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- Fallout 4 Settlements Guide - February 1, 2023
One of the most beautiful things about jumping into your first playthrough of Fallout 4, or any fallout game for that matter, is the endless possibilities waiting for you out in the Wasteland. The Fallout videos game series, with emphasis on this game especially, has the ability to lure you into a false sense of security.
Right when you think you get the theme and vibe of the game, you walk into a museum only to be greeted by a legendary Deathclaw waiting to devour any hapless adventurer like you. After all, power armor can only do so much to protect you.
Now whether you have decided to walk back and forth across the map in a sort of Minesweeper-like pattern or have just randomly explored the Wasteland like a non-crazy person, I am sure that somehow, there are places you have managed to miss, places you are still to add to your discovered locations list.
This is because the map of Fallout 4 is both vast and varied, easily traversed right up until you are greeted by a raider stronghold that takes 10-20 minutes to clear out, totally knocking the Sole Survivor off their stride and disorientating the player.
With this in mind, I know how annoying it can be for the dedicated RPG players out there to have a game in their library they are yet to 100%. Ultimately, unless you have discovered everything in Fallout’s map, you have not completed the game or discovered the entirety of the content the developers have planted there for you.
But don’t you worry, thankfully you have stumbled upon this Fallout 4 Location guide which will not only help you from stumbling around the Wasteland, looking for some of the harder to find locations, but I will also give a brief outline of some of the cooler/more popular spots in the Commonwealth for you fellow Sole Survivors! Wait, can we all be Sole Survivors? Ah, who cares? Let’s just get into it!
In total, there are 37 settlements scattered throughout the Commonwealth. There are 30 in the base game with another added in the Automatron DLC, four in Far Harbour and another one apiece for the Vault-Tec Workshop and Nuka-World expansions.
In these settlements, the Sole Survivor can not only live in but create their own home from the ground up if desired. The customisation of these structures doesn’t end with their frame, however.
There are further customisation options inside your new home with extensive an extensive collection of furniture, decorations, and lights to make this settlement truly your own.
Some of the more standout locations which can be found and turned into settlements include:
- The Starlight Drive-In: available after you clear out the local mole rat infestation, with the added bonus of being a possible railroad safe house should you decide on this faction for your sympathies.
- The Red Rocket Truck Stop: Not only is this one of the first locations every Fallout 4 player comes across, but it is also where you get the opportunity to meet man’s best friend, Dogmeat, the loveable companion who never judges you no matter what you get up to.
- Sanctuary Hills: This settlement, along with the Red Rocket Truck Stop, is one of the few settlements available by default to the Sole Survivor.
- Bunker Hill – A trading hub within the heart of Boston. This can be claimed as your own settlement after you complete The Battle of Bunker Hill
- The Castle – This settlement is the home of the Minutemen and one of the most well equipped strongholds in the entire game. This serves as a home fit for a king and also, as a safe and secure place to form your home base.
- Covenant – If you can get passed the fact that the people in this town despise Synths, this can make quite a lovely home which has a bunch of defences which you can inherit.
- Hangman’s Alley – This may seem like a rather run-of-the-mill settlement. However, especially if you are playing in survival mode, this settlement is perfect. This is due to to the central nature of the settlement, granting you easy access to so many key locations in the Commonwealth.
In fact, Sanctuary Hills is where you begin the game, living in your character’s home before being placed in cryo-stasis in vault 111 on the day of the nuclear missile crisis.
It is also within this settlement that you get reacquainted with Codsworth, your robot butler from a former life. This location can also be used as a Minutemen settlement.
No Fallout game is complete without a good helping of some Vault-Tec craziness in the form of their myriad science experiment/nuclear protection units simply called Vaults, followed by a designation number. Let’s have a look at some of the standout Vaults you can discover in Fallout 4:
Like all vaults in the Fallout universe, Vault 81 was built with a purpose in mind, a science experiment in mind. In this vault, the goal of the experiment was to find a cure for all known diseases.
