Looking for the best things to do in Lagos, Nigeria?
Well, you’re in luck! In this detailed post, I’ll cover 25 of the best things to do Lagos offers – from places to eat in Lagos, to fun day trips from Lagos, to the famous Lagos attractions places to visit.
I visited Lagos for the wedding of my good friend Ademola Adewale-Sadik (whose local advice was very helpful in crafting this list of the top things to do in Lagos, Nigeria). I fell in love with the energy of Lagos, and I bet you will too!
Lagos may not be a tourist city and there are frankly not a ton of well-established things to do in Lagos.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t tons of great experiences to be had in Lagos, so let’s dive into our guide to what to do in Lagos Nigeria.
Ok, ready? Let’s go:
Table of Contents
- Best Things to Do in Lagos Nigeria
- 1. Brave the Longest Canopy Walkway in Africa at the Lekki Conservation Center
- 2. Experience African Art at the Nike Centre for Art and Culture
- 3. Get Educated at the Kalakuta Republic Museum
- 4. Watch a Concert at the New Afrika Shrine
- 5. Ride in a Keke
- 6. Take a Trip to the Epe Mangroves
- 7. Visit the Historic Town of Badagry
- 8. Check Out the Surf at Tarkwa Bay
- 9. Try Some Nigerian Food
- 10. Visit the Makoko Floating Village
- 11. Shop in an Open-Air Market
- 12. Chill out at Moist Beach Club
- 13. Wander Freedom Park
- 14. Browse the Jazzhole Bookstore
- 15. Check Out Terra Kulture
- 16. Wander the National Theatre
- 17. Enjoy Fine Dining at Shiro Restaurant
- 18. Take a Dip at the Hard Rock Café Lagos
- 19. Relax on the Patio at Nok
- 20. Taste Hans and Rene Gelato
- 21. Soak in the Vibes at Art Café
- 22. Go Partying!
- 23. Browse Artifacts at the Nigerian National Museum
- 24. Visit the Nigerian Railway Corporation Museum
- 25. Get Chatty with a Local
- Plan Your Trip to Lagos, Nigeria
- FAQs About What to Do in Lagos Nigeria
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Best Things to Do in Lagos Nigeria
1. Brave the Longest Canopy Walkway in Africa at the Lekki Conservation Center
The Lekki Conservation Centre tops my lists of things to do in Lagos, Nigeria. This popular nature center offers many activities and ways to connect with Nigeria’s nature.
This huge expansive of green space is a marked contrast to the concrete that dominates the rest of the city. The Lekki Conservation Centre is like a tranquil oasis of peace, nature, and wildlife tucked inside one of the world’s most congested cities.
You can take an organized tour through the center, where you’ll walk on planks over mangroves, learning about the fauna and flora which are native to the area. You’re very likely to see monkeys (watch out or they’ll take your camera), birds, and fish. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a crocodile or a snake.
And for a special treat, brave the longest canopy walkway in Africa, which will allow you to you experience the forest from a different angle!
2. Experience African Art at the Nike Centre for Art and Culture
Founded by the legendary Oyenike Monica Okundaye (whom I’m pictured with above), the Lagos outpost of the Nike Art Centres is something akin to an art gallery, an artist retreat and workshop, and a home rolled into one.
Inside the Nike Centre for Art and Culture, you’ll find Nigerian artists, sculptors, and craftsmen honing their skills, several levels filled to the brim with one of the largest collections of African art on the continent, and – if you’re lucky – even Nike herself.
There’s no cost to enter, making it a great fun but free thing to do in Lagos Nigeria, but you’ll have the opportunity to make a purchase should something catch your eye!
👉 Pro Tip: Flash photography is prohibited inside the gallery.
3. Get Educated at the Kalakuta Republic Museum
Have you ever heard of Fela Kuta?
If yes, you’ll love this entry on our list of things to do in Lagos Nigeria. If not, you can’t leave Lagos without learning about this incredible figure in Nigerian history!
Located in Fela’s former house, the Kalakuta Museum tells the story of Fela’s music, activism, and unusual lifestyle. When I visited I was the only visitor, but that made it all the more fascinating.
👉 Pro Tip: Chill out on the museum’s rooftop bar and patio after exploring the museum (you might just catch a performance).
4. Watch a Concert at the New Afrika Shrine
The New Afrika Shrine is an open-air entertainment center serves as that a next generation of the old Afrika Shrine built by the famous artist cum political activist Fela Kuta in 1970.
