The question of what cities can contribute to mitigation and adapting to climate change is gaining traction among researchers and policy makers alike. However, while the field is rich with case studies, methods that provide rich data across municipalities and potentially at global scale remain underdeveloped, and comparative insights remain scarce. Here we summarize contributions to the focus issue on `Systematizing and Upscaling Urban Climate Solutions’, also drawing from presentations given at an accompanying conference in 2018. We highlight four core areas for systematizing and upscaling urban climate mitigation solutions. First, with more and better (big) data and associated machine learning methods, there is increasing potential to compare types of cities and leverage collective understanding. Second, while urban climate assessments have mostly emphasized urban planning, demand-side action as related to both behavioral change and modified social practices relevant to urban space deserve more academic attention and integration across a diverse set of social sciences. Third, climate mitigation would be intangible as a single objective at the urban scale, and measures and solutions that coordinate mitigation coherently with adaptation and broader sustainable development goals require explicit conceptualization and systematization. Forth, all insights should come together to develop governance frameworks that translate scientific exercises into concrete, realistic and organized action plans on the ground, for all cities.