What Is LEGO City? An Introduction To The LEGO Theme

LEGO City is a widely popular LEGO theme that revolves around all aspects of city living, giving toy collectors the opportunity to construct a miniaturised metropolis.

If you have a fascination with the complexities of urban environments — the buildings that form the cityscape and the people who keep everything running smoothly — these LEGO sets are a great way to explore the inner workings of a thriving city. They not only provide hours of fun, but also have an educational benefit (particularly for young children).

Keep reading to learn about what’s included in the LEGO City theme, as well as the various sub-themes that expand upon its brick foundations.

When Did LEGO City Come Out?

LEGOLAND Town Police Set


When the City theme first appeared in the LEGO brand’s selection of products, it was known as LEGOLAND Town. Coinciding with the release of the original minifigures in 1978, this line aimed to depict everyday city life with new building and vehicle sets, which more closely resembled models than functional toys.

In 2005, the theme was officially rebranded to LEGO City, and by this time, the scope of its sets had expanded tremendously. Gone were the model-like buildings and vehicles, replaced with a wider range of products that boasted more detailed designs, interactive features, and storylines centering on fully realised characters (who can also be seen in the animated TV series LEGO City Adventures).

While early LEGO City sets focused on traditional staples of cities (such as construction sites, emergency-service stations, and transportation), later releases started to explore more adventurous concepts: space exploration, deep-sea diving, artic expeditions, and so forth. This added a new dimension to the theme, nurturing the imaginations of fans.

What Is Included In The LEGO City Theme?

LEGO City Train Station Set


Most LEGO City sets typically include a variety of vehicles, buildings, and minifigures (packaged with different accessories). These often feature moving parts and interactive elements, which add to the authenticity of the sets and the possibilities for play.

Designed with builders of all ages and abilities in mind (though the concept does predominantly appeal to children), the sets range from the basic to the complex. You can assemble small-scale police chases involving cars and motorcycles or put your brain to work as you construct entire lunar research bases.

This level of diversity is well suited to those who want to role-play different professions and scenarios, but LEGO City sets can similarly be displayed if one’s aim is aesthetics, not playtime.

LEGO City Sub-themes

LEGO City Stuntz Set


A significant reason why the theme has endured throughout the decades is that it has expanded its product selection with sub-themes. Simple vehicles and buildings are a great starting point for any LEGO display, but it’s the niche vocations and activities that add those much-needed layers, ensuring that there’s always something new to uncover.

Expectedly, the long lifespan of LEGO City has resulted in dozens of different sub-themes being created. Some notable examples — most of which are still in use — are Fire, Police, Farm, Airport, Arctic, Coast Guard, Construction, Trains, Deep Sea Explorers, Wildlife Rescue, and Stuntz.

Among these sub-themes, the most popular sets are no doubt those in Fire and Police. These have been flagships since the early days of LEGO City, with loads of sets depicting the emergency situations in which these essential workers might be involved.

To satisfy the wants of veteran collectors, new sub-themes continue to be invented. A fairly modern addition, debuted in 2021, is the prior-mentioned Stuntz, which puts the spotlight on daredevils. This demonstrates the immense variation across the sets and the significant changes that have occurred since the days of LEGOLAND Town, as tarmacked roads have been replaced with flame-engulfed ramps and road vehicles with monster trucks.

Who Should Purchase LEGO City Sets?

LEGO City Space Sub-theme


As mentioned, LEGO City is a theme that can enjoyed by all, regardless of age. That’s not to say, however, that every toy collector will want — or should want — to pick up every set. You might prefer to focus on a specific niche, such as the Fire or Police themes, or you might find that some sets don’t have a place in your display.

Take the Space sub-theme, for example. As enticing as a space station may be, you’ll likely need a special place to display it, separate from the likes of Deep Sea Explorers and Wildlife Rescue. If you’re struggling for room, don’t feel that you must have everything.

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Michael Adamson

Michael Adamson


Michael is a life-long fan of all things related to DC Comics, Marvel, and Star Wars. When he's not reading, you can find him playing football or running.