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Expat Exchange - Best Places to Visit in Nigeria for Christmas Cheer
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Lagos, Nigeria

Best Places to Visit in Nigeria for Christmas Cheer

By Joshua Wood, LPC

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

Summary: Plan a day trip or weekend getaway to get some holiday cheer. This article highlights the best places to visit in Nigeria for Christmas cheer.

As the festive season approaches, expats and digital nomads in Nigeria may be looking for places to soak up the holiday spirit. Nigeria, with its diverse cultures and traditions, offers a variety of destinations where Christmas is celebrated with much fanfare. From vibrant city celebrations to serene town festivities, there's something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit in December to experience the joy and warmth of the Nigerian holiday season.

Lagos - Victoria Island

Victoria Island in Lagos is known for its upscale ambiance and festive decorations during the holiday season. The streets are adorned with lights, and there's a palpable sense of celebration in the air. Malls and hotels in the area often host Christmas events, including tree lighting ceremonies and Santa meet-and-greets. The Palms Shopping Mall is a hub for holiday shopping, offering a variety of goods from local and international brands. In early December, the Lagos Christmas Festival takes place, featuring live music, food stalls, and entertainment for all ages.

We Recommend: Don't miss the opportunity to try some local Nigerian Christmas treats at the festival, such as the rich and spicy Jollof rice or the sweet and chewy Chin Chin.


Calabar is renowned for its annual Calabar Carnival, which is often dubbed 'Africa's Biggest Street Party.' Taking place throughout December, the carnival features a grand parade with elaborately costumed dancers, musicians, and performers. The city is also beautifully lit up, with Christmas lights and decorations creating a festive atmosphere. The carnival includes a variety of events, such as the Miss Africa pageant, cultural displays, and music concerts, attracting visitors from all over the world.

We Recommend: Be sure to catch the colorful parade floats and the energetic dance performances, which are the highlights of the Calabar Carnival.


The capital city of Abuja comes alive during the Christmas season with its Millennium Park being the center of festivities. The park is transformed into a winter wonderland with a massive Christmas tree and lights display. Families gather here to enjoy picnics and take pictures with the festive backdrop. The Jabi Lake Mall also hosts a Christmas market where you can find handcrafted gifts, decorations, and traditional Nigerian Christmas foods.

We Recommend: Try the local suya, a spicy grilled meat skewer, which is a popular snack at the Christmas market in Jabi Lake Mall.


Enugu, known for its rolling hills and scenic beauty, also offers a charming Christmas experience. The Polo Park Mall and the Enugu Town Square are usually festooned with Christmas lights and decorations. The local churches hold Christmas Eve services that are well-attended, reflecting the strong religious heritage of the region. The festive atmosphere is complemented by the cool December weather, making it a perfect place to enjoy the holiday season.

We Recommend: Attend a midnight mass at one of the local churches to experience a traditional Nigerian Christmas Eve celebration.


Jos, with its cooler climate, offers a more temperate Christmas experience. The city is known for its peaceful and calm holiday celebrations. The Jos Christmas Market is a highlight, where you can find everything from Christmas decorations to warm clothing. Local artisans also display their crafts, perfect for unique holiday gifts. The serene and inclusive atmosphere in Jos makes it an ideal spot for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the larger cities.

We Recommend: Look out for hand-knitted sweaters and other woolen goods at the Jos Christmas Market, which are perfect for the cooler climate.


Ibadan, one of the largest cities in West Africa, offers a more laid-back holiday vibe. The city's cultural heritage comes to the forefront during the Christmas season, with various cultural festivals and events. The Heritage Mall and Cocoa House are often decorated with festive lights and ornaments. Local churches and communities organize Christmas carols and nativity plays, which are open to the public and provide a glimpse into the local traditions.

We Recommend: Experience the local culture by attending a Christmas carol event at one of the churches in Ibadan.


Uyo is another city that lights up during the Christmas season. The Uyo Christmas Village is a popular attraction, offering a variety of festive activities, including live music, dance performances, and a range of local and international cuisines. The city's streets are decorated with beautiful Christmas lights, and there's a sense of joy and community that permeates the air. The Akwa Ibom Christmas Carols Festival is a notable event, featuring a choir of thousands and attracting visitors from across the country.

We Recommend: Don't miss the Akwa Ibom Christmas Carols Festival, known for its impressive choir performances and festive atmosphere.


Owerri, the capital of Imo State, is known for its hospitality and vibrant nightlife, which only gets better during the Christmas season. The city hosts various Christmas-themed events, including live concerts and family-friendly activities. The Freedom Park is a central spot for holiday festivities, with food stalls serving up local delicacies and vendors selling festive goods. The Owerri Christmas Festival is a time when the city's spirit of celebration is at its peak.

We Recommend: Enjoy the local cuisine at the Freedom Park food stalls, where you can taste the famous Owerri soup, a delicious and hearty dish perfect for the season.

Whether you're looking for grand celebrations or quiet, cultural experiences, Nigeria offers a diverse range of destinations for expats and digital nomads to enjoy the Christmas spirit. Each city and town has its unique way of celebrating, ensuring a memorable holiday season for all who visit.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Lagos, Nigeria

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