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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.

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50 Responses to 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 (www.elsinoremusic.com). However, I have hope that the extreme conservative closed-mindedness of Charleston is giving way to a more positive, loving atmosphere.

  • Went back recently, no American flags anywhere like some tard said earlier. Seems the same old place, just no head shops, but that is ok. Cool jewelry, art shops and secrets abound. No republicans bought the place out like some previous poster tried to suggest, it has plenty of hippies in the population. Same old people that have always worked there!

    Also the state park is a short drive through the town if you come from the highway and turn at the original big yellow happy face water tower from the movie “Rolling Kansas” way.

  • 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! https://vulturefest.com/vendorform.htm
    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

  • im a student at siu and i was wonderin if they sold any salvia anywhere in makanda? any help would be great

  • Hey, Robin! I love Makanda and live just a couple of miles south. The feel is so free and easy I couldn’t help wondering if any free spirits have ever wandered into your shop skyclad, and what would happen if someone did. I suppose the older folk and some of the church folk might get a bit bent, but if there’s no law against it in town…

    For that matter, does Makanda have any ordnances at all?

  • Coming for the Vulture Fest again…..we fell in love with Makanda last year. Any advice on a place to overnight for one evening…would like to be able to grill and you can’t do that in the Giant City State Park. Have 4 adults and one well mannered teenager. Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Hi I’ll be at the Vulture fest for the first time. I’ll be set up frount of the post office selling Dream Catchers,walking sticks talking sticks and staffs,medicin bags made of soft chamois,and more.
    I would really appiciate your support by you purchasing my stuff or just to come have a look.

  • there arent many to speak of in makanda, really the mayor before this one on his last day or so got rid of all laws in makanda. Funny eh. well its true and since then very few of them have been added back. ps Smelly Hippie also sells HANDBLOWN GLASS all made locally. peace and love, Robin

  • Hi there as far as camping and grilling giant city does offer grills and picnic tables on the grounds but during the festivals anything goes just find a spot and hitch a tent. On the salvia sorry it is not sold in makanda. Smelly Hippie on the makanda boardwalk is soon to be celebrating their 1 year anniversary so stop by and say hello.

  • okay i really wanna try and visit makanda during my spring break but i was wondering if there are any cheap hotels nearby and what exactly is there. if anyone lives there and can give me a bunch of info e-mail me.


    i heard there is a shop that is amazing so uhh let me know if its worth the stop

  • there are plenty of inexpensive hotels in the makanda, il area. you may want to consider hotels in on the west side of carbondale.

  • Hi there.. Love the site…. I and my husband are looking to move to SI, and this place sounds like it is IT….. Please tell me is there work there.. I work in Medical, office management/reception…administrative, also worked in many other venues in life.. we are 49, and looking for a “home” to retire at.. a quiet place,simple life. We are quiet people, keep to ourself.. no parting needed, just love each other,gardening,food,pets.. the easy life.
    Anyone that can help find us a place to maybe rent/rent to own, and work.. well Bless you…..
    Husband lived there b4 in Marion and West Frankfort.. he loved it.
    Thanks for the help.

  • Makanda is hosting the annual Spring Fest in downtown Makanda, IL. this weekend may 3rd & 4th 2008 from 10-5 both days. there will be tons of vendors and food vendors, bands and so much more. Be sure to stop by and say hello to the smelly hippie’s at Smelly Hippie on the boardwalk.

  • I just visited my friend from Southern Illinois University. He had previosuly told me about Makanda so I told him when I come down to visit him I wanted to make a stop there. I am soo glad we did because the town is amazing! From the various stores like the Makanda Trading Company and the Smelly Hippie, the atmosphere in the town is truly unique. If you are anywhere near this town I highly reccommend you stop by and experience it.

    *Make sure you go around back of the shop on the end of the strip. A man has transformed his backyard of the shop into an elaborate labryinth like trail with artwork all around. He said he had been working 30 years to get it to the point it is at today, and obviously the hard work has paid off. Truly amazing experience!!

