Surulere: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

Ever been to Surulere, Lagos?

Whatever the answer might be, there are chances you have heard about Lagos. It is that city at the bank of the Atlantic, with over 20 million inhabitants. Lagos is considered the smallest state in Nigeria in terms of size, and it is also the most populous state in Nigeria; a perfect example of an irony, right? Lagos state is the business hub of the country, a fast-growing city with the focus on upgrading its status as a megacity to a smart city in the nearest future.

Lagos is many things you must have heard on the radio, seen on television (movies inclusive) or told by that uncle/aunt who lives in Lagos and only comes around during Christmas. The truth is, no matter how little your experience is about Lagos, you probably know a thing or two already. There are major landmarks in the city that gives you that Lagos feeling.

The Lagos feeling is only best explained when experienced; it is the hustle and bustle; people running into themselves on the street, especially at peak hours, loud music from speakers, impatient drivers everywhere and people trying to sell everything and anything. Lagos is synonymous with lots of things: stress, fun, smart, opportunities, busy etc. These synonyms are not without their truths, though they are sometimes exaggerated.

They all make up the Lagos story and are best experienced in different parts of the city. There are definitely some things about the city that has been exaggerated over the years. Below are some of the exaggerated things about Lagos to prepare your mind:

List of Exaggerated Things About Lagos

Lagos is a land of opportunities

No doubt that the number of opportunities in Lagos are abound. It is where everyone is afforded to turn their fortunes around provided they are hardworking. The keyword here is hard work. It is, however, surprising to see people jumping on the next available bus believing they can make it overnight. It is not as though money grows on trees here or falls from the sky.

The mistake common to people outside the state is not having proper plans or support before embarking on their I-must-make-it-in-Lagos quest.


Lagos Area Boys

This definitely another most exaggerated thing about Lagos. You must have heard about the Lagos thugs, popular known as ‘Area boys’, and the way they harass everybody. These exaggerated stories, no thanks to Nollywood movies, drive fear in the mind of people visiting the city for the first time. This is not to deny that the thugs are everywhere and sometimes unpredictable, but they are also humans.

Some of these are just way exaggerated to create fear in people’s mind. With the Lagos Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT), you can choose to avoid the discomfort of bus conductors in some parts of the city.

Lagos is ‘small London’

Truly, Lagos is home to colourful architectures, iconic landmarks and skylines that can sweep anyone of their feet on its day. The city is dubbed as the economic and commercial capital of Nigeria and West Africa. It is, however, important to note that it is not every part of Lagos that is heavenly as always portrayed.

Some parts of Lagos like Ajegunle, Makoko, Ijora Badia among others are slums and horrible sights, especially in rainy seasons. The Lagos often portrayed in music videos or in newsprints are selected areas or edited to suit the producers’ tastes.

The crime rate is high

This is arguably the most exaggerated story about Lagos. The way in which the stories are being told, it is as though everyone on the streets and roads is out to steal. It is not uncommon to see people being warned not to ask for directions on the streets of Lagos because the next thing that would happen is, they get kidnapped.

This is not ruling out the possibilities of crime in the city, considering its population. There are always tendencies for these things but they are being exaggerated. Actually, the security of Lagosians is paramount to the government of the state.

The cost of living is expensive

For any city with the Lagos status, it is expected that things won’t come cheap. Lagos is no doubt an attractive destination, with thousands of people coming into the city on a  daily basis. It is a city decorated with affluence and luxury but it is also relatively cheap. You can get anything and everything in the city, from sophisticated to standard, extravagance to essential.

The cost of living in the state might be expensive when compared to other states in the country like Akure, Osogbo, Ilorin, Ibadan or Abeokuta. However, it is not expensive as people are made to believe. Everyone gets to find their right place that aligns with their budget. Places like Surulere, Ikeja, Oshodi are nice places that are relatively cheap.


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Traffic Jam is unbeatable

Wait, what is Lagos without the traffic jam? For the typical Lagosian, knowing how to avoid traffic jams is considered a grade A skill to live in the city. It is almost impossible to move around the city without getting into one, at least for 5 mins. This is largely due to the city’s geography and the impatience of commuters, as well as bad roads across different parts of the city. However, it is not true that you will be stuck in a traffic jam for half of the day if you don’t leave your home early in the morning.

The traffic menace is also losing its grip on the city, thanks to some expanded roads and the BRT lane and train services. The traffic in Lagos has been exaggerated over the years; all you just need to do is know your way around the city. That way, you know when to avoid certain areas, especially at peak hours.

That said, Lagos State is divided into two major parts: Lagos Island and Lagos Mainland, comprising of 20 local government areas altogether. Surulere, Mushin, Oshodi, Agege are examples of places in Lagos mainland, while Lekki, Ajah, Victoria Island are examples of places in Lagos Island. These areas are also examples of the major landmarks in Lagos.

