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Hongdae, Seoul | 30 best things to do in Hongdae

Since even before moving to Seoul, Hongdae has always been a favorite place in my heart. There are quite a few things to do in Hongdae. Many locals will say that this place is for the younger generation. However, I like to disagree. Hongdae is my favorite location in Seoul because of its love for art. As someone who would to school for art, I appreciate all of the beauty and charm this place has. Many stores are constantly changing, upgrading, and keeping each location on its toes. Hongdae Seoul is a must-visit place for anyone new to South Korea.

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Hongdae Seoul

Hongdae, Seoul | 30 best things to do in Hongdae

If this is your first time visiting Seoul, be sure to check out some of my posts about Korea. You may want to start with my Korea travel guide.

HONGDAE SEOUL RELATED POSTS:

Best time to visit Hongdae in Seoul

To make the most of seeing the best things to do in Hongdae, you should consider when to travel to Korea. The best time to visit Hongdae is in the spring, March-May, or fall, September–November, months. The weather is more comfortable to travel in. Although, I do warn that in the Spring you may experience fine dust or pollution at that time frame. You can easily purchase a mask at any convenience store in Seoul. It may not affect you and if you are traveling for a short time, it may not be as much of a risk as people living here long term.

How to get to Hongdae in Seoul

The best way to get to Hongdae is by Subway. You can take the subway to Hongik University and use exit 9. There you will see most of the action to the left of the exit and Hongdae Street – the main walking space. You can easily take that street up and down and explore the many areas for shopping, cafes, and food. You can also explore Mapo-gu if you have more time.

What is Hongdae known for?

Hongdae is known for its art scene, shopping, drinking, indie music, clubs, entertainment, and eating. Hongik University, also known as Hongdae, is why this area is quite popular with younger people. The university itself is known for its fine arts program. Hongdae gets its name from the fusion of the first two Korean syllables of Hongik and University which is dae in Korean.

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Hongdae, Seoul | 30 best things to do in Hongdae 1

Where to stay in Hongdae in Seoul

You can pretty much stay anywhere in Hongdae. There are a few smaller areas you can stay in which I’ll discuss below. If you want to be close to all the major things to do in Hongdae, these are the best neighborhoods to stay in.

  • Mapo-gu is pretty much the area where you would be staying in or looking to stay in. Hongdae is within Mapo-gu and I suggest you stay somewhere close to Hongik University Subway Station. This is a great location where all the shopping and restaurants are located.
  • Sinchon is another great area to stay in right outside of Mapo-gu. There are a lot of great restaurants in that area but more people go to Hongdae for shopping.

Seoul Hotels in Hongdae

RELATED: Where to stay in Seoul

What to do in Hongdae

Arriate Cafe in Hongdae

Things to do in Hongdae – Popular Cafes

With Hongdae being a popular place for art, street performers and more, they are also known for their cute and themed cafes. Cafe hopping is one of the best things to do in Hongdae. You can find the cutest cafes to enjoy with your friends or family. There are several different kinds of cafes to enjoy and the cafes in Hongdae are definitely the most Instagrammable cafes in Seoul.

RELATED: Popular Cafes in Seoul

  • Go to the 2D Cafe – The 2D cafe is a popular cafe in Mapo-gu, a neighborhood near Hongdae. This cafe is unique because the entire interior is painted white and lined with black lines
    Play with the Bunny’s at the Bunny Cafe
  • Take photos at the Flower Cafe (OFFICIALLY CLOSED)– At Arriate Flower Cafe, you can enjoy several stories of beautifully dried out flowers, flower-covered walls, and more. They have several drink choices you can choose from and they don’t just include coffee. It’s a great place to hang out and chat with your friends or family.
  • Nerd out at the Harry Potter Cafe – This cafe is an awesome cafe worth visiting for those of you interested in Harry Potter. Although, I’ve heard changes are underway and it may have some different features. This cafe makes you feel like a kid at heart and was worth the visit. If you haven’t been I suggest you check it out. There are lots of cute little designed areas where you can take photos.
  • Put a selfie on your latte at CaFACE – Currently closed due to COVID
  • Take a break at a resting cafe
  • Visit the popular Pink Pool Cafe – This cafe has been seen on so many Instagram accounts and is popular for a reason especially for all of the desserts they have on display. Although a popular cafe, there are too many in Hongdae to visit.
  • Musinsa Terrace – This is one of my favorite cafes to visit in Seoul because you can easily get a beautiful view of Seoul. It’s beautiful to check out at night and there are some comfortable bean bag chairs to just sit relax and get out of the outdoor elements.
  • Thanks Nature Sheep Cafe – Meet some cute sheep in Hongdae’s popular sheep cafe. Korea is known for a lot of their animal cafes including this one which has been featured all over Facebook and become a viral sensation.

