Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see Riften.

Riften, referred to as Rifton in earlier records,[1][2] is a city situated in the southeastern corner of The Rift, at the eastern end of Lake Honrich, with a good portion of the city actually spilling over the water atop large wooden piers. It is the southernmost and easternmost of all the cities in Skyrim. Fort Greenwall is a short distance beyond the guard towers at the northern gate.

City layout and social dynamic

Riften Seal

The symbol of the Rift.

The entire city is bisected by a large canal that used to serve as access for small cargo boats, but lately has fallen into disrepair, decay, and stagnation thanks to the lack of trade during the Civil War. Despite this, Riften remains a bustling center of commerce; the Black-Briar Meadery has a near monopoly on the sale and distribution of a Nord's favorite pastime: drinking.

The city is located in the beautiful Autumnal Forest region of Skyrim, and that beauty has encroached upon the city, in the form of wondrous foliage and generally pleasant, if not sometimes overcast weather. But most of Riften's structures are wooden, and the city gives off an old and run-down feeling, which often takes visitors by surprise. Not that this bothers the residents, who see Riften for what it truly is—a bustling, energetic city with a strong economy fueled by hard-working fishermen and mead makers. Despite the fact that the current Jarl in office is Laila Law-Giver, the residents understand that the city is, for all intents and purposes, actually owned and operated by Maven Black-Briar, and in order to survive and thrive, one needs to adhere to her rules. Maven's hold over the city is so great, that in the event of an Imperial victory, Maven takes the position of Jarl after Laila is removed and banished to live in Windhelm in the Palace of the Kings and remarks that it is only as a title, with her son serving as her steward.

Despite the city's economic strength, it holds a darker side. The home of the notorious Thieves Guild in Skyrim, Riften also sees much corruption in the form of Maven Black-Briar, especially when dealing with rivals. Many poor residents frequent the less desirable areas and thieves, both Guild and freelance, take advantage of the frequent mist, dark alleys, and the Canal, preying on travelers and citizens alike. Such conditions reflect on the city; deaths are common and people will often fight in the street over dropped items.

TESV City Riften Panorama


The northern, eastern, and southern edges of the city, built on the shore of Lake Honrich, are called Dryside. The bulk of the town's residence sits on Dryside, and is split from the western edge known as Plankside, by the Riften canal. Most of the more affluent homes are located on the eastern edge of Dryside, as well as the Temple of Mara, while the southern portion of the city holds the Honorhall Orphanage and Mistveil Keep.


Riften Pier Concept Art

A view of Riften's plankside.

The western edge of the city is known as Plankside, built on the waters of Lake Honrich, and serves as the city's business district. The market, shops, meadery, fish hatchery, and the Bee and Barb Inn are all located on Plankside; essentially Dryside is residence while Plankside is business. The buildings on Plankside have been built atop of wooden docks, and the district is old and ramshackle. There are three main docks projecting from Plankside onto the lake, one owned completely by the Black-Briar Meadery and the other two used for commerce and fishery.

The Riften Canal is the lower level of the city; small residences and an alchemy shop are built into the moisture ridden stone. Dark and traversed only along rickety catwalks, the canal is avoided by the more affluent citizens of Riften, as it is commonplace for muggings and foul play. It also contains the entrance to The Ratway, the city under the city.

The Ratway

TESV Ragged Flagon Cistern

The Ragged Flagon Cistern.

Riften is notorious for being the home of the Thieves Guild, and residents urge travelers away from the sprawling tunnel system. If successfully navigated, one might find The Ragged Flagon, the headquarters of the Guild, home to a tavern and several shops of its own. However, that would mean crossing the dark, tight tunnels and avoiding those too dangerous or outcast not to warrant residency in Riften proper or membership in the Guild, leaving them to try and survive on their own wherever they can in the Ratway.

First visit

TESV Banner Riften

The banner of Riften.

