If you’re planning on visiting Seoul, you’ll probably notice right away that the city never seems to stop to take a break – even the shopping malls and non-dingy restaurants are open until 4-5 in the morning. Even so, one area stands out as the epicenter of fun (especially if you’re on a budget) – Hongdae.
Hongdae, which gives off the impression of being the Kreuzberg of Seoul, is the area surrounding the Hongik University – so you can assume it’s very much geared towards students and those in the 20-30 age bracket. During the day, you can walk around the bustling alleys and browse through all the clothes stacked outside tiny shops displaying the latest Korean street fashion. There are also plenty of cute and creative cafés, including a cat one, a dog one and a… yes, even a sheep one. On Sundays, the Hongdae Free Park hosts a street market, where you can buy locally made trinkets and clothes.
In the evening, things get even more interesting. Streets of Hongdae become filled with various street performers, while the main roads are lined with little indie venues where you can catch local music acts. If you’re more of a Top 40 kinda person, Hongdae also has some of the most famous clubs in the city (NB and NB2), which you’ll be able to quickly spot because there’s always loads of not quite sober people standing outside of their front doors, while finding a taxi there seems like science fiction. We personally went for a soju/meal + noraebang (literally translates as “song rooms” – karaoke) combo. After only a bottle and a half, I was suddenly magically confident in the powers of my vocal range. The morning after wasn’t so kind, but it was well worth our little Hongdae adventure.
Try the local craft beer at a bar called Magpie just off the main road.