Since even before moving to Seoul, Hongdae has always been a favorite place in my heart. There are quite a few things to do in Hongdae. Many locals will say that this place is for the younger generation. However, I like to disagree. Hongdae is my favorite location in Seoul because of its love for art. As someone who would to school for art, I appreciate all of the beauty and charm this place has. Many stores are constantly changing, upgrading, and keeping each location on its toes. Hongdae Seoul is a must-visit place for anyone new to South Korea.
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If this is your first time visiting Seoul, be sure to check out some of my posts about Korea.
- Why you should visit South Korea!
- Busan, South Korea
- Top 10 Korean Drugstore Skin Products
- 10 Things to Eat in Korea
- Seoul Travel Tips
- Myeongdong Street Food
- One day in Seoul
- Jeju Itinerary
- Cimer Spa at Paradise City
- Teach English in South Korea
- Popular Cafes in Seoul
- Seoul Gardens & Parks
- Things to do in Incheon
- Myeongdong Shopping Street
- What to do in Incheon Airport for a Layover
- Things to do in Itaewon
- Gwangjang Market
- 2 Days in Busan Itinerary
- How to go to Bukchon Hanok Village
- 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary
- Gamcheon Culture Village
- Things to do in Gyeongju
- Things to do in Paju
- Autumn in Korea
- Where to stay in Seoul
- Korean Street Food
Best Things to do in Hongdae Seoul
Best time to visit Hongdae in Seoul
The best time to visit Hongdae is in the spring, March-May, or fall, September–November, months. The weather is more comfortable to travel in. Although, I do warn that in the Spring you may experience fine dust or pollution at that time frame. You can easily purchase a mask at any convenience store in Seoul. It may not affect you and if you are traveling for a short time, it may not be as much of a risk as people living here long term.
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. There you will see most of the action to the left of the exit. 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.
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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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.
- 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.
Hotels in Hongdae
- Mercure Ambassador Seoul Hongdae – This is a 5-star hotel in Hongdae. It’s in close proximity to the subway station line 2 which circles around the entire city of Seoul and where everything is located. Book your stay here.
- L7 Hongdae by LOTTE – A mid-range priced hotel close to all the popular things to do. Like Mecure, it’s within walking distance to Hongik University subway station on line 2. This will be one of the best places to stay in Hongdae. Book your stay here.
- DW Stay Hongdae – The perfect low-budget hotel for those looking to save money. This hotel will be perfect to stay at if you are on a budget and still want to be part of the action. It’s close to Hongik University Station as well is where all the shopping and everything in the area is. Book your stay here.
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What to do in Hongdae
Things to do in Hongdae – Popular Cafes
With Hongdae being a popular place for art, street performers and more, they are also known for their cute and themed cafes. 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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- Go to the 2D Cafe – The 2D cafe is a popular cafe in Mapo-gu, a neighborhood near Hongdae. This cafe is unique because the entire interior is painted white and lined with black lines
Play with the Bunny’s at the Bunny Cafe
- Take photos at the Flower Cafe (OFFICIALLY CLOSED)– At Arriate Flower Cafe, you can enjoy several stories of beautifully dried out flowers, flower-covered walls, and more. They have several drink choices you can choose from and they don’t just include coffee. It’s a great place to hang out and chat with your friends or family.
- Nerd out at the Harry Potter Cafe – This cafe is an awesome cafe worth visiting for those of you interested in Harry Potter. Although, I’ve heard changes are underway and it may have some different features. This cafe makes you feel like a kid at heart and was worth the visit. If you haven’t been I suggest you check it out. There are lots of cute little designed areas where you can take photos.
- Put a selfie on your latte at CaFACE
- Take a break at a resting cafe
- Visit the popular Pink Pool Cafe – This cafe has been seen on so many Instagram accounts and is popular for a reason especially for all of the desserts they have on display. Although a popular cafe, there are too many in Hongdae to visit.
- Musinsa Terrace – This is one of my favorite cafes to visit in Seoul because you can easily get a beautiful view of Seoul. It’s beautiful to check out at night and there are some comfortable bean bag chairs to just sit relax and get out of the outdoor elements.
Things to do in Hongdae – Top attractions
- Seoul’s Street Performers in Hongdae – 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.
- Visit the Trick Eye Museum
- The Love Museum
- No Escape (An Escape Room)
What to eat in Hongdae, Seoul
Korean Food Options
- Eat Delicious Street Food – Street food is popular all over Seoul, but there are quite a few vendors in Hongdae as well. Hongdae has an amazing Hotteok vendor which is a must-try in Seoul. Quite often, you will see many of the strawberries on a stick covered in a thin layer of hard glazed sugar.
- Strawberries on a stick
- Eat Korean BBQ – Korean BBQ is a staple in South Korea and there are many great places to eat Korean BBQ in Hongdae.
