Our Picks for the Best Things to do in Hongdae

Best things to do in Hongdae

There’s plenty of things to do in Hongdae making it a popular hangout spot for young adults. Located near a few of Seoul’s colleges makes Hongdae the mecca of nightlife, shopping, cafes, and activities. You can spend multiple days exploring the area and it’s a great place to go whether you’re visiting or living in Seoul.

Check our picks for the best things to do in Hongdae.

Food

Monster Pizza in Hongdae Welcome Sign

Eating is one of the best things to do in Hongdae! Being a popular night spot, there are tons of restaurants filling every corner of this place. Whether you are looking for western food or Korean food, you can find your fix here making it one of the best places to go in Seoul for some grub.

Our Picks

Burger B – delicious burger and beer restaurant. 363-28 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

HakataBunko – Japanese ramen with the famous Hakata tonkatsu broth. 93-28 Sangsu-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Daknalda – Grilled chicken served with vegetables, rice cake, spicy sauce, and cheese restaurant with military inspired interior. 361-17 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Monster Pizza– delicious night spot to get NY style pizza by the slice! 363-1 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Shopping

1300 K in Hongdae

1300K

From small $1 crazy sock stores, street vendors selling the latest trendy clothing, brands like Forever21 and H&M, local boutiques, and cosmetic stores, Hongdae’s got it all. We love buying kitchy, crazy socks here as well as visiting stores like 1300k who sell all kinds of fun novelty items, collectors items like Studio Ghibli or little figurines, and stationary throughout their three locations in Hongdae.

Our Picks

1300K – shop full of cute and quirky gifts including stationary, toys, fashion accessories, household items, and random gifts. 358-58 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Style Nanda– Fashion clothing store featuring vintage clothing, famous brands, and their own label including their own cosmetic line. 335-21 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Object -2 storey unique gift shop full of accessories and small gifts featuring local designers. 400-1 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Artbox – cute stationary store full of fun gifts, household items, and cosmetics. 1 Wausan-ro 21-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Activities

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This area attracts people not only for food and shopping but because there are fun things to do in Hongdae as well besides eat and shop! Check out the latest movie at their CGV theater or watch street performers show off their talents. Maybe you want to show off your vocals at a fancy Noreabang (karaoke room).

Our Picks

Trick Eye Museum – Interactive museum where you pose with the paintings on the wall to look like you’re a part of the art. 20, Hongik-ro 3-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Nanta – Korean non verbal musical performance about cooks preparing meals. B2F, 357-4, Seokyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Hongdae Street Art – A trip to Hongdae would be incomplete without admiring some of the street art in the area.

Cafes

Sanmotoonge Cafe in Buamdong There are TONS of cafes spread throughout this college area. You can grab a cup of joe at any of the chain places like Tom N Tom’s or Starbucks. Or check out one of the local cafes like Coffee Brown. There’s even a Hello Kitty Cat café here where you can get a cute little kitty face on your latte!

Our Picks

Best Things to do in Hongdae

CaFace Photo by Travel with Karla

Hello Kitty Café – Pink Hello Kitty themed cafe, need we say more? 364-14 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Beans Brothers- A little bit of a walk from Hongdae, but worth the free refills on delicious hand poured coffee! 368-3, Hapjeong-Dong, Mapo-Gu, Seoul, South Korea

Coffee Brown – cafe located on the second floor right across from Hongik University

CaFace– Get a latte with your face printed on it! Sounds crazy, but this cafe is the latest craze in Seoul! Located inside the Trick Eye Museum – 20, Hongik-ro 3-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Meerkat Cafe– If you can’t get enough of the animal cafes then this one is for you! Full of meerkats, yes MEERKATS, arctic foxes, and even raccoons to make for a really unique cafe experience. – 364-3 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu

Thanks Nature Cafe – This is for anyone looking for a unique cafe experience involving animals! Forget cat and dog cafes, check out this sheep cafe which has become one of the most popular things to do in Hongdae! 486 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu

The Galapagos – Another animal themed cafe in Seoul to check out! Galapagos is unique because they don’t have furry popular furry critters to hang out next to, instead they have tortoises, sugar gliders, and bearded dragons! 316-12 Sangsu-dong Mapo-gu

Nightlife

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There are clubs, hofs, and bars a plenty in this college town. Since there are a few colleges nearby, nightlife goes hand in hand with the younger crowd. We aren’t much for clubbing, but we do enjoy checking out some of the restaurants and bars that serve craft beer. If you want to find out more about clubs check out Hongdae Guide.

