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Things to Do

Students visit an open air market.

There is a lot to do around the city of Accra! NYU will keep you informed about many great cultural events. Take advantage of everything from traditional Ghanaian theater and music to something to connect you with home.

Shopping

Some of the best shopping can be found in the marketplaces. Make a day of your trip, as you might need the time. Try to have a good sense of what things cost before you buy. You will save yourself from getting ripped off.

Kaneshie Market

  • Get lost in the many levels
  • Look for things like shea butter, jewelry and fabrics

Makola Market

  • Bigger selection at this market
  • Books, clothing, jewelry and beads

Kumasi

  • another city in Ghana
  • NYU organizes a trip here
  • Definitely a shopping highlight
  • Huge outdoor market
  • Museum gift shops

The Art Center

  • The downside is a constant barrage of people trying to get you to buy things.
  • The items here are beautiful
  • Kente can be specially made, or chosen from their gorgeous strips.
  • The vendors here will try to charge you more than anywhere else, so be sure to bargain!

Wood-carving village in Aburi

  • Artisans make beautiful products, from candlesticks to wooden statues to stools.

  • Art: paintings, sculptures.
  • Wood carvings: masks, wall hangings, and cool things like elephant bookends, sling shots, huge salad tongs, or animal ash trays.
  • Chocolate (so good!): you can buy bars individually, or buy a whole box of small bars at the markets.
  • Kente: single strips, or they make great scarves when sewn together.
  • Fabrics: you can get gorgeous handmade batik, or you can find inexpensive fun fabrics at Makola.
  • Clothing: go to Marjorie, Nora, or another local seamstress or tailor for all of your clothing needs. It is best to bring in a sketch or photo of what you want them to create, or you can bring an existing article of clothing to use as a model for the style.
  • Shea and cocoa butter: very inexpensive at the markets.
  • Jewelry: you can buy anything from amber beaded necklaces to inexpensive strands of seed beads at the Art Center.
  • Musical instruments: small drums, guitars, and many other musical instruments are handmade and usually inexpensive for how beautiful they are. You can also custom-order large drums from the music department at University of Ghana, Legon.
  • Knock-off sneakers: believe it or not, Nike Air Force and BAPE straight from Hong Kong can be found in Makola.
  • Woven baskets.
  • Ghana soccer jersey
  • I Love Ghana shirts: if you buy them in bulk in Osu, you can usually get a good deal (around $3 per shirt)
  • Mumus: beautifully patterned long mumus from Osu vendors, and if you want, the tailors can shorten these for only $1
  • Leather goods: you can get bags and wallets from vendors in Osu or hold out for the leather village in the North for custom-made goods.
  • Fashion: support local Ghanaian designers.
  • CDs and tapes: all remixes
  • DVDs: often bootleg copies of movies that have not even come out yet

Festivals and Funerals

The Harvest Festival in Cape Coast is where you get to see chiefs being carried on gold chairs. The whole city of Elmina is one big party during this time. Other times for celebration in Ghana are (believe it or not) funerals, when a person’s life - rather than his or her death - is honored with family, friends, dancing and LOTS of food! If you are invited to a funeral, consider yourself honored. Traditional clothing for this occasion is black and red, and this would be a good time to visit a tailor who can make you an outfit fit for a funeral.

Tourist Sites and Museums

Go on all of the NYU trips. Not only are they fun and a great way for you to connect with fellow students, but they really help you explore Ghana, with trips to Cape Coast, the Kakum canopy walk, Kumasi, and Wli Falls.

Other ideas:

  • Visit a coffin maker for an art show like nothing you have ever seen.
  • Watch people make crafts at the Art Center.
  • Visit the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial to see artifacts from Nkrumah’s life and surround yourself with the country’s history.
  • See masterpieces from local Ghanaian artisans at the new Artist’s Alliance Gallery. If you take NYU’s African Art class, you will also be able to visit the individual artists at their homes or studios.
  • Visit the National Museum to watch people make kente or batik.

Student recommendations from Fall 2009. Let us know if this list should change!

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"Not sure what to do? Just ask around! While the Ghana travel guides are sometimes lacking, there is also a street magazine called Enjoy Accra. You will hear about most events through word-of-mouth and recommendations from locals. Ask your CRA’s if you are feeling stuck!"

Sports


Football (soccer for the Americans) is huge in Ghana so go to a game at the new stadium in Accra to cheer for the Black Stars and witness the pride! There are also strange but interesting boxing events in Accra.

Concerts


Accra is rich with music, and you can find an impromptu street performance anywhere you go or a true concert any night of the week. Try to see Hewale Sounds or John Collins perform while you are there. Besides local acts, there are often organized parties and shows at various embassies and conference centers (like Alliance Francaise and the British Council). A lot of American artists (Jay-Z, John Legend, Sean Paul, Ja Rule) come through Ghana, but they charge American prices!

Art


Many people on the program have an interest in some sort of art, and can be seen painting, making music, filming, and photographing around the campus. Students have even gotten together to present an art show to showcase a range of spoken word, film, photo, and anything else they have worked on while being in Ghana.

Theatre


Going to the theater in Ghana is fun, different, and usually outdoors. Concert parties are traditional performances that involve the audience members in the story telling. Attend shows at the W.E.B. DuBois Center and support the student productions at the University of Ghana, and be sure to attend a show at the grand National Theatre.

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