The New Afrika Shrine showcases some of Fela’s artwork and also serves as a sort of community center.
Visit during the day and you’re sure to be greeted by many friendly and chatty locals eager to show you around. Or do like Emmanuel Macron did and come at night during one of the Shrine’s weekend concert events, which are sure to offer you a crazy night out in Lagos.
For a real treat, visit Lagos during the annual Felabration festival and feel the Shrine pulse with Afrobeats.
The New Afrika Shrine is located in Ikeja, which means a long drive if you’re staying in the islands. But this Lagos icon is well worth the journey (and can be easily combined with the nearby Kalakuta Republic Museum). In my opinion, it’s one of the most fun things to do in Lagos Nigeria!
5. Ride in a Keke
What’s a keke?
I’m glad you asked!
A keke, or keke napep, is Nigeria’s version of a tuk tuk or rickshaw. You’ll find drivers plying the roads all over Lagos, and no visit to the city is complete without at least a short ride in the back of one of these yellow contraptions!
2022 Update: Reportedly the Lagos government is currently considering a ban on kekes. If you visit Lagos and have updated information on the keke situation, please scroll down and leave a comment.
6. Take a Trip to the Epe Mangroves
📍 Google Maps | Phone: +234 803 481 9471
Tired of the chaos of Lagos and need a bit of a break?
Take a day trip to the nearby Epe Mangroves! There you’ll find a smaller Yoruba community very different than Lagos, including a fascinating fish market you can peruse.
But the highlight of any daytrip from Lagos to Epe is definitely going to be taking a small boat or canoeing through the mangroves, where you’ll get a taste of Nigerian nature.
Just watch out for the crocodiles!
You’ll need to organize a driver for the day, but otherwise most of the tour can be arranged independently.
7. Visit the Historic Town of Badagry
There’s no understanding West Africa without learning about the tragic history of the slave trade and the havoc colonial slavers wrecked across the region.
A trip to the historic town of Badagry is sure to leave you pensive as you explore relics of this unfortunate chapter of Nigerian (and world) history at the Badagry Black Heritage Museum.
Badagry is also a charming town in its own right, and is near some decent beaches, so it makes for another worthwhile daytrip from Lagos.
8. Check Out the Surf at Tarkwa Bay
📍 Google Maps | Entrance: N200 (additional costs for chairs, tables and tent rental)
Nigeria may not be known for its surfing culture, but Tarkwa Bay is starting to put it on the map, as even some of the pros are starting to flock to this hidden but increasingly popular surfing gem.
As Tarkwa Bay is located on a small artificial island, Tarkwa is only accessible by a 30 minute boat or water taxi from Victoria Island (Mekwe Jetty is one of several places to catch a lift).
Didn’t pack your board? That’s cool! It’s still a fun beach (you can rent a chair) and a worthwhile place to visit in Lagos. Plus, watching the surfers at work is always a great thing to do!
👉 Pro Tip: Bring sunscreen and come dressed already, as there aren’t restrooms
9. Try Some Nigerian Food
Confession time: I’m a vegetarian, which means I’m about the worst blogger to tell you about the best foods to try in Nigeria.
But suya, a spicy skewer typically made of beef, chicken, or ram (yes, ram!), is clearly hugely popular with the locals and a must try for any carnivorous visitor to Lagos. As my friend Ademola is fond of saying, “Suya is life.”
You can find Suya being hawked by vendors all over Lagos, but Ademola swears the best suya spot in Lagos is the Glover Court Suya Spot.
Other popular Nigerian foods to try include jollof rice, akara (deep fried bean cakes), dodo (fried plantain), and puff-puff (fried sweet donut-like balls).
10. Visit the Makoko Floating Village
Just outside of the flashy wealth of Lagos Island you’ll find the severely economically challenged community of Makoko, which is by some definitions the largest floating slum in the world.
Definitely the most eye-opening thing to do in Lagos, you’ll witness a hugely marginalized but remarkably resilient community that subsists off the ocean and its own will power.
A visit to the Makoko floating village requires some preparation to be sure you’re interacting with the community in a way that is respectful and not voyeuristic. To that end, it’s best to go with a local tour guide, though admittedly that can be a challenge to arrange.
