Best Sims 4 Expansion Packs Ranked 2023

Best Sims 4 Expansion Packs, Ranked

It's time for a deep dive.

The Sims 4’s base game has captivating features, but the real excitement comes from the expansion packs. Here’s the best Sims 4 Expansion Packs ranked.

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Best Sims 4 Expansion Packs Ranked

Before jumping into the main event, it’s important to note that this list does not include Game Packs, kits, or Stuff Packs. Instead, we’re focusing entirely on expansions today but will briefly touch upon how different ones influence each other. However, as more expansions are released throughout the year, we’ll include those in the rankings as we dive into their mechanics and new features.

Without further ado, let’s get into the rankings of the best Sims 4 expansion packs!

15. Island Living

Starting this list is Island Living, an expansion that adds an island. That’s about all there is for noteworthy features. While things get interesting once you couple in expansions like Seasons and Eco Lifestyle, there is little exploration by itself. I was initially the most excited about this one before diving in-game and realizing the island offers little additional content.

On the plus side, the island is beautiful, and the new careers are interesting to explore. You can also create Mermaid occult sims, introducing a new level of shenanigans. Oh, and we can’t forget swimming with dolphins. Outside of these, though, there are better packs out there.

I’ve tried a playthrough with Mermaid Sims, and it is pretty fun. Despite this, it didn’t feel much different from regular characters; the most exciting part was the Create-A-Sim customization options.

You can purchase the Island Living expansion here.

14. Get to Work

The Get to Work pack has so much potential. You can run your own retail store and get involved in your career instead of having your character go MIA for eight hours. In particular, I really enjoyed my time at the hospital when trying to figure out what illnesses the NPCs have and dealing with them. The problem? The bugs.

Trying to navigate these bugs, especially at the hospital and crime scenes, is a nightmare sometimes, making a potential top-five pick fall to 13. All things considered, if these get patched one day, this very well may climb the ladder once more. New updates for The Sims 4 are released all the time, with many adding small bug fixes for these older expansions, so I’m optimistic.

You can purchase the Get to Work expansion here.

13. Discover University

Discover University has aspects that are both very exciting and slightly monotonous. Other packs, like City Living, Get Together, and High School Years, all have individual aspects from Discover University that are vastly improved, making this one good but nothing to write home about. My favorite part is living in a dorm room and interacting with my roommates, but aside from that, this one is outdated, and the newer High School Years is an improved version.

Gaining a university degree to boost your career performance is incredibly satisfying, especially with the quick semesters. If you want a massive headstart with a new job, university is the way to go.

You can purchase the Discover University expansion pack here.

12. Snowy Escape

Snowy Escape reminds me a lot of Island Living. You gain access to a new, snowy world to visit or live in, and you can partake in various winter-themed activities. Outside of this, though, there still isn’t much going on. This pack is still a major improvement over Island Living because of its considerable amount of Build Mode additions and extras like hot springs, adding an interesting Japanese-inspired twist to this pack.

Overall, the new items in this pack are beautiful, and it’s great to see a seasonal pack that doesn’t require the Seasons expansion. However, a lot is still missing. Sure, you can go skiing and snowboarding, but like most skills, they sometimes feel monotonous. Rock climbing is the most entertaining of the three, but that’s not saying much. It’s a good pack, but it could be better.

You can purchase the Snowy Escape expansion pack here.

11. Get Famous

Of all the current expansion packs, Get Famous is the one I’ve spent the most time exploring. As the name goes, the purpose of this expansion is for your Sims to become famous! While one of the easier ways is by becoming an actor or actress and progressing through this career path, you can also live a life of fame through skills like writing and cooking, among others. Perhaps the most interesting part, though, is the fame perk system and the changes it makes to your Sims’ lives.

While my singing these praises sounds like this should be within the top three, a significant factor drops this to the number eight: the lots. Starlight Boulevard is interesting, but aside from this, you’re very limited on what houses you can live in. Some NPC interactions with celebrities also get frustrating, with them often getting distracted whenever one is in the same area. Still a great pack that I’ve spent a considerable amount of time playing around with, but it is not the best.

You can purchase the Get Famous expansion pack here.

10. City Living

City Living has two defining features that make it a fun pack: apartment buildings and festivals. While there are a lot of limits to how you can customize apartments and penthouses, they offer a unique way for your Sim to live that is reminiscent and arguably better than Discover University’s dorm system. Festivals are also a blast, ranging from food to romance-oriented, and add some much-needed spice to the game. The downside? That’s about all it adds.

While the pack does boast other features, like critic and politician career tracks, the two described above are the main highlights. It’s also worth noting that while San Myshuno looks like a big city with a lot going on, you’re still limited to very few lots to use. It is a decent pack, but not for everyone. If you enjoy singing, that may help persuade you to check this one out.