RELATED: Myeongdong Street Food
Western Food Options
Many expats in Korea have had their fill of Korean food and may be looking for more Western food options. If you are not a fan of Korean food or an expat wanting something other than Korean food, these are some of the places I suggest you go to grab a bite.
- Witch’s Kitchen/마녀주방 – If you are looking for a themed restaurant and still a huge Harry Potter fan I suggest you check out this pretty good Witch’s Kitchen. This is a Witch themed restaurant with everything related to Halloween. Get your ghouls and goblins here for a nice dinner.
- B’Mucho (OFFICIALLY CLOSED) – This place hands down is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Seoul. This place has the best enchiladas that I highly recommend getting and I am not even an enchilada fan. The chef is from Mexico and serves authentic Mexican dishes totally worth eating. It’s in a hidden area further off the map of Hongdae. This place, however, is very small so if it is super busy, it might be hard to find seating.
- SF Bagels – Around the corner from B’Mucho is SF bagels. After a few months of arriving in Korea, I did not realize how much I was craving a bagel until I saw this place. There aren’t many bagel shops in Korea and for someone like me who loves jalapeno cheddar bagels, those are hard to come by. At SF Bagels they have that and jalapeno cream cheese which is also hard to find. If you love bagels and live or stay near Incheon, there is a great bagel place in Songdo I highly recommend.
- SMØR Nordic Kitchen (스뫼르) – A great place to gran Brunch and a traditional American breakfast.
- Bro’s Burger – If you are looking for a good burger place, I’ve heard raving reviews about Bro’s Burgers. There aren’t many places where you can get an authentic American-style burger. Many are catered to a fast-food style or feel.
- Pie Republic – If you are from New Zealand, Australia, or South Africa, you can come here to get some of the best meat pies in South Korea. They have 3 different styles and I promise you the flakey crust is to die for. Be sure to try their rack of lamb if you can.
- Randy’s Donut – If you are a big donut fan, this is a great place to get an American-style donut. For us living in Korea, it’s a bit of heaven, but for those just visiting it’s probably just another donut shop to you.
- Dingga Cake – This is a popular cake shop in Hongdae that is very well known and has been featured on TV. They have a lot of interesting and cute decorated cakes from a pizza cakes to beautiful flower cakes.
- Rosso 1924 – A great place to get some Italian-style pizza. It is cooked in a brick oven and they sell them in personal sizes. It’s a great pizza shop and isn’t going to be like those Korean sweet-style pizza shops.
Where to Shop and What to buy in Hongdae, Seoul
Shop at Art Box
Art Box is a popular place to shop in Korea. They have lots of cute stationery, apartment necessities, nicknacks, and souvenirs. It’s a great place for you to find something for everyone. They have a lot of interesting and different things you may not find everywhere.
Buy Socks for Cheap
Socks are a big thing in Korea and are quite affordable. Many of the fashion socks in Korea are well made and about $1 per pair. Anything more than that would be questionable unless it was made really well, unique, or had some sort of specialty. If you are moving to Korea, you can easily find socks in any size.
Shop Korean Fashion at Romi Story
Romi story is a popular Korean fashion store and even caters to some girls of a curvy or bigger size. I believe it goes up to about a size 18 which is one step closer for Korean fashion catering plus size girls.
Go to Daiso – $1 store of Asia
Daiso is a popular Japanese dollar store that has taken over all over South Korea. Many people come here for cute and useful products to save money. If you have never been to this affordable store, I highly suggest you at least visit it once to check out all the products.
Purchase a cute new cell phone case
Cell phone cases are all over Seoul, however, they have a lot of shops in Hongdae where you can purchase some of the cutest cases. What I love about phone cases in Korea is how they are made and many of them have cute card cases on the back which are perfect for the subway system. You can easily put your card in the back and scan it through at the subway station.
Go crazy of Korean’s Skincare Products
You can easily purchase skincare products everywhere in Korea, however, if you want a one-stop shop, you can easily find every skincare store in Hongdae. They literally have each brand on every corner making it easy to find and buy.
Buy Handmade or Affordable Jewelry
There are a lot of places where you can find handmade or simple jewelry pieces in Hongdae. They even have cafes where you can create your own ring or jewelry pieces. Korean’s really loved simple jewelry pieces. If you want something real, many of the Mini Gold shops sell the real gold pieces for affordable prices.
Get colored contacts
If you have bad eyesight or just wanting to change your look, you can easily get colored contact in Korea and for cheap. You do not need a prescription, just know what your eye prescription is. Even if you don’t know your prescription, they can easily do an eye test and let you know for free at certain locations.
Where to drink in Hongdae, Seoul
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.
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, there have been a lot of suggestions to visit the clubs below and I just wanted to include these for people who want options.
- Club Aura
- Thursday Party Hongdae– This is a popular chain where you can get some cocktails, drinks, and just enjoy yourself. They are by far plenty and can be found in almost every major city including Busan. They also have places in Itaewon and Gangnam as well.
Hongdae Tourist Map
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