Famous Streets in Seoul | The Best Shopping, Food and Cafe Streets in Seoul
Seoul is a huge city with lots of different districts. Each district has is own main street which is completely different from other districts. You’ll find the shopping streets, the food streets, history streets, university streets and much more. This articles covers all the famous streets in Seoul which you have to visit when in the city!
- Famous Streets in Seoul
- 1. Myeongdong Shopping Street
- 2. Gwanghwamun Street
- 3. Gangnam Shopping Street
- 4. Itaewon Foreign Food Street
- 5. Hongdae Street
- 6. Insadong Street
- 7. Jongno Street
- 8. Dongdaemun Shopping Street
- 9. Namdaemun Historical Street
- 10. Seongsudong Cafe Street
- 11. Apgujeong Garosugil Street
- 12. Sinchon University Street
- 13. Bukchon Hanok Street
- Frequently Asked Questions
Famous Streets in Seoul
Seoul is absolutely huge, composed of different districts, each one as unique as the next one. Because of this it comes as no surprise that there are many famous streets in Seoul. There are famous shopping streets, cafe streets, university streets, etc. Listed below are the most famous streets in Seoul.
1. Myeongdong Shopping Street
Myeongdong shopping street which is located in the centre of Seoul is wide, colorful and surrounded with major fashion brand stores, cafes, restaurants and much more, which makes it such a popular destination for TEFL workers and tourists. It is quite photogenic, especially during night time, and is unique to Seoul as you won’t find any similar streets. The vast amount of signs, lights, vendors trying to grab your attention and people can be overwhelming.
Most major fashion brands have their flagship store in Myeongdong but don’t forget to look up as smaller restaurants and cafes are located on the 2nd floors.
Don’t limit yourself to the main street in Myeongdong only as you’ll miss out on lots of interesting smaller stores. Venture out into the back alleys and try out different types of street food which is so typical to Korea.
2. Gwanghwamun Street
Sejong-ro or Gangwhamun Square is a beautiful street leading up all the way to Seoul’s main palace: Gyeongbokgung Palace. This major road used to be the biggest one in the country during the Joseon Dynasty.
The square is used for major festivals and events, protests, celebrating New Year and much more. As a tourist it is a must visit as you will be impressed by the vastness of the square, the surrounding buildings and the huge historical gate at the end.
In the centre of Gwanghwamun Square is a huge statue of King Sejong, one of the most famous kings of the Joseon Dynasty. He is famous for inventing Hangul and other major agricultural and battle inventions. Under the statue is a museum dedicated to this king and his inventions.
Interesting buildings located around the square are the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History, the American Embassy, Sejong Art Center and much more!
3. Gangnam Shopping Street
Gangnam main road or Gangnam-daero is one of the most popular shopping streets of Seoul. Not only does it go over ground, but Gangnam also has an underground shopping street which smaller fashion stores and cosmetic brands.
Gangnam street lies between Gangnam Station (exit 10/11) and Sinnonhyeon Station (exit 5/6). Parallel to the shopping street lie smaller streets filled with restaurants, bars and cafes.
The most famous store on this major shopping street is the Kakao AND Line Friends Store which are located only 50 meters from Gangnam Station. This street is probably considered being the most famous street of Seoul as it has been featured in international music videos.
Other major brands are Zara, SPAO, ABC-Mart, Etude House, Innisfree, Under Armour, INDIBRAND, MUJI, Nike and more. You’ll also find Lotte Cinema, CGV and the popular Shake Shack. This fast food restaurant is the first Shake Shack branch that opened in Seoul.
4. Itaewon Foreign Food Street
Itaewon is known for being the foreigner hub of Seoul. This dates back to when the US military base was first established in the area. Till this date many foreigners reside in this area and it has been a popular nightlife spot.
The area is packed with foreign food restaurants, clubs, bars and stores. It is a great area to hang out in the evening as there are many things to do in Itaewon. The main street is where all the biggest shops are but if you venture out into the smaller alleys, you’ll come across some really nice cosy foreign food restaurants, bars and more.
Most people consider Itaewon as being a party area but it has so much more to offer. From unique experiences like pottery classes or perfume making studios to visiting the beautiful Leeum Art Museum or the National War Museum just a bit further down the street.
5. Hongdae Street
Everybody knows Hongdae! It’s a popular shopping district and known for the busking areas, cute themed cafes and being a vibrant party/student area. The main street and getting out of the subway is usually packed, but that’s what gives Hongdae it’s special vibe.
The most popular major stores in Hongdae are the Kakao Flagship store, a huge ABC Mart, Adidas Originals and many other major stores. You’ll also find many stores of major skincare brands like Skinfood, Tony Moly, Etude House, A’Pieu, Innisfree and more.
If you are looking for unique cafes in Hongdae, consider the following places: 943 King’s Cross, C.Through, Meerkat Friends, Greem Cafe, Cafe De One Piece and the Nature Cafe.
6. Insadong Street
Insadong is known for being the traditional shopping area of Seoul, especially targeted towards foreign visitors. On Insadong main street you’ll find shops which sell traditional Korean crafts, traditional tea houses, Hansik traditional food restaurants and many more traditional shops.