Vault-Tec intended on making this scientific breakthrough by slowly and systematically experimenting on their inhabitants, infecting them with every disease known to man.
If this aspect of Vault 81 is not interesting enough for you, then you’re in luck, because in what seems like a first for Vault-Tec overseers, the dictator of Vault 81 was in fact a decent person and therefore, when the bombs started dropping, they locked out the majority of the scientific personnel tasked with conducting said research.
Those scientists who managed to make their way into the vault were also sectioned off from the rest of the general population in order to keep everyone safe and disease-free.
The scientists, in their isolation, did not rest on their laurels accepting their fate. Instead, they continued their disease-fighting research minus the human tests subjects and in turn, created the possible companion robot, Curie.
This vault can be found in the central area of the Commonwealth and is located to the south of Oberland Station and west of Chestnut Hillock Reservoir.
Vault 118 (Far Harbour DLC)
This is one of the vaults that Vault-Tec never got quite round to finishing before the bombs dropped. Therefore, the ultimate goal of said vault was never realised, that being the housing of Hollywood’s elite in ultimate luxury alongside the working class in their relatively cramped, miserable quarters.
Instead of this class-riddled nightmare, the player is greeted by a murder mystery night hosted by a robot. In this murder mystery, you must solve the murder of a robobrain, allowing the gamer to play their hand at being Nick Valentine for an hour or two.
Another interesting aspect of this vault is the arguments it causes in the Fallout forums across the internet. You see, this entire vault and the quest therein has been likened to a mod created for Fallout New Vegas which places the lone wanderer in the middle of a robot-hosted murder mystery party.
This central premise and other weirdly similar aspects of the vault 118 experience has therefore given plenty within the modding community plenty to speculate over. However, Bethesda Game Studios has completely denied any mention of their copying of said mod.
To find this vault, you must take your character to the DLC Far Harbor location. In the southeast of the National Park Visitor’s Centre, underneath the Cliff’s Edge Hotel, you will find Vault 118 in all of its unfinished glory.
This is the vault literally everyone who has ever played Fallout 4 has been in, as it is where you find yourself rushing to once the bombs begin to drop, spouse and baby Shaun in tow. This vault was designed to observe the effects that long-term cryogenic suspension would have on the human form.
To do this, inhabitants are tricked as they enter the vault, being told by vault personnel that they are merely entering decontamination chambers before they proceed to the lower levels.
However, all is not as it seems for these inhabitants as when they step foot in these chambers, they are immediately put into cryo-stasis with most never to wake again.
The original idea was for these inhabitants to be under said conditions for a minimum of 180 days, after which a signal would be sent to Vault 111, giving the ‘all clear’ thus releasing the vault dwellers from their forced slumber.
However, this signal was never sent after the 180 days had elapsed, leaving the residents trapped in the pods for more than 200 years. It is at this point, in 2227, where the protagonist (you) witnesses the murder of their spouse at the hands of an institute Synth thus beginning the main questline of Fallout 4.
One more item of note within this vault is the unique weapon hidden within the Cryolator, which can be found in the Overseer’s office behind a master locked display cabinet.
The USS Constitution
This location is truly the definition of a standout spot. It is literally impossible to miss if you find yourself in the downtown area of the Commonwealth.
This huge, three-masted frigate which was originally built in the early 1700s has been retrofitted by its robot inhabitants, with the aim of one day, sailing the clouds instead of the high seas.
By discovering this location, you also get the opportunity to partake in one of the more unique quests that Fallout 4 has to offer, by joining your new robot companions in both repairing the old vessel and repelling waves of raider attackers.
By doing this, not only does the Sole Survivor help out some circuit boards in need, but you are also rewarded with a unique weapon for your troubles, the handheld cannon named Broadsider.
One of the great things about these unique locations scattered across the Wasteland is the equally unique quests and storylines held within them. The Cabot House is no exception to this rule.
When you walk through the main door to the Cabot House, located in the central area of the Commonwealth, just west of the Pickman Gallery and south of Bunker Hill, you are greeted by a perfectly pristine pre-war era mansion.