You can purchase the City Living expansion pack here.

9. High School Years

It’s Discover University, but it improved in nearly every way. As a newer pack, High School Years makes sense despite not making it to the top slot on this list. One of the changes I appreciate is being able to physically attend your classes without sitting there waiting for the few-hour timer to end. You can actually observe what’s going on, much like in Get to Work. You can also attend prom, decorate your locker, and post on social media, among other things. There is also an amusement park lot that you can visit in your free time, which may very well be the pack’s highlight. A surprising amount of content here makes the experience entertaining, but the actual environment sometimes feels empty.

As you walk around the school halls and attend class, one of the most noticeable details is that classrooms are rarely full. There are plenty of teenagers around, yet the school often feels empty. I wouldn’t expect hundreds of students, mainly due to performance issues, but adding a few more goes a long way in having things feel more lively. Far from perfect, but a considerable improvement from Discover University, landing it right in the middle of this best Sims 4 Expansion Packs list.

You can purchase the High School Years expansion pack here.

8. Eco Lifestyle

Eco Lifestyle is, all around, an exciting and pleasant expansion pack to use. The eco-footprint addition helps show just how excellent (or poor) an area’s environmental standards are, and the new world it adds has a mix of smog-ridden industrial regions and green residential lots. However, it does pose some issues, such as how easy it is to create a green environment and how few consequences there are to having Industrial eco stats.

What makes this pack so interesting, though, is the sheer variety of content it adds. Sure, it all centers around the same theme, but it has multiple ways to accomplish this. Features like insect farms, biofuel, fabrication, and the Neighborhood Action Plan are all viable ways to get into the spirit of creating a greener world, which helps add a lot of variety. It also forces you to be attentive to household appliances, especially if you fill your house with electronics and other high-power items. Overall, it adds enough challenge and excitement to land in the top five of this list!

I recently played as a household living entirely off the grid in a Henford-on-Bagley (Cottage Living) home. This was one of my most interesting experiences in the game, and I almost ranked this expansion higher. The main reason I didn’t want to is that the ones I’ve included below also significantly impacted how enjoyable the playthrough was, and they continue to impress me to this day.

You can purchase the Eco-Living expansion pack here.

7. Horse Ranch

On the surface, Horse Ranch is an interesting expansion that adds, well, horses. If you love horses, this pack is perfect for you. It adds some interesting Build/Buy mode items and has great cross-pack compatibility. You can even ride your horses anywhere, including outside of Chestnut Ridge!

With that said, Horse Ranch primarily fills in the gaps left by Cottage Living, adding items reminiscent of the latter. These two pair perfectly, but if I had to choose between them, Cottage Living’s complexity outshines Horse Ranch in several areas, particularly when comparing their worlds. Nonetheless, if you love horses or want a pack that compliments Cottage Living, this one is definitely worth picking up.

You can purchase the Horse Ranch expansion pack here.

6. Cottage Living

If you’re an animal lover, Cottage Living may very well be near the top of your list. While sure, it doesn’t feature every animal out there; it has chickens, cows, and llamas! It adds even more than Horse Ranch does. If you venture out into the wild, you can also spot foxes, rabbits, and birds you can interact with worldwide.

The countryside aesthetic is attractive, with great themed outfits to boot. There is also a competition to motivate us to care for the little guys. It’s a blast, and it’s the first pack with which I have very few problems. It isn’t very influential outside of Henford-on-Bagley compared to the three I’m discussing.

You can purchase the Cottage Living expansion pack here.

5. Cats and Dogs

As a disclaimer, this pack isn’t for you if you’re not a fan of cats or dogs. For those who are, though, rejoice! The Cats and Dogs expansion pack in The Sims 4 provides a surprisingly comprehensive customization and caretaking system for creating and caring for your pets. You can interact with your pet through petting, hugs, praising, and other regular actions, as well as fulfilling their basic needs of eating, feeding, cleaning, and more. The pack has nearly everything you’d need and want if you want pets, but one aspect may cause problems. There is no mood interface for your pets.

In a way, this adds an exciting challenge in knowing that, much like the real world, you can’t perfectly guess just how hungry, thirsty, or bored your pet is. However, you also can’t see any traits or quirks your pets may have, resulting in some odd situations where your pets will randomly perform actions, forcing you to guess why. A similar but simplified version of the regular Sim UI would help this problem immensely.

Outside of that, though, it’s an incredible and adorable pack for those who want a cat, dog, fox, or raccoon in their game. If you don’t, you’re welcome to skip this one.

You can purchase the Cats and Dogs expansion pack here.

