Location: Rivet City

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Location Note

There are two ways to reach Rivet City. The first way is simply to follow the main questline in the game, as you'll have to visit Rivet City for the quest Scientific Pursuits. The benefit of this method is that you'll be able to select the quest you're on in your Pip-Boy, and then the game will show you the right exits to take to get there.

However, if you want to get to Rivet City as quickly as possible (perhaps to claim the Bobblehead - Intelligence doll located in the Science Lab, #18), then the other way to get there involves following the Potomac River south, and then heading inland when you reach the southern edge of the map.

You'll have to do a lot of fighting regardless of the route you take, so be sure to pack plenty of ammunition and Stimpaks before leaving.


Rivet City is located in an old aircraft carrier. The first time you arrive at the city, you'll need to climb to the top of a platform outside of the ship and activate a security intercom there. That will cause the inhabitants of the city to swing a bridge around so you can board the ship. You'll only need to do this once. If you have trouble finding the intercom, then just fast travel to Rivet City and the game will place you on the platform right next to the intercom.

Note: If you stand on the bridge leading to the ship and drop down onto the ship, then just to the left of the entrance you'll find an alcove with a first aid box and two ammunition boxes.

Rivet City is the largest city in the game, and you'll meet lots of people who will give you lots of things to do. You can trigger the quests The Replicated Man and Stealing Independence while you're in the city, and you'll also discover several "freeform quests" (small quests that won't show up in your Pip-Boy) while you're there. None of the quests are especially difficult to find. As long as you talk to everybody you'll find everything.

The Broken Bow

Separate from Rivet City is the Broken Bow. Both locations are a part of the same ship, but to get into the Broken Bow you'll have to leave Rivet City and then (probably) dive underwater. The easiest way to get to the Broken Bow is to leave the Rivet City Market via the southern exit (Exit B) and then dive into the water from there. You'll find the entrance to the Broken Bow underwater on your right (Exit H). The Broken Bow also has an above-ground entrance (Exit I), but to go through it you'll need to pick a "very hard" lock, which requires a lockpick skill of 100.

That means to make your way through the Broken Bow you'll have to do a certain amount of underwater swimming. You'll usually find pockets of air in the rooms of the ship, but it's still easy to drown, and so it's a good idea to save before starting. You might also want to turn up the graphics options relating to water, so it's easier to see where you're going. Finally, don't forget to wear some sort of Radiation Suit and quaff some Rad-X before going in, because you'll be absorbing radiation the entire time.

To reach the dry part of the ship, you should first swim southwest, then go through a doorway, and then swim into the room underneath the above-ground entrance (Exit I). From there you should swim southeast to a stairwell, which will take you above the waterline. Just be careful, because the ship can be dangerous. A pair of mirelurks will greet you in the stairwell, and past that you'll have to dodge a lot of traps.

1 - Bannon / Potomac Attire

Bannon sells clothing and armor in his shop (#1). He's also one of the city's three councilmen, along with Dr. Li (#18) and Chief Harkness (#6). If you talk to him, he'll tell you that Seagrave Holmes (#4) is trying to replace him on the council, and he'll ask you to dig up some incriminating evidence on him.

You'll find the evidence in Seagrave's apartment (#4a) -- a letter from no less than Eulogy Jones, the renowned slaver from Paradise Falls. However, there are two things you can do with the letter. You can show it to Commander Danvers (#6 or #19), which will end Seagrave's attempt to join the council, or you can tell Danvers that Bannon is trying to blackmail Seagrave, which will get Bannon censured by the council, and probably removed at a later date. The shopkeeper you help will lower his prices by 10%, while the one you hurt will raise his prices by 10%.

If you go to Bannon's apartment (#1a), then you'll find a locked terminal inside, but you won't learn anything interesting from it.

2 - Cindy and Paulie Cantelli / A Quick Fix

You'll be able to buy drugs in Cindy's shop (#2), including Ant Queen Pheromones. If you talk to Cindy, then she'll tell you about her "deadbeat husband" Paulie, who is a drug addict. If you go to their apartment (#2a), then you'll find drugs all over the place, including on the bed.

If you give any Psycho to Paulie (the dialogue option for this will only come up if you have Psycho in your inventory) then he'll walk over to the storage room in the Midship Deck and shoot up there, but he'll overdose and die. Cindy won't seem too broken up about it if you talk to her afterwards.

3 - Flak 'n Shrapnel's

Flak and Shrapnel will sell you a nice variety of weapons and ammunition in their shop (#3). If you explore their room (#3a), then you'll find some weapons and ammunition that you can steal.

4 - Seagrave Holmes / Rivet City Supply

Seagrave will sell you a bit of everything in his shop (#4). If you go to his room (#4a), then you'll find a holotape, which is a part of the side quest The Replicated Man, and an incriminating letter (next to the footlocker at the foot of the bed), which is the evidence that Bannon (#1) might have asked you to find. You'll also be able to hack into a terminal in Seagrave's room, but you won't learn anything useful on it.

5 - Gary and Angela / Gary's Galley

Gary runs Gary's Galley (#5) with his daughter Angela. You can buy a variety of food items from them. You won't find anything of consequence in their apartment (#5a).

