Lusaka, the capital of Zambia is a pretty interesting city, I found. Quite honestly, it didn’t have a whole lot available for the casual tourist, but I still quite enjoyed my low-key seven days day there, spread out in three chunks over three weeks. If you’re on limited time, I do suggest at least two full days in the city as well as access to a vehicle (either rented or hiring a driver). Most of what I recommend below are not located in downtown Lusaka but rather spread around the city. However you decide to move around town, make sure you hit as many of the recommendations below!
Check out some art galleries

I usually like checking out art museums or galleries when visiting somewhere, and of course, there are a number of such places around Lusaka. Art is a great way to get a flavour for a new place and it can help put historical or social context around other sites you visit in country. I also find galleries and art museums to be relaxing so if you’re tired from sightseeing or stressed over something that didn’t go as expected, art may bring your stress levels back down (though, if you’re like me and hate modern art, don’t choose a modern art place).

In Lusaka, I visited a gallery called 37d. It’s small but lovely and well appointed with a wide variety of local art in various styles. Entry is free! There is also a gift shop and café attached to it. In the same compound is a jewelry store (Jagoda Gems) with all sorts of beautiful gems to tempt you.

Tip: A few doors down on the other side of the street, check out Eden Haus for a meal with chill vibes.

37d Gallery
37d Gallery
Eat your way around the city

One thing I liked about Lusaka was the variety of restaurants with chill patios. I also found that for the quality of food and meal size, Lusaka restaurants are a lot cheaper than those I have visited in the West – my taste buds, stomach, and wallet were all very happy at the same time for once! If there is one local dish I would recommend, it would be fried bream – it’s the most delicious fried fish I’ve ever had! Restaurants that I recommend include 3 Trees Café, Chang Thai, Mint Lounge, and The Zambean Coffee Co.

Get something made with chitenge fabric
My days of buying little trinkets when I travel are generally over. I now prefer to buy things I’ll either use in my house or wear. Zambia is a great place to buy fabric, specifically the colourful chitenge. This beautiful fabric is usually about 2 meters in length. Traditionally, women use the fabric to wrap around their head, chest, or waist; it is even used as a baby sling. These days, it is also used to make whatever you want to make. You can buy chitenge at markets or a fabric shop and then have a tailor make your outfit of choice! Check out Safiques Trading for your chitenge needs.
Safiques Trading chitenge fabric
Safiques Trading chitenge fabric
Gift Shopping
There are a number of shopping options in Lusaka. For one, there are a million malls in the city! There are also several options for curio shopping, including local markets and cooperatives. Two I recommend for local and/or tourist-friendly handicrafts are the Pakati Market located at the Arcade Mall parking lot on Sundays and the Lusaka Collective. The latter is particularly a fantastic option for curated Zambian arts and crafts, homeware, and gifts.
Spend time at a lodge
If you have limited time and can’t head out of town for some time at a lodge, why not check out Lilayi Lodge? If you only have a day, you can come here for a meal or two and participate in one of their many offered activities – sunset game drive or wine tasting, anyone? If you have a night or three, definitely consider booking one of their beautiful rooms. As you are still relatively near Lusaka, there are no predators at this lodge – but you may see giraffes, warthogs, and the Helmeted Guinea Fowl!
Lilayi Lodge
Lilayi Lodge
Immerse yourself in cute baby elephants

Near Lilayi Lodge is the Lilayi Elephant Nursery. Be prepared to die from the cuteness of baby elephants! When I went, there were five of them. From a raised hide, you can see these cutie pies being bottle-fed and watch them play after their lunch. Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys in the surrounding lands!

Lilayi Elephant Nursery
If you have more time or none of the above appeals to you, things that other people have recommended in or near Lusaka include the Chaminuka Game Reserve, the Monkey Pools Park, and the Lusaka National Museum.