Surulere is one of those places you probably have heard of or should visit when you are in the city. Surulere is that part of the city that connects the Lagos mainland to the Lagos Island. It is definitely one place you probably should consider visiting. If you have decided to visit Surulere or you are thinking about the idea and can’t decide yet, probably because you are unsure of what to expect.

Wonder no more, we have you covered with a comprehensive list of what to expect. On the list below are 10 things you should know about Surulere, they surely would come handy.

10 Things You Should Know About Surulere

Surulere is Divided into Two Major Parts

Surulere as earlier mentioned is that part of Lagos that connects the Lagos Mainland to the Lagos Island. It is one of the 20 local government areas known for its bubbling lifestyle. Surulere comprises of areas like Adeniran Ogunsanya, Aguda, Akerele, Akerele Extension, Shitta, Ogunlana Drive, Yaba, Ojuelegba, Alaka Estate, Alaka, Iponri, Alhaji Masha, Kilo, Anjorin Lawanson, Asokoro District, Barracks, Ijesha, Itire, Bode Thomas, Costain etc.

These areas in Surulere can further be divided into two parts. Just as how Lagos is divided into two; the Lagos mainland and Lagos Island – with the Lagos Island considered as the abode for the rich or upper-class citizens while the Lagos mainland is considered to be for the middle-class citizens. The same thing applies here, with a number of nice and serene places to live in Surulere.

There are certain parts of Surulere that are considered for high earners like Bode Thomas, Aguda, Alaka Estate, Masha, Ogunlana Drive, Yaba etc. These places are very quiet, cleaner and with better road network compared to other parts of Surulere. While places like Shitta, Ojuelegba, Ijesha, Anjorin, Lawanson, Itire are considered to be the ghetto areas of Surulere. Ojuelegba, for instance, is one of the busiest places in Lagos because of the population of people in the area on a daily basis.

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The Best Time to Visit Surulere

There is actually no specific time to visit or not to visit Surulere, no matter the hour of the day, it is always full of life. However, there are certain things to consider when visiting this particular area of Lagos. One important consideration is the time of the year i.e whether it is a rainy or dry season. This is an important thing to note and prepare for depending on the area you are visiting.

Some of the areas in Surulere as earlier mentioned have good networking roads that you can count. That said, there are other areas you probably just want to run away from during the rainy season e.g Itire, Masha-Kilo etc. Still, on the roads, it is best to visit any part of Surulere during the day while most people are still at work.

This is because of the peak hours after the close of work as most people would be making their way back home from Lagos Island and other parts of Lagos. At times like this, there are bound to be traffic jam because of the bad roads in some areas of Surulere and the impatience of commuters.

How to Get to Surulere

One thing is to hear or know a lot about a particular place, another thing is knowing how to get there. It is, however, very easy to get to Surulere from any part of Lagos. Your best bet to getting to Lagos is obviously by road. It is not a remote place on an island somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. Either as a first timer or not, in order to get to Surulere, it is by road transportation.


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The road transportation system is the most common optioned used in the city by commuters. Only on few cases that people make use of the rail and water transportation system. Such cases are along the railway axis of Iddo-Yaba-Oshodi-Egbeda, while the ferry is mostly used to navigate some parts of the Lagos Island.

Depending on how close you are, either you are using the traditional Lagos buses (Danfo) or the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), the prices charged might differ. From Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) on the Island, you can get to Barracks, Surulere with just an N100 BRT ticket. Using a Danfo for the same journey might cost you around N250. The same thing applies to other areas, depending on your chosen form of transport.

Getting Around In Surulere

Lagos is home to one of the largest and most expensive road networks in Nigeria, linked by highways and bridges. It is not unusual for these highways to be congested during peak hours, due to the city’s geography, as well as the population of the state. However, there are several ways to navigate the city.

Lagos state has the BRT system which operates along eight routes with designated bus lanes. The city also makes use of Danfo, tricycles (Keke-Napep) and motorcycles – bikes who also ply certain routes in the city.

Considering the busy nature of Surulere and its importance to connecting the Lagos Mainland and Lagos Island, you would understand why it has much transport means at its disposer. Here, depending on where you are headed between the area, you probably have two or more options available for use. The most common of the means of getting around Surulere are the Danfos and tricycles.

For instance, getting to Bode Thomas or Shitta from Ojuelegba, you probably want to consider the tricycles or motorcycles. Also, from Ojuelegba to places like Itire, Lawanson and co, there are Coaster buses and Danfos painted in the states yellow and black colour for transportation. You can also get bikes to take you around Surulere.

The average cost of transportation in Surulere varies greatly, depending on the distance within the area and it is also unstable because of the country’s economy. However, the cost of public transportation ranges from N50 to N200 depending on the distance of travel.


