You have just landed in Nairobi and are eager to explore the vibrant city. Luckily, there are plenty of tourist sites to visit in Nairobi, from historical landmarks to bustling markets. As the capital of Kenya, Nairobi is a cultural, commercial, and historical hub.
So, whether you are a history buff, nature lover, or a social butterfly, something is interesting to see and do in Nairobi. The city is also home to the world-famous Nairobi National Park, where visitors enjoy safaris and other outdoor activities. Read on to find out more about the best places to visit in Nairobi, Kenya.
1. Nairobi National Park
The Nairobi National Park is a must-visit for any nature lover. It is located less than a 30-minute drive from the city center and is home to a wide variety of animals, including lions, zebras, buffalos, giraffes, and antelopes.
The park is also a great place to appreciate nature, whether by picnicking, camping, or hiking. Moreover, it’s among the leading national parks in Kenya. This wild animal habitat in the modernized Nairobi was established in 1946 and is open daily, from 6 am to 6 pm. It’s a perfect destination to visit with your family.
2. Giraffe Center
About 20 kilometers (12.43 miles) from Nairobi’s central business district (CBD) is the Giraffe Center. It’s home to Rothschild’s giraffes, and interacting with the towering creatures is an unforgettable experience. Here, you can feed, take selfies, and even get a kiss from the resident giraffes.
The center also has a nature trail, which takes you through the 94-acre (38.04-hectare) forested nature park and offers sightings of other animals like warthogs and bushbucks. Moreover, this tourist site is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily.
3. Nairobi National Museum
The Nairobi National Museum is among the largest and oldest museums in Kenya. It was established in 1910 and is home to many artifacts and artworks from all over the country. Here, you will find an array of exhibits on Kenyan history and culture.
The museum also has a wide variety of replicas of animals, including lions, monkeys, and elephants. On the same premises are an aquarium and a snake/reptile park, both of which are worth your time. You have the option of hiring a tour guide who will take you around the museum.
4. Karen Blixen Museum
Visit the Karen Blixen Museum to get a glimpse into Kenyan history and culture. This museum is dedicated to the famous Kenyan author, Karen Blixen, who wrote: “Out of Africa.” The Danish author’s former home is now a museum filled with photographs, beautiful gardens, and sculptures.
Upon arrival here, wander around and explore the beautiful grounds, complete with giant trees and winding paths. You can take a guided tour to learn more about Karen Blixen and her time spent in Kenya or browse through the museum gift shop for souvenirs.
The Karen Blixen Museum is also popular as a venue for weddings and events, so it’s possible that when you visit there will be other people there who are dressed up or taking photos. But even if it’s busy, it is still worth visiting, as the museum has so much to offer!
5. Bomas of Kenya
Learn the Kenyan way of life at Bomas of Kenya. This open-air cultural center showcases traditional music and dance, crafts, and food from the country’s over 42 tribes.
The main attraction at Bomas is the daily traditional village tour, which takes you through 10 different villages representing all the major tribes in Kenya. As you tour the facility, you will also have a chance to sample some of the local food and learn all about each tribe’s customs and traditions.
Aside from the tour, there are many other things to see at Bomas. You can watch performances from talented acrobats or musicians, browse artwork from some of Kenya’s best artisans, or just soak in the vibrancy and energy of this unique place.
So if it’s the culture you are after, then don’t miss out on visiting Bomas of Kenya — you won’t regret it!
6. Nairobi Railway Museum
Drop by the Nairobi Railway Museum, one of the most affordable places to visit in Nairobi. This museum is like no other as it houses some of East Africa’s oldest and most iconic locomotives. You’ll see old steam locomotives from the 1960s as well as diesel-electric models from the late 1970s.
Visitors can wander through a collection of rare photographs documenting the evolution of train travel in Kenya, while also checking out an impressive range of memorabilia and artifacts. There’s even a miniature train layout that’s perfect for kids!
The railway museum is open on weekends and public holidays, making it an ideal place to visit during your stay in Nairobi.
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7. Kenyatta International Convention Centre
The Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) is one of the most sought-after destinations in Nairobi for 360-degree views of the city. Located in the heart of the capital, this modern and ultra-sleek structure is a must-see attraction in Nairobi.
The 28-story building boasts a multi-purpose complex that hosts events such as conferences, seminars, trade shows, and concerts. The center is also home to a large open space for outdoor activities and offers stunning views of the city skyline.
For a unique experience, visitors can take in the breathtaking views from the rooftop’s observation deck.
8. Kenya National Archives
The Kenya National Archives is a must-visit if you’re looking to learn about the country’s history. The state archive is in downtown Nairobi. It was established in 1965 and is home to various documents, manuscripts, photographs, films, and other items that can help you understand Kenya’s past and present.
