Sprawled over the narrow peninsula formed by the sea and the Mesurado River, the Liberian capital of Monrovia is recovering from the violence that plagued the country in the last 20 years. Today, the city is unbendingly determined to rebuild, and the people have an unmistakable pep. More approachable than many other capitals, the city has an amenable small-town vibe and a bar and restaurant scene that is lively and friendly.
The National Museum is unfortunately only a shadow of what it used to be, but it is still worth a visit to learn more about Liberia’s history, culture and people. The small and dusty exhibits include paintings, drums and masks.
Also on display at the museum is the throne once used by William Tubman at the Masonic Temple. Now ruined, the sight was once the major landmark of the capital. Today, visitors can still walk among the ruins and imagine its former glory.
Monrovia also boasts some of the best beaches in Liberia. Elwa beach is particularly pleasing, welcoming many families on the weekends with its clean sand and safe swimming area. A bit further from the city center is Thinkers beach, where seaside stalls offer cheap but refreshing food and drink and the waves are perfect for surfing. CeCe beach is also worth visiting for its palm umbrellas, well-protected swimming area and restaurants.
There are a number of small shops throughout the city. Visitors can find everything from high-end African-inspired jewelry and fine clothing to cheap electronics and traditional arts and crafts in the capital’s center district.
The dining options in the city are quite decent, and a delicious meal can be had for just a small amount of money. There are many small restaurants that serve up Liberian fare, like fufu, a staple made of boiled plantains, cassava or yams dipped in palaver sauce, made of a variety of ingredients that may include palm oil, beef, taro, pepitas, Mulukhiyah leaves or shrimp. International cuisine is available at a number of restaurants, and it is relatively easy to find French, Lebanese, Italian and American food.
If you prefer to make your own food, Monrovia has a wide range of well-stocked markets and food stores, many of which carry imported goods. Shop for fish, deli and meat on Randall Street, then head to Benson Street to find fresh produce at the city’s best open-air market.
At night, locals swarm the small number of night clubs and bars. Many have VIP lounges and large dance floors, and DJs spin tunes by local and international artists until the sun comes up. The drinks are more expensive in the most popular clubs, but the prices are still generally reasonable.
About a half-hour drive from Monrovia is the small town of Careysburg. Founded by freed slaves in the mid-19th century, the town is sleepy but is home to excellent examples of churches and residences built in the architectural style of the American South. The cool, lush landscape also provides a nice break from the city.
Monrovia Geographical Location
Monrovia is located on the western shore of Liberia along the Cape Mesurado peninsula.
The population of Monrovia is approximately 1,011,000 within the metropolitan area.
English is the official language of Liberia. Bassa and Vai are widely studied in schools while an additional 20 indigenous languages are spoken throughout the country.
Monrovia Predominant Religion
- 85.5% Christian
- 12% Muslim
- 1.5% None
- 1% Indigenous Beliefs
Most of the religiously affiliated population practice indigenous beliefs in addition to their stated religion.
The Liberian Dollar is the official currency of Liberia.
Monrovia is hot with a substantial amount of rainfall occurring throughout the year. The cooler months experience the monsoon season.
Monrovia Main Attractions
- Liberian National Museum
- National Hall
- Waterside Market
Other Attraction in Monrovia
- Providence Island
- Ce Ce Beach
- Masonic Temple
- Firestone Rubber Plantation