Things to do in Hongdae – Top attractions

There are a lot of things to do in Hongdae Seoul, but shopping, eating, and cafe hopping are probably the most common things to do. It’s also a popular place when it comes to nightlife as there are a lot of bars and clubs within the area.

  • Seoul’s Street Performers in Hongdae – If you are a K-Pop lover, then you will really enjoy these street performers. Many of them will sing and dance to K-Pop songs. Often times there are lots of crowds surrounding the area. It is quite interesting to watch and kind of builds the atmosphere for Hongdae. They love performance hence why it is a big area to go out at night for young people and for clubbing.
  • Visit the Hongdae Trick Eye Museum – This is a popular location to visit and take photos. It’s a great way to stay in and away from the elements if you are traveling during the hot summer heat or harsh cold weather. The Trick Eye Museum has
  • The Love Museum
  • No Escape (An Escape Room)
  • Hongdae NANTA Theatre – This has been a longstanding performance in Seoul where you can see a popular cooking show with all the drama similar to a Las Vegas show.
  • Hongdae Seoul Blackpink House – Unfortunately, this is closed and was only a short lived pop up.
  • Find an 오락실 and play arcade games – These are popular throughout Korea. It’s espeically popular among couples and kids and it’s a great place to have a date. You can play arcade games, crane games, and so much more. They are open 24 hours and it’s a great way to kill some time. Learn the tricks of how to win yourself a stuffed animal.

What to eat in Hongdae, Seoul – Best Restaurants in Hongdae, Seoul

There are a lot of great restaurants in Hongdae due to it being a popular area to visit. The area is constantly changing and updating which can make it difficult to keep up with all the new restaurants that pop up. However, there are a few tried and trusted restaurants worth checking out. Some of my favorite things to do in Hongdae Seoul is to try all of these new restaurants with my friends and family.

Korean Food Options

  • Eat Delicious Street Food – Street food is popular all over Seoul, but there are quite a few vendors in Hongdae as well. Hongdae has an amazing Hotteok vendor which is a must-try in Seoul. Quite often, you will see many of the strawberries on a stick covered in a thin layer of hard glazed sugar.
    • Strawberries on a stick
    • Hotteok
    • Odeng
  • Eat Korean BBQ – Korean BBQ is a staple in South Korea and there are many great places to eat Korean BBQ in Hongdae.
  • Okdongsik 옥동식 – This is considered to be a Michelin Star Restaurant in Seoul. They only serve Pork Soup (돼지곰탕) and Mandu (steamed dumplings). It’s known for it’s simplicity in flavors. The serving experience is quite nice and enjoyable.

RELATED: Myeongdong Street Food

B'Mucho

B'Mucho

Western Food Options

Many expats in Korea have had their fill of Korean food and may be looking for more Western food options. If you are not a fan of Korean food or an expat wanting something other than Korean food, these are some of the places I suggest you go to grab a bite.

  • Witch’s Kitchen/마녀주방 – If you are looking for a themed restaurant and still a huge Harry Potter fan I suggest you check out this pretty good Witch’s Kitchen. This is a Witch themed restaurant with everything related to Halloween. Get your ghouls and goblins here for a nice dinner.
  • SF Bagels – Around the corner from B’Mucho is SF bagels. After a few months of arriving in Korea, I did not realize how much I was craving a bagel until I saw this place. There aren’t many bagel shops in Korea and for someone like me who loves jalapeno cheddar bagels, those are hard to come by. At SF Bagels they have that and jalapeno cream cheese which is also hard to find. If you love bagels and live or stay near Incheon, there is a great bagel place in Songdo I highly recommend.
  • SMØR Nordic Kitchen (스뫼르) – A great place to gran Brunch and a traditional American breakfast.
  • Bro’s Burger – If you are looking for a good burger place, I’ve heard raving reviews about Bro’s Burgers. There aren’t many places where you can get an authentic American-style burger. Many are catered to a fast-food style or feel.
  • Pie Republic – If you are from New Zealand, Australia, or South Africa, you can come here to get some of the best meat pies in South Korea. They have 3 different styles and I promise you the flakey crust is to die for. Be sure to try their rack of lamb if you can.
  • Randy’s Donut – If you are a big donut fan, this is a great place to get an American-style donut. For us living in Korea, it’s a bit of heaven, but for those just visiting it’s probably just another donut shop to you.
  • Dingga Cake – This is a popular cake shop in Hongdae that is very well known and has been featured on TV. They have a lot of interesting and cute decorated cakes from a pizza cakes to beautiful flower cakes.
  • Rosso 1924 – A great place to get some Italian-style pizza. It is cooked in a brick oven and they sell them in personal sizes. It’s a great pizza shop and isn’t going to be like those Korean sweet-style pizza shops.
  • B’Mucho (OFFICIALLY CLOSED) – This place hands down is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Seoul. This place has the best enchiladas that I highly recommend getting and I am not even an enchilada fan. The chef is from Mexico and serves authentic Mexican dishes totally worth eating. It’s in a hidden area further off the map of Hongdae. This place, however, is very small so if it is super busy, it might be hard to find seating.
Jewlery in Hongdae | Things to do in Hongdae
Shopping | Things to do in Hongdae

