Most hipster hoods of the Middle East

Published September 10th, 2015 - 19:59 GMT

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If you thought all the hipsters were in Berlin and New York, think again. The Middle East -- despite its reputation for religious conservatism -- has its own bohemian scene thriving in many of the region’s cities. Though some regimes aren’t always so tolerant of the hipster lifestyle, in other places anti-establishment street art, DIY culture, gentrification and ironic attitudes abound. From Cairo to Dubai, here are the still-undiscovered hipster meccas of the Middle East.

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Amman’s Webdeh neighborhood is one of the kingdom's coolest spots. Its many coffee shops and tea houses (like Fann Wa Chai, above) are always hosting impromptu events from live music and poetry to art exhibits and poetry slams. There’s even a graffiti cafe! This leafy ’hood is also one of the oldest (and most attractive) in the city.
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Image 1 of 8:  1 / 8Amman’s Webdeh neighborhood is one of the kingdom's coolest spots. Its many coffee shops and tea houses (like Fann Wa Chai, above) are always hosting impromptu events from live music and poetry to art exhibits and poetry slams. There’s even a graffiti cafe! This leafy ’hood is also one of the oldest (and most attractive) in the city.

Enlarge
Tel Aviv's buzzing Florentin is a melting pot of artisans, bohemians, immigrants and students. The street art is top-notch; look closely and you might find poems etched into telephone poles. Family-owned shawarma shops are open late to accommodate the crowds that spill out of the ’hood’s many watering holes in the early morning hours.
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Image 2 of 8:  2 / 8Tel Aviv's buzzing Florentin is a melting pot of artisans, bohemians, immigrants and students. The street art is top-notch; look closely and you might find poems etched into telephone poles. Family-owned shawarma shops are open late to accommodate the crowds that spill out of the ’hood’s many watering holes in the early morning hours.

Enlarge
Cihangir, in Istanbul’s trendy Beyoglu area, was a hotbed of activism during the 2013 Gezi protests.  It's become a popular stage for street performance and public art, and home to anarchists, actors & expats who sip Turkish coffee while gazing at the Bosphorus, debating politics. 19th Century buildings host vintage clothing shops & dance clubs.
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Image 3 of 8:  3 / 8Cihangir, in Istanbul’s trendy Beyoglu area, was a hotbed of activism during the 2013 Gezi protests. It's become a popular stage for street performance and public art, and home to anarchists, actors & expats who sip Turkish coffee while gazing at the Bosphorus, debating politics. 19th Century buildings host vintage clothing shops & dance clubs.

Enlarge
When Beirut's Gemmayzeh got pricey, the cool kids moved to Mar Mikhael. The once-industrial area now boasts a plethora of modern bars, restaurants, artisan jewelers, feminist cafés and more. Eat a gourmet burger at Frosty Palace, then have a Vietnamese espresso at Papercup before visiting the hood’s many bars, some of which go until 5AM.
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Image 4 of 8:  4 / 8When Beirut's Gemmayzeh got pricey, the cool kids moved to Mar Mikhael. The once-industrial area now boasts a plethora of modern bars, restaurants, artisan jewelers, feminist cafés and more. Eat a gourmet burger at Frosty Palace, then have a Vietnamese espresso at Papercup before visiting the hood’s many bars, some of which go until 5AM.

Enlarge
Old Cairo's picturesque buildings have long attracted young creative types. The city's vibrant music scene draws stylishly-dressed writers, designers and musicians who haunt the hood’s cafes and treasure hunt in the area’s ubiquitous bookstands and antique stores. Hipsters hang for funk and blues bands like Screwdriver.
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Image 5 of 8:  5 / 8Old Cairo's picturesque buildings have long attracted young creative types. The city's vibrant music scene draws stylishly-dressed writers, designers and musicians who haunt the hood’s cafes and treasure hunt in the area’s ubiquitous bookstands and antique stores. Hipsters hang for funk and blues bands like Screwdriver.

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Dubai's swanky Jumeirah Beach Residence features rooftop bars, glitzy dance clubs & lots of fun markets and boutiques. Its 1.7 km-long promenade, “The Walk,” is one of the few pedestrian-friendly places in the city. People-watching from beachside bistros is a popular activity, as dapper young men roll past in Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
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Image 6 of 8:  6 / 8Dubai's swanky Jumeirah Beach Residence features rooftop bars, glitzy dance clubs & lots of fun markets and boutiques. Its 1.7 km-long promenade, “The Walk,” is one of the few pedestrian-friendly places in the city. People-watching from beachside bistros is a popular activity, as dapper young men roll past in Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

Enlarge
Holy City Jerusalem is family-oriented, but not its once-seedy Nachlaot area. It booms with bearded beatniks and sari-clad women playing djembes or backgammon on most every corner. Its old-world feel and proximity to the Mahane Yehuda market are major draws, as is the Teverya Street Brewery, a cozy hangout that hosts regular music festivals.
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Image 7 of 8:  7 / 8Holy City Jerusalem is family-oriented, but not its once-seedy Nachlaot area. It booms with bearded beatniks and sari-clad women playing djembes or backgammon on most every corner. Its old-world feel and proximity to the Mahane Yehuda market are major draws, as is the Teverya Street Brewery, a cozy hangout that hosts regular music festivals.