  • It’s that time of year for the most beautiful scenery in the most beautiful place on earth.. AND it’s time to celebrate at VULTURE FEST!
    The weekend of October 18th! Weather looks perfect. This festival is always fabulous.

  • You guys suck,Hippies suck and Makanda is the last place in the world i would fall in love in.

    Peace freaks


  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE Makanda, I just need to know when Vulture Fest was this year! Does anyone know? Best festival!!!!

  • I’m a student at SIUC, which – for the record – is IN Carbondale… (duh)

    Makanda is a beautiful little town. The boardwalk is a great place to visit anytime of the year, but particularly if you’re just looking for a tangent on the way to somewhere else. Although it is really cool and exceedingly unique, it does not have much to offer for those who want to visit for multiple days. There’s probably 30 minutes to three hours worth of entertainment and exploring on a normal weekday.

    Vulture Fest is great fun and a highlight for many in the hippie community around these parts. Be sure to bring camping chairs/picnic blanket and cash! Great music (especially Woodbox Gang and Coal Train), friendly people, few laws and little judgment.

    Makanda is truly a one-of-a-kind experience for those who want to see something a little different, a little kooky, but definitely a lot of fun.

  • I was born and raised in Mt. Vernon, IL and attended SIU-Carbondale in the late 70s, early 80s. My son is a student there now. Makanda was always one of my favorite spots but last time I drove through a couple of years ago, the place seemed almost like a ghost town. Glad to hear folks are bringing back businesses. I used to drive up to the old cemetery on the hill behind the boardwalk and sketch for my drawing classes. It’s a wonderful place. My fondest memory of Makanda was watching a Civil War reinactment right across the railroad tracks from the boardwalk. I’m not into war but love history, and seeing/hearing cannons firing across the ravines and the soldiers charging on horseback with swords drawn really was a sight to see. I haven’t heard of any reinactments there since, but I’ll always remember the one in Makanda. I’ll have to drive through next time we’re down visiting our son – and maybe buy a candle or two!

  • QUESTION visited makanda in 1978 bought a piece of artwork at a shop the only one i think then in town is a flying dinosaur coming out of a tree knot anybody know artist is made out of brazed metal

  • We went to a fall festival in Makanda last year. I can’t seem to find any Makanda events on this site. Can anyone hook me up with events upcoming in the town. Thanks so much!
    I <3 Makanda, IL!

  • I love the Makanda Boardwalk. It offers something for everyone. I especially love the one shop that is ever so famous for it’s great variety of flavored coffees to choose from, salsas, t-shirts, etc. I love all the shops along the boardwalk,but especially this one! I also like the Antique shop alot!

  • Makanda is wonderful but you’ll want to get a hotel in Carbondale where Southern Illinois University is based. Enjoy that college town and the campus – it’s beautiful. I went there myself. Makanda is a day trip to see the shops; go into the custom jewelry store and see Dave Dardis — he’s an original artist there from the sixties — and a friend of my husband. The shop is a disaster, but he’s incredibly talented and has a sales force that sells his jewelry all over the world. My husband had a custom cabinent shop there for a short while in the 70’s; and I recently found out that my grandfather was born there!! I wish I had known that at the time I hung out. Once you’ve checked out the shops, take a ride into the Shawnee National Forest down the street — it’s magnificent. Take a picnic lunch. Have fun!

  • Makanda has a great event every 3rd weekend of October know as the Vulture Festival. Great hippie reunion with camping at Giant City State Park 5 minutes from Makanda. Awesome hiking trails built by the CCC.

  • We go every year and sometimes more times.  You have to try Makanda Java at the coffee/ice cream shop and then look for Jan York on Saturdays at Visions.   This is our fun getaway.  Love you guys!

  • Does anyone know the name of, the telephone number, or email address of the place in Makanda that sells tie-dyed t-shirts?

  • New website for Makanda Illinois https://www.visitmakanda.com

  • Loved it would go back in a heart beat!

