When it comes to the best neighborhoods to live in Lagos, there are plenty of options to choose from. There are internationally renowned areas like Eko Atlantic and less renowned ones like Magodo.
In this article, after considering accessibility, nightlife, quality of infrastructure, and security, we have curated ten of the best places to live in the city. Take a look!
The British established this neighborhood as the home of its colonial residences. Since then, it has remained the base of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country. Even though the average price of its houses is not the highest in the city, as a whole, it is still the most affluent neighborhood in Lagos.
In terms of accessibility and ease of movement, Ikoyi is one of the few places that do not suffer from the city’s notorious traffic jams. If you live here, you can take short drives to access many upscale businesses like salons and boutiques located in Ikoyi. Especially those on the popular Awolowo Road.
As the home of billionaires, diplomats, and multiple government offices, including the World Health Organisation, Ikoyi is one of the safest places to live in Lagos. And should you need to report a crime, it is home to the office of the Commissioner of Lagos Police.
Furthermore, it contains some of the best schools in Nigeria, including Lagos Preparatory School, Africa’s most highly accredited British School.
The quality of housing in Ikoyi, Lagos, is also one of the country’s best. It has several luxury apartment buildings, such as Titanium Towers, Luxury Gardens, and Tango Towers.
Expectedly, the cost of renting or buying an apartment in this neighborhood is high, with an average price of N8 million a year to rent and $1.5 million to buy.
2- Banana Island
An artificial island off the foreshore of Ikoyi, Lagos, Banana Island is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods to live in. It costs an average of N5 million to rent a four-bedroom house for a year, and if you want to buy, you will need to fork out over N200 million on average.
The money, however, is worth it. The artificial island has a well-planned layout, with better road and water infrastructure than most parts of Lagos. Although most island residents can afford high-powered diesel generators, it is one of the areas in Lagos with constant electricity.
If you have kids, Banana Island offers high-quality education to young students, starting from the age of one. It is home to the Banana Island School, one of the most popular schools in the area. It runs a three-term system like private schools in the United Kingdom staffed by highly skilled teachers and personnel.
Security on the island is even tighter than in Ikoyi. Because it has a controlled entry and exit point, professional security officers protect the main entrance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Lastly, as far as networking goes, living in Banana Island offers the chance to make friends with high net worth individuals. The artificial island is home to celebrities like Linda Ikeji, Davido, and businessmen like Mike Adenuga and Aliko Dangote.
Ikeja is the state capital and one of the state’s economic strongholds. It is home to several shopping malls, pharmacies, and the country’s most popular airport, Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
While it is not alone in this regard, living in Ikeja offers the perfect Lagos experience. It houses the majority of government parastatals, including the Governor’s office and the government house. Ikeja is also home to several industries, which is great for commercial activity. However, it attracts a ton of traffic and air pollution.
Still, it is one of the best neighborhoods to live in Lagos, Nigeria, thanks to well-planned, clean, and serene residential and commercial areas.
Ikeja has plenty of government reservation areas with cheaper quality housing relative to its island counterparts. Rent, which most people who live here pay, costs less than N2 million a year and, on average, between N500,000 and N1.5 million.
As a result, Ikeja is one of the neighborhoods with the highest number of family residents. Thus, it is home to a large number of schools catering to an ever-growing student base.
Instead of high-rise apartment buildings, residential properties in Ikeja range from detached houses, bungalows to semi-detached duplexes. It also has several entertainment offerings, including multiple restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Ikeja is also home to the popular Lagos Country Club.
Despite the high commercial activity and a more chaotic layout, life in Ikeja is largely safe. The area consists of the Police College and the Ikeja Military Cantonment.
A common description of Magodo is that it is the Ikoyi of Mainlanders. It is one of the well-structured and highbrow areas on the Lagos mainland with historical relevance. Before it became a coveted estate, it was sacred land for traditionalists. The name, Magodo, is a portmanteau of the Yoruba phrase, “Ma gun odo,” which means “Don’t pound it.”
Renting or buying is not cheap in Magodo. Yet, it is one of the best affordable places to live in Lagos for people who want the island’s luxury at a lower cost. Like Tantra in Accra, Ghana, Magodo is a little haven of quiet sandwiched between the ever-busy Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Ojodu Berger and Ikosi-Ketu.
Most residential buildings in Magodo are bungalows, detached and semi-detached duplexes, and owned by a mix of the middle class and the affluent. The majority of them are modern structures with few old ones spread across various estates.
Some of the estates in Magodo include Magodo Brooks Estate, Magodo Heights Estate, and Diamond Estate. It also has the popular Magodo GRA with two phases, Magodo GRA Phase 1 in the Isheri area and Phase 2 in Shangisha.
In terms of accessibility, Magodo is one of the most convenient places to live in Lagos. It is a short drive from Ikeja and is very close to the MILE 12 market, one of the busiest perishable food markets in Ketu.
