Save 30% on your next trip

Ultimate Lagos Nigeria Travel Guide

Lastly updated

Lagos Nigeria is the cultural and economic center of the country thanks to the influx of oil money and has a thriving music scene and arts that will keep its visitors busy until dawn. If you travel to Nigeria, you have no choice but to immerse yourself fully in Lagos itinerary.

Lagos has the best atmosphere, from the very welcoming local people to its rich culture and history. Here you will find, among other things, Afrobeat, a musical genre that is conquering the world of music today, some of Africa's technological unicorns, lots of Island, and hundreds of beach fronts amongst others.

I grew up in Rivers state Nigeria and went to the University of Lagos where I spend most of my adulthood. I have spent most of my time going around this beautiful and chaotic Nigerian state. Until date I could not complete every part of Lagos given its huge size but I visited almost 85% of Lagos Nigeria and had a first-hand experience of the city. In this complimentary Lagos Nigeria travel guide for Allo Traveller, we will look at the best times to go for a Lagos vacation, must see Lagos attractions, Lagos restaurants and nightlife, things to do and tips for first time visitors to Lagos state.

Visitors often forget that Lagos is a state and sometimes consider it to be a city. Lagos Nigeria is made up of 20 LGAs (local government areas) and all these LGAs are very busy and buzzing. For first-time visitors to Lagos Nigeria, navigating the city alone can seem overwhelming and chaotic.

The best time to travel to Lagos Nigeria

Lagos Nigeria is the center of fashion, entertainment, business and everything else there is. You can make any trip to Lagos Nigeria even more memorable by knowing the optimal time to visit this fascinating African city.

Lagos Nigeria has two main seasons all through the year: the dry season (from the month of November to March) and the rainy season (which usually begins in April and goes on until mid-November) and. The ideal time to go for a Lagos vacation is between the month of November and February: the temperatures are cooler because of the Harmattan winds, the air is less humid and the climate is drier.

With heavy rain often causing serious traffic jams and flash flooding in some parts of the city, June and July are the wettest months of the year. But even in the less conducive season, you'll never run out of things to do at this excellent city in Nigeria – and overall, prices are usually lower than in the busy months.

Top Things to Do in Lagos Nigeria

Chaotic. Fast-paced. Vibrant. Lagos Nigeria may be one of three, but this populous African city has many other qualities. This is the Nigerian city that never sleeps, Lagos locals live loudly and boldly. Their energy is infectious, high and, often overwhelming for some first-time visitors. However, you'll quickly learn to love the excitement of this Nigerian city if you stay long enough.

While the ideal thing about traveling to this metropolitan Nigerian city is the locals you meet, there is plenty to experience and see. These are the top things to do in Lagos Nigeria.

Discover the history of Nigeria at the National Museum:

The Nigerian National museum is open from 9:00 a.m. in the morning and closes at 5:00 p.m. The entrance fee for foreign visitors is 300 naira. The economic capital of Nigeria is equally home to the Nigerian National Museum, a slightly dated but still interesting collection of artifacts about various Nigerian tribes and the country’s history.

I suggest you hire an Allo Traveller guide to make the most of your Lagos Nigeria visit and learn the stories behind the museum's several works of art, artifacts and statues. Among the most interesting is the “Cycles of Life” exhibition, which examines the approaches of different tribes at each stage of human existence and a terracotta statue dating from 900 to 200 BC known as Jemaa Head.

Also look out for the elaborate Egungun ceremonial costumes worn by dancers at the funerals of village chiefs as well as clay pots like those the Yoruba used to bury babies' umbilical cords.

Connect with nature at the Lekki Conservation Center:

The Lekki Conservation Center is open daily from 8.30 a.m. in the morning to 5 p.m. in the evening and entry costs 1,000 naira. A green oasis in a city dominated by concrete, the Lekki Conservation Center is situated on Victoria Island. The area covers 78 hectares of tropical forest, accessible via a canopy trail and boardwalk, and is believed to be the longest structure on the continent.

It was established to protect the native flora and fauna of the Lekki Peninsula. Keep an eye out for the reserve's exotic inhabitants, whether you plan to explore from beneath or above the trees. These include an impressive array of colorful birds, crocodiles, Old World Mona monkeys and lizards. It is best observed from designated viewing and birding stations in the marshes.

