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15+ best things to do in Hongdae, Seoul

As a frequent visitor, permanent resident, and someone with Korean heritage, Hongdae holds a special place in my heart. While some may perceive it as a neighborhood catering primarily to the younger generation, I respectfully disagree. In fact, Hongdae, located in Seoul, offers a diverse range of activities that appeal to people of all ages and interests. There are so many things to do in Hongdae which makes it a popular destination for all ages.

Hongdae Seoul

One of the reasons why I adore Hongdae is its unwavering passion for art. As an art enthusiast who pursued an education in this field, I am constantly captivated by the artistic beauty and enchantment that permeate this area. The stores in Hongdae are ever-evolving, continuously refreshing their concepts and keeping each location unique and exciting. Whether you’re an art lover or simply appreciate creative expressions, a visit to Hongdae in Seoul is an absolute must. Join me as I guide you through the best things to do in this vibrant neighborhood.

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Hongdae, Seoul | 15+ best things to do in Hongdae

Located in Seoul, South Korea, Hongdae is a lively and dynamic neighborhood that has become a hotspot for art, culture, and entertainment. Renowned for its youthful atmosphere and vibrant energy, things to do in Hongdae offer a myriad of exciting activities and attractions that cater to a diverse range of interests.

Whether you’re a music lover, a fashion enthusiast, a foodie, or an avid explorer, there’s something for everyone in Hongdae. From bustling streets adorned with street art to trendy cafes, live music venues, and unique shopping experiences, this eclectic neighborhood never fails to impress. Join me as we delve into the best things to do in Hongdae, where creativity, innovation, and excitement converge to create unforgettable memories.

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.

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. The most popular exits at Hongik University Subway Station exit 8 and 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. However, exits 4-7 can bring you to some amazing restaurants that are also worth checking out.

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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Things to do in Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea

You probably came here wondering what to do in Hongdae. There are many 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. You might be wondering what to see in Hongdae, so please continue to read and learn more through this extensive list of things to see and do in Hongdae.

1. Visit Popular Cafes

Sanrio Cafe in Hongdae

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.

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2. Sing at a Noraebong

In Korea, we have singing rooms called Noraebong where you can sing Karaoke or Norae all night long while drinking with your friends or family. You get a private room and can sing until late into the night. Most of these go for 24 hours, so if you are looking for something to in late at night in Hongdae, this will be one of the best things you can look for.

Places to sing Noraebong

  • Su Luxury Noraebong (럭셔리 수 노래방)
  • TJ Karaoke

3. Enjoy live Street performances at Hongdae Playground

The outdoor stage in the center of Hongdae is known as the Playground. Various street performances, including music, dance, and magic shows, take place here. It’s a great spot to soak up the energetic atmosphere.

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.

4. Visit the Hongdae Trick Eye Museum

The Trick Eye Museum in Hongdae is a must-visit attraction that offers a unique and immersive art experience. The museum specializes in optical illusions and 3D art, creating mind-boggling visual effects that trick your eyes and challenge your perception of reality.

As you enter the Trick Eye Museum, you’ll find yourself surrounded by various interactive art installations. These installations are meticulously designed to give the illusion of depth and dimension, creating a sense of being part of the artwork itself. From hanging off cliffs to flying on a magic carpet, you can strike creative poses and capture incredible photos that make it appear as though you’re interacting with the artwork in unexpected ways.

5. The Love Museum

Korea is quite a popular place to see adult sculptures, 3D paintings, and art. The Love museum. is no exception to this. There are six different galleries: Fun and Sexy, Femme Fatale, Korean Erotic Painting, Erotic Garden, Dream House, and Sex Life. It’s an interesting place to check out to say the least.

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6. Breakout Seoul(An Escape Room)

If you love escape rooms, Korea is filled with them, especially within Seoul. This is one of Seoul’s most popular escape rooms in the Hongdae area. There are a variety of different themes you can choose from.