Here, you will find records of the various wars fought by the Kenyan people in the colonial era, including the Mau Mau Rebellion of 1952 to 1960 as well as colonial documents from 1883 to 1963. There are also books and audiovisual materials related to geological studies, farming techniques, flora/fauna surveys, the history of medicine, and much more.
One of the unique parts of visiting this museum is that it offers self-guided tours to help visitors get familiar with Kenyan history and culture in a meaningful way. Aside from preserving history, this tourist site is a popular landmark in Nairobi. Paying a visit to this amazing archive is an experience you won’t forget!
9. The Carnivore Restaurant
Are you looking to try out some Kenyan food? Visit Nairobi’s Carnivore restaurant. It is known for its all-you-can-eat game meats, including ostrich and crocodile. While here, sample their barbequed cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and bull balls. It also serves up an extensive buffet of salads and sides.
Plus, if you still have room after your meal, you can end the night with a selection of delicious desserts such as honeycomb ice cream or crepes. If you’re here during the day, you can have your food in the outdoor dining area. At the spot, you can see monkeys playing or passing by the eatery.
10. Uhuru Park
Uhuru Park is one of the free places to visit in Nairobi. The newly renovated recreational park measures 31.88 acres (12.9 hectares) and is on the edge of downtown Nairobi.
The park includes lots of lush green areas, including a large open field, manicured gardens, and a lake with a fountain. It also has plenty of amenities, such as walking paths, benches, picnic areas, and playgrounds for children. It is ideal for a family outing, as there are many leisure opportunities to keep everyone entertained.
When the sun sets, Uhuru Park transforms into one of the most romantic walking destinations in Kenya. Enjoy a stroll by the lake and marvel at its illuminated fountain while birds chirp softly nearby. Or take it up a notch and enjoy an evening boat ride on the lake while taking in views of the Nairobi skyline.
11. Two Rivers Mall
If you are looking for a trendy place to shop and dine in Nairobi, Two Rivers Mall is the place to be. This mega mall has something for everyone, from high-end brands to budget-friendly stores. There is also an array of restaurants to choose from, including Burger King and Artcaffé, so you can find something to satisfy any craving.
The mall neighbors the upmarket Runda neighborhood and is about 30 minutes from the city center. It’s well worth the trip, especially if you need to pick up a few souvenirs.
12. Sheldrick Elephant Nursery
Get up close with orphaned baby elephants at Sheldrick Elephant Nursery. This elephant orphanage in Nairobi National Park was founded by Daphne Sheldrick in memory of her late husband, David Sheldrick, who was an accomplished naturalist and founder of the Kenya Wildlife Service.
The rescue and rehab center is home to over 100 elephants, and it is one of the few places where you can interact with friendly baby elephants in Nairobi. The tourist site is open daily, from 11 am to 12 pm. During your visit, you will see the elephants playing in the mud and being fed milk.
The caregivers here gladly take you through the baby elephants’ stories of how they got to the nursery. The elephants are housed and fed until the age of two to three years before they’re reintegrated with another herd back into the wild.
13. Ngong Hills
Visit Ngong Hills to enjoy some fresh air, countryside views, or get a little sweaty. This tourist spot is an ideal place to chill, ride a bicycle, take a walk, watch planes, and go for a run. The hills are overlooking Nairobi National Park and the Great Rift Valley.
If you are here to hike, you are free to explore the different trails but bring comfortable gear and enough water, as the sun can be quite intense at certain points. Also, don’t forget to carry snacks.
14. Java House
After a fun-filled day of sightseeing, it’s time to take a break and refuel. Well, stop by Java House, a popular restaurant for locals and tourists alike. The eatery’s menu offers something for everyone. Also, with locations scattered throughout the city, including along Mama Ngina Street and Waiyaki Way, it’s easy to find one near you.
Java House, better known as ‘Java,’ specializes in coffee and pastries, but it also boasts an extensive menu of light dishes, such as salads and sandwiches. They also offer several breakfast options for those who like to start their day earlier than most.
For something savory, you should try the Java burger or their barbeque chicken wings. And if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s always the hot oatmeal porridge.
With its relaxed and cozy atmosphere, Java House is the perfect place to unwind after a long day – or just hang out with friends!
Exploring Nairobi: charming places to visit
Nairobi is a vibrant city with plenty to offer tourists. With its rich history and diverse culture, the city is a must-see destination for those traveling to Africa. There are a variety of places to visit in Nairobi, both inside and outside the city, and plenty of activities to keep you occupied.