I went on a tour with the incredible Nigerian travel group Naija Nomads, who arranged for a boat tour through the village guided by the son of the head of the Makoko community.
Note they arrange tours on a custom basis, so you can book a tour through them and see not only Makoko but a few of the other places on this list of things to do in Lagos too! Click here to check out their tours or email them at email@example.com.
11. Shop in an Open-Air Market
Lagos is filled with open-air markets that sell everything from textiles to household goods to computers (there’s even a famous “Computer Village”).
Probably the most popular market for tourists, and definitely the most accessible, is the Lekki Crafts Market. For a more local experience, however, check out the huge Balogun Market on Lagos Island.
👉 Pro Tip: The markets are generally safe, but watch your belongings and practice common sense
12. Chill out at Moist Beach Club
If it’s a weekend afternoon in Lagos, there’s only one place to be in: the beach.
And while there are a multitude of offerings in Lekki and Victoria Island, the newly opened Moist Beach Club is the hottest and most fun place to be in town.
Offering a swimming pool just steps from the ocean, plenty of seating in the open-air deck, and summer vibes all year around, it’s a great place to kick back, relax, and leave the chaos of Lagos behind you.
13. Wander Freedom Park
At this 19th-century prison-turned-park, you’ll find memorials, fountains, green space, food courts and more in this large urban park. Wander the grounds, bring a picnic, or just sit and people watch.
Freedom Park also plays host to a variety of performances and festivals (you can check the schedule of events here).
14. Browse the Jazzhole Bookstore
You wouldn’t know it from the unassuming entrance on a busy commercial street in Ikoyi, but the interior of the Jazzhole Bookstore is one of the classiest places to be in Lagos.
You’ll find a fascinating collection of books from around Africa and the world, not to mention a small café serving up caffeinated confections and tasty Nigerian morsels. Visit at the right time and you might even be treated to a live musical performance.
Note that the owners are weirdly territorial about taking photographs, which is a shame as the bookstore is one of the most Instagrammable places in Lagos.
👉 Pro Tip: Buy a drink at the café first and then ask the owner if it’s okay to take a photo or two.
15. Check Out Terra Kulture
Terra Kulture is an arts, cultural, and educational center that hosts plays, art exhibitions, and book readings. Terra Kulture is a great place to visit in Lagos Nigeria if you’re looking to connect with Nigerian art and culture.
If there are no performances on the day of your visit, you can still check out the art gallery and bookstore. Plus, it has an attached restaurant, which is a great place to try some Nigerian food (another item on our list of things to do in Lagos Nigeria!).
16. Wander the National Theatre
Perhaps no place in Lagos better exemplifies Nigeria than its National Theatre.
On the one hand — it’s huge, filled with history, and bursting with the potential to be a world class venue. On the other hand — well, it simply isn’t living up to that potential (yet).
Parts of the theatre have sadly fallen into disrepair, with broken glass and sawdust sprinkled between the rows of the venue’s main auditorium.
You can visit by taking a tour of the grounds, which may leave you wistful at what could have been. Or if you’re lucky to be in town on the right day, you might just be able to catch a handful of the performances that are still put on here.
👉 Pro Tip: Be careful of scammers outside trying to take you on a “private tour” – talk to the official tour guides inside yourself
17. Enjoy Fine Dining at Shiro Restaurant
Experience the best of high-class service at Lagos’s uber-posh Shiro Restaurant. Inside, you’ll dine on fine sushi in a tranquil ambiance under the imposing presence of a giant sculpted Buddha head.
Or head outside on the deck for a drink or two and enjoy the cool breeze of the ocean air. On weekends, you’re likely to find DJs pumping out club tunes through the late night.
18. Take a Dip at the Hard Rock Café Lagos
Normally I’d be loathed to put a chain on a list of the best things to do in Lagos Nigeria … or anywhere else for that matter. But the Hard Rock Café Lagos is different.
For one thing, it’s an incredible venue in its own right. Set against prime beachfront property in Victoria Island, the café offers a private stretch of sand and an expansive open-air deck sporting an inviting pool (perfect for a fun dip to cool off on a hot Nigerian afternoon).
The Hard Rock is also a staple of the Lagos music scene, and you’ll find some of the best acts in the city performing here on weekends (when I visited, I was treated to a performance by the remarkably talented Nigerian rapper Vector Tha’ Viper). In short, it’s actually a great place to mingle with Lagos’s trendiest locals.
