To get to Saffron City, you must first talk to the elderly lady NPC in the Celadon Mansion’s first floor (1F). This lady will give you the Tea key item, which you can then give to any of the guards and gain access to Saffron City.
There are no prerequisites required to get the Tea from the elderly lady. You just need to get to Celadon City and walk inside of the mansion.
Note: In the original Gen I games, players could access Saffron City by giving the guards any kind of vending machine drink (Fresh Water, Soda Pop, or Lemonade). But in FRLG, the Tea is the only way to access Saffron City.
This change was done to prevent players from trading the vending machine items into early-game FRLG save files, which would have allowed access to Saffron as early as the 2nd gym badge.
Getting the Tea
If you try to enter Saffron City without the Tea, the Guard will stop you in your tracks and tell you that the road is closed.
The good news is that the guard will also tell you that they’re thirsty! So, in order to quench their thirst, we need to head to Celadon City.
In Celadon City, there is a tall building that looks like an apartment building. There’s a sign next to this building that will let you know that it is the Celadon Mansion.
You’ll know you’re at the right building because there will be a Poliwrath and its trainer outside.
Head inside of the building and take a left.
There will be a lady sitting at a big table, with Pokémon surrounding her.
Simply talk to her and she will hand you the Tea, no charge.
Once you have the Tea, you can head back to one of the four buildings that allow you to cross into Saffron City. If you’re still in Celadon City, you can head east and use that building.
Here is the full list of routes you can take to reach Saffron City:
- East of Celadon City
- South of Cerulean City
- West of Lavender Town (Route 8)
- North of Vermilion City
Simply head through the connecting building, and the guard will stop you and take your Tea.
After the guard’s dialog is done, you’ll be able to cross through to Saffron.
Note: After giving the Tea to one guard, you’ll be able to cross into Saffron City from any of the route connectors mentioned above.
What’s in Saffron City?
There are a few reasons you may want to enter Saffron City.
This city has a Gym, a Fighting Dojo, and the Silph Co. Building, which Giovanni and Team Rocket have taken over.
Clearing the Silph Co. building is also how you get the Master Ball in this gen, so there are plenty of reasons to head to Saffron.