From Heart And Seoul

What To Do In Hongdae: Seoul’s Trendy Arts Neighborhood

February 17, 2017 35 Comments

Like any big city, there are a million little neighborhoods and regions of Seoul. They’re all known for different things, and they all have something equally interesting about them.

Hongdae is a young + trendy area – getting it’s name (and it’s crowd) from the nearby Hongik University. A quick Google search will tell you that its fashion-forward, and filled with urban expression & art – but there is so much to this area. You’ll definitely want to come back for a second look.

Read on for what to do in Hongdae, and check out the bottom of this post for how to get there.

 

What we did:

 

Watch a Street Performance

This is probably the easiest thing to do on our list – you can cross it off as soon as you exit the subway station. Once you make your way to the main street, you’ll see these left and right. People are NOT shy about singing, dancing and otherwise expressing themselves for a crowd. Most of the performances aren’t anything to write home about, but it’s entertaining nonetheless. We got a glimpse of these two below:

street performance dance Hongdae Korea

street performance dance Hongdae Korea

 

Check Out a Sheep Cafe

You want to see this one. It takes a little effort to find, but who doesn’t want to sip their latte next to two balls of fluff? Thanks Nature Cafe (yes that’s the name) is on the basement level of it’s building, so you won’t be able to easily spot it from the street. You can type it into Waze though (which you need anyways for getting around Korea) and take the short walk there. If you see the Subway (sandwich) sign, you’re in the right place.

Once you make it there, you’ll see the sheep right away! Go on in and get your coffee/waffle/honey bread first – you can come back out and hang with them after.

Technically you COULD just walk up, pet the sheep and leave – since they are in an area right outside the entrance to the cafe. But the cafe is interesting enough. And why wouldn’t you want to sit down to this:

Thanks Nature cafe sheep cafe Hongdae ice cream waffle

Thanks Nature cafe sheep cafe Hongdae

Thanks Nature cafe sheep cafe Hongdae coffee

Thanks Nature cafe sheep cafe Hongdae

Grab a Bite at an Izakaya

While there are a million and one spots to eat in Hongdae, you can always find an izakaya if you walk a few blocks. Essentially a Japanese gastropub – they are all over Seoul. Some of them are nothing special, but they can also put out some fantastic food if you find the right one. Japanese food is plentiful in Korea, so it doesn’t hurt to pop into one if you’re hungry. We wandered into one off of Hongdae’s main strip, and I left happy & full.

Note of advice: If you don’t like seafood (cooked or raw), there are usually plenty of other things on the menu – even fried chicken.

Hongdae Izakaya

Izakaya Hongdae

 

Other ideas:

 

Walk Down Hongdae Mural Street

There are plenty of places to see wall art in Seoul, but if you want to get a good dose of it altogether, this is your spot. Although Hongdae Mural Street is actually more of a collection of alleyways – you can easily hit them all up in no time and be on your way. Located right next to the front gates of Hongik University, the area is supposedly famous as a “dating spot”. You can find everything from graffiti to paintings and more here. Updates to come once we see it for ourselves!

 

Have a Taste of Patbingsu

Korea is famous for patbingsu – which literally translates to mean shaved ice & red bean paste. Yes, it’s a dessert and no, there’s no judgement if that doesn’t sound appealing to you. It may take some getting used to, but the bean paste is actually sweet. Thrown in a bowl with other sweets, you may decide you actually like it. There are plenty of places to treat yourself to patbingsu around Seoul, but Hongdae has some great ones – we’ve heard lots of talk about about Okrumong (semi-famous for it’s cloud bingsu covered in cotton candy!) and BingBingBing.

 

Visit the Hello Kitty Cafe

Even if you could care less about Hello Kitty, you should stop in here just for the novelty factor. Korea (and Japan) are notorious for their love of all things animated, and they seem to have a thing for cats (read about Korea’s cat cafes here). So if you really want to take in a little of Korea, grab yourself a cup of coffee with Hello Kitty’s face in it. You can’t miss the Pepto-Bismol pink building!

 

Grab Drinks at Castle Praha

Since you’re obviously lacking on things to eat and drink, make your way over to Castle Praha for some beers & yet another interesting setting. Designed after the Prague Clock Tower Castle, this restaurant/bar looks like something from Medieval Times. It sticks out like a sore thumb on the streets of Hongdae, and you might just think its an old church if you don’t look closely enough. Stop in for traditional Czech house beer, bar food and a taste of goulash.

 

Enjoy!

Spend the day in Hongdae - Seoul's trendy arts district. Visit a sheep cafe, grab a Hello Kitty themed coffee, and check out a street performance or a wall mural. Promise you won't get bored!

35 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kelly

    February 18, 2017

    Thanks for the post. I know this area well because I lived in Seoul for a year and spent a lot of time here. The sheep cafe looks hillarious and I love the street performers. Also would have loved to check out the Hello Kitty Cafe. Thanks for bringing me back. Great article.

