There are several facts about Lagos that you must have heard of; Lagos is a state in the west of Nigeria, Lagos is the most populous state in Nigeria with over 10 million people in the city, it is considered the economic and commercial capital of West Africa, and one of the fastest growing cities in the world. There is more to Lagos than facts and the stories that make the news.
The lifestyle in the city is one thing which distinguishes Lagos from other states within the country. Lagos is home to everyone and everything. It is also not news that the city is divided into two parts: the Lagos Mainland and Lagos Island. The idea of Lagos and its halves is something we often find ourselves talking or thinking about, either consciously or unconsciously.
The possibility that, at some point, you might have gotten into an argument – not necessarily heated – with a couple of friends about which half is the best place to live in Lagos. However, if you are undecided about picking sides because you don’t live in Lagos, on the blog, we have a list of 10 reasons you need to live in Lagos. Though this is definitely not the crux of this article.
Now, back to the topic, there are chances you have argued with friends, either on social media or off social media, about the best hangouts spots in Lagos. It might probably have been an argument about the best recreational places in Lagos or the best relaxation spots in Lagos, especially on a weekend. The weekend is actually one thing most people look forward to in Lagos.
For some, it is that time to ease the week’s stress and spend more time with their family. While for others, it’s another weekend for Owanbe. What is Lagos actually without its Owanbe – parties!
- 1 Lagos Island
- 2 Overview of Lagos Island
- 3 What are the popular places in Lagos?
- 4 Important Tips to Consider in Lagos Island
- 4.1 Best Time to visit Lagos Island
- 4.2 How to Get Around Lagos Island
- 4.3 Things To Do in Lagos Island
- 4.4 Where to Shop in Lagos Island
- 4.5 Where to Eat Lagos Island
As earlier mentioned, it is this lifestyle that distinguishes Lagos state from the other states. However, this article is focused on Lagos Island: the other half of Lagos. The reason for this is simple. Often times when people think of Lagos, especially from an outsider’s perspective, it is easy to judge Lagos solely about the activities on the Lagos Mainland alone.
For this set of people, their knowledge of Lagos is shaped by the stories about Oshodi, Agege, Mile 12, Ketu, Abule Egba, Ikeja, Ojota, Ikorodu, Mushin and other landmarks with the Lagos Mainland. What they know about the Lagos Island is often limited to the downtown of Isale Eko, Idunmota, Apongbon and its environs.
They have little or no knowledge about Lekki, Obalende, Ajah, Epe, Ikoyi, the streets of Victoria Island like Ahmadu Bello Way, Adeola Odeku, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Tiamiyu Savage, Ligali Ayorinde, Ajose Adeogun, Etim Inyang Cresent, Muri Okunola, Adetokunbo Ademola among others.
Overview of Lagos Island
Lagos Island is the other part of Lagos that is basically surrounded by water. The first thing you probably might notice about this part of the Lagos is that it is home to beautiful architectural structures and skyscrapers in the city. The Lagos Island comprises of places like Lagos Island (which is often referred to as Eko), Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Lekki, Epe and its environs.
For instance, Lagos Island (Eko) is the gateway to the more affluent neighbourhoods like Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki. Lagos Island aside being home to beautiful structures and skyscrapers, it is also the hub to the business district of Lagos state. This is evident as several financial institutions have their head offices in this part of Lagos.
Another thing you are likely going to notice when you visit Lagos Island is that it is also home to some of the luxurious hotels in Lagos, and Nigeria as a whole. Some of the most popular and biggest Lagos Island markets are Balogun market, Idumota among others. In terms of relaxation and recreational spots, this part of the state definitely has some of the best places in Lagos.
What are the popular places in Lagos?
- Victoria Island
Victoria Island is arguably the most popular part of Lagos Island. This part of the city houses some of the famous streets like Adeola Odeku, Ajose Adeogun, Muri Okunola, Etim Inyang Crescent, Ligali Ayorinde, Ahmadu Bello Way etc. Victoria Island is also home to some of the Lagos most popular and luxurious hotels such as Eko Hotel & Suites, Federal Palace Hotel, Protea Hotel among others.
