Nairobi Shopping Guide: Best Markets & Malls

Being the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi is one of the most vibrant markets. With people from all over the country shopping for their homes and businesses. However, if you are a tourist, we have the best Nairobi shopping guide to help you navigate the markets and develop something good for yourself.

You can start to explore the bustling streets of the city center and indulge in local street food, such as tasty samosas and nyama choma (grilled meat). Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Maasai Market, where you can haggle for beautiful handicrafts and souvenirs.

This blog explains the markets and malls you can visit for specific shopping needs during your vacation in Nairobi. The good news is that these markets offer budget-friendly items that you will like to buy.

Keep reading to maneuver through Nairobi’s best shopping malls and markets.

Read Also: Exploring Nairobi on a budget.

Nairobi Shopping Guide: Affordable Markets to Explore

1. Maasai Market

souvenir in Masai market

No visit to Nairobi is complete without a trip to the Maasai Market. This vibrant market is a treasure trove of handmade crafts, jewellery, clothing, and more. You’ll find unique souvenirs and gifts to take home, all while supporting local artisans.

Bargaining is the norm here. Therefore, don’t be afraid to negotiate for the best price. In addition, the market is open every day of the week, but the largest selection of vendors is available on weekends.

2. Nairobi CBD

Nairobi street

For a more traditional shopping experience, head to the city center and explore the numerous street markets and stalls. You’ll find everything from fresh produce and spices to clothing and household items here.

These markets are a great place to immerse yourself in Nairobi’s vibrant street life and interact with the locals. Just be prepared for the hustle and bustle, and watch your belongings. However, for a more amazing experience, you can have a guide to take you through these markets.

3. Two Rivers Mall

The Two Rivers Shopping Mall

For a more diverse shopping experience in Nairobi, the Two Rivers Mall should be in your plan. This mall has 200 retail stores with local and international brands of commodities. The commodities range from foodstuffs, households, electronics, arts, handicraft products, etc.

We are sure you will like the overall shopping experience in these stores. You can also have local cuisine in this mall’s dining area and enjoy a unique Kenyan meal.

In addition, this mall has various entertainment options, such as the Ferrari wheel football watching on the mall’s large screen. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry if you have children as they can play in the child’s playground.

See Also: Exciting thrills on Thika Road.

4. The Westgate Shopping Mall

Shopping in Nairobi: Westgate Shopping Mall

This mall should also be in your Nairobi shopping destinations during your vacation. The mall has 80 stores with various commodities, ranging from foodstuffs and households to electronics and arts and crafts.

Experience an all-under-one-roof shopping experience in the Westgate Shopping Mall in Westlands, Nairobi. Furthermore, this mall has nearby accommodation options you can explore.

Furthermore, near the mall are various top-class hotels with delicious meals, ensuring quality meals when exploring Nairobi.

5. Nairobi National Museum

Nairobi National Museum

Don’t say you were in Nairobi and you have nothing from the souvenir shop in the Nairobi National Museum. Here, you can learn about Kenya’s fascinating past and marvel at the impressive collection of art and artifacts.

The museum has ancient tribal artifacts and contemporary African art, and it offers a comprehensive insight into Kenya’s diverse cultural landscape. Don’t forget to explore the outdoor exhibits, which showcase traditional Kenyan homesteads and a botanical garden filled with native plants.

Additionally, before leaving the museum, you can shop in the souvenir shop within the premises. This will give you long-lasting memories of Nairobi and Kenya at large.

Where to Find Delicious and Affordable Food in Nairobi

Delicious Kenyan Food while shopping in Nairobi

Nairobi is a food lover’s paradise, with many culinary options to suit every budget. For a truly local experience, head to the city’s street food stalls and indulge in delicious, affordable food. Furthermore, you can try mouthwatering samosas, small pastries filled with a savory mixture of meat or vegetables.

These flavorful treats are a popular snack in Nairobi and can be found on almost every street corner. Another must-try cuisine is nyama choma, which translates to “grilled meat” in Swahili. This Kenyan specialty consists of tender, marinated meat grilled to perfection. Furthermore, you should pair it with a side of ugali, a staple maize-based dish, for a truly satisfying meal.