Suppose you prefer to live on the island but cannot afford places like Banana Island or Ikoyi. In that case, Lekki is one area worth considering. It is one of the most impressive residential areas for families or singles, at a fraction of the cost of other parts of the island.
Lekki is not so much a neighborhood as it is a city, sprawling with commercial activities and residential estates. The area houses agricultural farmlands, a Free Trade Zone, a seaport, and an airport that is under construction. It also contains hundreds of high-end businesses, entertainment centers, and malls.
The area is home to tens of residential estates with mostly modern buildings with semi-luxurious to luxurious amenities. Victoria Garden City, for instance, is one of the most developed estates in the area and one of the best place to live in Lekki.
It also has a conservation center and many recreational locations, such as cinemas, public pitches, and concert venues.
However, Lekki has notoriously poor infrastructure, especially when it involves water. It has a poor drainage system, which leads to regular flooding and a severe lack of potable public water. And the lagoon water has rendered private options like boreholes contaminated.
Still, Lekki remains one of the better-developed areas in Lagos. It has a sufficient number of high-quality schools and a high safety rating. Also, because it is affordable, it boasts many younger residents who regularly patronize its array of upscale restaurants and trendy nightclubs.
6- Eko Atlantic
Like Banana Island, Eko Atlantic is an artificial peninsula reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the Lagos Government’s flagship projects in its quest to transform the state into a modern city. And even though it is still undergoing construction, it is already one of the best neighborhoods to live in Lagos.
A lot of that is down to the abundance of planning that has gone into it. Eko Atlantic residents have access to clean, publicly delivered water, waste management, and modern transportation systems. Additionally, it has an independent source of energy, and thus, one of the areas in Lagos with constant electricity.
True to the Lagos identity, it is also home to tens of entertainment and recreational spots. The reclamation of land has created beaches and served as a destination for international sports events like the Lagos City Marathon and Copa Lagos. Eko Atlantic also regularly hosts concerts by major Nigerian and African artists.
Like the rest of the neighborhood, its commercial districts are still in development. However, it has commercial havens like Lekki Phase 1 and Victoria Island, both connected by good tarred roads as its borders. So, it should not be hard to participate in various commercial activities around the region.
But it will cost you a lot to live in Eko Atlantic. It costs upwards of $2,500/sqm to own a plot of land here, and if you plan on renting, the cheapest flat on the peninsula costs N30 million per annum.
It is well established that compared to other parts of Nigeria, living in Lagos is expensive. But Yaba is one of the few affordable areas with respectable levels of infrastructural development. That is why it has attracted thousands of young people who have made it home in recent years.
Yaba’s popularity among young people is not just about affordability either. It is home to iconic Lagos destinations like the University of Lagos, Queen’s College, and Igbobi College. The suburb also has one of the busiest markets in the city, Tejuosho Market of Nigeria.
The dominant presence of young residents has also made Yaba the hub of tech startups, earning it the title of Nigeria’s Silicon Valley. It has been the home to startups like Co-Creation Hub, Andela, Hotels.ng, and has a long list of co-working spaces.
On the mainland, Yaba is the best place to live in Lagos if you work on the island. Its road network, although imperfect, connects easily to the Third Mainland Bridge. For this reason, it is one of the most coveted places to live on the mainland, resulting in high rental and property costs.
The average cost of a flat in Yaba is N750,000 per annum, and it can go as high as N2.5 million per year. For that kind of price, though, you will also be getting regular access to its unrivaled nightlife with trendy eateries, hip bars, and stylish nightclubs.
If Yaba is the home of young people, Surulere, which is one of its borders, is home to people with families. It developed its reputation when families from different regions of the country relocated to settle in the area during Lagos’ rapid urbanization in the 70s and 80s.
As a neighborhood, Surulere is a blend of residential and commercial life. There are estates, lone residential buildings, as well as major markets and transportation hubs. Famously, it is home to Ojuelegba, one of the busiest places in the city. It connects the city’s mainland to islands like Lagos Island and Victoria Island.
In many ways, Surulere is also the cultural capital of the city. It hosted Festac 77, home to the National Arts Theatre and film production studios. It is also home to Afro-Spot, the first shrine of Afrobeat icon, Fela Kuti.
Asides from its cultural relevance, Surulere also has several major sports and recreational destinations. They include the Teslim Balogun Stadium and Lagos National Stadium, which have hosted major international events like the Under 17 World Cup and All-Africa Games.
Unfortunately, for all its attractions, Surulere is one of the worst places to live in Lagos when it comes to security. At least compared to other neighborhoods on our list. It has one of the city’s highest crime rates, with issues ranging from robberies to cult clashes.
Regardless, when you consider affordability, accessibility, and infrastructure, it is one of the best neighborhoods to live in Lagos, Nigeria.
9- Victoria Island
Before it became the center of business and financial activity in Lagos, Victoria Island once consisted of shrines and slums. Since the Lagos Executive Development Board made moves to reshape the island in 1948, it has been on an upward trajectory as one of the best places to live in Lagos.
