Itaewon, Seoul is one of the most culturally diverse areas within Seoul and coined the foreigner’s outlet in Korea. There are many tourists who come to this area and expats who live in Seoul that stay in this area. Some of the best things to do in Itaewon, Seoul include drinking, eating, and partying. If you came to this page to find out all that Itaewon has to offer, then you have come to the right place.
Itaewon, Seoul | Things to do in Itaewon
Itaewon in Seoul became popular because of the Yongsan Army Installation base which is why so many foreigners come here. However, the base is now coming to a close and the daytime activities seem to become less and are becoming more of a popular place for foreigners to hang out at night.
Best time to visit Itaewon
Korea has all 4 seasons. The best time to visit Itaewon or anywhere in Korea will be in the fall (end of September – November) or the spring (End of March-May). However, in those months you still need to worry about air quality. If you are only visiting, it may not be an issue since it mostly affects long-term health or those sensitive. If you visit during the winter, it will be brutally cold, but still possible. I highly suggest you avoid the summer months. During the summer in Korea, it is too hot to walk around or do anything and Itaewon is mostly outdoor walking. Additionally, you have to worry about the monsoon season which includes heavy rainstorms and cancellations or delays with flights, and more.
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How to get to Itaewon, Seoul
The easiest way to get to Itaewon is by taking the number 6 or brown line and exiting at Itaewon station. I feel like more people exit through number 4, but you can exit through any of the subway exits to gain access to the main strip. If you want to do more dining facilities, then exit 4 and head south. If you want more of a drinking or bar atmosphere, exit number 2 and immediately turn left until you dead end and follow that road for some of the best bars in Itaewon.
Where to stay in Itaewon, Seoul
Although, I don’t really recommend people staying in Itaewon since it is pretty much for drinking and partying at night. You may see a lot more drunken individuals and military as well. However, it is centrally located, but there aren’t many hotel accommodations in this area as well.
- Dragon Hill Lodge – This can be fairly expensive, however, if you happen to be military, you may be able to get a discount. This place is a popular place to stay for tourists from the US. Although, it is fairly new for tourists since the base has recently started to close.
- Hamilton Hotel – If you are looking for a hotel that has a pool located in Seoul, this is one of the popular places to visit in Itaewon. Many people will even pay to get into the pool during the hot and humid summer months. It’s a great place to stay if you have a family, kids, visiting during the summer, or just want a rooftop view with a pool. Book your stay here.
- Grand Hyatt Seoul – The Grand Hyatt has some of the most gorgeous rooms in Seoul and is conveniently located to many of the popular tourist spots in Seoul like Myeongdong, Itaewon, and more. Book your stay here.
- Mondrian Seoul Itaewon – This is a new hotel newly built in 2020 and is the perfect place to stay in Itaewon. Finding a newer hotel in Itaewon can be difficult because this area is hard to build in and around. Book your stay here.
If you don’t want to stay in this area, but want to be nearby, I suggest you look for accommodations closer to Seoul station or in Myeongdong.
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What to do in Itaewon
Things to do in Itaewon – Popular Cafes
- Line Friends – If you know about Kakao, well Line is similar to Kakao as a popular messaging app in South Korea. Line Friends are less popular in comparison to Kakao so I still suggest you try and get to a Kakao store. At this cafe, you can shop all the cute Line Friend characters, stuffed animals, and more.
- O’Fete – You can get some delicious coffee and dessert here. There are a variety of different types of cakes and it’s a popular cafe to work in. There are plenty of places to sit down and enjoy coffee and more with friends.
- Le Cafe – This cafe is fairly dog-friendly, so if you have any pets and want a place to grab a coffee where your animal can tag along, this is the place for you.
- Tiger Espresso – This place is a clean and modern place to grab a cup of coffee. It’s great for people who just want to chat with their friends or just a quick place to grab a coffee.
- Maxim Plant – This is a popular place to grab a coffee in Itaewon because of it’s unique space. They also have quality beans and their own production plants.
- Dedot – This cafe is unique because they also host clay workshops where you can create your own ceramic pieces from plates, vases, cups, bowls, and more.
Things to do in Itaewon – Top attractions
This is the most popular attraction in Itaewon well technically it is in Yongsan, but it’s a must too. You can easily walk there from Itaewon to the top of the tower, however, most people usually take the cable car from fairly close to Myeongdong Station exit 4. Look for the Namsan Cable car on the map. Don’t forget to buy a lock and share put it near the locks of love at Namsan tower. It’s a great memory for friends, families, and loved ones.
This is the main strip in Itaewon where you can find everything located here. There are many restaurants and you may need to navigate behind the main road to find some great hidden gems in Itaewon from restaurants, shops, and more.
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
This is a popular art museum in Seoul and has become a great place to view art from all over the world. They take pride in being on the most favorable art museums in Seoul. In addition, how the name of the museum came is quite cute. In Korean culture, many words are cut in half and combined to create combo words. For the name of the museum Leeum, they took the last name Lee and added the “um” from the word museum thus formed “Leeum”.
Itaewon Antique Shopping Street
This shopping street is popular among locals and foreigners. You can easily find some great finds from several different time periods. Although, most of the items here are furniture where American soldiers would put out their furniture and sell them before they headed back home to the US. This became a huge thing and people collected these pieces.
National Museum of Korea
You can learn all about the history of Korea at the National Museum of Korea. Learn about anything from old traditional art, calligraphy, ancient history, sculpture, Asian art and history and more.