3. Get Together

You’d think that the second Sims 4 expansion pack ever released would be far lower quality than the rest, but honestly, it’s really good. Clubs in Get Together offer an exciting way to meet new sims and participate in activities together, and you can watch group dances as your Sim takes on the role of a DJ. Seeing people dancing in nightclubs is one of the best things to watch while eating some food or, well, doing anything.

One of the best parts of this pack that differs from others on this list is the number of lots you can visit. There are multiple cafes, nightclubs, bars, and other community lots alongside various residential ones. This shouldn’t be as exciting as it is, but considering some of the new worlds have 10-12 new lots, and this one has 27 lots, it’s certainly worth celebrating.

This is only topped by three other packs simply because they somehow influence nearly every aspect of the game.

You can purchase the Get Together expansion pack here.

3. For Rent

The Sims 4: For Rent is the fifteenth expansion released for the game, and it gets a lot right with its property management features. Building upon City Living’s apartments, For Rent allows you to create your own multi-household lot by dividing buildings into units, with one lot allowing up to six units.

In other words, you can have dozens of characters living in a massive apartment complex if your console or PC is beefy enough to handle any performance drops.

Since property management is For Rent’s main selling point, it’s no surprise that this is its defining feature, highlighting a surprisingly complex unit configuration and tenant management system. However, even its CAS additions and the world of Tomarang are worth mentioning, as these all fit a classy and stylish Southeast Asian-inspired theme.

Unfortunately, the world of Tomarang is one of the smallest you’ll find in these packs, with only two neighborhoods and nine lots available to explore. While there are other buildings to find outside of these, particularly the Night Market and various temples, it feels small compared to those in Get Together, Cats and Dogs, or the base game.

You can purchase the For Rent expansion pack here.

2. Seasons

I’ll be honest; Seasons surprised me a lot. Ever since I first laid my eyes upon this pack, I thought it was unnecessary and would be one of the worst on the Sims 4 market. Boy, was I wrong, though, and I’ll say it loud and clear: The Sims 4 Seasons is one of the best expansion packs out there. In other words, don’t judge a book by its cover. Its impact on the game is so important that the “Select a Season to Play in” page is the first thing to appear once you create a new game.

It is shocking how many exciting features are in this pack, ranging from the weather to the gardening career. My favorite, though, is the addition of holidays. Not only are there default annual holidays, but you can create your own! That’s just asking for fun and wild shenanigans!

Seasons also introduces some minor but underrated additions, such as children being able to become scouts and make holiday crafts. Considering children have minimal gameplay mechanics currently, anything that adds variety here is always a plus. The gardening career is also surprisingly in-depth compared to others in the game and adds to an already helpful skill. While many of the previous packs vary in impressiveness depending on personal preference, Seasons is one that just about anyone can enjoy.

You can purchase the Seasons expansion pack here.

1. Growing Together

For a long time, Seasons was the most beloved expansion pack for many people, including myself. Since I began playing The Sims 4 with expansions, it has always been the greatest in my mind.

That is until Growing Together was released in March 2023.

When I thought of things The Sims 4 lacked previously, I thought about social dynamics, particularly with children. I never enjoyed having babies or children in my household since they felt dull and made me want to age them up to teenagers instantly. Growing Together changes this by completely revamping social systems, adding compatibility, child confidence and family dynamics. Children also get four new aspirations, making this life stage more interesting.

One of the best features of this expansion is Sims’ milestones and challenges like midlife crises, layoffs and burnout. These are all real obstacles we experience, and trying to overcome them adds depth to the game. Fortunately, it also comes with heartwarming and exciting parts of someone’s life, like self-discovery and family reunions.

Growing Together proved that expansions aren’t always about adding new locations, characters and skills; instead, you’re almost getting a completely different game in some cases. I remember taking a small hiatus from playing The Sims 4, only to return after hearing just how much potential this pack had. Now that I’ve played it firsthand, I can confirm that it’s everything I wished it would be, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

You can purchase the Growing Together expansion pack here.

What Sims 4 Expansion Pack Should I Buy First?

All players should buy The Sims 4: Seasons as their first expansion pack. Seasons comes with the most important gameplay changes. For example, the new weather features just feel like they should have been in the game all along. Being able to see your game change when it’s raining or seeing it go through fall and winter just makes it all the more realistic and exciting. So, start with Seasons, and then go for the other expansion packs like Growing Together.

The Sims 4 is available on PC, Mac, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. To learn more about the game, check out how to create units in The Sims 4: For Rent, or click the tag below to explore our growing article catalog!


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Author
Madison Benson
Madison was a staff writer at Prima Games who has played video games for over twenty years and written about them for over two years. Her love for video games started with turn-based strategy games like Heroes of Might and Magic and has since extended to casual farming sims, MMORPGs, and action-adventure RPGs.