Where to Shop and What to buy in Hongdae, Seoul

Shopping is a popular past time in Seoul, so many Koreans and tourists come from all over to buy Korean fashion, cute products, face care items, and so much more. These are some of the most popular places to shop in Hongdae.

Shop at Art Box

Art Box is a popular place to shop in Korea. They have lots of cute stationery, apartment necessities, nicknacks, and souvenirs. It’s a great place for you to find something for everyone. They have a lot of interesting and different things you may not find everywhere.

Buy Socks for Cheap

Socks are a big thing in Korea and are quite affordable. Many of the fashion socks in Korea are well made and about $1 per pair. Anything more than that would be questionable unless it was made really well, unique, or had some sort of specialty. If you are moving to Korea, you can easily find socks in any size.

Shop Korean Fashion at Romi Story

Romi story is a popular Korean fashion store and even caters to some girls of a curvy or bigger size. I believe it goes up to about a size 18 which is one step closer for Korean fashion catering plus size girls.

Go to Daiso – $1 store of Asia

Daiso is a popular Japanese dollar store that has taken over all over South Korea. Many people come here for cute and useful products to save money. If you have never been to this affordable store, I highly suggest you at least visit it once to check out all the products.

Purchase a cute new cell phone case

Cell phone cases are all over Seoul, however, they have a lot of shops in Hongdae where you can purchase some of the cutest cases. What I love about phone cases in Korea is how they are made and many of them have cute card cases on the back which are perfect for the subway system. You can easily put your card in the back and scan it through at the subway station.

Go crazy of Korean’s Skincare Products

You can easily purchase skincare products everywhere in Korea, however, if you want a one-stop-shop, you can easily find every skincare store in Hongdae. They literally have each brand on every corner making it easy to find and buy.

Buy Handmade or Affordable Jewelry

There are a lot of places where you can find handmade or simple jewelry pieces in Hongdae. They even have cafes where you can create your own ring or jewelry pieces. Korean’s really loved simple jewelry pieces. If you want something real, many of the Mini Gold shops sell real gold pieces for affordable prices.

Shop at Hongdae Playground

This is probably one of the most popular places to go shopping in Hongdae and they are found all over Seoul. They are mostly in shipping container buildings that are blue in color. Here you can find an array of different Korean-style sweatshirts, t-shirts, and just some interesting stuff. Playground Hongdae is the most popular location for this franchise.

Get colored contacts

If you have bad eyesight or just want to change your look, you can easily get colored contact in Korea and for cheap. You do not need a prescription, just know what your eye prescription is. Even if you don’t know your prescription, they can easily do an eye test and let you know for free at certain locations.

Vineworks
Vineworks | Things to do in Hongdae

Where to drink in Hongdae, Seoul

If you are looking for Hongdae nightlife, these are some of the best places to check out below. From drinking to clubs, there’s a lot to do in Hongdae.

  • Vineworks – If you are looking for a relaxed wine bar with a rooftop view, this is one of the places I suggest you visit. They have a great atmosphere and you can easily host a party here if you have a group of friends.
  • Thursday Party – This is a popular chain throughout all of South Korea. You can find one at every major city like Busan, Jeju, Seoul, Daegu, and so much more. It’s a great place to grab some drinks and snacks.

Seoul’s most Popular Clubs are in Hongdae

I’m not a big fan of clubbing and I honestly do not have much information when it comes to clubbing in Hongdae. However, these are the most popular Hongdae Clubs and suggestions to visit. These are the most popular places for Hongdae nightlife.

  • Club Aura
  • NB2
  • Thursday Party Hongdae– This is a popular chain where you can get some cocktails, drinks, and just enjoy yourself. They are by far plenty and can be found in almost every major city including Busan. They also have places in Itaewon and Gangnam as well.

Hongdae Tourist Map

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2 Comments

  1. WOW I wish I had read all of this before we visited Seoul! Thankfully we aim to visit again since we absolutely LOVED IT though!! Saving this for later use 🙂

    1. Awe! I wish I had it up sooner! Glad you enjoyed your time in Seoul though 🙂

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