hr

    Obviously even if your events are not very profitable, they will still attract tourists to your city, provided your city meets all the other requirements that tourists have! I suppose that must be the justification for the awful profit margins on the enormous Opera houses... I haven't used them personally so I can't tell you if they generate huge amounts of extra tourists or not!


    In old versions of SimCity the landmark was a rather useless piece of decoration. Sure it solicited a few 'oohs' and 'aahs' from the locals, but otherwise it was just there for scenery. In SimCity the landmarks are limited to 3 rather than 10, but they can actually generate revenue for your city by charging admission to residents and visitors which goes in the city treasury. They also function like a commercial building, they will receive freight from industrial buildings, they will also supply goods and souvenirs, fulfilling the shopping want of residents and tourists.

    I have seen a couple of sites insisting that the 'high' or 'medium' in the descriptions refer to the wealth level of the tourists they attract, this is not correct. Rather medium tourist attractions will attract a moderate quantity of visitors, high will attract a larger quantity of any wealth level. Failure to get high wealth tourists at a medium wealth attraction is probably more to do with lack of high wealth tourists coming to the city than anything else.

    It IS entirely possible to lose money on these attractions, if your city's tourist attendance is not very good, they can make less money than they cost to run. The table below shows both the hourly and daily cost (since the game reports their profit as a daily total).

    Landmark Tourist Attraction Level Cost/hr Cost/day
    Arch De Triomphe High $305/hr $7,320/day
    Big Ben High $450/hr $10,800/day
    Cinquantenaire Arch Medium $350/hr $8,400/day
    Dutch Windmill Medium $305/hr $7,320/day
    Edifico Copan Medium $350/hr $8,400/day
    Empire State Building High $450/hr $10,800/day
    Giralda Medium $350/hr $8,400/day
    Kolner Dom Medium $350/hr $8,400/day
    Leaning Tower of Pisa High $305/hr $7,320/day
    Rundetarn Medium $605/hr $14,496/day
    Statue of Liberty High $450/hr $10,800/day
    St. Basil's Cathedral Medium $605/hr $14,496/day
    Stockholm City Hall Medium $350/hr $8,400/day
    Tokyo Tower Medium $350/hr $8,400/day
    Washington Monument Medium $350/hr $8,400/day
    Willis Tower Medium $605/hr $14,496/day
    Zamek Krolewski W Warszawie High $305/hr $7,320/day
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