If New York has Times Square and Paris has Champs Elysee. Korea's representative commercial mega-street has to be Gangnam Station. Am I right?
Yes, I'll mention that Psy put it on the world map with his song. Gangnam became synonymous with Korean Culture.
What makes me smile is when I compare them all, I've lived in all three of these cities, but Times Square and Champs Elysee is a dead neighborhood for locals. Locals never go, and would rather avoid the area. In Manhattan, rent prices are low in the Times Square area because no one wants to live around that tourist trap mess. In Paris' Champs Elysee, you'll here three or four languages being spoken by the street's walkers before you hear french.
So what makes me smile is that Gangnam Station is still not a dead zone, commercial sell out for the city's locals. You'll see young and trendy people waiting for their friends by the exits of the subway station.
Girls and boys shopping for 10,000 thrills in the underground shopping center, as well as families going to watch a movie, and students going into the various buildings of hagwons. At night it's a major nightlife spot with cheap 'pochas,' fancier wine bars, and many beer gardens.
I used to live IN the area of Gangnam Station so I consider myself a pro ;)
Here's my guide to Gangnam Station.
Even though I don't live here anymore, I live very close. It's still the center of the area and for friends that live in the gangnam area, I always still meet them at gangnam station because it's such an easy spot to meet because it's easily accessible. My best friend lives in Suwon, and faraway spots in the vicinity of the city all have express buses that stop at Gangnam Station.
On the main street are themoney making large corporations. Uniqlo, Zara, Nike, Adidas, New Balance, the Apple Store, Cafe Pascucci, Paris Baguette, Twosome Place, McDonalds, Giordano, Accessorize, Taco Bell, Smoothie King, CGV Cinema, the Pagoda building, and Kyobo Bookstore all sit alongside one another.
Behind CGV is a street of restaurants and bars, multi rooms, karaoke rooms and more. New businesses recently on this side of the street have given a more upper elegant feeling. You'll find Brick Oven Pizza, Julios Mexican restaurant, many dessert cafes, and more European influenced eateries and bars.
On the opposite side, where the Giordano building sits are businesses more traditionally Korean. Korean BBQ galore where soju flows, Pochas that sell 'anju' with beer, and on this side is where the clubs are including the local favorite: Mass
In the subway station's underground center are some great shops that have sales at every time of the year. I've gotten great deals on the same skirts and tops i've seen at Dongdaemun, Myeongdong or Apgujeong. They sell at Gangnam Station for cheaper. Like many other shops across Korea, you can bargain the price here if you pay with cash!
You'll find shops that sell phone cases, cosmetics, lingerie, glasses. socks, stockings, clothing of all kinds, cheap bags, shoes and lots of jewelry. You'll also find numerous restaurants, coffee vendors, and major chains like Baskin Robins, Jamba Juice, New York Hotdog & Coffee, Cafe Pascucci and more. Near exit 6 is a jewelry shop that many go to get their ears pierced.
Here's an insider tip, if you're heading to Megabox Cinema, by exit 9 is an underpass of steps. Pass the shoe shop, go down the steps, go through the revolving door and on your right will be an elevator that connects to the megabox building! Straight from the subway.
For your own insider tips of hidden favorite spots in Gangnam Station, share them with us in the comments below!