Due to its central location, Tamale serves as a hub for all administrative and commercial activities in the Northern region, doubling as the political, economic and financial capital of the Northern region. The centre of Tamale hosts regional branches of financial institutions and a considerable number of international nongovernmental organizations.
Most residents of Tamale are Muslims, as reflected by the multitude of mosques in Tamale, most notably the Central Mosque. The Sunnis and the Ahmadis also have their own central mosques, north of the town centre along the Bolgatanga Road.
The hospitality industry has grown significantly, with new hotels and guest houses built around Tamale. Tamale grew from a conglomeration of towns where one could find an architectural blend of traditional mud houses and more modern buildings.