Things to do in Surulere

In order to get the full experience, there are some places you definitely have to visit and some things must try. Surulere is home to a number of shopping centres and leisure attractions. If you plan on going to Surulere, there are certainly a number of places you should consider going and things you should do:

Go Shopping Or Watch A Movie

One of the interesting things you probably want to engage yourself in while in the area is to go shopping at the mall or see a movie. The mall and cinema on Adeniran Ogunsanya are one of many places to have a good time in Surulere.

Go To The National Arts Theatre, Surulere

If you are an art enthusiast and in Surulere-Lagos, you definitely want to visit the National Arts Theatre. It is one of the historic structures in Lagos. The National Arts Theatre was in 1976, a focal point for the celebration of the Nigerian Art and Culture festival. It is often referred to as The National Theatre as it is the core location for performing arts in Nigeria. It was completed in time for the Second World African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) event of 1977. The exterior of the National Arts Theatre is shaped like a military hat as it was built during the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo.

Go jogging

Surulere is also home to both the National Stadium, Lagos and the Teslim Balogun Stadium. The National Stadium is opened to all; it is one of those places in Surulere you probably want to go visit, especially on a Saturday or Sunday. If you are a fit fam, you probably don’t mind getting sweaty and meeting new people.

Go sightseeing

It is not enough to visit Surulere without seeing the most talked about places in the area. Adeniran Ogunsanya is one place known for its array of businesses on its streets, with over fifty businesses. Another place is the famous Ojuelegba that is the most talked area amidst Nigerian hip-hop artists. Yaba is another place you probably want to visit also.

What To Do When You Have Only 48 hours to Spend in Surulere?                   

It’s easy to get tangled in the ever energetic and fast-paced lifestyle of the city, especially if you are new or only have a few days to stay. If you are in Surulere with limited time to spend and still want to get a good taste of what the area offers, we have got some ideas.

First, find a nice hostel in the area, and guess what, they are considerably cheap, then head over to the mall. Surulere is also home to some cheap short lets apartments in Lagos. If you are looking to have a feel of what the Lagos nightlife seems like, you definitely want to head over to Ojuelegba. It is one of the many places in Lagos that never sleeps, there are bars in this part of Surulere that are opened from 10 pm to 4 am.


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Places to Eat In Surulere

Of course, everybody needs food to fuel their body. Lagos is definitely that city with the ability to make you hungry again in the space of an hour. There are, however, local delicacies to try while in Lagos: Eba and Egusi soup, Amala and Ewedu soup, Jollof rice, Ofada rice, Fried rice and Fried plantain (popularly called dodo) and Suya. if you are looking for cheap food in Lagos or out to try local delicacies for the first time, you are in the right part of the city.

No matter where you are in Surulere, there are numbers of restaurants or bukas to always eat from. You can actually get food at a low cost of N200, depending on what you are eating and where you are eating from. There are also popular restaurants and eateries in Surulere that you can try.

Where to Shop in Surulere

Lagos is actually that place where you can sell anything and everything. Hence, there is always a market close by. This is no exception with Surulere, with a number of places you can shop from. If you want to shop like the real Lagosian, in open-air markets, there are definitely places you can go to. For instance, Yaba is one of the go-to places for ranging from clothing to cosmetics.

You are probably going to get things relatively cheap and in wholesales too. There are also places like Ijesha, Ojuelegba, Lawanson among others. If you are also looking to shop in malls and supermarkets, Surulere provides you with arrays of options.

Where to Stay in Surulere

As earlier mentioned in the article, there are a wide range of houses for rent in Surulere, and if you are also looking to just get a place to stay, you are still covered. Surulere, like other parts of Lagos, has a wide range of hotels suitable for all taste and budgets. It is one part of Lagos that offers a mix of local and luxury hotels; it all depends on how much you intend to spend.

Places like Ojuelegba, Yaba, Bode Thomas, Ogunlana Drive, Lawanson, Ijesha are examples of where to stay in Surulere. Depending on your taste and budget, there are a number of cheap short lets in Lagos as a whole.


Be Prepared

That’s it, be prepared. This is how to prepare yourself for anywhere in Lagos; expect everything and anything. You don’t want to be caught unaware on the street of Lagos. Surulere is that place in Lagos that is just in between. While you might find areas like Bode Thomas, Alaka, Iponri and other parts of Surulere relatively quiet and cool. The opposite is the case in places like Ojuelegba, Lawanson, Itire, Ijesha and its environs.

So it is best you are prepared like a real Lagosian – with sharp eyes scanning your environment. The worst thing is to be left stranded on the streets of Surulere or any other part of Lagos.

If you are here, read through the article without skipping, you must have learnt a thing or two about Surulere. There are definitely other things you might encounter when you visit Surulere, but 10 things you should know about Surulere would always come in handy. Kindly share your views about this part of Lagos with fellow readers.



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