If you talk to Angela, then she'll tell you that she's in love with Diego (#9), but that he doesn't seem to notice her. If you ask around then you'll discover that Diego is trying to become a priest, and that he's probably avoiding Angela because of his vow of celibacy.

There are three ways you can resolve this:
  • You can give Ant Queen Pheromones to Angela. A day later, Angela and Diego will announce that they're getting married, and you'll be able to watch the ceremony in the church (#9). You'll get karma for this method. You can buy Ant Pheromones from A Quick Fix (#2).

  • You can lie to Father Clifford (#9) and tell him that Diego and Angela have been sleeping together. That will cause Father Clifford to kick Diego out of the church, which will clear away the only obstacle between the couple. They'll then decide to get married, but you won't get to watch any sort of ceremony since obviously Father Clifford won't make the church available to them.

  • You can blackmail Diego into not seeing Angela ever again, and then presumably Diego will become a priest and Angela will stay miserable.

6 - Chief Harkness / Commander Danvers

Harkness is the chief of security, and he's also a city councilman. You'll find him guarding the market during the day. At night Commander Danvers will take his place. Neither one will say anything particularly useful to you. When they're not in the Market, you'll usually find them in the Bridge Tower (#19).

7 - Victoria Watts

You'll usually find Victoria loitering next to the pool table here. She's involved in the side quest The Replicated Man.

8 - The Muddy Rudder (Not Shown on Map)

You can get to the Muddy Rudder from the bottom level of the Stairwell (Exit E). Inside you'll meet Belle Bonny, the proprietor; Brock, the bouncer; and Trinnie, the resident alcoholic. Belle and Brock won't say much to you, but if you buy Trinnie four drinks (which means you'll have to talk to her four times) then she'll tell you a secret -- that Belle keeps her money under her bed in the bar's back room. If you loot Belle's stash then you'll find 75 caps inside.

9 - St. Monica's Church

Inside the church you'll usually run into Father Clifford. He'll tell you about Monica, the patron saint of lost children, and he'll accept donations for the church. The donations here will work just like they did in Megaton -- if you donate X caps then you'll gain X karma. You won't find much in the locked donations box or in the rectory.

Sometimes you'll also see Diego in the church. He's an acolyte with the church, but he's being tempted by Angela Staley to get married instead. See Angela's entry (#5) for more information.

Note: If you visit the church around 8am, Father Clifford will perform a sermon about St. Monica, and you'll be able to listen in.

10 - Capital Preservation Society

You'll meet Abraham Washington here. He's the curator of the museum. He'll give you the quest Stealing Independence, and he'll offer to buy from you any items that you find relating to the history of the United States. Such items include Abraham Lincoln's memorabilia from the Museum of History, and official documents from the National Archives.

In the back room, you can loot a pair of ammunition boxes and a first aid box. You'll also find a terminal in the back room that requires a science skill of 100 to hack, but you won't learn much from it other than that Washington has hired others besides you to rob the National Archives.

11 - Common Room

A few of the lesser residents of the city will use this room as their home:
  • James Hargrave. If you have the Child at Heart perk, then you'll be able to ask James to steal some ammunition for you from Flak and Shrapnel's shop (#3) -- but it'll take him a while to steal it, you'll have to track him down to get it, and he won't steal that much, so it's not an especially worthwhile pursuit.

    More noteworthy is what happens if you tease James about his mother's drinking problem. If you pass a speech check, then James and CJ Young will run away from the ship, and you'll find them just to the west of Anacostia Crossing on the world map. If you talk to them, then no matter what you say they'll begin following you, and when they make it back to Rivet City they'll return to their parents.

  • Tammy Hargrave. Tammy is James' mother. She's an alcoholic, and she won't say much to you.

  • Mister Lopez. Lopez is suicidal. Every so often he'll wander up to the roof of the Bridge Tower (#19) and contemplate jumping off. If you talk to him there around 3pm then you can convince him that suicide isn't the best choice, or you can (figuratively or literally) push him over the edge. You'll gain karma for helping him, and you'll lose karma for not.

  • Ted Strayer. Ted is a slacker. He's not involved in any quests.

  • Mei Wong. If you talk to Mei, then you'll learn that she's an escaped slave, and that she's afraid of Sister (#15) because she thinks he's a slaver. To make Mei feel better you can give her 25 caps to buy a gun. This will earn you some karma. If you're feeling less generous, then you can reveal Mei's secret to Sister and lose some karma. If you then wait for a while, Mei will disappear. If you warn Mei that you told Sister her secret, then supposedly Mei will kill herself, but we've never seen it happen.
You'll also find some cots in the common room that you can sleep on.

12 - Rivet City Clinic

You'll usually find Dr. Preston in the clinic (#12). He'll act like a regular doctor and sell you meds and heal your radiation and so forth. You can also steal a few meds from the counters in the clinic, and if you hack into the terminal you can learn a few things about Preston's patients, including that Bannon has "social problems" that require him to take penicillin. You won't find anything useful in Preston's apartment (#12a).

