Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Where can I find a shapefile that contains boundaries for the major cities in the United States?

I have tried the census website but could not find anything.

share|improve this question
Possible duplicate of… – Chethan S. May 25 '11 at 17:16
@Chethan Good call, but the other question specifically asks about non-US data, so it's not really an exact duplicate. – whuber May 25 '11 at 18:05

did you look at the TIGER data from the census bureau? They are available at

share|improve this answer
For the most part, you can get incorporated cities with the Places layer (but beware the Census Designated Place! Take a deep breath and dive into Census definitions here: The County Subdivision layer may also be helpful. – neuhausr May 27 '11 at 14:15

A bit old but vaild.

share|improve this answer

You don't say if you are using esri or not.
ESRI Products come with a "data and maps" dvd.
It is not in shp but can be selected and converted to shape using arcmap.
I installed mine on a network drive in the mapdata folder. The rest of the path is like this.

share|improve this answer

Check the TIGER/Line files. You want to look for "Place" layers for each state, which you can fine under national based shapefiles by selecting each state. Or, for the 2012 version, you can grab all the states from this page.

share|improve this answer

The file is large but I guess it can be trimmed per your necessity.

share|improve this answer

I suppose you could infer the major cities by size and/or population. In such case, you can use this pre-joined geodatabase which has the 2010 city boundaries along with area AND basic population estimates.

share|improve this answer is a free place to find a variety of city boundary shapefiles. You can even pick the coordinate system. Here is a link to Texas cities.

Do some searching around for other cities. They have a lot on this web site. You do need to create a login.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.