Ever wondered what fun, artsy or leisure activities you could possibly take on in Osogbo? If so, then, this is for you.
A quick introduction; Osogbo is a popular destination for Osun worshippers who travel from across the world every August to pay tribute to the Osun river goddess. That aside, this city is the cradle of political powers in the state and it is known for its peaceful ambiance and regular electricity supply. E Shock You!
In October of 2018, I travelled to Osogbo for my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program and I must say, it was one of the best years I spent away from home.
Because of my adventurous nature, I used up a chunk of my time exploring the city inside-out and I discovered some of the best hotels, restaurants, public parks, art houses and other places of interest.
So, if you’re ready and I am, let’s dive into this interesting checklist.
“Collect the moment, not things.” – Unknown.
1. Learn Yoruba Language and Culture. Osogbo is the pinnacle of yoruba culture and before you know it, you’ll be greeting and haggling with locals in yoruba language.
2. Take a Ride in a Korope. Don’t know what a Korope is? You can read my writeup. Simply put, it’s the most common public transport in Osogbo. Wole, come onboard.
3. Eat Local Food. Ewedu. Egusi. Gbegiri. And my favourite, goat stew or Ogunfe as locals like to call it. This city is guaranteed to take you on an epic culinary adventure.
4. Get a Train from Osogbo. There’s a train station close to the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park where you can easily embark on a trip to Ede, Iwo, Ijoko, Agege, Ibadan, Abeokuta and the Lagos terminus.
5. Enjoy Street Food. Whether it’s suya, asun, roasted corn or plantain, there’s no shortage of enthralling street food to browse.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Ghandi.
6. Ideal Nest Hotel. I recently did an acute review of this hotel and during my visit, the receptionists were very kind and the environment was typically serene. Ideal Nest Hotel has a price range that fits most pockets and it’s got a swimming pool, bar area, event centre and restaurant.
7. Aloha Hotel. I had a terrific time at Aloha Hotel. Not only is it peaceful for visitors and tourists, a bundle of side attractions including a swimming pool, mini zoo, lake and golf course make it a unique location.
8. Adolak Hotel. Adolak Hotel is a multistorey property which accounts for hundreds of visitors every single week. Apart from being a great place for lodging, there’s a practical fuel station, super market and gymnasium in the premises.
9. Nike Guest House. If you’d like a bit of traditional nostalgia then I suggest you lodge at the Nike Guest House. Occasionally, guests are treated to cultural dancers, drummers, artworks and local dishes.
“It’s easier to be faithful to a restaurant than it is to a woman.” – Federico Fellini.
10. Amazing Grace Restaurant. My favourite restaurant for having Ogunfe in the city of Osogbo, Amazing Grace is only a stone throw from Ideal Nest Hotel.
11. Mama B. I had the best rice meals including white, jollof and fried in this eatery, it was my go-to spot after NYSC meetings and I guarantee that you’ll be grateful for this recommendation.
12. Diamond Kitchen. Talk about mouthwatering Nigeria dishes, this restaurant sells variety of soups and swallows diced with vegetables, periwinkle, beef and fish.
13. African Pot. African Pot is actually the newest restaurant on this list. It’s an ambient space that serves a wide range of African and Continental dishes. They’re available 24/7.
14. Captain Cook. Besides having the most successful bakery outlets in the city, Captain Cook has also dominated the restaurant space over the years. It’s nestled on Station Road and it makes a great location for a date.
Art and Monuments
“It’s funny how the beauty of art has so much more to do with the frame than the artwork itself.” – Chuck Palahniuk.
15. Afolabi Art Gallery. What I liked about my visit to this gallery was the superficial and intricate miniature art. It’s a great place if you appreciate wood carvings.
16. Osun-Osogbo Grove. Osun-Osogbo Grove became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 and this spiritual landscape contains yoruba shrines, traditional architecture, sculptures, friendly monkeys and it’s flanked by the Osun river.
17. Susanne Wenger’s House. You could take a trip to Susanne Wenger’s House to learn about how she incredibly restored the forest and artefacts of Osun-Osogbo Grove.
18. Nike Art Centre. Founded by Chief Nike Davies-Okundaye, the Nike Art Centre is one of the chains of galleries she’s got in Lagos and other parts of the country. I like that it’s traditional and has that old-school feel.
19. Genesis Art Gallery. The second largest art gallery in South-Western Nigeria, it showcases some of the best wood carvings in the whole of Nigeria!
