Makanda, Illinois

It’s way out there among hills in a forrest, but once you set foot on the “sidewalk” of the town square (which is barely anything) you notice the overall atmosphere of art. The place SCREAMS hippie haven!! It’s a calm, peaceful town, it’s creative and close to nature,a favorite for me!!

And nearby is a great collage town,Carbondale,Il. it’s big and booming,but if your in the right part of town you run into some groovy stuff. There’s a wonderous hippie hang out cafè with alot of college kids working there who are into the all natural hippie way of life. There’s local artwork on the walls,alot of food for thought. There’s a vietnam poet who hangs out in the back dining room of the cafè with long hair and a beard,but kind eyes. And the next room toward the back is the ‘Babba Shop’ which is very middle eastern,lots of clothes, prayer shawls, philosophy books…..which i didn’t really get into. But for that type of hippie…it’s prob’ly heaven. LOL behind that is a vintage clothing shop….

Also a great college town is Charleston,Il. There’s a head shop called absolutely 4th street records (on 4th street) and a bar or something called the rabbit hole. And a shop called the Alice Emporium or something like that.

Comments about Makanda, Illinois

  • yeah I have friends in Charleston, and the head shop is Positevely 4th street (not absoulteyly)

    but anyway it is a great party town

  • Positivly 4th street is Positivly fun. But bring your $ because you’ll need it. There is also a nice Euro Delli on the square. All new cafe’ called Jackson Avenu Cafe’ (off the square) they have live music and such. Or hit the compeditor Jitters N Bliss on Lincoln Ave. (the main drag). Charleston houses EIU which is a nice little University. Lots of students.
    There are also a couple of used book shops on the square. Stop by Lincoln homsted and Fox Ridge state park. You can camp and hike. They have pavillions and pottys if you need to cook and clean up.
    There is this guy Wes Whiteside who has an extreem garden and he opens it up once a year to artists and photographers (ask around about him and when it is a must see!) Also they have a cool grave yard out back of town (actually all the old grave yards around this area are cool! You just drive around and find them or ask!)
    There is a health food store if you like to eat green or another specialty. It is located off the square (In the old Owen building if your asking around!) They also have murels around the square (There is this one with a screaming head, fun!)
    Oh. They also have a small artist community. A blacksmith (She also sits on the city councel so, if you like to vote come and join in the next ellection to re-hire her. Do it by becoming a resident!) some painters, a woman and man who paint gords, a glass bead maker, some photographers,a couple who do ceramics (actually quite a few potters!) a metalsmith or two and quite a few closite creative natives. They have a few art shops that are hit and miss. The Art Space, and then The Tarbel Arts Center on campus. The tarbel is a great place to go and find art. A really nice gallery for such a little town.
    There is this old B&B to stay in if you’re into that. A renovated victorian. Several parks, Morton Park, Kawanis (which has an ampa theatre ~new! They have a summer concert series.)Park. Carnigie Librarie is sweet. A nice place to surf the net, or cuddle up with a good book. Oh– then there is “Just Spences” a vintige shop to find that perfect something to go with that thing you can’t find anythng to go with.
    Charleston is a fun bar town. Friends (live shows), The UP Towner (some live shows), Mike & Stans, Martys, Jerrys, IKS (Greek Bar), Stikx (big screen tv’s and pool). After the bars you can hit La Bamba for Burritos as big as your head! Then to the afterbars, house partys, or what ever!
    Chek out Chuck!

    Check out Chuck!

  • Makanda is wonderful. I grew up in Herrin, about 25 miles away, and spent a good chunk of my senior year of high school cutting class with my best friend and puttering around in Carbondale and Makanda.

    The coffeehouse in Carbondale is Longbranch. It’s been there for close to 12 years. I loved it when it opened — a little grungy, a little dim, but very earnest. It’s gotten a little self-conscious these days, but it’s still not bad. My favorite place to have coffee in Carbondale, the On the Edge Cafe, closed about 10 years ago.

    I’ve spent more than my fair share of time on the Makanda Boardwalk, which has really enjoyed a revitalization in the past five to 10 years. Two of its oldest businesses, Makanda Java and Rainmaker, continue to thrive; the best treat in town is a cappuccino from Makanda Java followed by a walk through the beautiful garden behind Rainmaker. Truly an outstanding hippie haven. I live far away now, but I still spend a lot of time daydreaming my way back.

  • I have neevr really been down to Carbondale Illinois but it is located next to Southern Illinois University, and I hear it’s more of a drug hippie culture, I know in the past there have been some rioting there. As for Charleston Illinois, it is just a small College town, the bars are actualley really lame, nothing to do there, except drink cheap beer, cops are not cool at all. If you wanna stay in Illinois, you should check out the North Side of Chicago, possible Lincoln park, it is right near Depaul, and although there are alot of Yuppies, also alot of cool cats hang around, good bars, good band, Chicago is avery good place for bands to play. small clubs, cheap hotles. Jam Band Umphrey’s Mcgee came out of there. Check out Urbana Champagne-good scene!