Pay tribute to a legend at the Kalakuta Republic Museum:

One of Nigeria's most famous sons Fela Kuti was a musician, composer and political activist. Considered the pioneer of the Afrobeat genre (which can still be seen in many bars and clubs in Lagos), he is a legend among Nigerian music lovers. Those interested in learning more about the legacy and life of Fela can do so at this legendary Museum, the same building where he founded the commune that he declared independent of the military dictatorship that then ruled Nigeria.

Kalakuta Republic Museum is run by one of Fela's sons today and constitute artifacts related to his extraordinary life. These include newspaper clippings, murals, photographs, album covers, posters, some of his well-preserved bedroom and his numerous musical instruments. Located in Ikeja, the museum has rooms for overnight stays and a rooftop cafe.

Take a boat ride to the floating village of Makoko:

On the Lagos lagoon murky brown waters are churches, schools stilt houses and shops that make up the floating village of Makoko, a seaside shantytown euphemistically called the Venice of Africa. Settlers from Togo and Benin established this fishing village over a century ago and is now home to many different ethnicities and cultures. This is an interesting spot that can be safely explored with a Makoko boat tour.

In order to benefit from your visit, make sure you choose an Allo Traveller local operator who has ties to the community, rather than third parties profiting from so-called poverty tourism. However, if done well, a tour can be an opportunity to interact with the residents of one of the most unique areas of Lagos and a valuable learning experience. Most include the opportunity to dine at local restaurants where the menu includes authentic specialties.

Discover some of the best Lagos Nightlife:

Lagos Nigeria is the right city for you if you love to dance. The city is known for its epic nightlife, offering everything from open-air beach bars to clubs with VIP table service and famous DJs. If you want to experience the best of Afrobeat with a trip to the Kalakuta Republic Museum, visit a 2,500-member club considered the New Afrikan Shrine, opened in Fela Kuti's honor by her family. Every Friday there is a very popular club night and His sons Seun and Femi perform regularly.

In surplus to its good music, the spot is popular for its inclusive atmosphere, welcoming dancers of all classes and colors. Other great places to host a party include Elegushi Beach (famous for its Sunday night raucous dance parties) and upscale Quilox nightclub (long standing exclusive choice for Victoria Island partygoers).

Relax at Tarkwa Bay Beach for a day:

Tarkwa Bay Beach is one of the best beaches in the Lagos Nigeria and is famous for its location on an island close to the mouth of the Lagos lagoon. To get there you have to take a water taxi which gives the sensation of leaving the chaos and frenzy of the city behind. Upon arrival, a sheltered beach of golden sand awaits you.

Tarkwa Bay Beach is calmer than other bays on Victoria Island, making it an ideal place to sunbathe, relax or swim in the warm Gulf of Guinea. There are popular water sports here with options such as water skiing and jet skiing. Carry a picnic or pick up street food from islanders who make a living feeding people traveling from the city proper to the coast. From the marina you can take speedboat rides to the beach at a cost of N1,500 for each person.

Enjoy a VIP Experience at Landmark Leisure Beach:

Landmark Leisure Beach is open from 10:00 AM in the morning to 10:00 PM in the evening Monday to Thursday and stays open until 11:30 PM from Friday to Sunday. Head to the charming Landmark Leisure Beach for a truly different beach experience, a private beach attraction on Victoria Island.

Aimed at cosmopolitan Lagos visitors and wealthy Lagosians, this Lagos beach has a beautiful stretch of sand separated from Landmark Village by a highly-maintained boardwalk. The Landmark Village is a selection of restaurants (including the famous Hard Rock Café in Lagos), bars and boutiques that together offer a variety of high-quality, albeit expensive, products.

The club equally offers a variety of organized activities to spend a fun day, such as beach soccer, jet skis, kitesurfing, and beach volleyball and beach paintball. There are over 20 cabanas and 40 sun loungers available to rent if you prefer to stay back and relax.

Explore creative culture at the Nike Art Center:

Lagos state Nike Art center is open daily from 10 a.m. in the morning to 6 p.m. in the evening. The Nike Art Center in Lagos is one of four culture and art centers founded in Nigeria by internationally renowned and award-winning Nigerian artist, Nike Okundaye.