20. El Carvar Art Gallery. The reason I love El Carvar Art Gallery is the training sessions that run on a daily basis. When you visit, you’ll discover kids doing great and amazing artsy-craftsy things.
“The best way to get anybody’s attention is dinner. I have good kitchen skills and good grocery shopping skills.” – Al Roker.
21. Ace Supermarket. A cosy establishment for buying toiletries, Ace is very secure, accessible and has an ample parking area. You can shop without worries here.
22. Orisunbare Market. Get your best local food stuffs and supplies from Orisunbare Market. I shopped here at least twice every month and it is located opposite Nelson Mandela Freedom Park.
23. Igbona Market. During my NYSC days, some of my friends got their groceries here. You’ll find everything from pepper, tomatoes, vegetables, and spices.
24. Osun City Mall. This shopping centre was completed just after my exit from Osogbo and I hear an anchor tenant, Just Rite absolutely delivers on home and essential needs.
“Entertainment can be a more powerful driver than poverty.” – Sugata Mitra.
25. Dotbol Cinema. Like I said in this article, Dotbol Cinema is the first cinema to brace the Osogbo cityscape. It’s an ambient space for seeing movies and offers side attractions such as restaurant and bar services.
26. Finger Licking. Finger Licking quadruples as a restaurant, event venue, pub and most importantly, a sports bar for the many football fans living in Osogbo.
27. Railway. Occasionally, there’ll be celebrations, eclectic music and sporty performances by the railway, also called Freedom Park. It’s a calm location to relax and take in views of the city. On many days, I stayed here until late in the evening.
Also Read: Five Terrific Tips From My Time In Osogbo
“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air’s salubrity.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
28. Nelson Mandela Freedom Park. Your number-one pick for a picnic in Osogbo. Have a great weekend with family, friends and loved ones in Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, you’re welcome.
29. Osogbo City Stadium. Sports enthusiasts make this sports centre their ideal destination particularly on weekends. It’s equipped with an athletic track, multiple basketball courts, a football turf, spectator stand and ample parking space and has a capacity of 10,000 people.
30. Lake 264. This lake has got an incredible history, it was used to cool coal for rail transportation ages ago and eventually got leased to Aloha Hotel. Admission costs 500 Naira per person and boat rides and kayaking may incur additional fees.
“Live for today, plan for tomorrow, party tonight, party tonight.” – Drake.
31. Ripples Hotel and Nite Club. Ripples is always bubbly with activities after dark. The green buildings are almost impossible to miss.
32. Riverside Lodge and Bar. Ha! Don’t ask if it’s located near a river. You can get a deluxe room to crash in after partying hard and as they say, you’re in good hands.
“You can make anything into a special occasion and dress up for it” – Victoria Beckham.
33. Atlantis Civic Centre. I can’t forget this event venue because it’s where I saw a Rolls Royce for the first time! And it belonged to the Ooni of Ife, I think. Atlantis Civic Centre is located along Ring Road and it caters for 1,200 guests on a good day.
34. Aurora Conference Centre. You should know, this facility is relatively new and modern and it features a buoyant parking area, lush greenery, and water fountain. Many prominent figures are known to have their events at Aurora Conference Centre.
35. The Grand Place Event Centre. This incredible marquee venue is notable for some of the best parties or owanbe. It is serenely tucked close to the Osun Government House and is bordered by lush vegetation.
To experience more of the scenic views and bustling landscape of Osogbo…
- visit the Osogbo Palace.
- take a walk/jog from Abeere to Oke Fia.
- attend the Osun-Osogbo Festival.
- lodge in White Plain Suites & Towers.
- have a tour of the Osun State Government Secretariat.
Osogbo is an ancient city in Nigeria with a rich history that includes art, architecture and cosmology. Now you know it’s one of the most iconic places in the South-Western region and with so many colourful sights, Osogbo is everything but boring.
Here’s a quick roundup of what you could do.
- Lodge in Ideal Nest Hotel.
- Eat out at African Pot.
- Visit Nike Art Centre.
- Enjoy cool breeze and be entertained by the railway.
- Go kayaking in Lake 264.
Give yourself a week or two, if possible, to cover a lot of ground with plenty to see and do.
Over To You!
I hope you will love to visit someday and explore these beautiful places and activities I mentioned.
Have you been to Osogbo before, and what was your experience like? What would you want to tick off on this list? Did I miss something? Kindly tell me in the comments.
Like this post? Be sure to Pin for later!