Are you in Accra or now planning a trip to the Capital city of Ghana? There are hundreds of things to do in Accra this festive season.
Nestled on the Gulf of Guinea’s sparkling shores, Accra is not just the capital of Ghana; it’s a captivating tapestry of tradition and innovation. Whether you’re a history buff, a food enthusiast, or someone seeking the rhythm of local life, Accra has something for everyone. There are plenty of places to visit in Accra during your stay.
In this guide, Mrpocu.com will explore some of the best things to do in Accra, uncovering hidden gems, savoring delicious local cuisines, and delving into the city’s rich history. From the vibrant markets to the historical landmarks, Accra invites you to embark on a journey that goes beyond the typical tourist checklist. So, buckle up as we navigate through the heart of Accra, discovering the soul of this dynamic and welcoming city.
Best Things to do in Accra
Get lost in Makola Market
The continual honking of horns, the scent of fresh fish being distributed, and the crowding of colorful market stalls down many blocks will signal your arrival at the famous Makola Market. Makola is a commercial gold mine, an open-air market with everything you could need. Makola Market contains everything you need, whether it’s fabric, cleaning goods, or groceries. The blazing heat strikes your face as you try to make purchases and dodge vehicles as they try to pass through the tiny streets crowded with merchants – it’s all part of the thrilling experience. You can check my full guide to Makola Market so it can help you explore without stress.
Makola Market is not for the faint of heart; you’ll get lost, but allow yourself to explore every nook. After all, you never know what you’ll come across! It can be exceedingly difficult to leave the market because tro-tros (mid-sized minivans) tend to back up traffic up and down the roads, making it tough for Ubers to find you. The quickest way out is to get into a cab that is already heading towards the market’s exit. If you don’t want to go through the stress, you can book my Accra private tour package and I will help you explore all the gems of the market.
Experience the Afrochella /Afrofuture Festival
The Afrochella/Afrofuture festival is a celebration of Africa’s diverse culture, featuring cuisine, contemporary art, and the vibrant work of African creatives and entrepreneurs. It offers an immersive and unforgettable experience that honors African heritage through live music, art, fashion, and culture. The festival typically takes place over several days and includes events such as the Afrochella Talks conversation series, which features panel discussions with artists and photographers.
The festival aims to highlight the process of various African cultures transcending across borders without losing their heritage. Afrochella is seen as a way to encourage people to look at Africa as more than just a vacation spot and to promote awareness and bring business to the African community. To fully experience Afrochella, you can consider booking a personalized tour or day trip led by a local guide to explore the culture and heritage of Ghana. The festival is a vibrant and powerful celebration of African culture, and attending it can provide a deeper appreciation for the richness and dynamism of the continent. You can get a ticket here.
Learn History at the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum
The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Memorial Park in Accra, Ghana, is a significant historical site dedicated to Ghana’s first Prime Minister and President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and his wife, Fathia Nkrumah. The mausoleum, designed by Don Arthur, is a place of memory and history, housing the final remains of the prominent Ghanaian leader and his wife. It is situated on the site of the former British colonial polo grounds in Accra and is a five-acre complex.
Visitors to the mausoleum can learn about the life and legacy of Kwame Nkrumah, who played a pivotal role in Ghana’s independence and was a key figure in the Pan-Africanist Movement. The mausoleum’s design, clad in Italian marble and featuring a black star at its apex, symbolizes unity and peace. The interior boasts marble flooring and a mini mastaba-style grave marker surrounded by river-washed rocks. The mausoleum is also surrounded by water, symbolizing an allegory of eternal life.
The site offers an opportunity to understand the historical significance of Kwame Nkrumah’s leadership and his vision for Ghana and Africa. It is a place where visitors can reflect on the impact of his work and the transition of Gold Coast to Ghana, which occurred at the same location. The mausoleum and memorial park provide a serene and educational environment for learning about the history and legacy of this influential African leader.
Relax and enjoy the beach at Labadi Beach
Labadi Beach is well-known for its lively atmosphere. The beach is a popular location for both locals and tourists, offering a range of activities such as swimming, fishing, beach soccer, horseback riding, and more. The beach is dotted with restaurants and bars that serve both local and foreign food, making it an ideal place to enjoy a meal or a cool drink while admiring the spectacular ocean views. Labadi also has several beach resorts and hotels that cater to those who want to stay near the beach. It’s the ideal place to spend a day soaking up the rays and reveling in the vibrant energy of Accra’s beach culture.