Add in quality food and drinks to boot, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a fun thing to do in Lagos, Nigeria.
19. Relax on the Patio at Nok
If you’re the foodie type, you may be surprised at the gastronomical offerings at the city’s many high-end establishments. Perhaps none of these is a more sure-fire night out, however, than the tastefully modern Nok.
From the elegant interior, to the thoughtful menu consisting of Nigerian and international dishes, to the mellow but classy patio, Nok hits the mark on every point.
Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends.
20. Taste Hans and Rene Gelato
📍 Google Maps | Phone: +234 701 022 2222 | Hours: 10 am – 8 pm Mon – Thurs; 10 am – 9 pm Fri – Sun
Simply put, this is some of the best gelato you’ll find on the planet. A Nigerian company, but one that churns out the sweet stuff with the skills of an Italian, Hans and Rene gelato is hugely popular with the locals and makes for a fun thing to do on a hot Lagos day.
There are multiple locations throughout the city, so a sweet treat is never too far away while exploring the best things to do in Lagos Nigeria.
21. Soak in the Vibes at Art Café
A funky café with an eclectic interior and inviting patio space, the Art Café is the perfect place to catch up with a friend over a cup of coffee, grab a drink, or get some work done.
This charming urban oasis is located in Victoria Island (not far from Nok Restaurant), making it the thing to do in Lagos for a quick break from the afternoon sun during a day out exploring, or for a drink and food to wind down your evening.
22. Go Partying!
Nigerians love a good party.
So even if nightlife isn’t your thing, spending at least one night checking out the Nigerian clubbing scene should be on any foreigners’ list of the best things to do in Lagos.
👉 Pro Tip: Be sure to dress to impress when going out in Lagos!
23. Browse Artifacts at the Nigerian National Museum
📍 Google Maps | Phone: +234 1 263 6005 | Hours: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm daily, Closed Sundays | Entrance: N200-N300
Did you know that Nigeria has hundreds of subcultures? In this museum, you’ll find important collections of Nigerian art and ethnography from across many of the cultures which collectively make up Nigeria.
Note that the museum does get mixed reviews from some visitors on account of the facilities (there is no air conditioning, for example), but that is in some sense part of the experience of visiting Lagos.
24. Visit the Nigerian Railway Corporation Museum
Learn about the fascinating history of Nigeria’s agricultural and industrial economy during the colonial period by visiting the Nigerian Railway Corporation Museum.
It’s a very small and somewhat aging museum that receives very few visitors (my party was the first one on the visitors’ log for almost a week!), but the caretaker is eager to pass on his extensive knowledge about the history of Nigeria’s impressive railway network.
25. Get Chatty with a Local
Honestly, by far my favorite thing to do in Lagos Nigeria was to simply strike up a conversation with a random local. Nigerians speak English, which makes Lagos an excellent place to converse with the locals.
Best yet, Nigerians are a chatty bunch! Very chatty!
Nearly everyone I met was super eager to chat with me and to hear the perspective of a foreigner.
If you’re a traveler in Lagos, it won’t be hard to find someone to talk to. Multiple times people (including the loquacious man pictured above, who was very proud of this mural) literally just came up to me on the street to strike up a conversation!
So smile and keep an open mind and take the time to really chat with the locals in between all the activities and attractions in Lagos.
You might learn something new – and you’ll definitely really feel more connected to the cultural energy of the city!
Plan Your Trip to Lagos, Nigeria
Tips for Visiting Lagos
- Use Uber or the Taxify app to get around (trust me: Lagos is NOT a walkable city)
- Plan lots of time to get around: Lagos is notorious for its traffic
- Sort your visas well in advance (Nigeria’s immigration system is slow and incredibly difficult for many foreigners)
Travel Insurance for Nigeria
Headed to Nigeria?
Where to Stay in Lagos
Where you stay will have a big impact on your trip to Lagos!
Check out our full article on the best hotels in Lagos Nigeria
FAQs About What to Do in Lagos Nigeria
What are the top attractions in Lagos, Nigeria?
What is Lagos, Nigeria famous for?
Lagos is famous as one of the largest cities in West Africa, and as a financial center for the African continent. It is also famous for the Lekki Conservation Center, its open air markets, and its beaches.
That’s it for this list of the best things to do in Lagos, Nigeria!
Have a question or comment about Lagos or what activities you should do there? Scroll down and leave a comment!
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