    We accidentally stayed in Carbondale where Southern Illinois University is based. Yes there are hotels  in Carbondale, restaurants and bars etc. it was a short drive to Makanda from there. However, if we were to return I would camp in Makanda it is a beautiful area surrounded by forestry. Near many wineries and parks definitely a go to for the nature loving wine slugging tree huggers. The drive in the area is beautiful, tree lined and hilly in some areas. The town itself is a blink of the eye but it is well worth the blink.

    Bring your cameras picturesque to say the least.  Photo opps galore.

    Set up like an old western town the stores are all connected by this wooden walk way adorned with old hanging signs, chairs and benches to sit and rest a spell.
    There is a stairway that leads up to a road off the wooden sidewalk. That stairway was something right out of a great picture,  climb the stairs and go behind the building and take a peek into the backyard. It has a garden area set up with metal art and other neat things to check out. It is enclosed and obviously owned by someone so do not tread to hard just a peek.

    There is a fabulous huge import store the owner has traveled the world and has many stories to share about the items in the store and where they have came from. I purchased a soap stone trinket box and of course some incense. The owner is well versed in incense and sage ritual.  The import store is where you will find the Tye dye shirts and also many tapestries. 

    There is an art store across the hallway where local artist sell their wares. Chocked with handmade jewelery, slouch caps and bobbles. The artist inside she was very helpful and I had a great chat with her as I looked around.

    There is a small restaurant to get a snack on your trip. Beware they serve really good ice cream.

    A hand thrown pottery studio. The guy that owns the pottery store is great we purchased several items from him. Had a great chat and some fun.

    Everyone in the town was extremely welcoming, beyond friendly and very helpful with questions. They really go out of their way to make you feel like you belong and are one of them.

    Would definitely go back and would definitely camp next time. There is a guy who rents rooms out in town I guess some talk about a hot tub as well, just ask one of the business owners they will help you find accommodations if needed.

    Happy journeys! <3

  • i’m transfering to siu in carbondale this fall, and i was just wondering if anyone could tell me what residence hall i should choose to live in and where i can meet other hippies like myself

  • Makanda is no longer a freakish hippy paradise, rather a republican sanctuary!  The law has moved in and all the hippies have dried up and faded away, some turning into leather. (no names mentioned!) Art is still a part of the community, yet a much cooler hippie hang out is near by.  You may even view the elusive hipster in these parts.  Anna Illinois is much more friendly to all people no matter what or who you are or your sexual preference.  This new cultural hub of the area is brimming with Starbucks coffee shops, and other related hipster activities, such as corn hole.  lastly the favoured hippie snack in this developing area is sour kraut of differing spice mixtures, Mexican seasoning being the most popular.

  • Anna is the place for SI hippies to hang out. Steam shovel coffee and smoking on the square. I would avoid makanda, those folks are very republican.

  • Makanda is a mix of nature, clean air, artistic folk, and Beauty.  If you are looking for a relaxing day, it’s the place to go.

  • Two things to mention, Makanda will be ‘host’ to two total solar eclipses scheduled for 21 August 2017, and April 8, 2024. The paths of totality will intersect here, part of the bonanza of eclipses this century. The other item is for people who want to travel on Illinois 13 towards Carbondale: avoid Marrisa at all costs. The State of Illinois has awarded a pot farm north of town, and the locals are AGAINST it. Any outsiders who travel through this hitlerville need to be on top of their speedometers. It would be a good idea to have smart phones in camera mode. You will need that. From someone who knows, and from experience.

  • Oh man, just stopped in makanda, the hippies are gone. the place was loaded with american flags. i talked the new owner of the ice cream store he said some lady from out east bought up the buildings and kicked the hippies out, rents are up,and the art work is all imported. I went over Anna to Steam shovel coffee, two locals smoked me up good.

  • The head shops were always closed by 3 PM usually anyway (damn lazy hippies). In the buddhist / hindu vibed store you have to ask to see the pieces behind the counter. It seems like the glassware has gotten more expensive. They have nice torch devices that haven’t been seen anywhere else. Used to be more head shops on the square some have closed. Ice cream shop is still there… but haven’t smelled that distinct aroma of you-know-what on the sidewalk there in a long time, which saddens me.

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