Attend Wildaland Festival
The Wildaland Festival will make its debut on December 26 and 27 at the magnificent Shai Forest Reserve. This latest event has created quite a stir with its promise of a thrilling two-day music extravaganza in a unique natural setting.
This festival’s amazing lineup, which includes some of the most well-known names in music, is what makes it so appealing. With the fantastic Davido and Stonebwoy, the soulful Adekunle Gold, the chart-topping KiDi, the captivating Gyakie, and the interesting Joeboy, the scene is set for an extraordinary musical experience. And that’s just the beginning; Black Sherif, Lojay, and C’Kay add even more spice to the occasion.
The fact that the initial list of musicians is simply the beginning adds to the excitement. The organizers’ dedication to bringing in even more skilled acts will boost the festival’s entertainment value even further. The Wildaland Festival, which will offer 48 hours of nonstop music, is shaping up to be a spectacular addition to the festival season, promising an unparalleled celebration of music and nature.
Try zip-lining at Legon Botanical Garden
The Legon Botanical Garden is a tranquil sanctuary filled with tropical plants, flowers, and trees. The gardens were built in 1950 as a recreational area for students at the University of Ghana. The gardens include a zip-lining and rope course, a canopy walk, a playground, walking trails, picnic spaces, and a gorgeous lake with a variety of aquatic species. The gardens offer a tranquil and pleasant respite from Accra’s bustling streets, as well as a wonderful opportunity to learn about Ghana’s rich botanical heritage. The garden is one of the best places to visit in Ghana if you are with kids and check here for their ticket prices.
Take Pictures at the Independence Square
Independence Square in Ghana, alternatively referred to as The Black Star Square, stands as one of the world’s expansive squares. Commissioned by Kwame Nkrumah to mark the nation’s independence, this historical public space can accommodate 30,000 seated individuals and an additional 50,000 standing. Its construction, culminating in 1961, coincided with the visit of Queen Elizabeth II. Adorned with monuments, the square serves as a poignant reminder of the relentless struggle and sacrifices undertaken to achieve our independence and liberation.
Most travelers visit the square and take pictures as a symbol they are in Ghana. It is also best to visit during Christmas as Independence Square hosts some of the top Christmas events. Be sure to visit with your pictures gear as it is one of the best Instagrammable places in Accra.
Explore Osu for Wild Nightlife in Accra
Osu stands as the hub of entertainment in Accra, hosting a plethora of restaurants, bars, and clubs that make it the ultimate destination for leisure. Beyond its vibrant social scene, Osu holds profound historical importance. In the colonial era, it served as a settlement for the Danish, Dutch, and British, and traces of this period linger in the architecture and landmarks of the neighborhood. All in all, Osu is an essential visit for those seeking to immerse themselves in the lively culture and storied history of Accra.
For those who want to return home with something memorable, there are souvenirs on the Osu Oxford Street you should consider checking them out. There is an active night market in Osu where you can get food and other items when you are done having all the fun. Just set your ride location to “Osu Night Market” and your driver will take you there. I would love to hear your Osu experience in the comment section when you are in Accra.
Start Accra Exploring at the Osu Castle
This is where most travelers looking to get the best in their Accra visit start their trip. The Castle is one of the best and first places to visit in Ghana. The construction of the Osu Castle, also known as Fort Christiansborg, dates back to the 17th Century when the Danes established it as a trading post. Over the years, this Castle has held a significant role in Ghana’s historical narrative, serving as a focal point of colonial power as it changed hands among Denmark, Norway, Portugal, the Akwamu, and the British before Ghana’s independence. Post-independence, the Castle transformed into a government administrative center and later housed Ghana’s government until the relocation to Jubilee House. Presently, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Osu Castle has been repurposed into a Presidential Museum. Within its walls, artifacts and exhibits narrate Ghana’s history, encompassing the slave trade, colonial era, and our struggle for independence. Despite undergoing several reconstructions, the Osu Castle remains a potent symbol reflecting Ghana’s past and present.
