Nanyuki municipality had an urban population of 31,577 in 1999 (). Most members of the population earn their money through trade. Shops in the town supply many farms, ranches and game parks in a wide circle. Originally, most shops were owned by Indians, who still form a sizable part of the population. Climbers and backpackers visit Nanyuki on their way to or from Mount Kenya along the Sirimon and Burguret routes and many other tourists pass through the town. Nanyuki therefore has many hotels, of which Mount Kenya Safari Club and Sportsman’s Arms Hotel are the most prominent and best known. Other hotels include Lion’s Court, Equatorial Hotel, Mount Kenya Paradise Hotel and Joskaki Hotel. The oldest restaurant in town is The Marina and it is still fairly popular. Several years ago, a restaurant was opened south of Nanyuki built inside a huge tree. Named “Trout Tree Restaurant” its main attraction is obviously trout prepared in various ways. Patrons can also visit the trout breeding installation at the foot of the tree. Another notable restaurant is "Barneys" located at Nanyuki Civil Airfield, once the base of the No. 1340 Flight RAF, which flew Harvards during the Mau Mau Uprising.
There is little large-scale industry in Nanyuki. There used to be a textile factory, Mount Kenya Textile (Mountex) Mills. The British management deteriorated over the years, which largely contributed to its bankruptcy in 1978. Years later, the factory, which had remained more or less intact, was bought by an Asian businessman, an inhabitant of Nanyuki. Some textile was produced. The factory eventually closed due to cheap imports and outdated machinery and finally was looted to the ground. There have also been a number of sawmills in Nanyuki. However, with the almost total ban on tree felling on Mount Kenya, these either closed down or are now eking out a difficult existence. Recently, large horticultural operations have come to Nanyuki.
A park lies in the centre of