Address: 102 Wausan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul, 3rd floor (서울 마포구 와우산로 102 3층)
Hours: Monday – Friday, 1:00pm ~ 11:00pm

7. 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.

8. Hongdae NANTA Theatre

Nanta is a highly popular and entertaining non-verbal musical performance that originated in South Korea. It is often referred to as “Cookin’ Nanta” or simply “Nanta.” This dynamic show combines traditional Korean percussion rhythms, comedy, acrobatics, and audience participation to create a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience.

The storyline of Nanta revolves around a kitchen setting, where a group of talented performers, dressed as chefs, must prepare a wedding banquet under tight deadlines and hilarious circumstances. Using kitchen utensils as musical instruments, the performers create mesmerizing rhythms and beats, transforming the entire stage into a captivating percussion ensemble.

The fast-paced, high-energy nature of Nanta engages the audience from start to finish. Throughout the performance, the skilled performers interact with the audience, incorporating elements of comedy, slapstick humor, and improvisation. The combination of impressive physicality, comedic timing, and synchronized movements makes Nanta a thrilling and entertaining spectacle for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

9. Eat the Popular tall ice cream

The tall ice cream is precisely what it sounds like—a cone stacked high with swirls of deliciously creamy ice cream. The size and height of the cone make it a visually impressive dessert that is perfect for snapping Instagram-worthy photos.

There are various flavors and combinations to choose from, ranging from classic options like vanilla and chocolate to more adventurous choices like green tea, strawberry, or cookies and cream. Some places even offer unique and inventive flavors, adding a twist to the traditional ice cream experience.

Not only are these tall ice creams visually appealing, but they also taste incredible. The ice cream is rich, smooth, and full of flavor, making it a delightful treat to savor on a warm day or as a sweet indulgence anytime.

TIP: Make sure to eat it as fast as possible as this will easily fall off the cone. Make sure to keep your cone straight up and don’t tilt to eat it.

10. Go Shopping 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. Hongdae shopping street, like Myeongdong shopping street, is one of the most popular shopping streets in Seoul.

11. Design your own Neon Sign

Seoul is filled with cafes and classes where you make your own products. Making a neon sign is one of today’s fads and is worth checking out. You will learn from an experienced instructor how to design and bend your sign to the design you’ll absolutely love. Book your experience here.

Hours: Monday – Friday: 1:30pm; 4:00pm; 7:00pm; Saturdays: 11:00am; 1:00pm; 3:30pm; 6:00pm

12. Eat until your heart is content

Hongdae isn’t only known for its amazing cafes, they have a ton of the best restaurants in Seoul. Many of these restaurants are great for Koreans and foreigners. You can find a variety of food options in Hongdae from Western cuisine to traditional Korean cuisine. Are you wondering what to eat in Hongdae? Check out the best restaurants in Hongdae – from Korean food to international restaurants it’s got you covered..

EXPLORE THE VIBRANT GWANGJANG MARKET WITH A LOCAL GUIDE | Delve into the bustling energy and culinary wonders of Gwangjang Market in Seoul. With a history dating back over a century, this iconic market is a hub of activity and a true food lover’s paradise. Full details here.

13. Make your best friend Rings or Couple’s Rings

In Hongdae, you have the incredible opportunity to unleash your creativity and craft your own ring with your bestie or couple’s ring. By joining a ring-making workshop, you’ll embark on a journey of self-expression and craftsmanship. From selecting your preferred design and materials to learning the techniques and putting them into practice, you’ll be guided by skilled instructors every step of the way.

With your hands at work, you’ll shape the metal, add personalized touches, and perfect the finishing touches. The joy and pride that come with creating a unique piece of jewelry will be immeasurable. As you wear your handmade ring, you’ll carry a beautiful reminder of your time in Hongdae and the unforgettable experience of crafting a meaningful symbol of love and creativity.

14. Visit the Coconut Box Play Lounge

The Coconut Box is a unique play lounge located in Hongdae, Seoul. It offers a one-of-a-kind experience that combines elements of a cafe, a playground, and an entertainment space. The concept of the Coconut Box revolves around providing a fun and relaxing environment where visitors can unleash their inner child and enjoy playful activities.

