Animal Crossing: City Folk Walkthrough

Ease into the city life with our Animal Crossing: City Folk walkthrough. Tips on making money and finding items within!


Animal Crossing is a game quite unlike most others…in fact, it's barely a game at all! At least, not in the sense that you have any specific "goals" or "missions" to accomplish. Oh no, that's far too pedestrian. The only goals in Animal Crossing are those that you set for yourself. If you want to become rich and buy the biggest house you can, have at it! Or if you're more the leisure type, perhaps catching bugs or going fishing is more your style. It's totally up to you…and that's where we come in--with so much to do, it can all be a bit daunting. But with our easy-to-follow guide, we'll be there to ease you into the city life.

Here's what you'll find in GameSpot's Animal Crossing City Folk Game Guide:

  • Getting Started: You're the new person in town! Check here to learn what Animal Crossing is all about.
  • Your Town: There's a lot to see and do in your town. Learn more about them here!
  • City Life: Get the lowdown on what all you can do in the city.
  • Activities: There's much to do in your town, get the scoop here.
  • Money, money, money: Get some quick tips on making some fast-cash here!
  • Secrets: Your Animal Crossing town has a few secrets.

Getting Started

There's a lot to do in Animal Crossing, so let's start from the beginning.

Before You Start…

Before you can catch a bus to your new town, you'll first have to setup a few basic things, including the date and time. But more interestingly, if you have Animal Crossing: Wild Word for the Nintendo DS, you can actually import your character and play as him or her in City Folk! And better yet, the items you added to your catalog in Wild World will also be carried over to City Folk, where they can be purchased from Tom Nook at rock-bottom prices! Once you're done setting things up, it's time to catch the bus to town!

The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round

Your Animal Crossing life begins on a bus ride to your new home town. A short ways into the ride, a friendly cat named Rover will sit across from you and begin making small talk. Although he may seem nosy, the questions he asks plant the seeds of your future, so answer wisely!

Choosing a Home

Once the bus drops you off, you're free to explore the town. But one of your first tasks should be choosing a place to stay. Check your map to locate the four vacant houses scattered about. While the choice is yours, we strongly suggest choosing the one that's closest to Tom Nook's store--it'll save you a lot of time running back and forth in the long run.

Don't like your town?The town's layout is randomly each time you create a new file, so if you're not happy with how it looks or the way its laid out, simply start over to get a new one! But remember, everything will be lost, including your character, items, etc, so it's best to do this before you become too invested in your village.

Be friendly to your neighbors, as they'll often give you goodies in return.
Be friendly to your neighbors, as they'll often give you goodies in return.

After you've checked out some of the homes, a strange raccoon known as Tom Nook will be waiting for you outside. Turns out he's the landlord of this property, as well as the local shop owner, and he wants to know if you're interested in buying it. If you accept, he'll quickly put you to work in order to make your first payment.


Despite you having almost no say in the matter, working for Tom Nook isn't so bad. In fact, it gives you a chance to meet some of the town's residents and come to grips with how life in Animal Crossing works. The tasks are all pretty self-explanatory, and help cover the fundamentals of Animal Crossing. Once you've completed all of Nook's tasks, he'll let you off the hook. You're still going to have to make the payments on your home though!

Your Town

Okay, so you've moved in and completed Nook's job requirements, but there's still much to see and do--you've only scratched the surface!

Your Home

While your home is where you'll go to sleep and save your game, its primary use is to store all that stuff you find. Unfortunately, it starts quite small, with a living room and small bedroom above. But as you begin to make payments, Nook will eventually upgrade your home to bigger and better offerings, allowing you to store even more stuff! Here's the upgrade schedule, based on your payments:

  • 1st Expansion: 120,000 bells
  • 2nd Expansion: 248,000 bells
  • 3rd Expansion: 368,000 bells
  • 4th Expansion: 598,000 bells

Nook's Store

Apart from your home, Nook's store will probably be one of your most visited locations. If you need something, odds are Tom Nook can hook you up…for a price. Here you'll find all sorts of goods, from tools such as the axe and fishing rod, to wallpaper, flower seeds, and more. In addition, Nook will upgrade his store periodically, after you've spent a set amount of money:

  • 1st Expansion: 25,000 bells
  • 2nd Expansion: 90,000 bells
  • 3rd Expansion: 250,000 bells

The window on the left is for the Civic Center, while the one on the right is the Post Office.
The window on the left is for the Civic Center, while the one on the right is the Post Office.

