Top 'MUST-VISIT' Tourist Attractions in Ibadan

Published on: December 19, 2022 (Updated on: April 22, 2024)

Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State, is the largest and one of the most populous cities in West Africa. In 2022, it is ranked the second fastest-growing city on the African continent according to the United Nations Human Settlement Research Program. The creation of the city goes as far back as 1829 and it has since functioned as a military fort for ancient warriors and a major national trade center.

Ibadan is predominantly occupied by the Yoruba people (who also occupy most parts of South-Western Nigeria). With its peer ancient cities vanishing into oblivion, the city of Ibadan has stood the test of time and maintained a rich cultural history in the form of age-old artifacts, museums, and monuments, making it a perfect area for exploration to indigenes and potential tourists alike.

Listed below, in no particular order, are the top 'must-visit' notable tourist attraction sites within the Ibadan metropolis:

1. National Museum of Unity

The National Museum of Unity was commissioned in 2004 and is home to a repertoire of historically and culturally significant artifacts. It has four main sections: Unity Gallery, Yoruba Gallery, Masquerade Gallery, and Pottery Gallery. It is worth a visit, especially for lovers of historical and cultural arts.

2. Agodi Gardens & Resort

Tourist Attractions in Ibadan - Agodi Gardens

Agodi Gardens Ibadan aerial view

This is one of the biggest and most popular recreational spots in Ibadan and it is made up of a zoological garden, a top-class restaurant, and a park. Though not historically or culturally significant, it is a great spot where indigenes and tourists can relax, hang out and have a great time.

3. Cocoa House

Cocoa House Ibadan

Cocoa House Ibadan

Cocoa House is a historically important monument as it is the first skyscraper building in the city. Standing at 26 stories and 105 meters tall, it was built in 1965 from returns of trading of goods from the then Western Region of Nigeria especially Cocoa and has since been used as a site for social and business events. It was once the tallest construction in West Africa and today, it remains a sight to behold.

4. IITA Forest Reserve

IITA Ibadan

A list of tourist attractions in Ibadan would be incomplete without mentioning the IITA forest reserve. Its ownership resides with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Situated between Moniya town and Ojoo, it spans about 350 hectares of land and has natural geographical characteristics like farmlands, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. In addition to the richly diverse rainforest environment, the reserve also houses facilities for interesting sports activities.

5. The University Of Ibadan Zoo

UI Zoological Garden

UI Zoological Garden

The University of Ibadan Zoo ranks as one of the best zoos in the country. The UI Zoo is one of the most popular tourist centres in the city. It is highly recommended for tourists looking to sightsee, hike and take pictures of wild animals.

6. Mapo Hall

Mapo Hall Ibadan

Mapo Hall Ibadan

Mapo Hall was built in 1929 on top of Mapo Hill. It has a hall which is a great site for social events and a small museum holding several artifacts from the colonial and precolonial periods like the remains of chains used to restrain tax evaders and the portraits of all the previous kings of Ibadan. The building has a characteristic magnificent architectural style, especially in the front pillars.

7. Bower's Memorial Tower

Bower's Memorial Tower is located at the top of Oke-Are. It was built as a memorial to the first British resident in Ibadan, Captain Robert Lister Bower. It was designed by British engineer, Taffy Jones, and it measures about 60 feet in height. The base is about 11 feet square and it has a spiral staircase of about 47 steps leading to its top. Its location atop the highest hill in the city allows for a very wide and beautiful view of the metropolis especially the rusted brown metal roofs covering most of it.

The above listed are but a few compared to the vast number of tourist attractions in Ibadan and recreational spots within the city waiting to be explored by any curious and fun-loving person, natives and tourists alike.