Along with Ikoyi, it is one of the most popular bases for expatriates and Nigerians who want to work and play. The neighborhood is home to national head offices of various Nigerian and international companies and other business entities.
This influx of business owners and investors has led to a rapid change in the class of buildings in the area. Victoria Island is home to high-rise buildings, upscale apartments, and exclusive estates with detached and semi-detached duplexes.
Although rent or purchase is not as expensive as Ikoyi or Banana Island, living here is too costly for the average Lagosian. However, living here offers the chance to hobnob with fast-flying executives, high-earning individuals, and major investors if you can afford it.
Of course, that is not to say it is all work in Victoria Island. There are many stylish, modern restaurants, bars, cinemas, malls, and other recreational locations for residents to unwind after a busy week. It is an expensive area to live in, but it is definitely one of the best neighborhoods to live in Lagos.
10- Festac Town
Festac was originally home to the participants of the Second World Festival of Black Arts and Culture. It is home to thousands of Lagosians living in houses built by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the festival and flats built on allocated plots.
As part of its evolution, it has attracted different kinds of businesses, blue and white-collar jobs, and plenty of entertainment and recreational locations to offset its rising commercial activity. There are hotels, hangout sports, all spread around the estate, giving it a vibrant nightlife.
More importantly, unlike other neighborhoods, it has a rich blend of people from different economic classes. It is home to middle-class, lower-class, and upper-class individuals and families.
Accessibility is one other standout quality of Festac Town. It has seven major roads that link every part of the town. They connect to wider Lagos through Lagos-Badagry Expressway and the Festac Link Bridge.
However, its internal road networks aside, Festac is far from major destinations like the island, especially when you travel by road. A common workaround involves traveling by ferry, which cuts the trip from hours (Lagos traffic) to 30 minutes.
Other than that, Festac is a cheap, safe, and conducive neighborhood to live in, especially if you plan on living on the mainland.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to live in Lagos?
Mostly yes. Like every metropolitan city, there are areas with high crime rates, most of which happen during the night. However, these areas in the minority. The majority of the neighborhoods in Lagos are safe for locals and expatriates to live and conduct business.
What is the most dangerous city in Nigeria?
According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, Lagos is the most dangerous city in Nigeria. Several parts of the city are notorious for cult clashes and armed robberies. The lack of adequate transport infrastructure also makes accidents, especially those involving container haulers, are fairly common.
Where is the cheapest place to live in Lagos?
Recently, Badagry has emerged as the cheapest place to live in Lagos. A lot of that is due to its distance from Lagos Island and other major commercial centers in the city. Although not as inexpensive, places like Yaba, Agege, and Ogba are also cheap and closer to the city’s commercial centers.
Where do celebrities live in Lagos?
Unlike California’s Beverly Hills and Hollywood, there is no clear territory where celebrities live in Lagos. For those who can afford it, you are most likely to find celebrities in estates located in ultra-expensive neighborhoods like Banana Island, Lekki, and Ikoyi.
Why is Lagos so dangerous?
There is no single reason why Lagos is a relatively dangerous place to live. And the exposure to danger varies between different economic classes. For those who are significantly exposed, the reasons range from poor infrastructure, high levels of unemployment and underemployment, political instability, and inefficient governance.
Is Lagos safe at night?
Lagos is mostly safe during day and night, depending on where you are. High-brow areas are largely secure, while low-income areas experience a higher amount of crime.
Residents and travelers have to take extra caution at night due to the rampant nature of petty criminals like pickpockets and traffic robbers who operate under cover of darkness.
Why is Nigeria so dangerous?
Nigeria is dangerous largely because of poor economic development and religious extremism. According to the Brookings Institute, it is the poverty capital of the world. However, the level of danger in the country is not so different from other countries and is relative inside the country. For instance, the southern part of Nigeria is safer than its Northern counterpart.
Is Lagos a poor city?
Yes and No. Over 60% of the over 17 million people that live in the city are poor, living in inadequate housing like dilapidated buildings and slums. However, the city is Nigeria’s economic capital, with a GDP of $33.68 billion, the highest in the country. On its own, it is the seventh-largest economy in Africa.
Is Lagos a nice city?
By and large, yes, It is not all that different from most metropolitan cities around the world. There are great, good, and bad areas. It has beaches, modern structures, stylish restaurants, bars, and a nightlife that can rival the world’s best. All of which are accessible if you can afford the relatively expensive cost.
There are plenty of good neighborhoods to live in Lagos, with places like Banana Island and Victoria Island on the island and Yaba and Festac on the mainland. The most appropriate choice is ultimately subjective, with factors like budget, accessibility, and security to consider.
I hope you enjoyed reading and learning more about Lagos. Plan on moving to Lagos or looking to change neighborhoods? Kindly share your thoughts in the comment section.