Inside the Coconut Box, you’ll find a variety of interactive installations, games, and recreational equipment designed to spark joy and creativity. From ball pits and slides to trampolines and climbing walls, there are endless opportunities for both kids and adults to engage in active play and have a blast.

Things to do in Hongdae at Night

There are many things to do in Hongdae at night. These are some of the best things you can check out in Hongdae, Seoul.

15. Party All Night Long in Hongdae

Hongdae is the ultimate destination for party lovers, offering a thrilling and vibrant nightlife experience. As the sun sets, the streets come alive with pulsating energy and the sound of music fills the air. Whether you’re seeking to dance to the beats of renowned DJs in trendy clubs, sway to live indie music performances or explore unique and themed bars, Hongdae has it all.

The options are endless, from high-energy clubs to cozy pubs and hidden speakeasies. As you navigate the bustling streets, you’ll encounter street performances and impromptu shows that add to the festive atmosphere. Just remember to pace yourself, stay hydrated, and be prepared for a night of non-stop fun and excitement as you party all night long in Hongdae.

Where to drink in Hongdae, Seoul

If you are looking for things to do in Hongdae at night or where to drink in Hongdae, 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.
  • A convenience store GS25 or CU – In many convenience stores, you can grab a beer, and some soju and they might have some tables outside or inside where you can sit and drink and eat some cheap cup ramen or other Korean convenience store foods. It’s definitely worth trying.

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 and the best things to do in Hongdae at night for foreigners. Don’t be surprised if you are rejected from entering a Korean club as a foreigner.

  • Club Aura
  • NB2
  • B1
  • Atension
  • Sabotage
  • Diss

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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

things to do in Hongdae – CLOSED ATTRACTIONS

Hongdae Seoul Blackpink House – Unfortunately, this is closed and was only a short-lived pop-up.

Things to do in Hongdae, Seoul FAQs

Have a question about hongdae things to do? Leave them in the comments below so I can answer them in this FAQ section!

Where is Hongdae?

Hongdae is a popular area in the Mapo-gu district of Seoul and it’s quite close to Incheon’s international airport. It’s on the western side of Seoul where many students and young adults go to have a good time.

How to get around Hongdae

Many parts of Hongdae are quite walkable when you get there. There are a lot of things to do in Hongdae and you’ll probably want to walk from location to location.

If you want to get more information then I suggest checking out the Hongik University Tourist Information Center (홍대입구관광안내소).

Address: 20 Hongik-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul (서울시 마포구 홍익로 20)
Hours: Every day: 10:00am ~ 10:00pm

Is it better to stay in Hongdae or Myeongdong?

This depends on you, honestly, I would stay in Hongdae, but I’ve lived in Korea for over 3 years now. There are a lot of things to do in Hongdae which is why I would prefer to stay there. However, as a tourist, I would stay in Myeongdong because it’s centrally located and it will be easier to get to the many parts of Seoul by subway. Hongdae can be quite far from other areas of Seoul like Gangnam and Jamsil where lotte tower and lotte world are located.

What is the best time to visit Hongdae?

Hongdae is best to visit during the evening or late afternoon. Many of the stores, cafes, and restaurants don’t open until well past 10am. It a busier location during the evening when most people are off of work, finished with school, and looking for a place to grab a good meal or shop.

How far is Hongdae from Itaewon?

It’s about 6km away, by subway it’s about a 20 minute ride.

How far is Hongdae from Myeongdong?

The travel time between the two areas can vary depending on the mode of transportation chosen and the traffic conditions, but it typically takes around 20-30 minutes by subway or bus.

What is the rich neighborhood in Korea?

Gangnam is known to be the rich or most expensive neighborhood in Seoul. I lived there for a while. It’s also the plastic surgery capital of South Korea.

Things to do in Hongdae Tourist Map

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  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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