The GTA franchise is one of the most well-known gaming franchises of all-time. It is unanimously regarded as the best that you can ever play.
At the core of any GTA game has always been the city that they are set in. The franchise has been known to give the players plenty of locations to explore and discover everything they have to offer.
Perhaps the most important aspect of an open-world game, is, in fact, the open-world itself. If the world of the city isn't engaging, doesn't feel lived in, and does not have any unique personality of its own, the game can feel somewhat generic and lifeless.
The GTA franchise has never failed to deliver a believable open-world city that wasn't fun. However, there are some cities that players like over others. It can be due to many reasons such as nostalgia, architecture, or even art style.
Ranking all cities in GTA from Worst to Best
Note: Cities not included in the list for having little to no distinguishing qualities:
- London (Grand Theft Auto: London: 1969 and Grande Theft Auto: 1961)
- Manchester (GTA London 1969 and 1961)
- Anywhere City (Grand Theft Auto II)
- Capital City (Only mentioned in stats of GTA IV and never visited)
7) Ludendorff, North Yankton (GTA V)
This particular small-town is visited only a couple of times in GTA 5, during the Prologue and the mission 'Bury the Hatchet'. It is isn't purely an open-world area, and can only be seen in parts.
The small town seems to be perennially covered in snow. It takes major inspiration from the real-life town of Fargo in North Dakota, and also from the Coen Brothers movie of the same name.
It is essentially a small Midwestern town that does not have much to offer in terms of enjoyment as an open-world setting.
6) San Fierro
It appears in GTA: San Andreas as part of the San Andreas state, and is based on the real-life city of San Fransisco. CJ, the protagonist of the game owns a garage in the city, after taking an exile from Los Santos.
The city is interesting enough to look at, but the lack of any interesting personality makes it rank lower on the list.
5) Alderney City
Alderney is a separate state from Liberty City and is a playable open-world in GTA IV. The GTA IV website describes the city as "Industrial wasteland meets suburban hell."
Perhaps no other description can do the city justice as it is sometimes also nicknamed 'The Wasteland State'.
The two states of State of Alderney and State of Liberty are independent of each other but are treated as part of Liberty City's metropolitan area.
The city is grim and feels weighing down on the player with every second spent.
4) Las Venturas
Las Venturas is based on the real-life city of Las Vegas and is part of the San Andreas state in GTA: San Andreas. Players were giddy at the prospect of visiting this city once again, as GTA V was announced to be set in the state of San Andreas as well.
However, the game chose to focus on Los Santos, and Los Santos County only. Its exclusion from GTA V was greatly missed as the casino paradise of Las Venturas provided a great playground for our protagonist: CJ.
3) Liberty City
Liberty City is a sprawling nightmare or paradise for the visitor, as the highs are extremely high, and the lows can be fatal. The city is based on the real-life city of New York. Liberty City is perhaps the most visited city in the GTA franchise.
It acts as the hub for all criminal activity, as the birthplace of the Italian mob that characters like Sonny Forelli, Tommy Vercetti, Toni Cipriani and Claude were a part of.
Liberty City can be beautiful to look at from time to time but is perhaps one of the most dangerous cities in all of GTA and one that is most menacing.
2) Los Santos
Based on real-life Los Angeles, the city of Los Santos is one of excess. Parties on the beach, suntans and shootouts are plenty in Los Santos. A city obsessed with celebrity culture and excess, it becomes the perfect playground for the player in both GTA: San Andreas and GTA V.
Los Santos is rich with topographical diversity as well, with the neighbouring Los Santos County serving as a brilliant escape from the city life. Los Santos acts as the hub for movies, television and other entertainment industries.
"Los Santos is an urban wonderland with its Babel towers, labyrinth of crisscrossing freeways, side streets, rundown residential districts and glamorous neighbourhoods. Los Santos is a place where you can see it all and have it all."
―GTA San Andreas City Guides
1) Vice City
Was there ever really doubt as to what is considered the best city in the entire GTA franchise. Fans have been clamouring for a return to the city for nearly a decade and their wishes might just be answered with the future release of GTA VI.
The 80s playground inspired by Miami serves as the open-world area in GTA: Vice City. One of the many reasons the game is remembered so fondly by fans is Vice City itself. The neon-drenched streets, the colourful characters and memorable locations make this city a visual treat.
This is perhaps the city with the most charm and personality in the franchise. It is a major cocaine shipment point for South America in the 1980s, and most likely be the setting for the next GTA game.