7 Reasons Why Hipsters Should Move to Makassar

-By Ayat Abourashed-

As a woman who’s spent a decent amount of time growing up around Chicago hipsters, I think I know a thing or two about spotting hipster cities. Sure enough, my new temporary city of Makassar is the perfect place for hipsters to live. After reading this article, hipsters will understand why.   


A classic hipster coffee shop with a touch of Indonesian flare. All photos courtesy of Ayat Abourashed.


  1. When I think of hipsters, I think of coffee shops. In Makassar there is no shortage of coffee shops for hipsters to indulge in. I’m not talking about your standard Indonesian warkops* (internet cafes). I mean exposed brick, chalkboard menus, and The Lumineers-playing-coffee-shops. Every corner in Makassar you turn, there is a new cafe opening. This new spring of Western-inspired businesses has just happened in the past year, but there’s no doubt that it’s a booming business that’s here to stay.

PS: Coffee shops here normally have a barbershop attached to them. So why not get a quick little haircut and then sit and enjoy some drip coffee?

My personal faves: Esprezza, Gastros, Peeple

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Makassar has cronuts. Yes, cronuts. You don’t even have to wait in line for them!

  1. Foodies Heaven

For the longest time, only the extremely touristy cities or business-heavy cities in Indonesia had non-Indonesian food options. Makassar has caught on to this, and to lure more tourists (and hipsters) in, they’ve added many more options beyond the local staples. While Coto Makassar* and pisang epe* are tasty eats to enjoy along Pantai Losari (an equivalent to Chicago’s Navy Pier), who doesn’t love some gelato and tacos? Now, you can satisfy pretty much any international craving – Italian, Mexican, Indian, Japanese, you name it. The Big Mak* won’t fail to deliver. What’s another plus? Food festivals similar to Taste of Chicago are making their way to Makassar, and lemme tell you, they are one of the highlights of this grungy city.

My personal food truck faves: Senorita, Bistropolis, Hosteria Numero Uno, De Sushi

  1. Music Festivals for All

Speaking of festivals, the Big Mak has plenty of them thanks to Pantai Losari. Go there on any weekend, and you’ll see every person in Makassar jamming out. Now, these aren’t up to Lollapalooza standards, but they are pretty wild. The Jazz Festival was one of the biggest ones in the fall. I already have my calendar marked for the upcoming Folk Music Festival and Guitar Festival. 


  1. Artsy Fartsy

This is a recent addition to Makassar’s selling point. Lately, the locals have felt a need to make the full hipster transition by embracing the arts. The arts aren’t complete without, well, art. If you walk through an alleyway off of Jalan Sultan Alauddin, you might see a normal looking house with a simple sign (Rumata) in front of it. It’s actually the Rumata Artspace. Inside, the house has been transformed into an art studio/exhibition with rotating exhibits. What’s the best part you might ask? The brick fence in the backyard is a massive mural of Makassar and Bugis* artwork.    


Any backdrop in Indonesia instantly becomes the perfect set up for your next Instagram post.

  1. Dress the Part

Dark-rimmed oversized glasses, too-tight-to-walk skinny jeans, flannels — you get the picture. Well, that’s what every Indonesian millennial is rocking in Makassar. The hipster style did not miss the massive archipelago. Flea markets and thrift stores are all over the city to cater to the vintage fashion sense. But don’t worry, you can also find Urban Outfitters and American Apparel-esque stores in Makassar’s most expensive mall, Trans Studio, to spend big bucks to achieve the “effortless” boho look. 


Imagine all of the photoshoots millennials have in front of this graffiti covered construction.

  1. Photo Ops Galore

No hipster city is complete without some proper backdrops for Instagram. Every alley is full of plant-lined-walls or minimalist designs. Pantai Akkarena is the perfect stage for a warm, multi-toned sunset. Not too far away from the beach is an unfinished bridge, a quality spot for romantic couples photos. There’s even an abandoned construction site with brick walls covered in graffiti to really give pictures an edgy vibe. Basically, your Instafeed will always be on point.  

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Chicken burritos are plentiful in Makassar.

  1. It’s Not on Java

True hipsters stray from anything mainstream, right? We’ve all heard about how Yogyakarta is the most hipster city in Indonesia. But why move to the most well-known island? Java is overrated. True hipsters would move to Sulawesi, the true hidden gem of Indonesia.  

*Warkops are Indonesian internet cafes found around the archipelago

*Coto Makassar is like a beef stew

*pisang epe is a dessert made with pressed bananas and drizzled with palm sugar, chocolate, cheese, or or all three. 

*The Big Mak is a nickname for Makassar originating from McDonald’s’ Big Mac hamburger.

*Bugis are an ethnic group of people in Makassar, also known as Buginese people

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