It is one of the popular areas in Lagos Island because it where a majority of people work. Amidst the other places on the Island like Lekki, Ajah, Ikoyi and so on, Victoria Island is considered to be more of a business district. It is not surprising with the number of people who come into the area to work on a daily basis. Like most area in Lagos Island, this place has a good network of roads compared to most places in the entire Lagos.
Another point of attraction for anyone looking to visit Victoria Island is that it is equally home to some of the best restaurants in Lagos. Interestingly, this part of Lagos Island is also famous for its bubbling nightlife, which is as a result of the top bars and hangouts in the area.
Lekki is home to some of the most expensive real estate assets in the country. It is one of the few places that can boast of good road networks in Lagos. The city is west to Victoria Island and Ikoyi district, at its south is the Atlantic Ocean, the Lekki Lagoon to the east, and the Lagos Lagoon to the north.
Lekki, like most parts of Lagos Island, is an area surrounded by water and it’s not surprising that there are many beaches in Lekki compared to other parts of the state. Lekki is also known for its serene environment. Unlike other places in Lagos that are overcrowded with people bumping into one another, Lekki is usually quiet; both at daytime and nights. It is home to the finest estates in Lagos.
Lekki aside the class factor is that it is more secure compared to most parts of Lagos. You could actually go jogging in the morning or take those walks in the evening without the fear of being robbed. With some of the best schools in Nigeria situated in Lekki, and a considerable amount of various industries in the area, it is not wrong to say it is a planned city in a city – the area is home to several estates; with an airport, a golf course and a seaport under construction.
The nightlife, especially on weekends, is another reason you might want to visit this part of Lagos Island. Lekki also leads the pack in terms of fun and relaxation as it is home to many relaxation lounges such as Sailors lounge; which is the first floating bar in Nigeria.
Another thing to note about Lekki, despite its good road network, is that the area is poorly served by buses and taxis as you would expect in most parts of Lagos.
The reason is, however, not far-fetched because it is due to the fact that most residents have their own car. Lekki, formerly being a slum, is essentially planned as a new city to create jobs, ease the chronic congestion in the state and provide accommodation for the growing upper class and middle-class earners.
Ikoyi is the most affluent neighbourhood of Lagos, located in Eti-Osa Local Government Area. It is considered one of the top places in Nigeria. Ikoyi lies to the northeast of Obalende and to the west is Lagos Island, and the Lagos Lagoon is at the edge. This is where the upper-class residents of Nigerian society live. Ikoyi is also arguably the wealthiest community within Lagos Island and Lagos State as a whole.
The environment here is usually quiet, as it is an abode for the society’s politicians, music and film stars, oil tycoons and many other professionals. It also hosts plenty of upscale hotels and restaurants, making it an excellent place to stay as you explore Nigeria’s largest city. Also, Ikoyi is conveniently home to beaches because of its surrounding waters, and some of the top shopping centres and entertainment centres in Lagos Island.
Important Tips to Consider in Lagos Island
So if you are thinking of visiting Lagos Island for the first time or actually looking to explore the area, you might probably need some heads up. Visiting a place like Lagos Island can be tricky and you probably want to consider a lot of things before heading out. Below are some of the important tips to consider when visiting the area:
Best Time to visit Lagos Island
Knowing the best time to visit the Lagos Island is one of the important tips you want to remember. There are no restrictions as to when you can visit this part of Lagos, but knowing the best time, considering the many factors that Lagos brings. Depending on the part of Lagos Island that you are visiting, the major factor you want to consider is the traffic situation.
The traffic jam situation in Lagos can sometimes be terrible and Lagos Island is top of the usual suspect. Considering the traffic jam in the area, the best times to visit Lagos Island is in the early hours of the day i.e 6 am and 7 am. This is because of the number of people going into Lagos Island to work. Once it is 8 am, the traffic jam becomes terrible. The other time to visit Lagos Island is during work hours from 9 am – 4 pm, by this time, most people are still at work and the road is free. The traffic becomes terrible once it is peak hours. This is often due to a large number of people leaving the Lagos Island for Lagos Mainland.