Town Hall

The Town Hall doubles as both a civic center and post office, depending on which window you speak to Pelly through. On the Post Office side, you're able to send mail to other residents in town or post messages to your friends' Wii message board. As for the Civic Center side, you can check out the environmental state of your town, change the jingle heard whenever you interact with someone, or donate funds to help improve village life. If you donate enough money, special things will be built in town, such as:

  • A Bridge: 200,000
  • A Fountain: 500,000
  • A Lighthouse or Windmill: 1,000,000

Able Sisters

The Able Sisters are expert tailors who can outfit you in the latest fashions. Although their selection changes day by day, you can also create your very own shirt designs, for a small charge, of course.


Well, that's odd. Your town has a museum, but there's nothing on display! It's a good thing you've moved in, as you'll be able to donate the things you collect to be used as exhibits. These include: Fish, Insects, Fossils, and Paintings.

In addition, the museum is also home to an Observatory (where you can draw constellations in the sky) and The Roost, a relaxing coffee shop where you can enjoy a live musical performance every Saturday night, put on by the one and only K.K. Slider. If you dig his tunes, you can replay them on your home stereo with the CD he gives you after every performance.

Make sure to open the gate if you want to hang out with friends via wifi.
Make sure to open the gate if you want to hang out with friends via wifi.

The Gate

If you want to get away or just invite some friends to your town, then you'll have to visit the town gate to do so. The gate is always located in the same place of every town, along the northern wall. There you'll find two guards: Booker and Copper. Check in with Booker (the one on the left) if you want to find out what's going on in town, if there are any lost items, or change the town flag. Or talk to Copper if you wish to visit another friend's town or invite them to yours.

City Life

As the name suggests, you're no longer confined to the mere greenery of your village. Oh no, now you can catch the bus for a ride into the city! But don't let the fact that it's a city overwhelm you--it's really quite quaint and easy to navigate. Here's what you can find while there:

It sure is small for a city, but there's still a lot you can do.
It sure is small for a city, but there's still a lot you can do.

Shampoodle (Hours: 8am -- 9pm)

If you're feeling drab, stop by Shampoodle's for a makeover! And like most good hair stylists, the employees here are great conversationalists. In fact, the manner in which you answer her questions dictates what kind of hair style you wind up with! Or if you're not feeling up to getting a haircut, you can also put on a mask that looks just like your Mii!

Gracie (Hours: 9am -- 9pm)

Gracie runs the local clothing store, although the prices can be a bit steep. Because the clothing she sells is seasonal, you may want to hold out on purchasing until the new season for some steep discounts on the outdated goods--but beware, the item you want may be sold out! Her shop also closes the earliest (along with Shampoodle) so make sure to stop by before it gets too late.

The Marquee (Hours: 10am -- 11pm)

While the tickets may be expensive (hundreds of bells), attending Dr. Shrunk's comedy act is the only way to learn new facial expressions.

Katina's Fortunes (Hours: 10am -- midnight)

You don't have to be the superstitious type to reap the rewards of Katina's Fortunes! For a small price, she'll give read you your outlook, which you'll find may very well affect the things you find or encounter back in the village.

Redd's Secret Shop (Hours: 10am -- 1am)

Redd's back and sleazier than ever, only now he's opened a full-time shop in the city itself! Unfortunately, the shop is off-limits until you're offered an invitation. Try buttering up some of your neighbors back in town by giving them gifts and keeping them happy--eventually, one should offer you an invitation to Redd's shop, though you're not in the clear yet! You must still pay Redd 3,000 bells in order to gain access to his store. Once a member, you'll find he carries some high-priced, but rare items that can't be found anywhere else.

Auction House

Have something rare that you want to sell, but aren't happy with the price 'Nook is offering? Then the auction house is for you! Here you can put whatever you want up for grabs, and anyone on your friend list can bid on the item, potentially netting you some major cash! Likewise, you can also bid on what your friends have put up for sale in hopes of acquiring that perfect item.

Happy Room Academy HQ

The Happy Room Academy is responsible for rating how well rooms fit a particular theme. Try visiting their HQ to see an ideal room, as well as perform a few other activities.

Note:Unfortunately, the city is strictly a single-player affair. If you're playing with friends via Wi-Fi, none of you will be able to catch a ride on the bus to visit the city. So make sure you take care of your city needs before departing for a friend's town, or inviting others into yours.


