The hustle and bustle of Lagos, Nigeria, never ends. It’s one of the fastest-growing and most densely populated places in the world. There’s always something happening in the area, which is one of many reasons it’s become a top destination to visit. Lagos is a leading hub for entertainment, fashion, design, and business.
The city is booming with contemporary art exhibitions, live music, and theater, and if you’re a fan of the country’s huge movie industry—commonly referred to as Nollywood—you may recognize locations where scenes have been filmed. You can also venture off the beaten path to Makoko, an impressive village lined with homes built on stilts above water. No matter where you end up, take it all in and feel the energy within this one-of-a-kind West African port town.
Where to Stay
Get the best of everything Lagos has to offer on Victoria Island. It’s a vibrant neighborhood with a busy corporate atmosphere during the day, but when the sun goes down, there’s an exciting nightlife scene with high-end clubs and bars travelers won’t want to miss. Plus, tons of Nollywood stars live in the area, so you never know who you might run into. Book a room on the island’s centrally located luxury Radisson Blu location. The property is a five-minute walk from the popular Bar Beach and boasts scenic coastal views along with an infinity pool overlooking the ocean.
Where to See Art
Put the Terra Kulture Arts and Studios Limited at the top of your list. Also located on Victoria Island, the organization is a center for the arts and entertainment. The space has its own gallery with an extravagant art collection from famed Nigerian artists and a theater that hosts a variety of productions. Depending on the time of year, Terra offers tickets to exclusive art exhibitions, musicals, dramatic plays, or concerts.
However, don’t limit yourself to just one part of Lagos. Opt for an adventure on the mainland underneath the frequently traveled Third Mainland Bridge to the fishing village of Makoko. Despite the government’s heartbreaking efforts to tear down the homes in 2012—which left inhabitants within the surrounding slums homeless—efforts to redevelop the community are ongoing.
Then, go back in time by checking out the Water House, once owned by Candido Da Rocha: The son of a liberated slave from Brazil, he is believed to have been the first millionaire in Nigeria. The 19th-century structure is one of the few remaining buildings in the city that showcases the South American influence of many windows and simple, symmetrical architecture.
Where to Shop
Get lost in the Tejuosho market, where you can find extremely affordable souvenirs and the colorful traditional African fabrics known as kitenge. Feel free to ask around for a tailor—a few yards of the eye-catching material can be custom-made into whatever article of clothing you want for a reasonable price. For upscale ready-to-wear items, head to Temple Muse. The store brings together luxury pieces from popular Nigerian designers (and the spot has a champagne and cupcake bar—now that’s how you end a shopping trip).
Where to Eat and Drink
Don’t miss out on the street food in Lagos. The famous Allen Avenue in the capital city of Ikeja has shops with every dish imaginable. Local favorites include akara, a fried bean cake typically eaten for breakfast; suya, or skewered meat; roasted plantains known as boli; and so much more. If you’re looking for a fancy dinner, make your way up to Lagos’s highest restaurant, in the penthouse of the Eko Hotel. The Sky Restaurant has a menu of delicacies with an Asian twist along with spectacular views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean.