The best neighbourhoods to check out in Jakarta

From nightlife to history, food and café hopping, Jakarta is a city with much to offer.

A panoramic view of downtown Jakarta’s skyline with high-rises against a backdrop of blue sky and white clouds. Image credit:
  • Jetstar
  • October 2023

Yes, Jakarta is busy and bustling, but it’s also diverse and multi-faceted. In a day, you can go from walking through the city’s rich historical past to partying on a rooftop bar against the epic CBD skyline, from hunting down hipster cafés to chilling out in nature. Here’s your guide to taking in the many sides Indonesia’s capital has to offer.

Experience the vibrant nightlife of the Sudirman Central Business District

It might be one of the financial districts in Jakarta, but it is not all work and no play here. In the day, get your credit card ready because there is no shortage of shopping malls. At night, Sudirman Central Business District’s skyscrapers light up and the stunning city skyline comes to life. The best way to take this in is at one of the many rooftop bars in the area. Chao Chao with its VIP cabanas and live DJs is unapologetically bougie, but if you’re after a more relaxed vibe, Lucy in the Sky is one of the pioneer garden-rooftop-bars in the city.

An aerial view of the Sudirman district’s lights at dusk. Image credit:
Dance the night away in the Sudirman central business district.

Discover Indonesian artists in Kemang

Kemang is where you go to immerse yourself in the local arts scene. Hadiprana Gallery was the first art gallery in Indonesia and it continues to be one of the biggest champions for Indonesian fine artists on the global stage. To discover more experimental and up-and-coming artists, head to Dia.lo.gue. This multi-disciplinary art gallery, café and retail shop aims to be a space that fosters creativity, local art, community collaboration and public engagement.

Five paintings on a wall and a table art installation, art exhibition inside dia.lo.gue art space, Jakarta. Image credit: dia.lo.gue
Tickle your creative interest with mesmerising art displays at the dia.lo.gue art space.

Step into history with a visit to Kota Tua

Kota Tua translates to “old town” and is a heritage site that transports visitors back to the time of Old Batavia. In stark contrast to the modern cityscape of Jakarta, the buildings are reminiscent of the Dutch colonial settlement during the booming spice trade era. Head to Fatahillah Square, which was once the administrative centre of the VOC. Today, it houses museums including the History of Jakarta Museum, cafés and art galleries.

White colonial-era buildings on palm-lined street in Kota Tua, Jakarta’s old town. Image credit:
Indulge your inner history buff in Kota Tua.

Go café-hopping in Panglima Polim

Indonesia is one of the world’s largest producers of coffee so of course, the capital city has a serious café scene. Pangalima Polin is where you go for some of the most photogenic (and legit) cafés. If pour-over coffee is your choice of poison, Wisang Kopi’s got your back. For people who like their caffeine with a croissant, head to Beau Bakery, which specialises in artisanal breads and pastries made using traditional baking techniques. And if you’re after a lazy day of people-watching, OTSS serves good coffee, supersized burgers and relaxing, minimalist vibes.

Exterior of Brookland Coffee, with large pot plants in the foreground and cyclist entering front door, Jakarta. Image credit: Brookland Coffee
Kick back in the cosy atmosphere of Brookland Coffee.

Enjoy a family day at Menteng

Located close to the city centre, Menteng is one of Jakarta’s most expensive neighbourhoods to live in. (Fun fact: former residents include Suharto and Barack Obama.) That elite status comes with its fair share of upscale bars, restaurants and shops, but Menteng’s best offering is its abundance of green spaces. Taman Menteng – a two-hectare manicured garden with water fountains, playgrounds and urban glasshouses – offers welcome refuge from the manic city centre.

A nighttime view of an illuminated glass greenhouse in Taman Menteng, Jakarta. Image credit:
Stroll down beautifully landscaped paths in the cool garden breeze of Taman Menteng.