Since The Sims 4 was released in 2014, EA has created a whopping 14 major expansion packs, plus numerous smaller game pack and stuff pack additions. With all of these options (which don’t come cheap, mind you), Sims 4 fans may be wondering which expansion packs are the most essential for them to try.
While some of this depends on your preferred gameplay style, there are at least five core expansion packs that most Simmers agree are essential to get the most out of your Sims 4 experience.
Cottage Living is perfect for anyone who loves the Cottagecore aesthetic or wants their Sims to lead a country lifestyle. This expansion adds to the Henford-on-Begley village world full of farmers and farm animals.
You can raise and care for cows, chickens, and llamas, which provide consumable goods you will use for a variety of cozy activities in the game. You’ll also spot foxes, rabbits, and birds roaming around your lot that you can interact with in more limited ways.
The expansion also adds a lot of challenges that ask you to cook only with fresh ingredients from your country life, and interactions with villagers that turn into mini-quests to earn rewards. You’ll also unlock new crops, recipes, and country-life activities like canning and crafting with llama wool. This expansion adds a lot of new gameplay, making it one of the most worthwhile packs to grab.
Being able to experience weather is one of the key aspects that make the Sims an immersive experience, so it’s honestly surprising this was fifth on the list for EA’s expansions to The Sims 4. The primary thing added to your game by this pack is that your Sims will cycle through Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter seasons.
Each season also comes with new seasonal activities and holidays that your Sims can celebrate throughout the year. Temperature mechanics also come into play, with Sims potentially overheating or catching a chill if they aren’t dressed properly for the weather (and yes, this adds new Death possibilities to the game as well).
This game also adds some fun new gardening features, including a Gardener career and the option to be a Scout as a teen. It’s honestly hard to imagine The Sims 4 without the seasons of the year, making this pack a must-have in your arsenal.
Get to Work
Get to Work was the first major expansion released for The Sims 4, and it’s a good one. Not only does Get to Work add a few key careers to your game, but it also lets you go to work with your Sims! Get to Work adds the Detective, Doctor, and Scientist career tracks to your game and allows you to start your own retail business.
The workday gameplay can get repetitive pretty quickly as you rotate through a core set of daily tasks for each career. However, being able to control your Sim in the workplace adds a layer of immersion that is essential for the player who likes a full sample of life in the world of the Sims. And if you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own business, this feature is a phenomenal addition.
If family dynamics are your thing, Growing Together is a must-have for your Sims 4 collection.
Released in 2023, Growing Together caused a few interesting glitches around release but has since made its way into the pantheon of fan-favorite expansions. This pack adds the San Sequoia world to your Sims game and social and developmental dynamics to make growing up a lifelong event for your characters.
Growing Together adds a ton of new features for children in the game, including new items, aspirations, and events like slumber parties and baby showers. You also gain milestones and fun new possibilities for your Sims to have midlife crises, burnout, or get laid off from work. For some players, this all might sound a little too real, but it definitely adds new layers of realism if you’re trying to make your Sims world feel more fleshed out.
High School Years
University life has been a longstanding tradition in the Sims, but High School Years is the first pack that lets you experience high school with your teenage characters. With High School Years, players get the option to follow their teenage Sims to school and guide them through their studies.
The expansion also adds a host of new aspirations for teens, as well as new after-school activities like cheerleading and American football. High School Years also add nontraditional career options like Video Game Streamer and Influencer, which come with new Entrepreneur skills.
For players who like to take their Sims through the entire lifespan, High School Years adds a ton of depth to the teenage years.
We all play The Sims 4 a little differently, but expansion packs are essential to keeping the experience fresh and fun. These five essentials are a must for Sims 4 fans to get the most out of their game.