Things to Do in Hongdae: The Ultimate Guide

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Discover the top things to do in Hongdae. Hongdae, the vibrant and energetic neighborhood in Seoul, South Korea, is a must-visit destination for travelers looking to experience the best of Korean culture.

Hongdae embodies the youthful and energetic spirit of Seoul.

Whether you’re a foodie, an art lover, or a party-goer, there’s something for everyone in Hongdae.

Here’s everything you need to know about this lively area, from the top 16 things to do in Hongdae, to how to get there and whether it’s worth the visit.

So pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to experience the best that Hongdae has to offer.

Top 16 Things to Do in Hongdae

Go Shopping at the Famous Hongdae Street

Hongdae is a paradise for shoppers, with its bustling streets filled with trendy boutiques, unique shops, and independent designers.

Hongdae Street is the main shopping street in the neighborhood, and it’s always crowded with people looking for the latest fashion trends, vintage finds, and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

From street vendors selling handmade jewelry to small shops selling quirky accessories, Hongdae Street has something for everyone.

If you’re looking for Korean fashion, make sure to check out Stylenanda’s flagship store, which is one of the most popular fashion destinations in the neighborhood.

Another must-visit shopping spot is the Hongdae Free Market, where local artists and designers sell their handmade crafts and artwork.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect outfit or a unique souvenir to bring back home, Hongdae Street is definitely worth a visit for any shopping enthusiast.

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shopping at hongdae market

Indulge in Korean Street Food

One of the must things to do in Hongdae and you can’t miss it is to taste Korean street food.

Sample the best Korean street food at Hongdae’s numerous food stalls.

Must-try dishes include:

  • tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes)
  • odeng (fishcake skewers)
  • hotteok (sweet Korean pancakes)

Tteokbokki is made from soft rice cakes cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce, often accompanied by fish cakes and boiled eggs.

Odeng, a popular street snack, consists of skewered fish cakes served in a warm, savory broth.

Hotteok is a sweet treat filled with a mixture of brown sugar, honey, and nuts, perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.

Don’t miss out on other popular dishes like kimbap (rice rolls), mandu (dumplings), and Korean fried chicken.

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food hongdae street

Explore the Hongdae Street Art

One of the most iconic things to do in Hongdae and features is its street art.

Wander through the area’s alleys and marvel at the colorful, creative murals that cover the walls.

Local and international artists have contributed to this ever-evolving outdoor gallery.

You’ll find everything from large-scale, intricate pieces to smaller, hidden gems.

Each work of art showcases the creativity and talent of its creator, often reflecting the vibrant energy that defines Hongdae itself.

Make sure to bring a camera to capture the stunning visuals.

Sing Your Heart Out at Noraebang

A trip to Hongdae wouldn’t be complete without experiencing a noraebang or Korean karaoke room.

Rent a private room with your friends and sing your favorite songs, while enjoying drinks and snacks.

Most noraebangs offer a vast selection of both Korean and international songs, ensuring that everyone can find something they love.

The rooms are equipped with a sound system, microphones, and a large screen displaying lyrics, making it easy for everyone to join in on the fun.

Noraebangs typically charge by the hour, with rates varying depending on the time of day and size of the room.

Visit the Trickeye Museum

The Trickeye Museum is an interactive art museum that features 3D paintings and optical illusions.

This unique attraction allows visitors to become part of the artwork by posing for photos with larger-than-life exhibits.

The museum is divided into several themed zones, including Aqua Zone, Masterpiece Zone, and Love Zone, each offering its own distinct photo opportunities.

In addition to the Trickeye exhibits, the museum also features an Ice Museum, which showcases beautiful ice sculptures in a freezing environment.

Be sure to dress warmly for this portion of your visit.

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trickeye museum hongdae

Relax at a Themed Café

Hongdae is known for its quirky and unique themed cafés, ranging from animal cafés to those dedicated to specific characters or concepts.

Popular animal cafés include:

  • Meerkat Café, where you can interact with meerkats, raccoons, and other animals
  • Thanks Nature Café, which is home to a pair of friendly sheep.
  • Visit the Hello Kitty Café
  • the Ryan Café, both of which are dedicated to adorable characters.

These themed cafés are one of the top things to do in Hongdae. They offer a fun and relaxing environment to enjoy a cup of coffee or a sweet treat.

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hello kitty theme café hongdae

Dance the Night Away at Hongdae Club Street

Hongdae is famous for its vibrant nightlife, and the best place to experience it is at Hongdae Club Street.

With a wide variety of clubs, bars, and live music venues, there’s something for everyone.

Dance to the latest K-pop hits at popular clubs like NB2 and Cocoon, or enjoy live indie music at venues like Gogos2 and FF.

Many clubs and bars offer themed nights and special events, ensuring that there’s always something new to discover.

Remember to bring your ID, as most establishments have a minimum age requirement for entry.

Shop at Hongdae Free Market

The Hongdae Free Market is an open-air market held every weekend from March to November.

Here, you can browse through a wide variety of handmade goods, including clothing, accessories, and artwork made by local artisans.

The market provides a platform for emerging artists and designers to showcase their work, making it the perfect place to pick up unique souvenirs and support local talent.

In addition to shopping, you’ll also find live performances by musicians and street performers, adding to the lively atmosphere.