If you’re craving international cuisine, Nairobi has plenty of budget-friendly options. The city has various restaurants and cafes, offering everything from Thai, Indian, and Chinese to Italian and Ethiopian cuisine.

You can look out for lunchtime specials and set menus, which often offer great value for money. Don’t complete your shopping in Nairobi, forgetting to try some of Kenya’s famous coffee while you’re here.

Nairobi has a thriving coffee culture, and numerous cafes serve delicious brews. You can find coffee on the menu from high-end restaurants to street stalls in Nairobi.

Read Also: Top hotels in Nairobi.

Budget-Friendly Cultural Experiences While Shopping in Nairobi

During your shopping experience in Nairobi, you can immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant cultural scene without breaking the bank. One of the best ways to do this is by attending local music and dance performances.

For example, you can check out venues such as the Alliance Française and the Kenya National Theatre to see talented musicians, dancers, and theatre groups showcase their skills. These venues often host affordable or even free performances, allowing you to experience the rich diversity of Kenyan culture.

Another budget-friendly cultural experience is visiting the Nairobi Railway Museum. This museum is housed in the old railway station building, telling the story of Kenya’s railway history.

You can explore the vintage locomotives and carriages and learn about the role of the railway in shaping the country’s development. The museum also offers guided tours that provide insights into the challenges faced during the railway construction.

Insider Tips for Saving Money While Shopping in Nairobi

1. Use public transportation

Nairobi has a reliable and affordable public transportation system, including buses and matatus (minibuses). Therefore, opting for public transport instead of taxis or private cars saves you significant cash.

2. Plan what you need to buy

When shopping in Nairobi markets and malls, it’s essential to know what you want beforehand. This will save you from impulse buying and regretting your money incorrectly. Alternatively, you can set aside a budget to buy souvenirs or anything else you may need from the markets.

3. Eat like a local

Nairobi is known for its street food, which is delicious and budget-friendly. When shopping in Nairobi, you will feel hungry and exhausted. Therefore, you should look for local eateries and street stalls to experience authentic Kenyan cuisine at a fraction of the cost of fancy restaurants.

4. Stay in budget accommodations

If you need to go home with various souvenirs or Kenyan brands, you may need to reconsider your accommodation options. For instance, Nairobi has many budget accommodations, including guesthouses, hostels, and lodgings. However, you should look for options that offer good value for money and are in convenient areas.

Shopping in Nairobi: Conclusion

Start your budget-friendly adventure by immersing yourself in Nairobi’s rich cultural heritage. The Nairobi National Museum is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. You will also get something from one of the souvenir shops before heading home.

Finally, after your shopping expeditions in the malls, the streets, and the souvenir shops, you can have a short game drive in the Nairobi National Park, the only park within a Capital City in the world.

And don’t forget to bring your camera, as Nairobi National Park provides some of the best wildlife photography opportunities in the world.

Shopping in Nairobi: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What items can I buy at Nairobi’s markets and malls?

Nairobi’s markets and malls offer various items, including clothing, accessories, electronics, local crafts, souvenirs, fresh produce, household items, and more.

  1. What are the typical opening hours for shops in Nairobi?

Most shops in Nairobi are open from around 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM, though hours may vary depending on the location and type of store. Some malls and markets may have extended hours, particularly during weekends.

  1. Are there any markets or malls famous for local crafts and souvenirs?

Yes. For example, the Maasai Market is renowned for offering a variety of locally-made crafts, artwork, fabrics, jewelry, and other souvenirs. 

  1. What currency is accepted in Nairobi?

The official currency in Nairobi is the Kenyan Shilling (KES). While credit cards are widely accepted in malls and larger stores, carrying some cash is advisable, especially when shopping in smaller markets or street vendors.

  1. Is bargaining common in Nairobi’s markets?

Yes, bargaining is common in markets like Maasai Market, the city street stalls. Vendors often expect customers to negotiate prices, so don’t hesitate to haggle for a better deal.

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