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 19, 2017

      You probably have even more great tips then! Seoul is such a diverse city, but Hongdae is one of our favorite areas! 🙂

  2. Reply

    Jessica

    February 18, 2017

    That sheep cafe sounds so cool! I have heard of cat or dog cafes but never sheep lol The food looks good too! I really like to find the local art scene (I am an artist, after all). Very cool post!

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 19, 2017

      It was worth a visit for sure! We’re planning on going back to check out the mural street too 🙂

  3. Reply

    Naomi

    February 19, 2017

    I’d love to feed my inner child and take her to the Hello Kitty café! I adore that little kitty but I am too mature to admit it . Lol.

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 19, 2017

      Haha Seoul is the perfect place to let it out! You’ll get no judgment here!

  4. Reply

    Jacklyn

    February 19, 2017

    SUCH A FUN POST! I’m dying to visit Korea and now I just added a whole extra place to my bucketlist!

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 20, 2017

      Hope you get to soon Jacklyn! 🙂

  5. Reply

    Aldrick Agpaoa

    February 20, 2017

    Wow! This place looks cool! There’s so much to do in Hongdae. I think a week’s visit wouldn’t be enough!

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 20, 2017

      You could definitely spend over a week in Seoul and still not see everything! There is so much to do!

  6. Reply

    Erica

    February 20, 2017

    woah! the sheep cafe looks very interesting! i have nver heard of a sheep cafe before.. been to cat dog and owl cafe but not with a sheep cafe.. must be an awesome experience! the list of things to do you gave out here are very useful! thanks!

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 20, 2017

      Yes! We’ve done some others too but this was a first! There is also a raccoon cafe somewhere in the city!

  7. Reply

    Devesh Joshi

    February 20, 2017

    Seol is in every backpacker’s wishlist. Mine’s too. Such a lively place.

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 20, 2017

      It really is a great city! Glad you agree!

  8. Reply

    Flo

    February 20, 2017

    Sheep cafe? How random! I don’t feel like I’ve properly explored Seoul, will have to bookmark this for a future trip one day!

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 20, 2017

      Yes so random! Seoul is always surprising me lol

  9. Reply

    Sridhar @InterludJourney

    February 20, 2017

    Reading a lot about Seoul these days and there are lot many interesting places to explore. HongDae looks very interesting too and you photographers are unique and beautiful. Thanks for sharing the post.

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 21, 2017

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the read 🙂

  10. Reply

    Andi

    February 20, 2017

    The sheep are so cute. I never knew that a place like a sheep cafe would exist. There’s just a lot of cat cafe or dog cafe but sheep… OMG. just so cute!

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 21, 2017

      They are very cute! Probably my favorite out of all the animal cafes!

  11. Reply

    Nika

    February 20, 2017

    Awww the sheeps are so cute and fluffy!! And the street performance looks fun! Thanks for the quick tour! 🙂

    Nikaia | http://www.wheresnika.com

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 21, 2017

      Thanks for checking it out, lady! We had a blast!

  12. Reply

    Sandy N Vyjay

    February 21, 2017

    Sheep cafe, street performance and a very different dessert that I can’t pronounce. Hongdae seems really amazing! You have listed some wonderful and exceptional things to do in Hongdae. Loved it

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 21, 2017

      The dessert is something to get used to, but I think I could go for the one wrapped in cotton candy 🙂

  13. Reply

    The Travel Ninjas

    February 21, 2017

    We plan on visiting Soeul again later this year. We haven’t been to Hongdae yet, but we will definitely check it out. It sounds like a cool place with lots of interesting local culture and food.

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 21, 2017

      Yes – there definitely is so much culture to take in, especially right around Hongik Univ with it being an art school! Hope you guys enjoy your trip!

  14. Reply

    neha

    February 21, 2017

    Such a unique list of things to do. I would not mind watching a wonderful street performance and then visiting a cozy cafe like that sheep cafe for sipping some coffee. You are awakening my wanderlust…

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 21, 2017

      Glad you enjoyed! 🙂

  15. Reply

    Serena

    February 21, 2017

    Lovely work Ashlyn. Those desserts look deliiiish. I absolutely have to get to Korea now, it’s calling to me!

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 21, 2017

      They were delish! You should definitely make a visit 🙂

  16. Reply

    Cai Dominguez

    February 24, 2017

    You got me a sheep cafe! Like seriously!?? There is a sheep cafe. By the way the street performance looks really cool. If this city ha slot of young and trendy people. I can feel how vibrant and energetic this city! Hope to visit soon!

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      February 25, 2017

      Haha yes the sheep cafe is something else! You’ll have to visit and let me know what you think!

  17. Reply

    Alice Chen

    March 3, 2017

    A sheep cafe?? What?? Clearly I need to go back to Seoul!

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      March 4, 2017

      Haha yes! We’ve lived here for a year and just found this place! Seems like there is always something new to find in Seoul!

  18. Reply

    Gelyka Ruth Dumaraos

    June 20, 2017

    Izakaya looks like one spot I will definitely try when I visit this place. Though my tummy really loves Filipino food, I know it won’t hurt trying other cusines, right? Especially seafood!

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