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Lagos Basics

Known for its vibrant markets, bustling streets and notorious traffic jams, Lagos is a leading powerhouse of innovation, telecommunications and entertainment on the African continent. Energetic and dynamic, life here is lived minute by chaotic minute on its streets. 

Located along the Atlantic coast, the city itself spans a couple barrier islands separated by the Lagos Lagoon and smaller creeks. With a population of approximately 17 million, Lagos is the most populated city in Nigeria and arguably all of Africa. Once Nigeria’s capital, Lagos is the heart of the country’s commercial enterprise and is filled with entrepreneurial spirit. You’ll find more mom-and-pop style shops and businesses along every major street in the city than anywhere else in Africa. Vendors and hawkers also fill the streets, and while it’s generally safe to buy from them, don’t be afraid to flex your bargaining skills. 

A cosmopolitan city, Lagos offers top-notch international cuisine, local Nigerian restaurants and cutting-edge fashion boutiques. Lagosians take their music, movies and fashion seriously (so pack accordingly)—you’ll probably be frowned upon if you slouch around in jeans, a well-worn T-shirt and flip-flops. 

More than 250 unique tribes call Nigeria home, and Lagos represents a solid cross-section of these tribes, various religious beliefs and a slew of foreign expatriates, making it one of the most culturally diverse and tolerant cities in the world. 

While Lagos has fought hard to lose its reputation for being unsafe, always keep an eye out for pickpockets and petty thieves. The city generally runs on cash and most meals, entertainment and nightlife options will require it, so make sure you change some dollars into Naira before you arrive or at the local banks. While you might be able to use credit cards at a few places, it is highly discouraged for many reasons including fraud.

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