Our Picks

Queen’s Head – considered one of the best microbrew pubs in Hongdae with a selection of German style brews! 407-16 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu

Oktoberfest- One of the original microbrews in Seoul and still popular today! 162-6 Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu

Castle Praha- You can’t miss the big castle in Hongdae serving up Czech beer and food. 395-19 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu

Where to Stay

Hotel The Designers Hongdae – This trendy hotel has cozy western style rooms and is located in the heart of Hongdae in between Hongkik and Hapjeong subway stations.

Marigold Hotel – Large, western standard rooms with chic restaurants and cafes in the lobby makes this centrally located hotel a great spot for anyone wanting to stay in the lively neighborhood of Hongdae!

Kimchee Guesthouse Hongdae – This hostel is perfect for the budget traveler coming in at around $25 a night for basic accommodation. Dorm rooms and private rooms are available and breakfast is included!

Places to check out near Hongdae

Sinchon

Sinchon is one of our favorite places to grab a delicious meal and shop. There are tons of restaurants and bars scattered throughout the area featuring western and Korean food. Located right next to Yonsei University, this area is another great place for young adults to enjoy a night out.

Subway Line 2 Sinchon Station exit 2 & 3

Ewha Women’s University

Another college tucked away in Seoul offering TONS of shopping and eating nearby the campus. Find plenty of small boutiques, accessory stores, shoe stores, cosmetic stores, cafes, and even hair salons!

Subway Line 2 Ewha Women’s University Station Exit 2 & 3

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Best things to do in Hongdae

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  • Kate Carter Hickey

    Did you know monster pizza is now in kyungridan? I can get my fix all the time…its dangerous! I’ve always wanted to stay at hotel the designers. I hear it’s great for small parties. Would you agree? I’m excited to try out those bars next time I’m out west!

    • What!! That’s awesome! It used to be so hard for us to try anything else in Hongdae because we always wanted to get pizza at Monster! We even tried their newish competitor (I think it was called Mafia or something) literally right next to it and it didn’t even come close to being as good! The hotels are suggestions based on where we would stay had we not lived in Seoul – Never had to use a hotel in Seoul because we lived so close to everything! However, Hotel Designers would probably be the top place I would pick if I were with people who wanted to party!

  • Brian Keith Dye

    I still have nightmares about that Hello Kitty Cafe! It was like sitting in a bottle of pepto bismal. Still, it was to be experienced. Hongdae really is a fun place. I need to spend more time wandering the streets over there. It’s been ages and things are probably completely different.

    • HAHAHA your comment is the best. It can be sensory overload with all that pink! I feel like Hongdae is always changing but we found it fun to explore down random alleyways and wandering on the outskirts even into the Hapjeong/Sinchon/Edae areas! There’s so much to do/see/eat in the area!

      • Brian Keith Dye

        I’ve got to get back that way. Something always comes up but its so close i have no excuse!

        • It seems like its always changing slightly too!

  • John Bocskay

    I often stay in Hongdae on trips to Seoul. Kimchee Guesthouse gets my thumbs up as well. There’s a great little breakfast spot down the street – I forget the name of it, but it opens at like 7 and does great American diner-style food and coffee. Thanks for the tips!

    • ooh how did we miss american breakfast? We needed that when our parents visited us!

  • Hongdae is so alive and colorful at night and Nanta performance can’t be missed! It’s entertaining, inexpensive and a great show to see without needing know know Korean. A great experience!

    • That’s what I agree is awesome about Nanta, it’s great for visitors since you don’t have to know Korean to see it!

  • Well, I found out about 2 things in this post that I thought were UNHEARD of in Seoul – pizza by the slice, and free refills on coffee. Now, if only we didn’t live on basically the exact opposite corner of the city… 🙁

    • Hahah right? Well you can do coffee during the day then pizza by the slice at night and make a whole day out of it! Monster doesn’t open until late afternoon/evening anyways!

  • Thanks for including some of my posts in this one guys. It’s a great round up of the neighborhood I’ve called my backyard for the past 8 years. There’s always something to see, do and drink in Hongdae. That’s for sure.

    • Absolutely! There’s so much going on there! We went to an awesome cat cafe in the area, even did a vlog of it (it was called Munchkin Cat Cafe) but I can’t find it ANYWHERE online or an address! It’s driving me crazy and wondering if it even exists anymore 🙁

  • Artbox is part of my top three list for what I’m most excited about for my Korea trip that’s coming up three weeks! And I spent many a day binge eating Monster Pizza after partying my heart out in Hongdae. Great list and sharing it with anyone who asks for Hongdae advice 😉

    • Thanks Izzy! Oh I miss Artbox soo much! We actually had one close to our home in California but it’s closed since our last year in Korea!!! So sad!!!