As with the series of Pokémon games for the Gameboy and Nintendo DS, spawn locations in Pokémon Go — the wildly successful mobile app, inspired by the original series — are governed by a few different and sometimes complex rules. These can be hard to figure out, since the app doesn’t give you much guidance, and expects you to figure it all out by yourself.
Luckily, ingenious players have worked out how to maximise your chances of catching certain Pokémon, and we’re going to list some of the strategies to help you catch ‘em all in Pokémon Go!
Before we get into discussing spawn locations for different Pokémon, there are a couple of tips you should know that will help you learn about spawn rates and locations in Pokémon Go.
It seems quite intuitive, but Niantic have confirmed that the higher your trainer level, the better, higher-level and rarer the Pokémon that you will encounter in the wild. They’ll have more CP and be more difficult to catch. The higher-level you are, too, the rarer the Pokémon displayed on your Nearby map will be.
This is just like the DS games — you commence the game as a beginner trainer on the very start of your Pokémon journey, so of course you’re not going to be encountering Mewtwo and Dratini right from the get-go! Instead, expect to encounter mostly low-level, Normal-type Pokémon to start off with, like Pidgey, Rattata and Zubat, especially if you live in an urban or a suburban area.
In contrast to what some people think — that a user can monopolise an area and catch all the Pokémon in it, leaving none for other players — the more Pokémon Go players that frequent an area, the more Pokémon will spawn there. It’s not just to do with how many lures are put down in a certain area; it’s just a fact that busy locations spawn many more Pokémon than quiet, secluded places.
However, Pokémon Go hasn’t forgotten about the more unusual places — Guardian readers submitted their most out-of-the-way locations they’ve been playing Pokémon Go and finding Pokémon in this article, such as the Ground-type Rhyhorn among geysers in Iceland, the Psychic/Water-type Slowpoke at the famous Luxor temple in Egypt and the Grass-type Bellsprout at the top of Mount Lovćen in Montenegro!
What types are there in Pokémon Go?
Pokémon Go uses Pokémon from the “first generation” — the ones that featured in the first games. There are 150 of the creatures (or 151, depending on who you ask!), and they have a variety of types which govern where they appear in the real world.
All Pokémon have a type, and many have two types, which increases their versatility and effectiveness in battle (or Combat Mode in Pokémon Go). Pokémon with multiple types, such as Normal/Bug types, can be found in the spawn locations for both their respective types.
Although hundreds more Pokémon, all the way through to the sixth generation, have been revealed by Nintendo, they all conform to the same 18 types that are available in Pokémon Go.
These are (click the name for easier navigation throughout the article):
At the moment, there are no Dark-type Pokémon available in Pokémon Go, but this is expected to soon change as Niantic develop and implement the second generation of Pokémon, which has many Dark types.
Most suburban and almost all urban locations have plenty of parks; Niantic developers suggest that new players head to a green area, especially one with a few Poké Stops there (which may include statues, fountains, playgrounds and many other community hubs or landmarks). If there are water features, sandy areas and the like, this will increase the likelihood of finding varied types of Pokémon rather than just Normal-type ones.
But don’t despair if you only find Normal-type Pokémon at first. Think back to the games, like Pokémon Red and Green, all the way through to Pokémon Black and the new-generation Pokémon X and Y — you start in a sedate, calm, often grassy area, where most of the Pokémon you encounter will be Normal types. This is the natural progression of the game, and it means you can’t become overpowered too quickly. It also encourages you to explore different areas and find new Pokémon — just like Pokémon Go!
Finding different types of Pokémon
You might have your heart set on a particular Pokémon that’s your favourite, or you might want to balance out your Pokédex with a few different types. So here’s the nitty-gritty — our guide, broken down by type, to where to find Pokémon in Pokémon Go.
Normal-type Pokémon could be found in tall grass in the original Pokémon games, but in Pokémon Go, Normal-type Pokémon are even more run-of-the-mill — which means you can find them almost anywhere. No matter whether you’re at the beach, wandering around your neighbourhood or checking out your local school or college campus, Normal types will always pop up!
The 22 Normal-type Pokémon you can get in Pokémon Go are:
Of the above, the best ones to catch are Pidgey, Rattata, Spearow, Jigglypuff, Meowth, Farfetch’d, Lickitung, Chansey, Kangaskhan, Tauros, Ditto, Eevee, Porygon and Snorlax.
This is because Pidgeotto and Pidgeot, Raticate, Fearow, Wigglytuff, Persian, Doduo and Dodrio are evolutions — it is much easier to acquire them and register them in your Pokédex by evolving the originals (Pidgey, Rattata, Spearow, Jigglypuff, Meowth and Farfetch’d) by using Pokémon Candy and Stardust. If your heart is set on catching them all, save your resources for evolving them into their later forms!
