Did you know Baldur’s Gate 3 is named after an in-game city? Assuming you’ve played the first few hours of the game, of course you do, because every character in the opening few quests wants to eventually meet you in Baldur’s Gate. But after you’ve put 20, 30, even 50 hours into Baldur’s Gate 3, you may be wondering if you’ll ever make it to the big city.
In this Baldur’s Gate 3 guide, we’ll tell you exactly when you’ll reach the titular city of Baldur’s Gate, and give you a quick rundown of what you’ll see before you get there in the first two acts.
Warning: This guide contains vague story spoilers for Baldur’s Gate 3 and its act-based structure.
When do you reach Baldur’s Gate in Baldur’s Gate 3?
You won’t reach Baldur’s Gate until you reach the game’s third act. This took me a little over 60 hours, but can go significantly faster if you mainline the story quests and ignore most of the side content.
This is a major turning point in both the story and the game. By the time you reach the city, you’ll know the names of all the big bads and you’ll have a massive amount of quests to follow up on — once you get through the gates.
Important note: By the time Act 3 rolls around, you won’t actually be able to return to any areas from Act 1 or Act 2. You’ll start off the act with zero fast travel points and will need to collect new ones in and around Baldur’s Gate.
Finally, we have to point out that you technically don’t start Act 3 in Baldur’s Gate. Instead, you start in the outskirts of a city called Rivington, which is just outside of Baldur’s Gate proper — as in the drawbridge to Baldur’s Gate is in Rivington. While a technicality, we do count this as reaching Baldur's Gate, some characters who want to meet you in the big city — notably Kith’Rak Voss — are actually in Rivington.
When does Act 3 start?
This is getting more into spoiler territory, but you’ll know you’re headed into Act 3 when you enter Moonrise Towers.
Now, even that isn’t specific enough, as you can easily enter Moonrise Towers without triggering the major story moments that send you into Act 3. Instead, the Moonrise Towers quest will eventually send you to collect an “artifact” for General Ketheric. To get it, you’ll need to enter the Mausoleum and go through a lengthy dungeon.
Once you complete the Gauntlet of Shar, you’ll reach a pool that will give you a “no turning back” warning. Unlike the warning from Act 1 to Act 2, this one is serious. If you click yes, you will not only fail any active side quests in Moonrise Towers (such as freeing the prisoners), but you’ll also lose access to all Act 1 areas.
Be absolutely sure you don’t want to do anything else on your quest list before you walk into the pool.
Once you complete the event in the pool, you’ll have several large combat encounters and a small dungeon left in Act 2. Once you’re on the other side of the dungeon’s boss fight, you’ll be Baldur’s Gate (well, Rivington, at least) bound!
Where does Act 1 finish and Act 2 begin?
If you read the first two sections here and it all went over your head, chances are you’re still in Act 1. But characters start asking to meet you in Baldur’s Gate well before Act 2 even starts, so it’s certainly understandable how you found your way to us and this guide.
If you’re curious when you’ll reach Act 2 (so you can then reach Act 3 and Baldur’s Gate), there are a few possible triggers. The basic idea is that you’ll change Acts when you reach the Shadow-touched Lands, where you’ll find Last Light Inn and several of the game’s recurring characters. You can do this via The Mountain Pass or The Underdark.
As you’re walking into Act 2, the game will threaten you, saying you’re reaching a point of no return, but it’s mostly lying. Still, time will pass, so any time-sensitive quests are best finished before you move on.