Meet the people
Around the petite marche, the Score/Haddad supermarkets, and other areas frequented by foreigners, the local touts can be very persistent and annoying. Most of the people in Niger are not like this. Make an effort to meet locals. Speaking French helps a bit, but many Nigeriens only know a little French, tribal languages are much more important. But it is surprisingly easy to communicate with Africans. They are used to communicating with people in non-first languages, and are extremely patient with people.
American School of Niamey and Community Center
The American School is located next to the US Embassy. On the grounds of the school is also located the Community Center. When we left in June, 2003, it was still possible to buy a day pass for a fairly reasonable fee. This entitled you to use the pool and other equipment on the grounds. There is also a pleasant shaded area next to the pool where the buvette is located. This is probably the best, if not only, place in the country to slake your cravings for hamburgers, milkshakes, nachos, and even Dr. Pepper or Root Beer. The food is well prepared and tasty, and the staff are very pleasant.
It can be difficult to find local music played for the public. Check out the schedule of the French Cultural Center, across the street from the Musee, to see what is happening. It is probably the best place in Niamey to find local, or at least West Africa musicians.
If you are lucky enough to be invited to a local wedding, you will most certainly hear some very loud drumming. You will need to pay the musicians to go away!
The National Museum is in downtown Niamey, and is hard to miss: the buildings are all painted a brilliant blue and white. There are exhibits on Nigerien history and culture, as well as a small zoo. There is also an artisan area where you can watch people work on traditional crafts and buy their products.
Katakou market is located on Tillaberi Road. There are several sections selling a variety of household goods, tools, and food. In season, watch for the bags of locust or lumps of acacia gum, chewable resin from certain acacia trees.
There is also a "dead man's" market area sellin used clothing, mostly donated clothing from Western countries, but the "dead man" moniker is certainly more colourful!
Wadata is full of home goods. Intersting to wander through. You will find very few locally produced manufactured goods, most items are brought in from other countries, especially Nigeria and China.
The Grand Mosque was built with money from Libya's Muamar Qaddafi. You can visit the mosque if you wish, they allow visitors.