In the original Pokémon video game series developed by Nintendo, Fire-type Pokémon are one of the rarest types. There are 64 of them over all the generations (out of almost 700) — and apart from a few, they only turn up in special locations like volcanic territory, deserts and the like.
Of course, in Pokémon Go, Niantic don’t want any players to have to run into dangerous places like volcano craters or arid deserts. And you also need an internet connection to play! That means that residential areas and neighbourhoods are the best places to find Fire-type Pokémon in Pokémon Go. They are also more commonly found in warm locations — like in dry climates or on sandy beaches — as well as on farmland.
Some players have spoken from anecdotal experience of finding a significant number of Fire-type Pokémon around gas stations and similar areas, which makes sense, given that these places are very flammable! Olympic stadiums have also been reported as one of the highest-rate spawn locations for Charmander. However, neither of these are confirmed yet.
Also, if you’re having trouble finding Fire Pokémon, you can evolve your Eevee into the powerful Flareon, which gains 37 CP per level.
The 12 Fire-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
- Moltres (Legendary)
Since Moltres is a Legendary Pokémon, there’s no info about where to find it in the wild just yet — Niantic are likely to still have a few tricks up their sleeves, and we expect that players who’ve made a special effort by collecting all 150 Pokémon will get the opportunity to find Legendaries first. Or they might release Moltres for a special occasion — nobody knows yet!
If you have already picked a Charmander for your starter Pokémon, you’re less likely to find a Charmander in the wild. But if you have a Bulbasaur or Squirtle, your chances of finding a Charmander are just as high as anyone else’s!
In the original Pokémon games, you could catch plenty of Water-type Pokémon near large bodies of water, but you also had the option to go fishing with special equipment to find them! That’s just not practical in the real world, but Niantic have stuck to the original places where you can find Water-type Pokémon — that is, near bodies of water such as canals, harbours, lakes, beaches and wetlands.
They do occasionally pop up in towns and neighbourhoods; I myself found a Horsea just chilling out near a shopping court in my town! But this is rare.
You also find them around fountains in urban centres and parks, but they tend to have to be significant enough to be marked as Poké Stops or places of interest. So if you don’t live near water or can’t take a trip to the beach, and would like to balance out your Pokédex, never fear — many Pokémon Eggs will yield Water types when they hatch. You can also evolve your Eevee into Vaporeon, which as an evolution-only Pokémon, is quite powerful.
The 32 Water-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
As with Charmander, it’s harder to find a Squirtle in the wild if you already have one as your starter Pokémon, but if you chose Charmander or Bulbasaur, you’re just as likely to find a Squirtle as the other one you didn’t pick.
Grass-type Pokémon were most often found in forest locations in the Pokémon Nintendo DS games. However, lots of wooded areas are difficult to get a good internet connection in, and Pokémon Go relies on having location information from mapping services.
Grass-type Pokémon are commonly found in — yep, you guessed it — grassy areas, such as parks, hiking trails, gardens, nature reserves and golf courses. Of course, the more people and Pokémon Go players frequent the location, the more likely you are to find Pokémon there. The busiest places are the best.
The 14 Grass-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
If you have already picked a Bulbasaur for your starter Pokémon, you’re less likely to find a Bulbasaur in the wild. But if you have a Charmander or Squirtle, your chances of finding a Bulbasaur are just as high as anyone else’s!
Like with Grass-type Pokémon, it’s easy to find Bug-type Pokémon in forests within the Pokémon Nintendo DS games. The famous Bug Catcher trainer type, which you can battle throughout your journey, is testament of that!
However, in Pokémon Go, they’re a bit easier to come across — parks, grassy areas, golf courses and the like are the best Bug-type Pokémon spawn locations. This isn’t to say, of course, that national forests and wooded parks in your area won’t have a good glut of Bug-type Pokémon.
The 12 Bug-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
Rock-type Pokémon in the original Pokémon DS games were most frequently found in caves and mountainous areas.
In Pokémon Go, they are found in places where the app registers a large presence of stone — such as quarries, train stations, rocky beaches and the like, but also towns, shopping centres and parking lots.
The 11 Rock-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
Ground-type Pokémon are found in similar mountainous areas to Rock-type Pokémon in the original games, but also in some grassy and desert locations.
Within the Niantic game, they are also found in Rock-type locations, but also muddy areas like ditches and streams, and on some pebble and sand beaches.
The 14 Ground-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
In the original Pokémon Nintendo DS games, Electric-type Pokémon were fairly rare — and often found in factory areas, like the Ironworks and Windworks in Pokémon Platinum.
In keeping with this theme, Electric-type Pokémon in Pokémon Go are most often found in areas that the game considers “industrial” — that is, industrial estates, schools, colleges and other large, concreted-over locations.
If you’re struggling to find any Electric-type Pokémon or simply want to balance out your Pokédex, try evolving your Eevee into Jolteon, a fairly strong Electric-type evolution.
