Know Your Seoul: Must-Visit Neighborhoods For Every Kind Of Traveler

October 13, 2017

Seoul is such a goldmine of experiences for different kinds of travelers. It’s dotted with amazing places to discover, from shopping districts, food hubs, cultural sites, entertainment centers to hip neighborhoods. Whether you’re looking for hole-in-the-wall places, cultural experiences or simply the perfect hang-out place to stay and relax, Seoul will always have something for you.

So, here are just some of the best neighborhoods in Seoul to visit. Find what traveler profile you are and you’ll find a perfect trip to Seoul to match!

For Shopaholics: Myeongdong

Photograph by Abasaa, distributed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

Love to shop? Myeongdong is a shopping mecca where tourists and locals alike flock to splurge. It has almost everything you’d hope to purchase in Korea which you can find in the various malls, stores and street stalls dotted in every corner of every street. You should head to this neighborhood for K-Beauty cosmetics most especially because you can find branches of every Korean cosmetic brand — including belif, COSRX, Hoika Holika, the SEAM, and Son & Park — clustered in Myeongdong’s central street, Jungang-gil. Plus, these stores have skin specialists who can help you find the right products to match your skin tone!

You’ll also find big Korean clothing brands here that are not available locally, such as Mixxo, A-land, Bean Pole and Lapalette. There’s no need to go anywhere else for your shopping needs!

For Foodies: Jongno

Photograph by Debs, distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license

Of course, one cannot miss one of Korea’s greatest features: its food! To get a taste of Korea’s finest flavors, head to the heart of Seoul, the Jongno District. This historic area is home to various street food stalls where you can get authentic Korean eats. Sure, you can find them throughout the capital, but it’s Jongno that offers the widest variety. You can even find soju tents scattered around the area for your evening pregame!

Cheongjin-dong in downtown Jongno is just one of the areas to visit to satiate your cravings. It’s where locals go to have affordable haejang-guk (hangover soup), stir-fried octopus, and bindae-tteok (mung bean pancake). When you’re looking for something to eat past midnight, discover the stalls near Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station which serve noodles, roast chicken, and pajeon (Korean pancake) until the early hours of the morning.

No time to explore the district? Go to Gwangjang Market, Korea’s first ever market. Scour through each hawker stall for unique finds like pig’s ears, soondae (blood sausage), tteokbokki (rice rolls), and more!

For Culture Vultures: Samcheong-dong

Photograph by Sakaori, distributed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

There are plenty of places in Korea to learn about its history and culture, but Samcheong-dong might probably be the most beautiful one. This neighborhood in Jongno District is home to the Bukchon Hanok Village, a residential neighborhood lined with traditional Korean houses (called hanok) where the noble and influential families once lived. Immerse yourself in the charms of this old village as you tour around the traditional homes and the museums, attend workshops, and visit the forty art galleries dotted around the area, all while admiring the scenic view of Seoul city from the distance.

For Fun Seekers: Jamsil

Photograph by 주전자, distributed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

Located along the Han River, Jamsil consists of open green spaces and an entertainment hub where you can find Lotte World, an indoor and outdoor amusement park that will thrill you no matter what our age is. It’s also here that you can check out the Jamsil Sports Complex which holds the XXIV Seoul Olympic Stadium. But no trip to Jamsil is complete without visiting the Jamsil Baseball Stadium where you can catch a game involving Korea’s professional baseball teams, the Doosan Bears and the LG Twins.

For Urban Go-Getters: Gangnam

You might remember Gangnam from the popular dance craze, Gangnam Style, which topped the charts for singer Psy back in 2012. But did you know that Gangnam is actually a real place that is perfect for the uptown locals and lifestyle seekers? It’s full of towering skyscrapers, upscale restaurants, and shopping facilities including COEX Mall, the largest underground shopping center in Asia. It’s no wonder that this part of the city is always bustling with tourists and locals alike. Fans of K-Pop groups would also want to make a stop here because Korea’s biggest music labels, museums and merchandise stores can be found here. It’s safe to say that Gangnam is where you should go if you want to see Korea’s urban living at a glance.

For Trendy Millennials: Hongdae

Photograph by Michaela Den, distributed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

This hip and happening neighborhood located right in front of Hongik University welcomes the younger, trendier crowd. It’s here where you can find a number of quirky cafés, stores selling the latest fashion trends at student-friendly prices, independent art galleries, and live music venues where you can watch indie Korean bands perform. It’s the best place to indulge in what’s in, learn a thing or two about the culture of Korea’s youth, or to take Instagram-worthy OOTDs against colorful street art at Hongdae Mural Street.

In the evening, this neighborhood turns into a vibrant nightlife spot. Crowds fill the streets during weekends to watch live music and dance performances, especially over at Picasso Street, Club Street and Hongtong Street. There are also various nightclubs and bars you can head to for a drink, the best spots being Bar Da and Vinyl 'Street Bar’.

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