What this means is, it is best to leave Lagos Island for Lagos mainland in the morning and best to leave the Lagos Mainland for Lagos Island at noon.
How to Get Around Lagos Island
Though Lagos Island is considered the abode for higher earners, especially areas like Victoria Island, Lekki, Ikoyi and its environs, this does not mean that everybody in the area has their own cars. Getting around Lagos Island is, however, a bit on the high side when compared to other parts of Lagos, especially on the Lagos mainland.
Getting to Lagos Island, for anyone living on the Lagos mainland, can be stressful and financially tasking. This is due to the hold-ups and the hike in prices that come with it. That said, there is an array of transportation to choose from in order to get around Lagos. These options vary from bikes, buses (danfo), Tricycles (keke napep), Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), ferry, among others.
The choice of transport is, however, dependent on the area and sometimes the distance of the journey. Thus, it is difficult to put a definite price tag on the amount you might spend on transport in this part of Lagos. It is important that you prepare for the unseen because Lagos, as expected, can be unpredictable.
Another tip on getting around in Lagos Island is that parking spaces are few and limited, moving around with your own car might not be a good idea. Though, parking spaces cost between N200 and N500 in different areas.
Things To Do in Lagos Island
One certainty here is you can never run out of things to do in Lagos Island. From the bridges that serve as borderlines between the Lagos Mainland and Lagos Island, you will have a view of the Lagos and possibly find some fishermen fishing. You can never run out of the number of high rise buildings right from the bridge.
The vibrant Eko market is not hard to spot because it is always full to the brim. There is no better place to experience the vibrancy and enterprising nature of Lagosians on the Lagos Island. Here, you will find out that the traders are a mix of tribes from all over the country. As you drive past and deeper into this part of Lagos, you will be accompanied by the waters and both new and old exquisite architectural designs.
Hence, whether you are a lover of art or music or photography or just in search of a fun place, the Lagos Island definitely has everything in stock for you. Here are a few things to do in Lagos Island:
One of the many things you can do on Lagos Island is a visit to CMS. CMS is arguably the most prominent landmark in Lagos because it is home to the Cathedral Church of Christ located in Marina. The structure was completed in 1946. The Norman Gothic-style architecture is one of the best preserved historical buildings in Lagos Island and it is also arguably the most photographed building in Lagos.
Marina is also home to some of Lagos finest skyscrapers as well as the headquarters for some major banks.
A Visit to Freedom Park
Freedom Park; the now arts and recreation centre was once a colonial prison smack in the middle of downtown Lagos Island. This place that was once a haunting ground for individuals, most of whom were political prisoners who fought against colonial rule, is today one of the most visited places in Lagos. It is located at the Old Prison Ground, Broad Street, Lagos.
Though there are still bits of the old prison, it has, however, been largely refurbished with little monuments, fountains, ponds, art installations etc. in order for everyone to feel at home.
Freedom Park today is one of the top places that host performance or other art events almost every weekend.
If you are a lover of arts and entertainment, and you find yourself around, it is one place you definitely won’t regret visiting. A view of the old tiny cells and the park’s art gallery, not forgetting its food court, is one of many reasons you should visit. It is actually one of the best getaway place for individuals, couples or families in Lagos. Freedom Park is a great and inexpensive way to spend time in Lagos Island.
Terra Kulture Art Gallery
Terra Kulture Art Gallery is fast becoming a household name for art lovers not only in Lagos or Nigeria but also in Africa. It is located at 1376 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. It is one of the leading art galleries in Lagos Island and the entire country.
If you are a foodie and book lover on the Island and looking for things to do, Terra Kulture provides a blend of both experiences under one roof. The art gallery is actually opened to the public for free, where you can view its Africa themed artworks and painting.
Visit Tafawa Balewa Square – TBS
The Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) is named after Nigeria’s first Prime Minister. Tafawa Balewa Square is situated in the commercial; the heart of Lagos; Awolowo Road, Onikan, Lagos Island. The square was built as a remembrance ground to soldiers and victims of the Nigerian Civil War and the World Wars.