The 9 Electric-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
- Zapdos (Legendary)
As a Legendary, no one has any idea how to get their hands on Zapdos yet. However, we think Niantic may be revealing the three Legendary Pokémon in Pokémon Go fairly soon — they certainly have some tricks up their sleeve!
As the name implies, Fighting-type Pokémon are keen on competition. They’re often used by the strongest Pokémon Trainers in the Nintendo DS games, and can often be found in grassy areas in these games, as well as some of the routes that open up to you in the later parts of the game.
In Pokémon Go, Niantic have added a little twist — the best spawn locations to find Fighting-type Pokémon are around real-life gyms (as well as spawning more frequently around high-level Pokémon Gyms), sports arenas, playgrounds and leisure centres. They certainly like to keep active — they have a lot of energy!
The 8 Fighting-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
Thanks to Niantic, we don’t have to get wet or muddy to find Poison-type Pokémon in Pokémon Go — but in the original game series, swampy areas and poisonous mires were your best bet.
In Pokémon Go, Poison-type Pokémon are easy to find near wetland areas like ponds and marshes, and have reportedly been turning up in industrial areas where there’s a lot of smog and pollution, although this is unconfirmed.
The 33 Poison-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
- Nidoran (Female)
- Nidoran (Male)
The rare, delicate Fairy-type Pokémon were often found in grassy areas in the original Pokémon DS games.
In Pokémon Go, however, Fairy-type Pokémon are an odd bunch. They tend to congregate around places of interest and landmarks, and can also be found hanging around churches and cemeteries.
The 5 Fairy-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
- Mr. Mime
Because many Flying-type Pokémon, in the original games, were subtypes of Normal-type Pokémon, they could generally be found wherever you’d find Normal-type Pokémon. In later games, they appeared in windy areas like bridges, to add a bit of variety.
However, in Pokémon Go, your best bet for finding Flying-type Pokémon is to look around the areas where you’d find Normal-type Pokémon — and some of them can be evolved from other types, like the Fire type Charmander evolving into the Fire/Flying-type Charizard.
The 19 Flying-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
- Articuno (Legendary)
- Zapdos (Legendary)
- Moltres (Legendary)
The three legendary flying birds, Articuno, Moltres and Zapdos, haven’t been officially found in Pokémon Go — although we suspect Niantic is hiding away these super-rare Pokémon for a later date!
In the Nintendo DS Pokémon games, it was a challenge to find Dragon-type Pokémon; they usually didn’t appear until you were a high-level Pokémon Trainer and had spent a while exploring the various areas available in the game.
As with Fairy-type Pokémon, Dragon-type Pokémon frequently cluster around places of interest and landmarks. Dratini, the lowest-level of the measly three Dragon-type Pokémon (which all belong to a single evolutionary tree) that you can find in Pokémon Go, is also a Water-type, so try looking around lakes, beaches and the like. Some unconfirmed reports also suggest that Dragon-type Pokémon have been spawning around golf courses!
The 3 Dragon-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
Obviouly, Ghost-type Pokémon in the original DS games were most often found in caves, dark places and haunted ruins.
However, in Pokémon Go, Niantic have made a surprise move and chosen not to have Ghost-type Pokémon spawning around graveyards, cemeteries and similar areas. Instead, they show up around churches, and in residential areas. Pokémon Go players have been reporting that Ghost-type Pokémon are a little more likely to show up at night — with good reason!
The 3 Ghost-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
The original Pokémon Nintendo DS games featured a large number of different areas, some of which were icy and freezing cold, like snowy tundras or high mountains. These places were where a Pokémon Trainer was most likely to find Ice-type Pokémon!
Niantic’s Pokémon Go is, thankfully, a little more forgiving; Ice-type Pokémon spawn near water, as well as grassy areas. Of course, if you actually happen to live near icy or snowy landscapes, you’ve got a good chance of finding them!
The 5 Ice-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
As a Legendary, Articuno isn’t likely to spawn near you any time soon. But watch this space — we think Niantic are going to be announcing a special Legendary surprise some time in the near future!
Psychic-type Pokémon could turn up almost anywhere in the Nintendo DS Pokémon games. Niantic have made it a bit easier for us, though — Psychic-type Pokémon in Pokémon Go, much like Ghost-type Pokémon, show up in residential areas after dark.
For some strange reason, they also seem to be attracted to hospitals and medical centres — is it the electromagnetic radiation used in so much medical equipment these days?
The 14 Psychic-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
- Mr. Mime
Mew and Mewtwo, as Legendaries, haven’t yet been found by even the most dedicated Pokémon Go players. But watch this space — Niantic can’t give us all the goodies at once!
Often found in caves with large deposits of metals in the DS games, Steel-type Pokémon are a rare breed indeed in Pokémon Go. You can only find them inside or around large building structures, or near railway stations and train tracks.
The 2 Steel-type Pokémon you can find in Pokémon Go are:
Now when you already know where a certain Pokémon can be located, go ahead and try to complete your collection.