Category : Landmark | Korean Food | Clothing/Accessories
Nov 04, 2015

So when someone brings up the area of Hongdae, the streets around the most famous College of Fine Arts in the nation, Hongik University, one may only know it as a place to party.



It makes sense as it has the highest concentration of clubs in any area in Seoul and Hongdae is also credited for developing the club culture of Seoul in the 1990s with both genres of hip-hop and electro.



But the Hongdae area is also known for it's cafes, wall murals and street art, fashion, and underground music and art festivals. It's location by the arts university where the non-mainstream artists gathered in the 1990s is what has brought it it's strong reputation today as a hotspot for the young where artistic freedom roams free.



A landmark of the Hongdae area spirit is the Children's playground.



On weekends, it's streets are packed, these days way too packed, with Koreans and foreigners enjoying the area's plethora of things to do. Some are going to go get a new piercing or tattoo.



Some are grubbing, as there are a really great selection of eateries in the area with a huge variety, and since this isn't Gangnam, prices are much better. Hongdae's cafes are artistic and unique. Some you'll find are also themed.



The area also has some great shopping options. The styles found here are bolder, younger, and less conservative than clothing and accessories you'll find in other places around the city.



It often makes shopping a lot more interesting and fun! You'll also find stores selling posters and toys. Since businesses have paid attention to the bankability of the area, you can also find the larger and international brands including H&M, Zara, Forever 21, sports brands, and local offerings like Aland and the popular Style Nanda flagship store. Many of it's streets are also occupied by carts and stalls selling jewelry, socks, hats and more as well as street fooood.



Back then, rents were cheap, and it's residents were made up of underground artists and indie musicians. It's businesses were also more colorful, but you'll find the main streets are slowly being taken over by coffee chains, large local cosmetics companies, and chain stores.



As money has flowed into the area which was once known for it's underground culture, that spirit is slowly dwindling but you'll still find smaller businesses on back streets and the area's popular streets have stretched out to areas like Sangsu and Hapjeong. You'll also still find rookie indie bands performing at night.



The area is at it's full potential when the sun sets.



At night, it's street stores are still lit up and open.



The hongdae crowds start to shuffle into bars, after dinner, and after the bar it's one or more of the many renowned clubs of Hongdae.



Bars are set up in every shape and form. Some are just carts that have parked on the street offering to-go cocktails (that are really cheap) in plastic sippies.



Some renowned clubs of Hongdae where you'll see a line that wraps around the block, have actually been around for over a decade and still standing strong like NB2 and M2. A night out in Hongdae is always fun and a little crazy, you might be chased after by boys hunting on the street, or boys working outside clubs trying to bring in customers. Usually with a night out there, you don't go home before 4am, and by 6 or 7am you'll see a whole lot of mess on the streets which include passed out drunkards.


When the sun rises, people are still drinking, others are getting food, most are getting taxis home, and some are walking towards the 'Happy Day Spa,' a 24 hours Jjimjilbang sauna that clubbers can be found snoring into the afternoon on saturday and sundays.



Some have said the glory days of what used to be Hongdae are gone, you can find a lot of articles about that, like this one and that was written in 2012, or this more recent one about Hongdae's live music culture. But I still find that Hongdae is still that special one place in Seoul where the young rule and spread their expression. As a girl, I find it comforting that I can actually wear a skirt with a hem above the knee and not have a line of old men staring. At Hongdae you see, it's not a big deal.


Address : 94 Wausan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Location : Seoul-si > All Area


Hongik University Station (Line 2, Exit 9)
A lost world wanderer with a background including New Zealand, New York, Paris, I now take refuge in motherland, Seoul. With a soft spot for art, fashion, culture, and history, you can find me at the > READ MORE
A lost world wanderer with a background including New Zealand, New York, Paris, I now take refuge in motherland, Seoul. With a soft spot for art, fashion, culture, and history, you can find me at the latest exhibitions and bookstores or here! > Less more
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