Nairobi enjoys a diverse assortment of cultural activities including music and music festivals, the arts and art galleries and museums, as well as a large number of both live-performance and film theatres. As community-enrichment, sport is also considered a cultural activity in Nairobi.
An assortment of ideals, conduct, artifacts, experiences and beliefs, the culture in Nairobi plays an important role in influencing how Nairobians (people in Nairobi) relate, work, socialize and communicate with insiders or outsiders and how they generally lead their lives.
Being a cosmopolitan city, Nairobi has great contrasts that have over the years, enriched the existing culture, contributing to the vibrant energy and intense and diverse vibes that characterize the city.
Museums and Art Galleries
In a bid to showcase to both the locals and foreigners the diverse and rich culture that is prevalent in not only in Nairobi but in Kenya in general, there are well-established museums in Nairobi:
- Nairobi National Museum: at Museum Hill showcasing Kenya’s heritage and culture
- Nairobi Railway Museum: several hundred meters from Nairobi Railway Station within CBD, it presents vivid pictures of Nairobi’s and Kenya’s evolution to the present
- Karen Blixen Museum: Kenya’s history museum
- Rahimtulla Museum of Modern Art (RaMoMA),
- African Heritage
- Mzizi Arts Centre
- Kitengela Glass
- African Heritage House
- American Embassy Memorial Park – sandwiched between Moi Avenue and Haile Selassie Avenue
- Kenya National Archives – between Tom Mboya street and Moi Avenue
- Gallery Watatu – Standard Street
- The Taliman located along Ngong Road
- Nairobi Gallery – Kenyatta Avenue
- Banana Hill Art Studio – Banana Hill
- GoDown Arts Centre Dunga Road
- Paa ya Paa Art Centre at Ridgeways Road
There are also cultural centers including Kenya National Archives and Bomas of Kenya.
From Bongo flavours, Jazz, Afro fusion and traditional folk songs to hip hop, rock, blues, reggae and raga, Nairobi is a musical city. Music is an element of culture that is used to convey messages and enhance social connectedness in Nairobi.
- Night clubs are a popular places to enjoy live music
- Keshas – overnight gospel music concerts
- Live music concerts by local and international artists
- Live bands by popular music groups such as Sauti Sol
- Cultural theme nights are often held in Nairobi and in most cases at the Carnivore Restaurant. They are used to showcase the traditional way of life of various Kenyan communities including Mugithi night (kikuyu), Coast night (coastal people), Mulembe night(Lughya) and Ramogi night (Luo).
- Each year, all learning institutions in Nairobi participate and compete in different inter-level music festivals to showcase the country’s culture and traditions through songs, dances, skits, choral verses, narratives, poems and plays. They are often held in selected learning institutions.
Cinema and Movie Theaters
A growing cultural phenomenon among the people of Nairobi, cinema-going is gaining roots in the city. Popular cinema theaters include:
- Phoenix Players Ltd
- Odeon Cinema
- Lotus Cinema
- Kenya Cultural Center
Popular theatre performing groups include Kenya National Theater Crew, Phoenix Players and Heartstrings Ensemble.
Other than going to watch plays and acts, Nairobians are known for their love for movies and there are varieties of movie theaters including:
- Planet Media Cinemas Westgate
- Starflix Prestige Plaza
- Fox Cineplex Sarit Centre
- IMAX 20th Century
- Starflix Village Market
Sports are a cultural activity in Nairobi where sports are enjoyed not only as a pastime but also as events that bring the community together., Nairobians enjoy especially football sports by watching them in entertainment clubs or participating in live sporting events in various stadiums and playgrounds located in the city:
- Nyayo National Stadium
- Moi International Sports Center Kasarani
- City Stadium
- Railway Golf Club
- Nairobi Gymkhana
- Muthaiga Golf Club
- Ngong Horse Racecourse
- Jamhuri Showgrounds
- Impala Grounds