Accra – a place where the sun never misses a chance to shine. And if you lend an ear to the breeze, it’ll whisper promises of unforgettable adventures.
For this city that knows how to live, and stands ready to imbue all visitors with its unadulterated, unrestrained spirit. And one thing’s for sure: whatever your reason for coming to Accra, there’s only one sure-fire way to get under its skin – and that’s to venture into one of its distinct neighbourhood, each exuding their own unique character and charm. If that sounds appealing, check out out guide below on the delightful districts of Accra.
The “West End” of Accra, located around three kilometres east of the city’s Central Business District, Osu has seen centuries come and go – evidenced in its hotch-potch of 17th-century buildings mixed with modern skyscrapers. As for attractions, Osu Castle stands proudly as a relic of the past, and there’s no more authentically local experience than taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the neighbourhood’s bustling market. Spare time to take a wander down Oxford Street, too – the area’s vibrant retail heart, complete with gadget shops and supermarkets.
Feeling hungry? Osu is awash with dining options, from mouth-watering street food to fancy joints like Chester’s Place and Le Gourmand Restaurant Chez Mimie, to name just two. And when the sun sets, Osu knows how to throw a party. With its buzzing nightlife and international cuisine, the neighbourhood is a magnet for both locals and Accra’s large community of expats. For those needing a place to stay, accommodation is in good supply too, with something for every budget.
When it comes to safety, Osu doesn’t present too many concerns other than the usual urban risks, meaning you should always keep your usual street smarts on alert – but without cause for undue concern. If you’re a cautious type,, you’ve always got trusty taxis, and the area is also well served by public transport links if you’d rather save the money.
The affluent suburb of Cantonments has a fascinating history. Back in the day, the British Colonial government had big dreams of making the area a military zone, but instead helped transform it into a super cool, modern residential district complete sprinkled with shops and restaurants. Off the radar of all but the most in-the-know visitors, Cantonments is a great place to head to see how locals live, work and play.
The suburb is a popular destination for expatriates, diplomats, and high-ranking government officials due to its central location and amenities. This makes it a magnet for expats, which in turn has led to the area becoming a culinary hotspot full of top-class dining options, with everything from gourmet cuisine to local dishes to international classics on offer.
Getting around is a breeze, too, with public transit and trusty old taxis at your service. Accommodation leans towards the high end of the spectrum, but there are several budget options too. You won’t find tourist attractions around every corner, but there are plenty of green, serene parks in which to kick back and relax. And if you’re short on cash, the neighbourhood has several banks with ATMs. As for security, Cantonments is considered one of the safest parts of Accra.
Just a stone’s throw from Osu (see above), Labone extends a warm welcome to visitors. This neighbourhood retains an early 20th-centiury charm, and unlike its livelier neighbour, it takes great pride in its predominantly residential character, with a handful of embassies and corporate headquarters adding a dash of prestige to the area’s urban landscape.
In a nutshell, Labone is where Accra comes alive. It’s a place where you can come to savour the finer things in life, with upscale shopping, a dazzling array of dining options, and nightlife that’s nothing short of electric. The choice is almost endless, and every evening holds the promise of a memorable night out.
When it comes to to where to eat, Labone serves up an enticing mix of dining opportunities, embracing both local and international flavours. And while the area may not be blessed with tourist sights, it’s the perfect launchpad for exploring the nooks and crannies of Accra.
You can safe in Labone, too, making it a preferred destination for expats and tourists. The New South African Embassy, the Embassy of Lebanon and the Embassy of the state of Kuwait can all be found here, and there are hotels and B&Bs available at various price-points, including budget, mid-range and upscale.
The beating heart of Accra, East Legon is where the stories of the the city’s affluent and global nomads intertwine in a fascinating tapestry. East Legon is like a glittering jewel in the city’s crown: the residential epicentre for the elite, adorned with the most exquisite and opulent homes you can imagine.
As you stroll through the streets, you’ll discover an array of top quality amenities that help make the area a veritable playground for those seeking hottest spots in town, be it for entertainment, dining, or simply living the high life.
When it comes to cuisine, East Legon has it all, and you’ll be spoiled for choice with it array of eateries. But what really sets the night on fire is its pulsating nightlife, for this town knows how to throw a party, and the good times roll until the early hours.
While it may not be a classic tourist hot spot, East Legon is an entertainment mecca. It’s the place where you create your own adventures and soak up the city’s energy in places like the Legon Botanical Gardens. The level of safety varies based on specific areas within the neighbourhood, but you can generally feel at ease as you explore. The Embassies of Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Spain, and many others are close to the neighbourhood.