The four-story space is more than just a gallery, it is a testament to Nike's incredible achievements and her passion for ensuring traditional Nigerian art survives into the modern times. Come watch artisans practice the ancient arts of embroidery, indigo, batik, weaving, adire, carving and much more.

You can directly buy masterpieces from the artists (giving you a great souvenir of your stay in Lagos state) or to learn the basics of these skills yourself, you can also sign up for a workshop. Nike equally provides guests with art tours to other centers in Nigeria, including one in Oshogbo the Yoruba heartland.

Support local artisans at the Lekki Market:

Visit Lekki Market on the Lekki Peninsula for a more affordable souvenir shopping experience that equally provides you with an authentic insight into the Nigerian lifestyle. Here, artisans from all over Nigeria come together to market their wares, from sculptures to intricate African fashion and beadwork and traditional paintings.

The market is famous for its colorful and high-quality fabrics, made with special techniques such as batik and adire. Purchase panels of fabric to carry home for your sewing projects or ask the market's talented market tailors to make custom clothing for you right there.

I advise that you pay attention to your property, eventhogh Lekki Market has a good reputation for safety. Visit when the market is calm, to avoid even the slightest chaos.

Visit Freedom Park to Celebrate Nigerian Independence:

Freedom Park in central Lagos first celebrated the 50th anniversary of Nigerian independence in 2010. Fittingly, this heritage and memorial site is located on the site of Her Majesty's Broad Street Prison, where the imprisoned Nigerian freedom fighters were held before the end of the British colonial rule. Today, with a series of contemporary sculptures, Freedom Park celebrates Nigerian history and culture.

There are many of green spaces and benches to reflect while seating, and the Park becomes a recreational center in the evenings with great food vendors, street entertainment, and live music. The Park is open daily from 11:00 a.m. in the morning to 11:00 p.m. in the evening except for Sundays when it closes at 2:00 p.m.

Admire the majestic Tafawa Balewa Square monuments:

Combine your visit to Freedom Park with a 10-minute walk to nearby Tafawa Balewa Square to learn more about Nigeria's struggle for independence. This prominent address is named after Nigeria's first prime minister and is where Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa proclaimed the Nigerian independence on October 1, 1960.

There is much to see here, including a monumental entrance decorated with large statues of seven red eagles and four white horses. Important buildings surround the square, including the Remembrance Arcade stand, the Independence Hall and the National Assembly of Nigeria.

The Remembrance Arcade is dedicated to the Nigerians who fought in the country's civil war and in both world wars. The Tafawa Balewa square is often used for celebrations and official events, so you never know what will happen during your visit.

Places to eat (restaurants) in Lagos, Nigeria

Lagoon Restaurant, Cactuc Restaurant and Hard Rock Café are some of the best places to enjoy delicious Nigerian food in Lagos. Going out to eat is one thing you can count on to have fun in Lagos Nigeria. Jollof rice is a local dish you must try. The ideal way to describe Lagos restaurants is haute couture African cuisines.

I recommend you equally try Abula, a dish loved by many Lagos Nigeria tourists which is a mix of draw soup and beans soup. It is truly traditional and is enjoyed with a “swallow” made with sweet potato flour called amala. It's really delicious. While I was in Lagos I used to eat it three or four times from Friday to Sunday. And you can equally have La Brioche for the perfect breakfast. It's very tasty but normal continental breakfast.

Where to shop (markets) in Lagos, Nigeria

Those on Lagos vacation can shop at Law School Market for all things vegetables and seafood, Balogun Market for all things vegetables and the Lekki Market for craft and art. These Lagos Nigeria markets are too crowded on weekends when not everyone is working, so I suggest you visit on week days. Get ready to face a crazily crowded and noisy market.

Law School Market, is very local, but you'll find whatever you're looking for in terms of vegetables and spices here. If you're lodging in an Airbnb and will like to cook yourself, this is the ideal place to enjoy spices, seafood, and vegetables. At times you can even see boats bringing fresh fish from the sea.