With not a single dust bunny or rad-bunny for that matter in site, this location is seemingly more like a vault than anything else as it is filled with preserved goodies ripe for the taking. However, as you delve deeper into the mansion, all is not as rosy as it seems.
The only way to delve deeper into this mystery, however, is by starting the quest, The Secret of Cabot House, wherein many master locked doors are swung open for the player, revealing their crazy secrets including alien artefacts, a 400-year-old family, and a seemingly evil man inside a glass cage.
This location also has the interesting back story of being actually based on the real-life Cabot family, one of the first families in Boston, arriving as early as the year 1700 from Europe. This family not only influenced the future of Boston it seems, but also the developers of Fallout 4!
This location is quite different from the ones previously covered in this guide as it is unmarked and relies entirely on you stumbling across it in the wild.
As you can see from the picture below, the name of this site did not strain anyone in the creativity department, being a near-perfect replica of the IRL Stonehenge, well as close to Stonehenge one can get using cars, that is.
This landmark of the wastes can be found just south of the Walkden Pond, and unlike the real Stonehenge, the Sole Survivor will not need an admission ticket. Instead, just bring along some ammo and a couple of Stimpacks for good measure. You know, just in case any feral ghouls come stumbling out the driver’s seat.
A recurring trend in the Fallout series is the inclusion of extra-terrestrial life, their communication with humans predating the Great War by centuries. To that end, it is not entirely surprising that as you stumble your way through the Wasteland, you should come across a couple of rather odd-looking individuals.
These particular aliens are but one of the more recent creatures the loyal Fallout gamer has encountered during their travels with every iteration of the series, including the lifeforms in one way or another, except for Fallout New Vegas, which requires the Wacky Wasteland perk in order to gain their inclusion.
In this game, however, your meeting with these aliens comes about slightly differently. Instead of them being in a predetermined location, discoverable at any time, Fallout 4 has some barriers to entry before you get to meet your brothers from another mother galaxy.
First of all, you must be at least level 20 or above, and then by sheer chance, by wandering through the Wasteland, close to the South-east of Oberland Station, you might hear some weird noises in the night.
The noises will be the sound of their aircraft crashing, and thus by following the sound, the player should find themselves right atop a downed alien spacecraft.
It is also important to note here that this event it very easily missed by sheer bad luck and circumstance. If the player is for instance, in the middle of a Jet fuelled gunfight, for example, the noise of all the weapons firing off may actually mask the sound of the troubled spacecraft thus resulting in the player missing this cue.
This location plays host to a small community of wastelanders who have managed to fortify themselves behind high walls and heavy machine gunfire. These defences are further strengthened by their rigorous psychological test, which must be taken before entry if you don’t want to be riddled with holes, that is.
This test is supposed to expose potential synths, but as the quest one can find behind those walls, Human Error displays, not everyone who fails this test is a synth, and almost anyone, robot or not, should suffer these consequences.
This location can be found along the eastern shore of Mystic Lake in the north-central area of the Fallout 4 map.
This settlement is populated by both humans and synths living in perfect harmony with one another under the banner of the Railroad, an organisation hellbent on the protection of synths, valuing these robots as highly as any human in the wasteland, an idea which runs in direct opposition to that of the Brotherhood of Steel and the Institute.
Therefore, it is no surprise that Bunker Hill is the site of a three-way battle between these factions during the quest, The Battle of Bunker Hill.
This location can be found in the Charlestown neighbourhood, located west of the USS constitution, and can be spotted from quite a distance away due to the height and shape of the central monument itself.
This location plays as home to… yes, you guessed it, the Institute and takes the form of a massive facility which not only houses all of the institute scientists and their experiments but also both clone child version of your son Shaun and the fully grown, old man rendition of your child whom you last saw as a baby.
This location is by far the most advanced and scientific location within the Commonwealth and perhaps the entire Wasteland to date (if we don’t count Mothership Zeta or the Big MT that is). Within this structure, the player can find many pre-war relics and inventions.