Alright, so now that you're familiar with the village and nearby city, it's time to explore the daily activities that your village offers.


You can customize the look of your village by planting trees and flowers. Planting flowers is easy--just buy some seeds and spring them around to grow some lovely plants. Planting trees is a bit more involved though. First, you're going to need a shovel (which you can purchase from Nook's store). Dig a hole, then plant a fruit of some kind inside and cover it up. Now water the sprout that emerges every day to eventually cause a tree to grow a week or so later. The resulting tree will then grow the very fruit you planted every three days, which not only looks nice, but can also be great source of income.

Try to aim the lure so it lands just in front of the fish, unlike our friend here.
Try to aim the lure so it lands just in front of the fish, unlike our friend here.


Nook sells the fishing rod for a mere 400 clams and it's well worth your while. With it, you can catch fish from the river or ocean. The fish appear as dark shadows under the water--cast the lure so it's just a few feet in front of them and wait. If you caught the fish's attention, it may start nibbling at the line; wait for it to latch on, then pull the line back to claim your prize (sometimes you may end up catching junk instead--don't sweat it, it happens randomly). Now that you have a fish, you can either sell it for money or donate it to the museum.

The type of fish you find depends on three factors: The current season (Summer, Fall, etc), the time of day (morning, night, etc), and where you go fishing in your town (river, ocean, waterfall).

Tip! If you're looking to save a few bucks, you can acquire a free fishing rod by speaking to Tortimer during any of the fishing tournaments!

Bug Catching

Catching bugs is another popular past time in Animal Crossing, and good ol' Nook can set you up with a bug net for a few hundred bells. With it, you can catch many of the different insects that inhabit your village. Because they're so small, they can be hard to find. Try shaking tree, hitting rocks, and doing other things to reveal them. Once you've caught some, you can either sell them to Nook or donate them to the museum.

Tip! Like with the Fishing Rod, you can net a free net by speaking to Tortimer during the "Bug Off" competitions.

Use the slingshot to shoot the balloons out of the sky!
Use the slingshot to shoot the balloons out of the sky!


If you keep an eye on the sky, you may have noticed a balloon carrying a gift float by on occasion. The only way to shoot them down is by purchasing the slingshot from Nook's store. Once you have it, take aim and release to knock it out of the sky and grab the prize.

Holidays & Special Events

Remember, time passes in your town just as it does in real life. That means that many events we celebrate in the real world are also celebrated in your town, at the exact same time! In addition, your village also offers many of its own events on specific days of the year. Here's a list of the major holidays you can expect to partake in throughout the year (list corresponds to American holidays and may vary by region):

January 1st: New Year's Day
February 2nd: Groundhog Day
February 14th: Valentines Day
April 1st: April Fool's Day
April 22nd: Nature Day
May (2nd Sunday): Mother's Day
June (3rd Sunday): Father's Day
August (Every Sunday): Fireworks Show
September (1st Monday): Labor Day
October 31st: Halloween
November 1st: Mushroom Finding Begins
November 30th: Mushroom Finding Ends
December 25th: The Night that Jingle Comes to Town (Christmas)
December 31st: New Year's Eve Countdown

There are many more events that occur throughout the year, such as monthly fishing tournaments and bug hunts, but their dates vary, so make sure to check back every so often so you don't miss anything!

Money money money

Money makes the world go around and life in Animal Crossing is no exception. With it, you will be able to purchase tools from Tom Nook, such as the fishing rod or shovel, which are useful for making additional cash. Also, you won't be able to upgrade your home (thereby increasing your storage space) without it. So while earning money isn't required, it's pretty essential.

However, earning money, like in real life, can often be a time-consuming, and sometimes even grueling challenge, depending on how fast you need it. Yeah, we know--you want money and want it now. But the most fruitful money making schemes are all based on limited resources--the very resources that renew every few days. So if you're patient, playing for 10-15 minute bursts every day will eventually net you the money you need. But if you're impatient, you can always just set your Wii's internal clock ahead a day or two, but you didn't hear that from us!

In general, the main way to earn money is by selling things, whether it be clothes, furniture, fish, etc. You'll collect many objects merely by interacting with the villagers and helping them with their errands, but this is often a slow and laborious process. As such, there are a few tricks you can use to help net you some fast cash:


The morning tide can always be counted on to bring a few seashells with it. Although they're not worth a ton, try selling them to Tom Nook for some quick, easy cash.

The bugs can be hard to spot, such as the one on the flower here.
The bugs can be hard to spot, such as the one on the flower here.

