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The Sims 4 guide: Best Expansion, Game, and Stuff Packs

Which packs should you invest in?

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Sims playing in the snow with a weird snowman in the background Image: Maxis/Electronic Arts
Julia Lee (she/her) is a guides producer, writing guides for games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Genshin Impact. She helped launch the Rift Herald in 2016.

The Sims 4 has lots of downloadable content in the forms of Expansion Packs, Game Packs, Stuff Packs, and more recently, Kits. These are all paid packages that add a plethora of new content to the game, whether it’s the ability to have a hot tub in your yard or the addition of magic and spells. Our The Sims 4 DLC guide details the best Expansion Packs, Game Packs, and Stuff Packs, according to the biggest Sims fans at Polygon.

The Sims 4 DLC, explained and priced

Expansion Packs typically add new gameplay systems, like seasons or the ability to own retail stores, while also adding tons of hairstyles, clothing, and furnishing objects. They cost $39.99.

Game Packs are smaller than Expansion Packs, but they can also add systems like magic. They also include hairstyles, clothing, and furnishings, but much less than Expansion Packs. Game Packs cost $19.99.

Stuff Packs are even smaller and usually only include a handful of hairstyles, clothing, and furniture items. Stuff Packs cost $9.99.

Kits are even tinier than Stuff Packs and only include a few items, some of which add a new small mechanic to the game, like vacuuming. Kits are $4.99.

Below we’ll talk about our favorite Expansion, Game, and Stuff Packs that add our favorite elements to The Sims 4. Of course, you don’t need all (or any) of these to play the games, but these are the ones we like the most.

The Sims 4: City Living Expansion Pack

I do not know why, but the Apartment and City-themed Sims packs are always my favorite (**blows a kiss to The Sims 2: Apartment Life, my buggy beloved**). I like having NPC Sims live close by to my own Sims, and I like the immersion of having the world directly available for interaction — my Sims can wake up in the morning and order a coffee at the stand, just like I do!

City Living adds a bunch of unique neighborhoods in the metropolis of San Myshuno, each with its own aesthetic and quirks, as well as some cool furniture and clothes. You can also attend Sim Comic-Con, which I think is hilarious. — Petrana Radulovic

The Sims 4: Cats and Dogs Expansion Pack

The ability to give your Sims pets is a game changer (literally), thanks to Cats and Dogs. Adding animals to your household is fun, and it may be the thing your Sim family is missing. There’s also the welcome addition of Brindleton Bay, a beautiful cape town.

While the game is technically limited to cats and dogs, there’s a fox within the dog breeds and a raccoon in the cat breeds, if you want something a little bit more spicy. — Julia Lee

The Sims 4: Seasons Expansion Pack

In addition to adding the titular seasons to the game, the Seasons Expansion Pack adds lots of fun plants and holidays. The change in temperature and seasons also gives you an excuse to hook your Sim up with multiple outfits, rather than just having them switch from career clothes to their regular clothes every day. — JL

The Sims 4: Cottage Living Expansion Pack

There is no cozier Expansion Pack for The Sims 4 than Cottage Living. It pulls the best parts of The Sims 4 and makes them better. There are more animals to pet and befriend, like cows, foxes, and chickens. Gardening has been expanded, and I can do more than just tend to my flowers. I can grow pumpkins and other vegetables, and share the delights with a new community in Henford-on-Bagley.

Cottage Living has also done something that other Expansion Packs have failed to do for me. Primarily, I play The Sims 4 as a builder, and it’s less frequent that I let the families and homes I’ve built play out as stories in-game. But in Cottage Living, the community elements of the game added some structure to The Sims 4 that made gameplay feel as approachable as building. I wanted to explore the world, to pick mushrooms and meet locals, as a means of completing the given quests and side tasks. The small favors in Cottage Living don’t overwhelm the game with structure or instructions — they’re easy to ignore, if that’s your call — but create enough of a wireframe around my world that I want to engage in it more.

Focusing on building, Cottage Living also just has a lot of dang cute things to add to the home. Who doesn’t love a cottagecore cabin? — Nicole Carpenter

The Sims 4: Vampires Game Pack

I’m a sucker for the supernatural, and The Sims 4: Vampires delivers in spades. Vampire Sims have a unique array of powers that make them better, stronger, and scarier than other Sims. The trade-off is that they require plasma, which is most easily obtained by dazing and drinking from their friends and neighbors. Add in a fun array of dramatic makeup, stone gargoyles, and other haunting props to keep around your vampire mansion, and it’s a solid pack.

Supernatural Sims are always a blast, and the vampires have some very cool powers that they can unlock over time. Manipulate the emotions of those around you, or simply teleport to work. Each Vampire also has a dark form, which is twice as much dolly dress up per Sim. It’s a winning formula that only gets better when combined with other pieces of DLC. — Cass Marshall

The Sims 4: Parenthood Game Pack

I have already gone on record about how much I hate raising toddlers in The Sims 4, but the Parenthood pack makes the whole process ... dare I say, enjoyable? Parenthood adds a ton of cute items, centered around family and kids. As a Sims player who prefers recreating realism versus going on funky supernatural adventures (don’t get me wrong — I still love funky supernatural adventures), packs that add the extra oomf of realism always do it for me.

Parenthood really adds some cute specific things, like kids going through phases, family projects, and a little family memo board to set curfews on! It’s the sort of life simulation that really gets me going with the Sims. — PR

The Sims 4: Tiny Living Stuff Pack

This is the only Stuff Pack that really tickles my fancy. The Sims 4: Tiny Living Stuff lets you make Tiny Homes, a special type of Residential Lot that comes with perks if you’re able to make it small enough. It also includes lots of space-saving objects, like a Murphy bed and bookshelves that also have TVs. — JL

The Sims 4: Nifty Knitting Stuff Pack

The Sims 4’s Nifty Knitting Stuff Pack is one of the essentials for me — I want my Sims to be able to do the stuff that I like to do. It’s a perfect hobby for a Sim, because it’s a way to pass the time and gain a skill, but it’s also another way to make money in the game. (Sims can sell their knitting project on an Esty-like shop called Plopsy.) When it came out in July 2020, I was also very impressed with the knitting animation in the game; knitting is notoriously difficult to get right in media.

Alongside the act of knitting, the Stuff Pack also added, to put it simply, a lot of cozy stuff — yarn balls, crochet and embroidery decorations, and a whole bunch of knitted sweaters. — NC