Today, the 50,000 capacity square serves as a venue for political rallies and religious events like The Experience Lagos. Aside from being a landmark, the Tafawa Balewa Square is home to a shopping centre, several businesses, several restaurants and a BRT terminal. It is definitely a place you should visit when you find yourself in Lagos Island.
Nike Art Gallery
For an art enthusiast in Lekki, you probably want to find your way down to the Nike Art Gallery. It is a five-story art gallery. It is arguably home to the largest art collections on the continent. The best thing about this place is, it is actually free to explore the gallery. You can enjoy the diverse collection of artworks, textile museum and occasional art exhibitions.
The gallery is open to the public from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. The gift store of the gallery is loaded with souvenirs from Nigeria and across Africa that you can always buy.
Walk on the sandy beaches of Lekki and Victoria Island
The whole of the Lagos Island as we know it is surrounded by water, thus it is not surprising to be home numerous beaches such as Elegushi Royal Beach, Eleko beach, Alpha beach, Tarkwa Beach, Kuramo Beach, Lekki beach, Atican beach and Oniru beach.
These beaches are located on the Lagos Island area of Lagos state, making it one of the top reasons people visit this part of Lagos regularly. They are excellent for getaways, leisure stroll and relaxation. If you are also looking for the perfect environment to take pictures with the water in the background, you definitely want to get your feet in the sand in one of these beaches.
Witness the Eyo Festival
Eyo Festival is an abiding tradition of Lagosians and one of the unique celebrations of the Yoruba culture. The festival, over the years, has become a global tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world who come to see the white-clad masquerades also known as Eyo. The Eyo festival, today, is one of the notable events in Lagos Island.
This is definitely one festival you do not want to miss if you are in Lagos during an Eyo Festival. You can catch the precession of the festival which begins at the Idumota area and ends at Iga Idungaran – the palace of the Oba of Lagos.
Where to Shop in Lagos Island
Idumota is one of the most popular markets in Lagos. It is located in the heart of Lagos Island which is popularly known as Eko. Eko is a Yoruba word that translates as “Lagos”. Thus, it is sometimes amusing (or confusing) for persons who don’t speak Yoruba, when people say they are going to Eko. For persons like that, they probably wonder how would someone want to go to Lagos in Lagos.
It is important to note that when people who live in Lagos say they are going to Eko for shopping, what they actually mean is they are going to Idumota. Idumota is considered one of the biggest markets in Lagos Island, Lagos and Nigeria as a whole. It holds the biggest collections of varieties in terms of textile, interior decor, pieces of jewellery, bags etc. which are also sold at wholesale prices.
This is also the go-to-market for the latest Nollywood movies. It is often advised for anyone who wants to shop in this market to endeavour to go early because it is always crowded. Items and products sold in this part of Lagos Island are relatively cheap compared to other markets in the states.
If you want a real bargain, make sure you are putting on comfortable shoes that would afford you to trek around the market stalls. Most of the items you get to buy at the inner parts of the market are cheaper compared to the ones outside.
This does not in any way mean Idumota is the only place to shop in Lagos Island. There are lots of options for you to shop in this part of Lagos, which also depends on the area. For instance, the Palms shopping mall, Centro Lekki Mall, Funderland Mall etc. are examples of places you can shop in Lekki. Also, in Victoria Island, you can shop in places like SPAR, Mega Plaza, Circle Mall among others. The same applies to other areas on the Lagos Island like Obalende, Ajah, Ikoyi etc.
Where to Eat Lagos Island
Lagos as a whole is considered the hub of businesses – both small and big – in Nigeria, and West Africa. What this means is that there are a thousand and one business ideas you can think of in Lagos. The major type of businesses in Lagos is Transportation and food. Though other types of businesses are equally important you can’t rule out the number of people that patronize these two businesses on a daily basis.
This is why Lagos Island provides an array of choices of places to eat; both local and international dishes. Anywhere you are on the Island, there is always a place to eat.
Kindly share your views and experiences on Lagos Island with fellow PropertyPro.ng readers.