This small map is set in a construction site (hence the name) for a new business building, in New York City. Hardhat is perfect for close quarters combat, due to its small size, however there are multiple locations where medium range battles take place. There are also one or two long range sight-lines, perfect for snipers.
Hardhat is a small sized map in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Taking place at a construction site, the map has many choke points and un-finished buildings. The two main spawns are on either side of the map. Much of the map is suited to close quarters combat, with sharp corners and short lines of sight. The central building (just south of the actual 'center' of the map) is the main choke point of the map, with four entrances to the area, this building can be hard to defend as enemies can attack from both sides. Teamwork is essential to survive here for long. One of the entrances is a pipe that runs under the map, which often sees intense battles.
In Survival Mode, Hardhat is a Tier 3 map and has the difficulty of Hard. The player(s) start with the MP412, two Flash Grenades, a Self Revive, and 250 Armor. The hostiles include Bomb Squads, Claymore Experts, Choppers, and Riot Shield Juggernauts. Outside of the pipes, there are few spots easy to defend, one such area is the room near the Spetsnaz flag in CTF, which can be used as a position to snipe or provide overwatch for another player, but is vulnerable against air support, flanking and the fuel tank present inside.
There is a dead Spetsnaz soldier hanging from a parachute on the southeast construction building.
There are several opened parachutes laid across the roads outside the map.
There is a burning American flag hanging from one of the cranes.
Rockets can be seen around the map exploding into buildings. There are also fighter jets flying over the map quite regularly. This is similar to the fighter jets that flew around Highrise from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Church bells can sometimes be heard in the background noise, along with magpies and other birds.
The central building has a sign outside that reads 'Nedzman Place - 100 years in the making' above which is a picture of a glass cube-shaped building, hinting towards it being the final look of the building.
There are several signs around the map reminding construction workers to be wearing a hardhat.
There is a restaurant outside of the playable area that can only be accessed by Spectator Mode, Theater Mode, or with a Recon Drone, called Lenny's. This is an obvious reference to the Denny's line of restaurants.
It is possible to see a building representing the Chrysler Building.
On the map Overwatch, you can see Hardhat; but on the latter, you cannot see the former.
Outside the map, if in spectator mode. At the left of the Delta spawn there is a crashed helicopter which appears to be a Mi-24 Hind. Possibly a reference to the campaign mission Black Tuesday where Frost shoots down the Russian helicopters.