Know the Accra Culture by Visiting Jamestown
Jamestown stands as a historic enclave, established as one of the earliest British settlements during the 17th Century of colonial rule. Originally centered around Fort James, the community seamlessly merged into the expanding city of Accra while preserving its profound historical and cultural heritage. Presently considered one of the more economically challenged neighborhoods in Accra, Jamestown remains a vibrant community characterized by a bustling fishing harbor, picturesque colonial-era structures, and a thriving arts and cultural scene. The neighborhood hosts various attractions, such as the iconic lighthouse, the historic James Fort, Ussher Fort, numerous boxing arenas that have nurtured national champions, and lively marketplaces showcasing local cuisine and handmade crafts.
See the Holy Trinity Cathedral
Constructed in 1894 by the colonial British government for their expatriates, the Cathedral Church of the Most Holy Trinity, commonly known as Holy Trinity Cathedral, stands as a robust, fortress-like red brick structure. Most travelers enjoy the experience and the history behind that building. The architectural design, featuring a rectangular bell tower, mirrors the style of English churches, providing a familiar atmosphere for the colonial residents during worship. This Anglican Church holds historical significance as it was attended by The Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Philip during their visits in both 1961 and the 1990s.
While the century-old church remains a functional place of worship, it now warmly welcomes both foreigners and locals. Beyond its religious role, the Holy Trinity Cathedral has become a popular tourist attraction and serves as a spiritual hub for the Anglican community in Accra.
Learn History and Art at the National Museum of Ghana
Founded on March 5, 1957, as part of Ghana’s independence celebrations, the National Museum of Ghana stands as the largest and oldest among the country’s six museums under the GMMB. This institution houses a diverse collection of archaeological, ethnographic, and fine art objects spanning from the Stone Age to the recent past. It includes indigenous Ghanaian items and ceremonial objects from various African countries obtained through exchange. The museum’s art gallery, though modest in size, showcases impressive contemporary Ghanaian paintings and sculptures. The concept of a national museum was initially proposed in the 1940s by the colonial government, an influence reflected in the museum’s content. Emphasizing Africa’s achievements over the years, the museum consciously excludes artifacts from the slave trade. Closed for restoration in 2015, the museum reopened its doors in 2022 after seven years of extensive renovations.
Art at Omanye House
The Omanye House, also recognized as the Artist Alliance Gallery, stands as a prominent contemporary art space showcasing the creations of both established and up-and-coming artists hailing from Ghana and various parts of the African continent. Committed to highlighting both traditional and modern African art, this gallery represents the second concerted effort by the esteemed Ghanaian artist, Ablade Glover, to establish a hub for fine art in Ghana. Although his initial gallery venture in 1993 faced challenges, Glover’s unwavering determination eventually led to the establishment of the Artist Alliance Gallery in 2008. Featuring three floors adorned with diverse artwork from African creatives, the gallery has evolved into one of Ghana’s pivotal art venues, particularly in championing emerging artists.
See a French show at Alliance Française
As the primary hub for French language and cultural exchange in Accra, Alliance Française Accra is renowned for its film screenings, performing arts exhibitions, and concerts. The performances cover a diverse range of plots, maintaining a harmonious blend that highlights English, French, and Ghanaian cultures. For an enriching experience, consider combining a show with a delightful dinner at Mama Cuisine, the on-site restaurant. Stay updated on what shows are happening via their Facebook or Instagram. While some shows are free, others require you to purchase tickets online ahead of time.
Check Out Live Music at +233 Jazz Bar & Grill
Formerly known as Bassline Jazz Club, +233 (named after the Ghanaian dialing code) stands as a thoughtfully designed club that hosts live bands six days a week. The venue comprises two floors, with a small stage downstairs where the band performs, visible from the U-shaped upstairs. Abundant outdoor seating offers a view through a glass wall to the band playing inside, and external speakers ensure the music resonates almost as vividly outside. Each section boasts its bar with attentive servers. The menu primarily features grilled items such as burgers, hotdogs, chicken, chips, kebabs, and pork chops. The musical repertoire spans highlife, blues, jazz (with occasional exceptions for hip hop), and other eclectic genres. Entrance charges (usually GH¢10, correct at the time of posting) are only applied when the band’s performance merits it. This immensely popular venue rightly claims its status as perhaps the best place in Accra to experience live music at the moment.