Beninqui GaGne

A Design Lover’s Guide to Lagos, Nigeria

cars on a road

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.

exterior of a building
The National Arts Theatre in Lagos, Nigeria. The building was completed in 1976.

Photo: Getty Images/Frédéric Soltan

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.

people on boats in the water
Locals navigate the the waterways of Makoko waterfront community in Lagos.

Photo: Getty Images

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.