Lifestyle in Lagos

Lagos is a vibrant city and expats first arriving will most likely have their senses overwhelmed by the chaos, noise and traffic. The lifestyle in Lagos is fast-paced and, as the fastest growing city in Africa, hustle and bustle abound.

In the 2018 Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Survey, Lagos was ranked as the third worst city in the world for expats to live; political and social stability, crime rates and access to quality healthcare were all factors that cities were judged on. It’s therefore no surprise that expats moving to Lagos will contend with, and will be compensated for, the hardship factor. Nevertheless, once expats get over the initial culture shock, there is more to Lagos than overcrowding, power cuts and traffic jams, with plenty to explore.

Despite the chaos and poverty, expats can’t deny that Nigerians are a friendly people, and Lagosians are no exception. Nigerians have pride in their cultural identity and are usually eager to share information about their country and people. Although most Lagosians live in poverty and occupy the city’s slum areas, there is still a thirst for life, and energy and creativity ensure that locals do what they must to survive. The streets are littered with vendors selling whatever they can get their hands on. Beggars are also common and street children can hound foreigners on the assumption that they are wealthy.

Shopping in Lagos

Shopping in Lagos is a colourful affair; whether it involves markets, malls or boutique stores. Western-type shopping malls can be found across the city and are full of local and international fashion brands. Fashion in Nigeria is a unique mix of African and Western styles, and it’s common for expats to have clothing made by tailors.

The Ikeja City Mall, one of Nigeria’s largest malls, is located on the Lagos mainland, while other shopping areas close to expat neighbourhoods include the Kingsway and Dolphin shopping centres. There are also many markets across the city, where bargaining is essential. Most seasoned hagglers will agree that starting at a third of the asking price and settling at half is the best approach.

Eating out in Lagos

Lagos is a cosmopolitan city and a melting pot of African, Asian and Western cultures. This is evident in the cuisine on offer in Lagos, where there are plenty of modern restaurants serving both local and international dishes. Indian, Chinese, Lebanese and West African restaurants are largely concentrated in the more affluent areas of the city, and food vendors line the streets of the commercial districts. The traditional staples are a variety of green vegetables and stews eaten with processed cassava or yam flour.

Nightlife and entertainment in Lagos

Art, entertainment and music form an integral part of Lagos culture and the city has a thriving nightlife. Lagos is famous throughout West Africa for its music scene – there are dozens of nightclubs and live music venues across the city. Western music, hip hop and traditional African bands are popular forms of entertainment.

Lagos is the heart of Nigeria’s film industry, often referred to as 'Nollywood'. It’s the largest film industry in Africa, and most major studios are located in Lagos.

Expats moving to Lagos may take a while to get used to living in such a large African city, and many will find themselves living in insular expat communities behind high walls and security gates, far removed from the reality of life in Lagos. But for those eager to explore and leave the expat bubble, Lagos offers a true taste of African lifestyle and culture, and expats should take the opportunity to experience all that this vibrant city has to offer.

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