Also, in a similar manner to Bunker Hill, this location, depending on your choice of faction may play host to an epic battle which, once again depending on choice, can result in the overall destruction of the building entirely thus only leaving its ruins in the wake of the blast.
This location can be found directly underneath the C.I.T ruins. However, this area is only accessible via the main questline teleporter and therefore cannot be accessed before this point in the storyline.
This city is populated by a massive 20 NPCs who, for one reason or another, did not quite fit into the super regulated and respectful walls of Diamond City, therefore the area has an element of debauchery and degradation inside its walls but with a jovial air about it.
One example of this serious yet jovial outlook is the mayor John Hancock, a ghoul who walks around the city in an old-timey pirate costume just because he can. However, if you get on the wrong side of him, the city will not be very welcoming to you, so best be polite, pirate or not.
Also, due to the very nature of the inhabitants of this city, the player is given many opportunities within these walls to make some extra caps via numerous lanes of profitable work, not all of which being above board, so maybe leave the judgmental companions at home for this one.
This location is also home to one of my favourite questlines, The Silver Shroud. To begin this quest, simply listen to the Silver Shroud radio broadcast in or near Goodneighbor.
This will add the quest to your list. Following this quest marker to Kent Connolly in the Memory Den within Goodneighbor will set you off on one of the more unique quests in the game.
The city of Goodneighbor can be found to the northeast of Diamond City and south of the Pickman Gallery.
This city is the focal point of the entire Commonwealth, the capital if you will. Therefore, there is a great number of quests, unique items, vendors, and other wacky things available at this location.
Not to mention the multiple companions you can also find in this city. The city is based within the walls of the old Fenway Park stadium and therefore is probably the most highly defendable location in the Commonwealth.
That being said, Diamond city is not all that it’s cracked up to be. There is a heavy air permeating through the city, with constant rumours of disappearances and an inevitable synth invasion that never seems to come.
There is also a troublingly obvious display of class divide in the city as the poorer residents must take up residence on the field itself, leaving the more affluent members of this society to the houses up above in the stands, literally placing the rich above the poor.
This location can be found to the south of the USS Riptide wreckage and west of the Police Precinct 8.
Best of The Rest
We would love to in-depth on just about every location present in this wonderful game. However, we simply don’t have the time, and if we did, we would be ripping away the opportunity for you to get out there and find the gems of the Commonwealth for yourself. However, we can still point you in the right direction. Here are the ‘best of the rest’ locations in fallout 4:
- Trinity Tower
- Fort Hagen
- The Glowing Sea
- The Old North Church
- Boston Airport
- Hubris Comics
- General Atomics Galleria
- Mass Fusion Building
- Spectacle Island
- University Point
- Boston Common
- The Shamrock Taphouse
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How Many Locations are There in Fallout 4?
Answer: The Fallout 4 map is so vast and densely populated with cool and unique spots to explore that it is hard to set a number on this however a rough estimate places this number at around 325 officially marked locations, not including small easter eggs dotted around the map without said markers.
Question: Where is Sanctuary Hills in Real Life?
Answer: As this game is based on real-life locations, simply taking place after a nuclear apocalypse, all of the locations within the game can be pinpointed on a map.
Sanctuary Hills for example can be said to be located in Minute Man National Historical Park. Rather fitting as this location is the first settlement area you can set up for the Minutemen.
Question: How Many Vaults are There in Fallout 4?
Answer: As with any Fallout game, the concept and existence of Vaults are nearly as fundamental as the lead character themselves, therefore Fallout 4 has multiple scattered throughout its map. This particular entry in the franchise boasts 5 separate vaults, each with its own unique backstory.
So, there you have it, a guide to some of the most interesting and key locations in the entire Commonwealth including some of the lesser-known realities of said locations.
Hopefully, this guide will help your journeys throughout the Commonwealth as you either hunt for your son with all your might or ignore the little brat and play detective with Nick Valentine for 800 hours. Either way, happy exploring!