A statue of a soldier and on the right is the companion hancock harvesting a watermelon in sanctuary hills.

Where and When Does Fallout 4 Take Place?

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Each game in the Fallout franchise takes place in a different part of the United States of America after a devastating nuclear war. Fallout 4 is set in a location known as The Commonwealth, which is on the US east coast.

Table Of Contents

    Where Does Fallout 4 Take Place?

    The companion Hancock in sanctuary hills harvesting a watermelon.

    Fallout 4 takes place in Massachusetts, which is on the northeastern coast of the United States. This state, and a few of its neighbors, makes up a section of the US known as New England. In-game, you can explore post-apocalyptic versions of Boston and a few other real places.

    During the era that Fallout 4 is set in, this area has become known as The Commonwealth. This is a reference to some real US history about the original colonies that were settled before the rest of the nation. Early on in the U.S.A.’s founding, there were 13 colonies in the New England area that were sometimes known as “The Commonwealth Colonies”.

    There are a ton of references to New England history and lore that the developers have put into Fallout 4. You can find mentions of prominent historical figures, creepy sea monsters, and much more. Though, of course, they’ll all be covered in the usual Fallout coat of craziness.

    In-game, there are 10 regions of The Commonwealth in the base game that you can explore—all of which are within what was once Massachusetts. Each has its own unique appearance and many quests as well as interesting characters, so be sure to explore them to get the most out of your Fallout 4 experience. It should also be mentioned that some regions share a name with their biggest city.


    Easily the region with the highest population density, Boston is where you can find the most people, quests, and shopping opportunities in Fallout 4. Boston is in the center of The Commonwealth map, so those seeking something to do should head there. This city is also divided into a few districts:

    • Back Bay
    • Beacon Hill
    • Boston Harbor
    • Charlestown
    • East Boston
    • Esplanade
    • Financial District
    • North End
    • South Boston
    • Theater District
    • The Fens


    The region of Cambridge is found directly north of Boston, which also places it centrally on The Commonwealth map. It’s not nearly as populated as Boston, but it still has a lot going on for curious gamers. The Railroad faction has a strong presence here, as does the Brotherhood of Steel, making conflicts between the mighty groups somewhat common. There are also a lot of Gunners active in the area, so this is a great place to farm XP if you despise bandits.


    When you start the game, after all of the initial cutscenes, you’ll find yourself in Sanctuary Hills. This peaceful location is within the Concord region, which covers the entire northwestern section of The Commonwealth. As such, this is where you’ll find the lowest-level enemies in the game. This makes Concord less challenging to explore, which, in turn, eases you into the tougher areas.

    Glowing Sea

    A highly radioactive wasteland, the desert known as the Glowing Sea is arguably the most dangerous place in Fallout 4. You can find the Glowing Sea in the southwestern corner of The Commonwealth, in the south of the Natick region. The Glowing Sea isn’t a region on its own, however, due to being very different from other locations, it warrants some attention.

    Walking around in this area will cause you to intake up to 10 Rads every second, which will slowly deplete your character of HP until death. Even with anti-radiation consumables like RadAway and Rad-X, it will be nearly impossible to survive for longer than a couple of minutes. The only relatively safe way to travel here is to wear radiation-resistant gear like a hazmat suit or some power armor.


    Found in the north part of the map, east of the Concord region, you will find Lexington. This location is fairly populated, though not as densely as Boston. A lot of the terrain is dominated by destroyed overpasses and untended roads rife with bandits. While firefights against them will be common here, you can loot their camps for a bunch of ammo and guns.


    Further east of Lexington, you will come across the region of Maiden in the central part of the northern Commonwealth. There are quite a few buildings here, however, most are run down and the towns of this region are mostly unpopulated. Prior to the nuclear war that devastated the world, Maiden was a city known as Malden in Massachusetts.


    Nahant is a peninsula in the northeastern part of The Commonwealth that is almost an island. This kidney-shaped landmass is only connected to the mainland by a single thin stretch of earth. Being almost completely surrounded by water means that you will have to deal with seaborne threats here, like Mirelurks.


    Heavily industrialized, the Natick region of the Commonwealth can be found in the southwest and borders the Glowing Sea. Factories belching fumes will be a common sight here, as will be sinister enemies that leak in from the nearby radioactive desert. Deathclaws, Radscorpions, and other dangerous foes can be found here often, so be careful when exploring.


    In the southeast of The Commonwealth map is the Quincy region, which is mostly composed of coastline. There are many mostly-abandoned houses here that overlook the water, which will mean a mix of foes can be found. Both bandits and Mirelurks, as well as more, can attack you from any angle.


    When you head to the northeastern part of The Commonwealth, you will find the Salem region if you travel north of the Nahant peninsula. This area is a lot less busy than most other places in Fallout 4, though still has quite a bit to see and do. One of the most interesting reasons to come here is to check out the Museum of Witchcraft, but, be warned, as there is a rogue Deathclaw nearby.

    When Does Fallout 4 Take Place?

    View of the road between sanctuary hills and the red rocket station to the south where a statue of a soldier can be found.

    Set many years after the nuclear war that ravaged the world, Fallout 4 takes place during the year 2287. It is during this year that you, the Sole Survivor, get fully awakened from your cryogenic stasis and are given a chance to explore a post-apocalyptic setting. However, there was a lot that happened between the first cutscene of the game and when you get to actually start your adventure.

    What Time Is the Protagonist From?

    The beginning of the game, which is when you pick and design your character, is set on October 23rd, 2077. The cutscene and streamlined gameplay that occur in this opening section of Fallout 4 will not last long. A nuclear attack begins and you must escape to a vault shelter with your family, which ends in you and your loved ones being cryogenically frozen.

    How Long Does the Protagonist Stay Frozen?

    You and your family will stay frozen until 2227—150 years after entering the vault—but will be rudely awoken. The protagonist will wake up only long enough to see their spouse murdered in front of them and their child kidnapped, setting into motion the main quest objectives of the game: to find and save your son.

    After witnessing this tragedy, the murderer of your spouse will re-freeze you. It will take until 2287—another 60 years—before you are freed from your icy prison and are given a chance to rescue your child. This makes the total time that the protagonist is frozen 210 years overall.

    It will be a long journey to take your son back from the greedy arms of this post-apocalyptic world. However, being armed with knowledge (and a few great weapons) can allow you to dominate The Commonwealth during your mission.