Bug Catching

We're not quite sure what Tom Nook does with the bugs he buys, all we know is that selling the ones you catch can be another profitable activity. Remember, try shaking tree or hitting rocks to expose the little buggers, then sweep them up with your net.


The fishing rod only costs 400 bells, and opens up a whole new avenue for bells. Although it may not be the fastest method, it's one of the most reliable, outside of your daily collections of fruit and seashells. But remember, the type of fish (and thus, the amount they sell for) changes depending on the season and time of day.

Dig Spots

Every day, three new cracks appear in the ground (they look like an "X"), though they can be hard to spot. If you dig in those very spots, you'll find either a fossil, gyroid, or some random item. Some fossils (after being identified at the museum) and gyroids will net you some major cash if sold, but keep in mind that some are pretty rare, and you may prefer to donate them to the museum or keep them in your house for decoration.

Selling fruit is one of the easiest and fastest methods to make some quick cash early in the game.
Selling fruit is one of the easiest and fastest methods to make some quick cash early in the game.


Gathering your town's fruit is another quick way to earn some bucks. Selling your town's native fruit nets you 100 bells, while selling non-natives fruits will net you 5x times as much (500 bells!). So try and plant as many trees as you can using non-native fruit to increase your cash flow. Oh, and be sure to stuff your pockets full with your own fruit before visiting a friend's town, as you can sell your fruit there for the same increased price (assuming their town has a different native fruit).

Money Rocks

Yup, you read right. Each day, one of the rocks in your village will yield money bags if you slam it with your shovel. However, as soon as the rock drops the first bag, an invisible 10-second timer begins, during which time you can continue to hit the rock and reap the rewards (each subsequent bag doubles in value. So the first is worth 200, then 400, 800, etc). But as soon as time's up, the rock will cease to provide you with anymore. But because you bounce back from the rock with each hit, getting in repeated hits can be difficult. Try digging a whole on the other side of you and keep your back to it while hitting the rock--it should hold you in place allowing you to continue shoveling away at the rock. Or if you're in it for the long haul, try planting a tree one space away from each rock in your village, that way you'll always have something to keep your back to when shoveling away.

Money Trees

If you have the golden shovel, try planting a money bag in the ground. If you're lucky, it will grow into a tree and provide 3 money bags, ripe for the picking (essentially tripling your original investment). But beware: a Money Tree may not always grow, however, you can improve your odds by planting a bag worth more.

The Stalk Market

Animal Crossing features a simplified version of the "stock market," known cutely as the "stalk market." In short, you can purchase turnips (or "stalks") at a set price (generally somewhere around $100) and then re-sell them to Nook at whatever his asking price is, which changes daily. Sometimes its more than what you paid, other times its less--if you play your cards right, this can be an incredibly profitable activity. But here's the kicker: the turnips go bad after seven days, meaning you need to get rid of them before the following Sunday, otherwise you'll have wasted the money you used to purchase them. As such, buying turnips can be risky business, since if you hold out too long for a good price, you may end up with less than you invested!

However, there are a few tricks you can utilize to ensure you always get the sweet end of the deal. First, you don't have to sell the turnips in your town--oh no, you can sell them in any of your friend's towns, and at their prices! So if one of your friend's town is buying them at a high price, stuff your pockets full of turnips and head on over!

So where do you get said turnips? Look for Joan, a turnip peddler, who swings by your town every Sunday morning between the hours of 6am to noon. She moves around, so it may take some exploring to find her.


House Expansions

Each time you pay off Nook, he'll upgrade your home to be bigger and better. Here's the schedule for when he'll expand your domain:

  • 1st Expansion: 120,000 bells
  • 2nd Expansion: 248,000 bells
  • 3rd Expansion: 368,000 bells
  • 4th Expansion: 598,000 bells

Nook's Store Expansions

Nook will upgrade his store periodically, after you've spent a set amount of money buying things in his store:

  • 1st Expansion: 25,000 bells
  • 2nd Expansion: 90,000 bells
  • 3rd Expansion: 250,000 bells

Town Hall Donation Rewards

If you donate enough money to Town Hall, special things will be built in town, such as:

  • A Bridge: 200,000
  • A Fountain: 500,000
  • A Lighthouse or Windmill: 1,000,000


  • Bug Trophy: Catch the largest bug during the bug off event.
  • Fish Trophy: Catch the largest fish during the fishing tournament.

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