Balogun Market is one the craziest market you can visit. Everything that exists under the sun is sold there. Lekki Market probably makes more sense. Every Lagos Nigerian tourist goes to Lekki market because there are artists there who produce many crafts and arts, shoes, clothes made with traditional materials that sell at quite good prices, bags, clothes and fashion.

They have carvings, statues, paintings and anything else you may want to take back with you. I suggest you first go to Lekki market. Don't go to Balogun Market if Lekki was too much for you.

Nightlife in Lagos, Nigeria

If you are looking to experience the Lagos nightlife like the locals, you head to the New Afrika shrine located at 1 Nerdc Road, Agindigbi, Ikeja. This is an ideal nightlife spot in Lagos Nigeria popular to locals. It was founded by the Nigerian legend Fela Kuti and therefore is of significance to the Nigerian heritage.

Pro tip: at the Lagos Nigeria Kalakuta Republic Museum, tourists can learn more about Fela Kuti.

A few months ago when French president Macron arrived in Lagos, this was one of the places he thought he should visit. He remembered the museum as a place where he had a great time while he was in Lagos many years ago as a diplomat. There you can feel the beautiful atmosphere of Lagos though it is not a luxurious environment. You will have a wild time in this Lagos Nigeria nightlife spot.

Important tips for first time Lagos Nigeria visitors

Are you visiting Lagos Nigeria for the first time? Here are some premiums tips to help you navigate Lagos state like a local.

Prepare for cooler and warmer weather: The Lagos weather is mostly warm, with an average temperature of 29°C. However, Lagos experiences dry and rainy seasons and even in between there are mostly cloudy but warm days with cooler weather that should not be taken for granted.

English is the common language: In general, almost everyone in Nigeria speaks or understands English. Rest assured, English is commonly spoken in Lagos. You may need to learn the basics to communicate effectively if you don't speak English.

Eat Nigerian Cuisine: It is important to try the famous Abula Sauce, "Nigerian Jollof Rice", and Ofada Rice while in Lagos Nigeria. You can equally try these soups: Ogbono, Egusi, Edikakang and Efo Riro. These Nigerian soups can be consumed with every staple food (swallow). Eating local Nigerian food is the best way to experience the country’s culture.

Transport: If you are with someone who knows Lagos well, you should consider BRT (this is the bus you take and can use with your payment card), Keke Marwa (tuktuk), Danfo bus and Okada (also known as bike). However, if you are alone or visiting Lagos for the first time, consider using more convenient transportation options in Lagos like Uber, In Driver or Bolt.

Drink mineral water: Do not drink tap water if you need to boil or filter it before drinking. Buy and drink bottled water to avoid the stress of boiling and filtering. You can purchase a pack (consisting 12 bottles) for $1.69/£1.37 (N750).

Hire an Allo Traveller tour guide for Lagos: A great way to reduce the stress of planning and exploring Lagos Nigera is with a Lagos-based Allo Traveller tour operator. From historical tourist attractions like Badgary to cultural tourism Lagos provides guests with a variety of activities.

Medications and Vaccination: The yellow fever vaccine is one of the vaccines required before traveling to Lagos Nigeria. If necessary you can also carry first aid medications.

Get a Nigerian SIM card: You need to purchase a Nigerian SIM card to have 24/7 access to data outside your accommodation/hotel. Only a data subscription on your phone or a portable mobile Wi-Fi hotspot (MiFi) can provide 24/7 support since there are no Wi-Fi connections on the streets. With 1 dollar you can buy more than 2 GB of data as 1 GB of data costs N300, less than 50 cents. To register a SIM card, you must bring your passport, as your name and passport details will be used for the SIM card registeration.

Walk around with cash: It is important to notify your bank before traveling as most places in Lagos allow you to pay with your credit/debit card. However, some places do not accept bank transfers or card payments when using public transport, food stalls or in local markets. So you will need cash just in case.

Whether you enjoy an adrenaline-filled adventure, enjoying the vibrant nightlife of Lagos, shopping at the market or visiting the famous Owambe and art galleries, Lagos has something for everyone and more. Contact an Allo Traveler agent to book the following tours in Lagos, Nigeria.


Related Post

Get first hand guides on your next travel destination

We've partnered with many travel writers to offer the best travel tips to our readers. contact us below for custom travel guides

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *