Primary cilia are sensory organelles located at the cell surface. Their assembly is primed by centrosome migration to the apical surface. Yet surprisingly little is known about this initiating step. To gain insight into the mechanisms driving centrosome migration, we exploited the reproducibility of cell architecture on adhesive micropatterns to investigate the cytoskeletal remodeling supporting it. Microtubule network densification, with the transient formation of an array of cold-stable microtubules and increased EB1 recruitment at the centrosome, and actin cytoskeleton asymmetric contraction participated in concert to destabilize basal centrosome position and drive apical centrosome migration. A candidate-based siRNA screen identified roles of specific ciliogenesis effectors in this process. The distal appendage protein Cep164 appeared to be a key actor involved in the cytoskeleton remodeling and centrosome migration, whereas the role of IFT88 seemed to be restricted to axoneme elongation. Together our data elucidate the hitherto unexplored mechanism of centrosome migration and show that it is driven by the increase and clustering of mechanical forces to push the centrosome toward the cell apical pole.