I get a lot of street-cred for living in Lagos. ‘How could you survive it?’ ‘The traffic?’ ‘The congestion?’ Truth is Lagos is highly addictive and there is no need to ration how much fun you have.
Here are nine things to do in Lagos over the holiday season. I bet those of you who can’t be there will have a lot of FOMO after reading this.
I cannot stress this enough. You must absolutely do exhibitions in Lagos. The art scene literally exploded this year and going to see art is now cooler than every other conceivable social activity. You can meet the artists and talk about their work over some free wine and nibbles.
In my experiences, Lagos artists and their friends are a great set of open-minded people you could try to befriend. If you are lucky, you will probably get invited out to a drink afterwards.
While you can visit Lagos and not go to the beach, I recommend Pop Beach at Ilashe and Tarkwa Bay. If you are heading to Tarkwa Bay, you can catch a Ferry from Fifi’s Marina, opposite Law School for around N3K. Once you get there you, can hire your own tent and beach chairs.
On one side of the the bay, you can swim in the water which is very gentle. On the other side, you can surf or learn to surf with an experienced trainer called God’s Power. Pop Beach is a totally different experience in the sense that it is catered. You can arrange with the owner Akin, a super cool guy, to pick you up usually at the Boat Club in Ikoyi. You can take your own drinks but lunch is served. You just need to rent your cabana.
The best part about Pop Beach is that you can sleep over. So if you need to escape all the family hassle, this is a perfect getaway. Everyone who comes to pop is really friendly and ready to play either in the pool or outside. The downside is that, unless you’re a very strong swimmer, it is not recommended to swim in the ocean as the tide is very strong there.
If you go to Pop, warm up to local celeb @KorraObidi. She is so much fun and full of life.
You can now find a movie night go to whether it’s an art film held in a cosy spot like Stranger Lagos, an outdoor screening held at the Cafe Neo’s garden by SecretCinema Lagos or the musically themed ones held at Jazzhole. There are many more; these are just the cool ones.
You get to meet people and generally hang out. There are food stands at the screenings held at Cafe Neo. The crowd there is usually the I Just Got Back (IJGB) kids but the friendly ones.
At Jazzhole, it is a slightly more mature crowd. You can have a glass of wine and a piece of pineapple cake to go with the film. There is a discussion held at the end of each screening and there is quite a number of French-speaking people so if you speak French or want to make friends who do, this is your spot. After the screening, people usually head over to Bogobiri or Freedom Park for a drink.
These are a lot of fun with vintage clothing and custom-made wares like hand painted t-shirts and jewelry on sale. If you want products for your natural hair, this is the place for you.
Check out the ones at Bics Garden in Lekki Phase 1 and Mente de Moda, near Avalon House in Lekki Phase 1. Come with cash as many vendors won’t be able to accept card payments.
I love monthly house music sessions held by Lagos in the House. You can loosen up and dance like crazy. You can get to play the percussion or get tambourines if you want.
Caliente and Slay are also great for clubbing. If you like dancing under the stars – not that you can see many in Lagos – Afropolitan vibes is your best bet.
The next Afropolitan Vibes session is on the 16 and 17 December and it’s going to be huge! So many cool people will be playing including Keziah Jones, Falana, General Pype, Seyi Shay, Ayo Awosika, DJ Neptune, DJ Jimmy Jatt. That is basically every cool musician and their mama except Nneka and Brymo 🙁
Trying to take on Lagos alone is a daunting task. If you think you might be lonely, my advice is to reach out to friends who have friends in Lagos and are willing to let you hang with them. Most people I know are open to this even if it’s someone they’ve never met or know nothing about. Lots of hangouts and get-togethers happen at people’s houses. This is a perfect place to bond with people away from the prying eyes of (sometimes judgmental) Lagosians.
A festival that started out as a little idea has turned into something big. Who knew Nigerians were so hungry?! At the festival, you will meet all the IJGBs so dress cute.
Make sure you arrive on time before all the good food is gone. And bring your cash with you. Get ready, Dec 27 is the day to stuff your face!
Go to Art Cafe, Delis or Craft Gourmet by Lou Baker for Sunday brunch. Forget the hotel buffets; they are not worth your money.
If you are already missing the sushi life head over to Izanagi or D’Avenue. I prefer the sushi at D’Avenue but their chef is unreliable. Sometimes you go there and they tell you he’s gone on vacation for two weeks.
If you want proper Nigerian food, head over to L’Afric but make sure you aren’t starving when you arrive, it can take up to an hour for your food to come out.
If you just want nibbles and to chill, I like Lotus by Pattaya for their awesome indie-electro music. I also like Alara a lot. They have a cute little restaurant called NOK by Alara which serves the smallest but tastiest cocktails in Lagos.
The outdoor space has foosball if you’re not shy to make a fool of yourself in public, unless of course you are pro. All the stuffy people usually sit inside. Outside is also warmly lit, perfect for a romantic something something.
For coffee, grab a cup at Cafe Neo. If you want to sit and talk, head over to the outlet in Ikoyi. Lots of cool kids go there. You can take a blanket to chill and vibe on the grass. For just margaritas, Bottles has the best margaritas in Lagos hands down!
Yes I said it! Weddings. I once met a handsome bloke who told me that he goes to weddings to get his food for the week and he was serious. Apart from getting well fed for doing absolutely nothing but turn up, wedding are a great place to socialise.
Every true Nigerian knows this. The best ones to attend are the ones where you know there is no family connection so you can have fun without an annoying aunty asking you, ‘When is your turn?’