Best service upgrades - Cities: Skylines 2

Opting for service upgrades is smarter, cheaper, and faster.


The best service upgrades in Cities Skylines 2 are a cost-effective way to increase your city's effectiveness and hopefully keep citizens happy in the process. Purchasing an upgrade is almost always the better choice over buying a brand-new building, though not every service upgrade is worth the cost. We've listed some of the best that you should aim for as early as possible.

Sewage Pump Chemical Purification

An icon shows the chemical purification upgrade in Cities Skylines 2 and explains how it helps with sewage processing

The Chemical Purification upgrade is one of the best you can – and should – get even on a tight budget. These are cost-effective up front and long-term, and the extra boost to sewage treatment means you can hold off having to buy a proper water treatment station for a lot longer. Those are expensive, so anything you can do to delay buying one is always a good thing.

Water Pumping Station Extra Pump

An icon shows the extra pump upgrade in Cities Skylines 2 and explains how it boosts water production

Slapping an extra pump on your existing water station gives you a pretty hefty boost in water production. These pumps cost half the price of a new station, though the monthly maintenance fees are almost the same. If you’re working with limited space or just don’t want to spend $25k all at once, these are an excellent option.

Advanced Rotor System

An icon shows the wind turbine rotor system upgrade and explains how it increases power production

These wind turbine upgrades are affordable and perfect for boosting power output without having to add new turbines. That saves money and noise pollution, so even if you have the area to build a turbine, you should opt for the rotor system upgrade first instead.

School Clinic

An icon shows the school clinic upgrade and details how it boosts student health

Elementary schools have a school clinic upgrade that boosts the health of all students by a significant amount. I had a challenging time getting anyone to visit the health clinics in my city, even when they were literally right next door. While this upgrade will, naturally, not benefit adults and older students, you can keep the wee ones healthy and get a small happiness boost.

Medical Clinic Ambulance Depot

An ambulance depot expansion is shown, with a description of how much it increases ambulance efficiency

Speaking of health, your standard health clinics have a tough time keeping up with emergencies thanks to having just five ambulances to start with. The Ambulance Depot upgrade fixes that and should be your first clinic upgrade before splashing out later on an extension.

Firehouse Garage Extension

An icon shows the firehouse garage extension with an explainer about how it improves engine space

You’ll want to pay for a bigger garage at one or two of your firehouses as well. These double the number of engines at a firehouse, which is more important than you might think at first. Most multi-building fires require at least two engines, so if disaster strikes elsewhere at the same time, you’re in trouble with just a basic firehouse.

Crematorium Hearse Garage

An icon shows the hearse garage upgrade

This one’s a little morbid, but it’s still useful. Crematoriums start with 10 hearses, which is usually not enough to properly service nearby areas. If you’re opting for these over cemeteries to save space or cover locations outside of where the cemetery is, the hearse garage will cut down on how long it takes for the departed to reach their final resting place. It’s also cheaper than buying and maintaining a brand-new crematorium or cemetery.

High School Sports Field

An icon shows the high school sports field upgrade

The sports field might seem counterintuitive at first. The up-front cost is pretty high, and the maintenance is more than most parks on their own. However, you get a +25 bonus to area attractiveness and a massive +40 for outdoor recreation. That’s significantly more than you get for individual sports parks. You’d have to have four or more to match those numbers, and then the maintenance fees would end up being higher anyway.

Assuming your high school is in a built-up area, your park will serve the surrounding neighborhoods as well. Two birds, one stone, etc. 

If you're having economy troubles, check out our tips for how to stay cash flow positive in Cities: Skylines 2  and the best development tree upgrades to help make planning easier. Make sure to plan your districts carefully to avoid running into the not enough customers problem, too.

Contributing Editor

Josh is a freelance writer and reporter who specializes in guides, reviews, and whatever else he can convince someone to commission. You may have seen him on NPR, IGN, Polygon, or VG 24/7 or on Twitter, shouting about Trails. When he isn’t working, you’ll likely find him outside with his Belgian Malinois and Australian Shepherd or curled up with an RPG of some description.

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