If it’s your first time in Seoul, visiting Insadong is a must. You’ll find 2 must visit buildings that stand out in Insadong, namely Annyeong Insadong (a exhibition/shopping complex) and Ssamziegil (a unique shopping complex with 3 floors). These venues are filled with cute stores, boutiques, interesting cafes and restaurants. If you are looking for instagrammable places in Seoul, then Insadong must be on your list.
Historically, this used to be the biggest antique and artwork market of Korea. Especially during the time when wealthy Korean aristocrats were forced to move and sell all their belongings as a result of the Japanese Occupation.
7. Jongno Street
Jongno is a district in the centre of Seoul which has a rich historical background. Jongno literally translates to Bell Street, as it houses the giant Bosingak Bell. This bell currently is only used for announcing the New Year in Seoul, which is live streamed on national television.
Jongno main street connects city hall with the Dongdaemun area and is a very vibrant street to walk along. You’ll pass Insadong, Tapgol Park, Jongmyo Shrine and Gwangjang Market. If you venture out in the side alleys you’ll find unique Seoul street scenes, especially where the older population of Seoul is hanging out.
If you want to escape the busy main street, then you can check out Cheonggyecheon Stream, which is a small stream surrounded by a bit of nature. Perfect for those looking to have a relaxing walk.
8. Dongdaemun Shopping Street
If you’re coming to Seoul to shop, then visiting Dongdaemun is a must! Dongdaemun is home to many outlets, departments stores, Dongdaemun wholesale market, small shops and the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. It offers the perfect balance between new stores and traditional markets.
The vibe in Dongdaemun is very different that the rest of Seoul. You’ll see many motorcycles passing by carrying huge textile loads. This is because Dongdaemun is not only a shopping district but also a textile manufacturing district. There are many manufactures located in the area that make the clothes sold in Dongdaemun.
Apart from shopping, there are lots of nice restaurants and cafes located in the area.
9. Namdaemun Historical Street
Namdaemun is another vibrant market area of Seoul. This is not really a street, but a collection of streets that form Namdaemun Market. It is the largest traditional market in Seoul and sells all kinds of goods including food, clothing, house items, flowers, kids toys and much more.
Must try things in Namdaemun are Kalguksu noodle alley and the street food in the market.
This market first opened in 1964 and still is one of the leading markets in the country. Parts of the wholesale market are open from 11 PM till 4 AM, which attracts retailers from all over the country.
10. Seongsudong Cafe Street
One of the newest up-and-coming areas of Seoul. Seongsu is located next to Seoul Forest and is filled with small cafes and restaurants. It’s a typically dating area and is often combined with hanging out or walking in the park.
The area used to a more industrial area and this can still be seen in the design of the buildings. Many cafes and restaurants are located in these old industrial buildings which give it a different atmosphere.
A must visit cafe is Cafe Onion, which is extremely hipster. The building looks like it can fall apart at any moment and they sell delicious cake or bread. Daerim Warehouse is another unique industrial looking cafe/restaurant/cultural space.
11. Apgujeong Garosugil Street
Even though Dongdaemun is known for being THE shopping area of Seoul, Garosugil is the fancier version. It literally translates to tree-lined street and refers to all the gingko streets which are planted all along the street, making this a must visit street in autumn when all the leaves have turned yellow.
This area is known for its upscale boutiques, shops, restaurants, cafes and little galleries.
Garosugil is located in the Apgujeong area which is known for being a K-pop hot spot. K-pop road and many K-pop academies are located in the area. Many K-pop idols like SUGA and RM went to Apgujeong High School.
12. Sinchon University Street
Yonsei University, Ehwa University and Sinchon University are located in this area, making this a very busy student area of Seoul. It’s extremely popular for its nightlife and has many bars, hofs, clubs and music venues in the area.
All things to do in the area are especially catered towards the younger crowds. You’ll find lot’s of shops, cinemas, game rooms, themed cafes, karaoke rooms, DVD & PC rooms, cafes and restaurants.
One of the major hospitals in Seoul is also located in this area, namely Yonsei Severance University Hospital.
The area is often featured in Korean movies or dramas like in Beautiful Days starring major Korean actors like Lee Byung-hun, Choi Ji-woo and Ryu Si-won.
13. Bukchon Hanok Street
Probably one of the most beautiful areas in Seoul. Bukchon is a hanok village in the North of Seoul which dates back to the Joseon Dynasty, when Korea was still a kingdom. Even though the village is located on a hill, it is highly recommended to walk all the way to the top and enjoy the view of the hanok buildings and Namsan Tower.
Frequently Asked Questions
The name of the famous shopping street in Seoul is Myeongdong. Myeongdong is a bustling commercial and shopping district located in the heart of Seoul. It is known for its trendy fashion boutiques, cosmetic shops, and street food stalls. The street is also home to several department stores and shopping centers, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
Insadong street is a famous street in Seoul known for its traditional Korean culture and art scene. The street is lined with numerous art galleries, antique shops, and traditional tea houses. It is a popular destination for tourists looking to experience traditional Korean culture, including calligraphy, pottery, and traditional Korean clothing.
Gangnam-gu is a famous district in Seoul known for its affluent lifestyle and upscale shops. It gained worldwide attention with the release of the hit song “Gangnam Style” by the South Korean artist Psy. The district was traditionally a rural area but has now become a bustling commercial and residential area. Its development into a major urban centre began in the 1970s and 1980s, with the construction of high-rise buildings and commercial centres. Today, Gangnam-gu is a thriving district that represents modern South Korea.