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Hongdae Free Market

Get Creative at a DIY Workshop

Participate in one of Hongdae’s many DIY workshops, where you can learn how to make traditional Korean crafts, like pottery, jewelry, or even your own skincare products.

These workshops provide a hands-on opportunity to immerse yourself in Korean culture while creating a personalized souvenir to take home.

Some popular workshops include making hanji (traditional Korean paper) crafts, learning the art of Korean calligraphy, or designing your own beaded accessories.

Workshops often require advance booking, so be sure to plan ahead and reserve your spot.

Experience a Virtual Reality Arcade

Step into the future at one of Hongdae’s virtual reality (VR) arcades, where you can immerse yourself in a variety of cutting-edge VR experiences.

These high-tech gaming centers offer a wide range of games and simulations, from zombie shootouts to virtual roller coasters.

The VR arcades typically charge by the hour or by the number of games you play, allowing you to fully customize your experience.

Take a Stroll down Yeonnam-dong Park

If you’re looking for some green space Yeonnam-dong Park is a good option as a thing to do in the area.

Also known as Gyeongui Line Forest Park, Yeonnam-dong Park is a beautiful urban green space perfect for leisurely strolls or picnics.

The park is built along a former railway track and features lush greenery, walking paths, and art installations.

It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, providing a peaceful escape from the bustling city streets.

Attend a Live Performance

Hongdae is a hub for live performances, from indie bands to street performers.

Catch a show at one of the area’s numerous live music venues, like Club Ta or Rolling Hall.

You can also enjoy impromptu performances by street musicians and dancers as you explore the neighborhood.

Be sure to check local listings for upcoming events and performances during your visit.

Visit the Hongdae Mural Street

Hongdae Mural Street, also known as Picasso’s Street, is a small alley filled with captivating murals and street art.

The street features a wide variety of artistic styles, from graffiti to more traditional Korean art.

Strolling down this street is like walking through an open-air gallery, providing a unique and visually stunning experience.

Browse the Vintage Shops

Hongdae is home to numerous vintage shops offering a wide selection of clothing, accessories, and other items from past decades.

These shops are perfect for those seeking unique, one-of-a-kind pieces to add to their wardrobe or home.

Popular vintage shops in the area include Gopumgyul Vintage Shop, which specializes in vintage clothing and accessories, and Object, a store offering a curated selection of retro homeware and décor.

Be prepared to spend some time browsing, as you never know what treasures you might uncover.

Discover the Hongdae Playground

Hongdae Playground is a small park located in the heart of the neighborhood, often serving as a gathering place for locals and tourists alike.

The playground is surrounded by street food vendors, shops, and bars, making it a lively spot to relax and people-watch.

On weekends, the area comes alive with the Hongdae Free Market and various street performances, adding to the energetic atmosphere.

Enjoy the Nightlife at a Pojangmacha

A pojangmacha is a traditional Korean street food tent, usually open late into the night.

These tents serve a variety of Korean dishes and drinks, providing a casual and cozy atmosphere for patrons to enjoy their food.

Pojangmachas are often frequented by locals looking for a late-night snack or a place to unwind after a night out in Hongdae.

Be sure to try some soju, Korea’s most popular alcoholic beverage, and pair it with some delicious anju (Korean side dishes) like pajeon (savory pancakes) or grilled meat skewers.

What is Hongdae Known For

Hongdae is primarily known for its youthful energy, art scene, and nightlife.

The neighborhood is home to Hongik University, one of South Korea’s most prestigious art schools, which contributes to the area’s creative atmosphere.

Hongdae is famous for its street art, unique cafés, and vibrant nightlife, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists.

The area also boasts a thriving indie music scene, with numerous live music venues showcasing up-and-coming artists.

Furthermore, Hongdae is a shopping haven, offering everything from trendy boutiques to vintage shops and handmade crafts.

The neighborhood’s dynamic vibe and diverse range of activities make it a must-visit destination in Seoul.

Where is Hongdae

Hongdae is located in the Mapo-gu district of Seoul, South Korea.

The neighborhood is situated to the northwest of the city center, bordered by Shinchon to the east and Yeonnam-dong to the west.

Its central location makes it easily accessible from other popular areas in Seoul, such as Gangnam, Myeongdong, and Insadong.

Hongdae’s proximity to the Han River also provides opportunities for riverside strolls and picnics, as well as easy access to the Yeouido and Mangwon areas, which are famous for their parks and recreational facilities.

How to Get to Hongdae

The easiest way to get to Hongdae is by taking the Seoul subway.

The neighborhood is served by Line 2 (Green Line) and the Airport Railroad Express (AREX).

To reach Hongdae, simply take Line 2 to Hongik University Station (Exit 9) or take the AREX to Hongik University Station (Exit 3).

Both options will put you right in the heart of the neighborhood, making it easy to explore the area on foot.

Alternatively, you can take a taxi or use a ride-sharing service like Kakao T to reach Hongdae.

Be aware that traffic in Seoul can be congested, so using public transportation is often the fastest and most convenient option.

Is Hongdae Worth Visiting

Absolutely! Hongdae is a must-visit destination for travelers looking to experience the best of Korean culture, art, and nightlife.

The neighborhood offers a diverse range of activities and attractions, from exploring street art and shopping at unique markets to indulging in delicious Korean street food and experiencing the energetic nightlife.

With its lively atmosphere and endless entertainment options, Hongdae is an unforgettable destination that should not be missed during your trip to Seoul.

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