There are so many cool things to do in Hongdae because it’s one of the hippest areas in Seoul! Located near three popular and different universities (Yonsei, Hongik, and Ehwa), it’s quickly grown to be the hotspot for all the cool and trendy going ons in Korea. From walking the streets at night to the sounds of buskers, shopping at all the various shops, popping into the unique cafes, and finding quirky things to do and see, there’s no shortage of things to do in this one area alone! Our friend, Sam, said when she studied at Yonsei, she almost never left the area because there was always so much to do!
When we lived in Seoul, we had plenty of time to hangout and explore the area, both the main attractions and the lesser known neighborhoods within. Here are our picks for the best things to do in Hongdae!
Updated: April 2019
What to Do in Hongdae
Take advantage of the budget-friendly places to eat
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. Also, because Hongdae caters mostly to college students, it also caters to their wallets, or lack there of. Of all the places in Seoul, this is where to find more budget-friendly places to grab a bite. 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.
These were our favorites, but you can easily just exit from one of the main Honggik University Station exits and just start walking.
- 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
Again, back to that catering to a college student budget…
From small $1 crazy sock stores to street vendors selling the latest trendy clothing to brands like Forever21 and H&M, local boutiques, and cosmetic stores, Hongdae’s got it all.
We love buying kitschy, crazy socks here as well as visiting stores like 1300k who sell all kinds of fun novelty items, collectors items like Studio Ghibli thing figurines and stationary throughout their three locations in Hongdae.
- 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. Check out their cool pink pool cafe while you’re there! 335-21 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
- Object – unique gift shop with 2 stories 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
- Ehwa Unviersity – There’s a huge shopping area near Ehwa too for women, and it’s all super budget-friendly (though, of course, not always the best quality). 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
See all the cool, quirky things to do in Hongdae
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).
- 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 | Get your discounted tickets to Trick Eye Museum here.
- Love Museum – In the same building as the Trick Eye Museum, this one’s a little more… X-Rated.
- Nanta – Korean non-verbal musical performance about cooks preparing meals. B2F, 357-4, Seokyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul | Get your discounted tickets to Nanta here.
- Hongdae Street Art – A trip to Hongdae would be incomplete without admiring some of the street art in the area.
Take in ALL the random cafes in Hongdae.
There are TONS of cafes spread throughout this college area. Skip the franchises for the more unique places.
- 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
Bonus Tip: Go to the Cafes in Yeonnam or Mangwon for the more hipster vibes.
If quirky cafes aren’t quite your speed, you may like the more hispter, cool vibe of up and coming neighborhoods Yeonnam and Mangwon. They’re filled with some of the trendiest cafes in Seoul.
- Zapangi Cafe – Literally translates to “vending machine” for its funky entrance! This one is definitely for those with a sweet tooth. 79, World Cup-ro 13-gil, Mangwon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
- Yeonnam 223 – It looks like everything is 2D! Have one of their fun, colorful drinks, and make sure you wear something fun and bright too! 223-103 Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- 943 Kings Cross – A 6-story Harry-Potter themed cafe, need we say more? 24, Yanghwa-ro, 16-gil, Seokyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Stay out all night.
There are clubs, hofs, and bars a plenty if nightlife is one of the things to do in Hongdae for you. 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.
- 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
- Castle Praha– You can’t miss the big castle in Hongdae serving up Czech beer and food. 395-19 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu
Hangout in 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
Where to Stay in 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!
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!
For more places to stay in Hongdae, check the map below:
Have you been? What are your tips for top things to do in Hongdae?
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