As for where to stay, accommodation prices here are as diverse as the town itself, ranging from moderate to opulent. Whatever your tastes and budget, East Legon invites you to experience the essence of Accra’s luxurious and dynamic lifestyle.
Airport Residential Area
Nestled within the Accra Metropolitan district, the charming Airport Residential Area is inhabited by a blend of wealthy Ghanaians and global citizens. A bustling international bazaar where you can rub shoulders with the crème de la crème, the town wears its cosmopolitan vibes proudly on its chest, with offices of prestigious international NGOs and a collection of embassies all based here.
The architectural scene consists of low-rise apartment blocks that have gracefully weathered down the years, having their roots in the colonial era which have now been lovingly renovated to embrace modern standards while retaining their classic charm.
The tall, majestic trees that line the streets create a natural, shaded canopy, making every walk feel like a breezy adventure. Shops are at your fingertips, though it’s wise to keep in mind that the delights come at a price.
Public transport? Well, it’s a bit of a missing link in this paradise of the elite. Most residents roll around in their own vehicles, but for the intrepid adventurers, there’s a lifeline. Trotros, the trusty local buses, zip along Liberation Road, just east of Airport Residential Area, ready to whisk you straight into town.
Dining is a gastronomic odyssey in the Airport Residential Area. Upscale dining options rub promise a treat for your taste buds, whether you’re in the mood for local delights or global flavours. Safety is a top priority here, too, making it a haven both for visitors and those who call this town home.
And when it’s time to lay your head down, the accommodation options are nothing short of lavish, so be ready to reach deep into your pockets. This town is a world-class experience, and it reflects in its upscale and sometimes extravagant places to stay.
The buzzing area of Ridge in fact encompasses three neighbourhoods – West Ridge, North Ridge, and East Ridge. Across them, you’ll find an array of upmarket hotels, ideal for travellers with a taste for luxury, and it also hosts a medley of Ghanaian administrative offices. Bordered to the south by the lush Kinbu Gardens, West Ridge is framed by Barnes Road to the west, and the eastern boundary is gracefully set by Independence Avenue and Liberation Avenue. Castle Road acts as a friendly divider, separating West Ridge from its northern neighbour, North Ridge. Found amid this dynamic area is the Accra branch of the British Council, quietly tucked away off Liberia Road.
Originally conceived as a residential enclave for colonial civil servants and enterprising businessfolk, West Ridge has undergone a transformation into a bustling commercial district. Here, modern office towers rise to the occasion, with the Heritage Tower, Accra Financial Centre, Ridge Tower, and Cedi House leading the charge. As a nod to history, the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, formerly known as the Ambassador Hotel, stands tall, gifted to Ghana by the United Kingdom following independence in 1957. This iconic establishment caters to a discerning business clientele and radiates a sense of tradition and sophistication.
When it’s time to savour the local flavours and global tastes, Ridge is the place to be. You’ll find an alluring mix of places to eat, a culinary goldmine to satisfy even the most adventurous taste buds. While Ridge doesn’t flaunt tourist attractions in the traditional sense, its charm lies elsewhere. And don’t worry about safety – Ridge is a reliable choice in this regard.
Accommodation in Ridge is as diverse ranging from cosy and affordable to upscale and swanky. Whatever your preferences may be, Ridge has something to offer you, making it an exciting place for residents and a delightful discovery for visitors.
Nima and Mamobi
Nima is a well-known town in Ghana, primarily famous for its bustling market. It holds the distinction of being not only one of the largest but also one of the oldest ‘Zongo’ communities in the country, with roots tracing back to 1836. Nima is often mentioned in conjunction with its neighbouring town, Mamobi-Nima. Within Nima, the predominant religious affiliation is Islam. However, like many Zongo communities, Nima is a melting pot of various religions and ethnicities, with the Dogon people of Mali, also known as Kaado or kardo, having a significant presence.
Noteworthy is one of the area’s largest churches, The Church of Pentecost, which can be found along the main highway. While Nima and Mamobi are not typically associated with tourist attractions, they are still well worth a visit For public transport, trotros and taxis are readily available for navigating the area. Be aware, it’s essential to be mindful of security concerns in Nima and Mamobi, and taking appropriate precautions is advisable.
Nima and Mamobi are predominantly residential areas. These neighbourhoods don’t have many traditional hotels, and you are more likely to find guesthouses, lodges, or smaller accommodations in these areas.