13 - Weatherly Hotel

You'll be greeted by the robot Mr. Buckingham in the hotel. He'll sell you food, and he'll rent you a room (#16) for 120 caps. You'll also usually see Vera Weatherly in the hotel. If you pass some easy speech checks, then she'll introduce you to some of the freeform quests in the city, such as Angela and Diego's love affair (see #1). Also, if you've completed the side quest Those! then you'll be able to tell Vera about her nephew Bryan Wilks, and he'll come to live with her.

14 - Zimmer's Hotel Room

You'll usually find Mr. Zimmer in the Science Lab (#18). He's involved in the side quest The Replicated Man.

15 - Sister's Hotel Room

If Sister isn't in his hotel room, then you'll usually find him in the Weatherly Hotel (#13) or in the Muddy Rudder (#8). He won't have much to say to you -- unless you find out that Mei Wong is an escaped slave. See Mei's entry (#11) for more information. Inside Sister's room you'll find one of the holotapes involved in the side quest The Replicated Man.

16 - Vacant Hotel Room

  • 17 - Dr. Li's Room

    You'll usually encounter Dr. Li in the Science Lab (#18). You'll need to talk to her for the main quest Scientific Pursuits. Inside her room, you'll find Project Purity journal entries 1, 3, and 5, which will tell you a little more about the project if you listen to them in the Notes section of your Pip-Boy. You'll find the other journal entries in the Jefferson Memorial.

    18 - Science Lab

    When you first arrive in the Science Lab, you'll witness an argument between Dr. Zimmer and Anna Holt. Zimmer will want information about an android, and Holt will want Zimmer to go away. This argument is just background information for the side quest The Replicated Man. See that quest entry for more information.

    You'll also meet Dr. Li in the lab. You'll need to talk to her for the main quest Scientific Pursuits, but otherwise she won't tell you a whole lot, and neither will the other doctors working in the lab. However, you will find the Bobblehead - Intelligence doll in the lab (on a counter in the main room), making the trip worthwhile.

    19 - Bridge Tower

    The Bridge Tower is the home of Rivet City's security force. It consists of four overlapping levels. If you're careful, you can steal a lot of weapons and ammunition from the guards and the containers in the tower, and there are also some beds you can sleep on, but otherwise the only interesting thing about the tower is the armory.

    You'll find the armory on the third level of the Bridge Tower, guarded by a robot named Private Jones. To get into the armory, you'll either need to pick the "very hard" lock without Jones noticing, or you'll have to steal the armory key from Chief Harkness. Harkness will spend his days in the Market (#6), but at night he'll sleep in the cot next to the armory, and that's the easiest time to rob him. To get rid of Jones, you can either pass a speech check to send him on a wild goose chase, or, if you have the Robotics Expert perk, you can sneak behind him and deactivate him. Jones will wander around the room, so if you can't get rid of him, you'll just need to be patient and wait for him to look in the wrong direction.

    Inside the armory you'll be attacked by a Mark II turret. Nobody in the rest of the Bridge Tower will care if you attack it. Once it's dead, you'll be able to loot a bunch of Combat Armor, Combat Helmets, and assorted weapons and ammunition. If you have the armory key, then it will unlock all of the containers in the armory. You'll also find Schematics - Rock-It Launcher on the floor of the armory.

    20 - Locked Door

    To unlock the door, you'll need to activate the switch on the opposite side of the room. The terminal next to the door is trapped and will explode if you try to use it.

    21 - Pinkerton

    Pinkerton is involved in a couple of quests: The Replicated Man and the Chapter 3 Local History Task of the Wasteland Survival Guide. He can also perform facial reconstruction on you, allowing you to change your appearance. If you explore Pinkerton's lab, then you'll find lots of useful things, including a Big Book of Science (on the counter), a copy of Dean's Electronics (in the shelves on the eastern end of the counter), and a copy of the D.C. Journal of Internal Medicine (under the x-rays).

    1. Main entrance to Rivet City.
    2. Exits to the ship exterior. There are a lot of exits to the ship exterior, but most of them won't lead to anything useful. The exception to this is the exit to the roof of the Bridge Tower, which you can access from the top level of the Bridge Tower. Not only will you get a nice view from the roof, but you'll also sometimes meet Mister Lopez there, and you'll be able to talk him out of killing himself (or not). See Lopez's entry (#11) for more information.
    3. Doorway between the Market and the Midship Deck.
    4. Doorway between the Market and the Upper Deck.
    5. Exit to the stairwell (not shown). The stairwell connects together several parts of the ship. From the lowest level to the highest level you can reach the Muddy Rudder (#8), the Midship Deck and the ship exterior, the Upper Deck, and the Bridge Tower.
    6. Doorway between the Midship Deck and the Science Lab.
    7. Doorway between the Upper Deck and the Science Lab.
    8. Underwater door to the Broken Bow.
    9. Above-ground door to the Broken Bow. This door will start out locked with a "very hard" lock, so you'll probably have to go swimming (via Exit H) to get inside the Broken Bow. On the interior side of the door, right next to it, you'll find a lock mechanism switch, and activating will unlock the door for you.