How to Holiday in Lagos

Since I live in Lagos, writing about how to have a great time here seemed so obvious to me that I never bothered to do it.  I put it down to that cliché that when you know something, you assume that everyone else knows it too.  Of course, that isn’t true.  It took me spending a few days in Abuja (which is Nigeria’s capital, by the way) to realise that just because Abuja is such an important city in Nigeria and loads of people go there doesn’t mean that mundane information about the place will be easily available.  I searched the web and while I found some information on places to go in Abuja, I didn’t find information on things that people assume everyone knows, for example, How do I get a cab?  Are there things I shouldn’t wear or do? And so on.

Thanks to my experience in Abuja, I’ve decided to compile a list of tips of how to get the most out of your holiday in Lagos.  Like many cities around the world, Lagos is more fun if you know someone who lives here and can show you around but if you don’t know anyone, never fear.  Just read these Living in Lagos posts and check out the tips below.

  • Lagos is packed with restaurants, bars and nightclubs.  The ones considered the coolest are on the island.  See reviews of some restaurants in Lagos here .  


  • If you’re alone in Lagos and looking for something to do, you should check out the malls.  There are quite a few now – The Palms in Lekki, Silverbird Galleria in Victoria Island, E-centre in Yaba and City Mall, Ikeja.  The largest of them is City Mall, Ikeja.  Wandering around the mall, feeding your eyes (and yourself at the food courts) is a great way to pass the time.


  • Generally, Lagosians would rather be over-dressed than underdressed.  Wearing high-heels to watch a movie are par for the course here.


  • When you’re outside, walk quickly and don’t catch people’s eyes.  This is particularly useful if you’re female and aren’t looking for unwanted male attention.


  • Speaking of unwanted male attention, if you’re walking past a busy place, wolf-whistles and calls of ‘Fine girl!’ are likely.  Just ignore them and keep going your way.


  • Lagos is a fairly open-minded place and you can wear pretty much whatever you want.  However, some places are more conservative than others.  When on the street, don’t wear anything too short or overly-revealing.  I have a friend who wore a really short dress and took a bus to a certain part of Lagos.  She said when she got to the bus-stop, people actually gathered and followed her hurling insults at her until she got to where she was going.  So, be sensible.


  • The unwritten rule about conservative dressing goes out the window when you’re going to a club though.  I’m not sure how skimpily-dressed you have to be to raise an eyebrow in Lagos.  I have two pieces of advice here: 1/ If you’re not wearing too much in the way of clothing, make sure you have a car drop you off and pick you up.  2/ Make sure you look good.


  • I’m not sure if Lagosians are friendly people.  This place can make you hard and for safety reasons, I personally don’t talk to strangers on the street.  Having said that, if you’re lost, approach someone who looks ‘normal’ and ask them.  Usually, they’ll give you the information you want if they can.  In the same vein, if you ask someone, especially a woman, for information and they ignore you and walk off, please don’t take it personally.  They are just trying to stay safe.


  • When it comes to cabs, ONLY take marked taxis.  The standard Lagos taxis are yellow with black stripes and they can be hailed on the street.  There are taxi companies too in Lagos now.  These are clearly marked as well.  An example is the Red Cab.  The red cabs are (surprise, surprise) red with multi-coloured stripes.  There are also car-hire cabs which charge by the hour.  These are often found in medium and large hotels in the state.  Although you can get car-hire cabs on the street, to be on the safe side, don’t take any unmarked taxis or cabs in Lagos.


  • I would advice anyone visiting Lagos to go to one of the many beaches in the state.  Lagos is a coastal city and beaches are synonymous with this place.  If you’re looking to mingle with loads of people, head to the beach at the weekend or on a public holiday otherwise, go during the week for a more peaceful experience.

Lagos is a fun place to visit.  Come with an open mind (and lots of money) and you will almost certainly have a good time.


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