War Memorial of Korea
If you are into historical facts and just interested in anything related to the history of Korea especially the Korean war, take a trip to the War Memorial of Korea.
G.N. Perfume Studio
Looking to do something interesting and also take home a great souvenir? Learn how to make your own perfume at the G.N. Perfume Studio in Itaewon. Book your experience here.
Dragon Hill Spa
One of the popular things to do in Korea is to go to a Jimjilbang which is a traditional Korean spa. However, these days many of them are very modern with a lot of features. One of the most popular Korean spas in Seoul is the Dragon Hill Spa. There are different zones filled with saunas, steam rooms, spas, and are some spaces are usually separated by gender. Book your experience here.
Get a Massage
Although the massages in Korea are not nearly as cheap and affordable as the ones in many Southeast Asian countries, it’s still worth it if you plan on having a relaxing spa day. After heading over to the Dragon Hill spa, be sure to try and grab a massage afterward to enjoy that spa day even more
What to eat in Itaewon
There are a lot of food options in Itaewon which cater to most foreigners. Although there are a few Korean restaurants in Itaewon, there aren’t nearly as many here in comparison to western food options. So if you happen to be traveling in Korea and are tired of the traditional Korean dishes, then this is the best place for you.
Korean Food Options
- Maple Tree House – If you are looking for a good Korean bbq place in Itaewon, be sure to swing by the Maple Tree House. They have a ton of delicious meats and side dishes worth trying.
- Nolboo Buddae Jjigae – Nolboo is actually a chain restaurant in Korea. They have Buddae Jjigae restaurants and Bossam restaurants. In Korea, if a chain is popular, that means their food is actually good. It’s really hard to open up a restaurant in Korea and be able to last and new things are always coming and going. So trust the chains you see around town, although the coffee shops to me are still hit and miss. Buddae Jjigae is known as Army Soup, this soup is spicy filled with veggies, rice cakes, canned meats (hence the name it was meat available and provided by the military during the war), cheese and more. Koreans used what meat they had to create this popular and delicious dish.
Western Food Options
- Vatos – If you want some pretty decent tacos, Vatos are pretty good street tacos located in Itaewon. Their kimchi fries are pretty delicious and the tacos are fairly small. However, if you have a Mexican food craving, it’s a great place to go to.
- Fat Cat Bistro – This is a great place to grab some sandwiches in the area. They also have options for a chicken wrap, burritos, and more.
- Coreanos Kitchen – Another Mexican food restaurant option would be to visit Coreanos Kitchen. I highly suggest you get the nacho fries, they are some of my favorites there.
- Plant – Vegan Restaurant – Vegan restaurants are a bit hard to come by in Seoul. Many Koreans eat meat and are a staple in their dishes. Even kimchi is not considered to be Vegan or Vegetarian because to make kimchi they usually use oysters or shrimp during the fermentation and seasoning process.
- Halal Food – If you happen to be looking for Halal food, Itaewon is your best bet to find the most Halal food in Seoul. There are so many restaurants that it’s hard to just narrow one down.
- Linus BBQ – If you’re looking for more of an American BBQ type of place, this will be the place for you. They have a delicious bbq sauce with ribs, pulled meats, and so much more.
- Trevia – If you want the closest thing you can get to authentic Italian style pizza, this is the place to come and get it. They make all their dough and bread themselves which makes it absolutely delicious. You can also get a special pizza that has specially imported meat from Italy.
- Cookie Monster – This is a great place to get some delicious homemade cookies made in Itaewon. Many of them are colorfully decorated for the season.
- La Planque – This is one of my favorite French restaurants in Itaewon. They have a lot of delicious options but a little more on the pricier side. However, it’s completely worth it. I’ve loved every dish I have ordered from here and it’s all so very good.
Where to Shop and What to buy in Itaewon, Seoul
There are a lot of places to shop in Itaewon unless you are an expat needing foreigner sizes. You can shop at many of the typical stores found in Seoul or Korea for skincare, popular brands like Nike and more.
- Lush – If you aren’t from the US or do not have a Lush near you, you can easily gain access to a Lush store in Itaewon. They have some of the best shampoo bars which are perfect for traveling and do not have an issue traveling because they are not made of liquid.
- Olive Young – This is the popular corner store for skincare products, makeup, perfume, and more. It’s a one-stop-shop for so many different types of makeup and more.
- OKBT – If you are plus-sized like me, you can find some clothes located in the OKBT.
- Line Cafe – I listed the Line cafe above for a cafe to visit, but it’s also a great place to get souvenirs for many of your friends and family.
Itaewon Bars | Where to Drink in Itaewon
- Magpie Brewing Company – If you are looking for some delicious craft beers in Korea, I highly recommend you visit Magpie Brewing Company. They have a variety of different beers and in addition, sell some delicious pizzas.
- Bucket Beach – This place is popular in Itaewon for live music, cocktails, beers, and more. You can also purchase a “bucket” cocktail which is a filled bucket with the cocktail of your choice.
- Off the Record – This was probably my favorite place to go out and drink in Itaewon. They play a lot of popular music from each generation which makes it great to dance and sing to obviously while drunk. It’s a great place to hang out drink and enjoy the music. They also have a lot of delicious drinks from cocktails to shooters.
- Casa Corona – This bar is a great place to go hang out. It’s a beautifully decorated rooftop bar and it’s a lot of fun to hang out in. However, this bar gets completely packed so be sure to arrive early to get any available tables.
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