  • Hey there. I live in Charleston, Illinois and I must say that it is not much of a hippie haven at all. It’s a clash between rural and city. With the exception of 4th Street Records (which just expanded btw. Its very nice), there are very very few other hippie friendly places. Half of town is the normal drunken frat type you’ll find at most colleges and the other half is the “rednecks” you’ll find in most rural farm towns. Not that the whole town is bad. There is a coffee shop called Jackson Avenue Coffee which is great. It often features awesome music like Elsinore’s acoustic/folk/rock. But to sum up, if you come to Charleston looking for a hippie you’re most likely to get odd looks from a “frat boy” or a “redneck” unless you really dig deep enough to find the handful of us who hide in Jackson Avenue Coffee or 4th Street Records or you can catch the excellent band Elsinore ( However, I have hope that the extreme conservative closed-mindedness of Charleston is giving way to a more positive, loving atmosphere.

  • I heard that Makanda is going to be the NEXT BOULDER CO. town. The boardwalk downtown is getting very popular, and droves are people are coming there on the weekend to hang-out. It is an amazing area to do outdoor activity!
    IT is surrounded by 275,000 acre National Forest that has some of the best trails i have ever seen. Wonder if it will stay KIND or will it turn into a Yuppie Town someday? SIU Carbondale is right next door so you get all kinds coming!

  • I have lived in southern illinois my whole life and i can tell you first hand that the Makanda Boardwalk (7 miles from home) is The place to be. This weekend May 7 & 8 th is the Spring Fest in makanda. In october we have the vulture fest. Also one of the best shops there was not mentioned in the review and that is Clear Creek Candles. The “candle lady” is one of the most unique candle artist i have ever known. If your ever in makanda tell the candle lady that robin sent you ! PEACE !!!!

  • Jackson Avenue Coffee in Charleston is having a hafla, belly dance party, on June 18th at 7PM. Conservative rednecks and drunk frat boys beware…

  • They’re right about hippies in Illinois, there really isn’t many of them in this state unless you go to the colleges and Chicago. Besides me and my friends the only people that consider themselves hippies are the high school kids and some other people around that age that wear a Grateful Dead t-shirt and listen to jambands and consider themselves hippies. What they don’t realize is that there is more to being a hippy than listening to jambands!

  • i just visited makanda for two months i arived on the first day of the spring fest and stayed for a wile imet the nicest group of people ive ever met and the musi scene is amazing woodbox gand played the festival and they are one of the best bands ive ever seen

  • I just visited Makanda, IL yesterday and the folks on the square were super nice. We bought some kick ass candles from a shop there. It definitely looked like hippie heaven to me. lol

    That is beautiful country and I would love to visit again. The state park there was beautiful!

  • yes yes yes makanda is awesome ! ill tell you a little secret if your looking for some smoking instruments, go to the makanda trading company on the boardwalk , go up to the counter and ask to see their glass bowls! Tip: dont do it in front of the old people. they have great pieces cheap !

  • Yeah, see I grew up in Makanda, and I know well almost everybody. I think the reason people are so nice here (and thanks for everyone who said we were, I apprecate it) is the fact that everyone pretty much leaves us alone, and dosen’t harass us. Not only that, but in a town with no bars, no jail, no gas station, and well pretty much nothing, you really don’t have a lot to turn ya mean. Since we have to travel to go to work, school, to buy groceries, and well pretty much everything, we aren’t ones to take much things for granted. But we have a small town life, and we aren’t all that concered with “Big City Folks” trying to move in and take our land. Their not going to, at least not yet. They like us to much. Thanks for all the good reviews, we appreatice it! Thanks guys!

  • Makanda is great, I recently bought a home here and love it. Everyone pretty much covered the great things about Makanda except no one mentioned the garden behind the board walk. Talk about true love of art, its just something special. My comment is to calling C’dale the drug hippie culture and referring to the riots a few years back. The problem isn’t the locals or even the college kids, its the people coming down from chicago and st louis that hear C’dale is the place to be on Halloween…they tear the place up. As a result the strip is shut down on Halloween weekend and Halloween night to keep out of towners from coming and tearing up out town. And visit the north side of chicago WHA???? Why would anyone do that?

    Chicago is avery good place for bands to play. small clubs, cheap hotles. Jam Band Umphrey”s Mcgee came out of there.

    LOL you are in the wrong place…we are talking National Forests and small artisan shops and you are talking cheap hotels and UM? And C’dale’s music scene is twice that of Chicago’s (see below) and you even admitted to never going to C’Dale so stfu.
    Bands to check out in C’Dale:

    • Coal Train
    • Woodbox
    • Coal Train
    • Rum Runners
    • Coal Train
    • Soothesayers
    • Coal Train
    • Six String Ride
    • Coal Train
    • Josh Plemons
    • Coal Train
    • Broke Strang Band
    • Coal Train
    • Defined Perception
    • Did I mention Coal Train?
    • Many many more

  • There is a New shop opening around feburary of 2007 on the Makanda Boardwalk called Smelly Hippie. I am the new owner and i will be taking over Clear Creek Candles shop there. I will be selling handmade candles, scented soaps, hemp, Tie-dyes for everyone down to the baby.
    So although its sad that Clear Creek Candles is leaving the boardwalk please come down and check out my shop in feb. Peace

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