Best Riften Mods For Skyrim: Overhauls, Homes & More

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In the southeastern corner of Skyrim, where the climate gets warmer and the people sleazier, lies the city of Riften – one of the most important centers of commerce in the realm.

The city owes much of its success to its location, next to Lake Honrich and close to both Cyrodiil and Morrowind.

Regrettably, time and the civil war have made it fall into disrepair and forced its leaders to show their true colors.

But is that all there is for Riften? Can nothing be done about it?

The following Skyrim mods aim to bring Riften back from the ashes with remodeled structures, more housing, and just giving everything a nice coat of paint.

If you’re looking to revamp Riften then you’re in the right corner of the Internet.


10. MRF’s Riften

MRF's Riften mod for Skyrim

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We’ll kick things off with a wonderful Riften retexture by the hand of creator Mo Ru Feng.

MRF’s Riften gives the biggest city in The Rift a more oriental look with beautiful ceilings that blow the originals out of the water.

There are many wooden structures in Riften, and with this mod, you’ll notice even more. The new wood textures are simply delightful, and they give the city a much cleaner look.

Plus the new textures are available in 1K, 2K, and 4K resolution.


9. Wizkid’s Riften & Ratway

Wizkid's Riften & Ratway Skyrim mod

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Modder Wizkid34 brings us their ideal Riften, replacing textures and meshes both topside and underground for a cohesive, updated look.

This mod tries to make Riften much more realistic as a medieval port town, while also helping it fit in better with the environment of The Rift.

Something that sets this add-on apart from the rest is the care put into improving the Ratway.

It may be a haven for unsavory characters, but it’s still a vital part of the city.

This mod also comes in four versions including 2K and 4K, with and without parallax mapping.


8. KG’s Riften

KG's Riften mod for Skyrim

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Speaking of parallax, check out Kiddgimmick’s incredibly detailed Riften overhaul, which brings together the most realistic textures with extensive parallax usage.

To recap, parallax is a technique by which you simulate depth by manipulating the textures of objects in the world.

The concept was first applied to video games in the 1980s to create pseudo-3D landscapes with sprite sizes, though there’s a world of difference between that and Skyrim parallax textures…

The result here is simply a better-looking Riften, though it may be hard to pin down the effect.

It’s easier to notice on the city’s stone walls.


7. Lakeside Riften Manor

Lakeside Riften Manor Skyrim mod

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I’ll be straight with you:

I’m not a fan of Honeyside.

The idea of a home by the docks overlooking a beautiful lake is dreamy. But something is boring and depressing about Honeyside.

If you also hate Honeyside but still want to settle down in Riften (because you don’t value your safety, I’d guess) then consider this beautiful Lakeside Manor by JohnnyQuest101.

It’s ideal for a well-known member of the Dawguard or a wealthy Thieves’ Guild kingpin. The home includes four bedrooms and it can house up to 6 other people, including children and followers.


6. CleverCharff’s Riften 4K

CleverCharff’s Riften 4K mod

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You’ve probably guessed by now, but I’m not a big fan of Riften.

Living in this city doesn’t seem that bad – it’s better than Windhelm by a longshot.

But everything looks remarkably run-down and devoid of joy.

So far, CleverCharff’s 4K Riften is one of my favorite Riften overhauls because it’s not afraid to profoundly change the city’s look to something better.

I think most retexture mods try to keep Riften’s gray lichen-y appeal.

But this mod makes everything a lot more vivid.


5. Somnolent Nook – Small Player Home

Somnolent Nook – Small Player Home mod for Skyrim

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I don’t know anyone in their right mind who’d choose to settle down in Riften over Solitude, Whiterun, or Falkreath.

If I’m staying here, it’s temporary – and I’d rather keep a low profile.

The Somnolent Nook by Aureoy is the perfect base of operations for an aspiring thief or heroic vigilante.

It sits in the attic of fishing entrepreneur/adulterer Bolli, and he’ll probably rent it for you in exchange for keeping quiet about his affair with Haelga.

While small, it has almost everything you could need for subsistence in Riften.

There’s sufficient storage space, a hidden wall safe, an enchanting book, and a tiny alchemy lab. Of course, you can also cook next to the fireplace.


4. Ravengate – Riften Underground

Ravengate – Riften Underground Skyrim mod

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Once you’ve settled into your discreet abode, you better put on your finest rags and climb down to the Ratway for tonight’s big event – the arena.

Created by modder Enai Siaion, Ravengate introduces the Dragonborn to Riften’s very own Fight Club.

Every night between 8:00pm and 11:00pm, rough and tough fighters with a bloody past duke it out for fame, glory, and monetary rewards.

You can come and watch – or try your hand against 10 increasingly challenging opponents.

It’s not all about fighting, though.

There are also 14 voice-acted characters to meet, lots of unique rewards, and a sizable underground ruin to explore.


3. Skyland Riften

Skyland Riften mod for Skyrim

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We’ve seen some solid Riften retextures so far, but my favorite is definitely Skyland Riften by JohnRose81.

This mod offers 2K textures created through photogrammetry, a technique used to make hyper-detailed 3D models.

You’ve seen this kind of texture in games like Forza Horizon 5 – and now it’s available for Skyrim.

Skyland Riften is the last in a long series of retextures, including Skyland Winterhold, Skyland Markarth, and Skyland Solitude.


2. Riften Docks Overhaul

Riften Docks Overhaul Skyrim mod

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Riften is a lakeside city characterized by its docks – a booming center of commerce before the civil war burned down bridges, coated the land with bandits, and made trade more than a little challenging.

The civil war may have ruined trade, but it sure as hell didn’t make Riften’s docks so… underwhelming.

The Riften Docks Overhaul by AgentW is the result of combining several top-quality mods.

These include the Riften Fish Market, Better Docks, and the Deck and Pier at Honeyside, among a few others. They all get merged into this one massive overhaul – so now you can just install this one mod and get a library of new stuff.

And if you’ve been playing Skyrim for a while, the difference is like night and day.

Riften has never looked this prosperous.


1. Southwoods District – Riften Extension

Southwoods District – Riften Extension mod for Skyrim

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My biggest gripe with Skyrim cities is how small and unrealistic they seem at first glance.

I’m from a big city, and one thing you can count on when it comes to big cities is continued growth.

Unless Riften’s walls were erected yesterday, you’d expect to see a fair bit of development around such an important commercial enclave.

Southwoods District makes Riften more lifelike by expanding the city proper beyond its walls.

Exiting the city through the south, you’ll find seven new buildings, common outdoor areas, and 20 NPCs with dialogue and solid AI.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.