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If lounging around the pool swilling beer all day is your idea of an immersive travel experience, look no further than Saudi Arabia’s Aramco expat compound. The gated fantasy-land offers luxury housing and big, tax-free salaries. Now, that’s enough reading--go enjoy a game of golf in the most water-scarce region on Earth to reward yourself!
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Image 8 of 8:  8 / 8If lounging around the pool swilling beer all day is your idea of an immersive travel experience, look no further than Saudi Arabia’s Aramco expat compound. The gated fantasy-land offers luxury housing and big, tax-free salaries. Now, that’s enough reading--go enjoy a game of golf in the most water-scarce region on Earth to reward yourself!

Enlarge

1

Amman’s Webdeh neighborhood is one of the kingdom's coolest spots. Its many coffee shops and tea houses (like Fann Wa Chai, above) are always hosting impromptu events from live music and poetry to art exhibits and poetry slams. There’s even a graffiti cafe! This leafy ’hood is also one of the oldest (and most attractive) in the city.

Image 1 of 8Amman’s Webdeh neighborhood is one of the kingdom's coolest spots. Its many coffee shops and tea houses (like Fann Wa Chai, above) are always hosting impromptu events from live music and poetry to art exhibits and poetry slams. There’s even a graffiti cafe! This leafy ’hood is also one of the oldest (and most attractive) in the city.

2

Tel Aviv's buzzing Florentin is a melting pot of artisans, bohemians, immigrants and students. The street art is top-notch; look closely and you might find poems etched into telephone poles. Family-owned shawarma shops are open late to accommodate the crowds that spill out of the ’hood’s many watering holes in the early morning hours.

Image 2 of 8Tel Aviv's buzzing Florentin is a melting pot of artisans, bohemians, immigrants and students. The street art is top-notch; look closely and you might find poems etched into telephone poles. Family-owned shawarma shops are open late to accommodate the crowds that spill out of the ’hood’s many watering holes in the early morning hours.

3

Cihangir, in Istanbul’s trendy Beyoglu area, was a hotbed of activism during the 2013 Gezi protests.  It's become a popular stage for street performance and public art, and home to anarchists, actors & expats who sip Turkish coffee while gazing at the Bosphorus, debating politics. 19th Century buildings host vintage clothing shops & dance clubs.

Image 3 of 8Cihangir, in Istanbul’s trendy Beyoglu area, was a hotbed of activism during the 2013 Gezi protests. It's become a popular stage for street performance and public art, and home to anarchists, actors & expats who sip Turkish coffee while gazing at the Bosphorus, debating politics. 19th Century buildings host vintage clothing shops & dance clubs.

4

When Beirut's Gemmayzeh got pricey, the cool kids moved to Mar Mikhael. The once-industrial area now boasts a plethora of modern bars, restaurants, artisan jewelers, feminist cafés and more. Eat a gourmet burger at Frosty Palace, then have a Vietnamese espresso at Papercup before visiting the hood’s many bars, some of which go until 5AM.

Image 4 of 8When Beirut's Gemmayzeh got pricey, the cool kids moved to Mar Mikhael. The once-industrial area now boasts a plethora of modern bars, restaurants, artisan jewelers, feminist cafés and more. Eat a gourmet burger at Frosty Palace, then have a Vietnamese espresso at Papercup before visiting the hood’s many bars, some of which go until 5AM.

5

Old Cairo's picturesque buildings have long attracted young creative types. The city's vibrant music scene draws stylishly-dressed writers, designers and musicians who haunt the hood’s cafes and treasure hunt in the area’s ubiquitous bookstands and antique stores. Hipsters hang for funk and blues bands like Screwdriver.

Image 5 of 8Old Cairo's picturesque buildings have long attracted young creative types. The city's vibrant music scene draws stylishly-dressed writers, designers and musicians who haunt the hood’s cafes and treasure hunt in the area’s ubiquitous bookstands and antique stores. Hipsters hang for funk and blues bands like Screwdriver.

6

Dubai's swanky Jumeirah Beach Residence features rooftop bars, glitzy dance clubs & lots of fun markets and boutiques. Its 1.7 km-long promenade, “The Walk,” is one of the few pedestrian-friendly places in the city. People-watching from beachside bistros is a popular activity, as dapper young men roll past in Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

Image 6 of 8Dubai's swanky Jumeirah Beach Residence features rooftop bars, glitzy dance clubs & lots of fun markets and boutiques. Its 1.7 km-long promenade, “The Walk,” is one of the few pedestrian-friendly places in the city. People-watching from beachside bistros is a popular activity, as dapper young men roll past in Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

7

Holy City Jerusalem is family-oriented, but not its once-seedy Nachlaot area. It booms with bearded beatniks and sari-clad women playing djembes or backgammon on most every corner. Its old-world feel and proximity to the Mahane Yehuda market are major draws, as is the Teverya Street Brewery, a cozy hangout that hosts regular music festivals.

Image 7 of 8Holy City Jerusalem is family-oriented, but not its once-seedy Nachlaot area. It booms with bearded beatniks and sari-clad women playing djembes or backgammon on most every corner. Its old-world feel and proximity to the Mahane Yehuda market are major draws, as is the Teverya Street Brewery, a cozy hangout that hosts regular music festivals.

8

If lounging around the pool swilling beer all day is your idea of an immersive travel experience, look no further than Saudi Arabia’s Aramco expat compound. The gated fantasy-land offers luxury housing and big, tax-free salaries. Now, that’s enough reading--go enjoy a game of golf in the most water-scarce region on Earth to reward yourself!

Image 8 of 8If lounging around the pool swilling beer all day is your idea of an immersive travel experience, look no further than Saudi Arabia’s Aramco expat compound. The gated fantasy-land offers luxury housing and big, tax-free salaries. Now, that’s enough reading--go enjoy a game of golf in the most water-scarce region on Earth to reward yourself!

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