Upon approaching the city gates, the Riften guards attempt to make the Dragonborn pay a "visitor's tax," which varies according to level. With a high enough Speech skill, however, they can persuade or intimidate the guard. If recognized that "this is obviously a shakedown," the guard tells the Dragonborn to "keep this quiet," and go on ahead after unlocking the gate for them. It is, however, possible to get into the city without using the main gate, by using the entrance of Black-Briar Meadery on the docks, then going through the meadery into Riften.

These guards are suspected to be accomplices of Brynjolf, as he later addresses the Dragonborn with full knowledge of the scam call out. To avoid the situation entirely, one can have themselves arrested and jailed in Riften, or sneak in through the meadery, or by pickpocketing the guard's gate key. Also, if a dragon attacks while talking with the guards, they will run to attack the dragon and the Dragonborn can get inside after the fight while the guards are walking back to their posts to resume their duties.

There are also town guards guarding the docks. These guards cannot be persuaded or even bribed to be let in, directing the player to the north gate.

After entering the city, the Dragonborn will be greeted by Maul, who will say "I don't know you, you in Riften lookin' for trouble?" If the Dragonborn replies with "I'm not scared of you," Maul will tell them "That's the wrong answer," followed by instructions to keep out of the Black-Briar business. Once Maven become Jarl, Maul serves as her bodyguard.

Thieves Guild

Thieves Guild Emblem

The Guild "Shadowmarks allow the Thieves Guild members to secretly communicate with each other.

Points of interest




Wedding Ceremony

Marriages take place at the Temple of Mara.

Jarl's Residence


Outside the City

Purchasable property

The house in Riften (Honeyside) costs 8000 Gold and can be bought from the steward, Anuriel, after Jarl Laila or Maven Black-Briar approves. This approval is gained by performing deeds for Riften's citizens.



Mjoll the Lioness, a citizen of Riften.


Thieves Guild quests

Miscellaneous quests




  • Within the jail cell the Dragonborn is taken to upon arrest, there is an "escape route" Shadowmark, of a bisected circle with a triangle underneath; to the left of this is the interaction "Activate, Broken Shackle," which causes the guards to attack the Dragonborn. This was fixed in Patch 1.5. The shackle now opens an escape route.
  • One of the gates to Riften is boarded up. A path leads from the boarded gate to the Morrowind border, although the border gate is not traversable. Although according to the official game guide, that gate was boarded up due to a large amount of casualties from bandit attacks that happened right outside that gate. See Riften, in the official paper guide for Skyrim, original edition.
  • Riften is the only walled city in Skyrim that has three entrances from the open world.
  • Even if Riften is under Imperial control, there still will be a statue of Talos and representing Shrine of Talos near the graveyard.


This section contains bugs related to Riften (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  PS3   When entering Riften, three Spriggans will be at the entrance with the Dragonborn. They are non-hostile and do not move.
    •  PS3   The above spriggan glitch was encountered right after retrieving the Quill of Gemination. After having retrieved it from the box in the lake, and then fast traveling to Riften, when spawned, the screen was solid sky blue, and Spriggans and bee swarm buzzing noises can be heard.
    • The Spriggans may follow the Dragonborn to other hold capitals when fast travelling. It is not known if they will follow the Dragonborn to other cities, or fast travel locations. If any of them are killed, the remaining number that escaped will remain with the Dragonborn.
    • Fix: Kill all the spriggans.
    • Fix: If the Dragonborn attacks them, the one they attack will cloak itself with invisibility, and then flee out the gate of Riften. One can chase after it out the gate, and if they are fast enough, they will spawn out of the gate with the Spriggan. They can kill it; it still will not fight. There is no penalty for killing the non-hostile Spriggans.
  • If the Imperials gain control of Riften, it is possible for Riften guards to spawn even with Imperial troops garrisoning the town. This results in the guards fighting the Imperial troops. Helping either one however, will cause a bounty to be added.
  •  PC   PS3   It is possible to encounter, when having fast traveled to the city, a thief battling civilians in the marketplace. The thief is vampiric and may have a death hound at its side. Saving back has not been proven to fix this. It is advisable to kill the thief as fast as possible so no characters, specifically quest bearing ones, perish.