Seoul is a truly 24 hour city. This article looks at the five hottest areas to spend the night in the South Korean capital. The areas included are Hongdae, Gangnam, Itaewon, Dongdaemun and Cheongdam. It explains what the areas are known for and points out some of the most popular clubs, bars and restaurants to visit.
Seoul’s Hottest Nightlife Districts
Seoul is an enormous city with a buzzing 24 hour culture. The South Korean capital city’s streets are never empty, though most are far quieter mid-morning than they are at midnight. If your planning on visiting the South Korean capital, you definitely want to check out Seoul’s nightlife. These are the five most exciting areas in Seoul when the sun goes down.
Hongdae is a serious contender for the largest nightlife area on the planet. This sprawling area surrounding Hongik University stretches out into nearby areas Hapjeong, Sangsu, Sincheon and the streets surrounding Ewha Women’s University, with each of these being served by their own subway stations.
If you walk the streets behind Hongik University subway station’s Exit 9, you will find buskers and street performers pulling in crowds during both the day and night. There are countless bars, clubs and restaurants in the area with something to suit all tastes.
The largest clubs can be found in the streets running between Hongik University and Sangsu stations, with two of the most famous among Koreans being Cocoon and Noise Basement. Gogo’s caters to a more international crowd, with its basement rock club FF playing rock and indie classics long into the morning. The Children’s Play Park, across the street from the main university building, is a popular
hang-out spot. Revellers can grab cheap drinks from any of the nearby convenience stores and watch local bands and even regular Korean freestyle rap battles. If you master the language, you might even consider getting involved yourself!
Thanks to Psy’s global mega hit ‘Gangnam Style’, this is the party area in Seoul that will probably be highest on most visitors’ must-see places. A huge tribute to Psy’s single has been erected near Gangnam station Exit 11, making it a popular place for tourists to pose for photographs.
The streets running parallel to the main street near Exit 10 and Exit 11 of Gangnam station are host to the majority of the area’s bars, restaurants and clubs. The most popular clubs here are Mass and Noise Basement – a branch of the same club that can be found in Hongdae.
Many locals and experienced visitors will recommend visiting clubs a little further out, however, with a few of the major hotels in the area having popular clubs built beneath them.
Itaewon is the international area of Seoul and is a favorite hang-out spot for expats of all nationalities. If you’re interested in watching virtually any international sport, you’re likely to find an Irish pub or American-style sports bar that’s showing it.
This is the best place in Seoul to sample international cuisine. There are restaurants from just about every corner of the globe here, with the majority of them serving highly authentic food cooked by ex-pats from that nation. There are also a few places that serve fusion Korean-international food. Vatos, a fusion Korean-Mexican restaurant, is one of the most popular – but be prepared to wait a while to get served!
There are also a large number of clubs in this area, with most serving up more eclectic and international music styles than the EDM that is typical of most Korean clubs.
If you’re sick of spending your nights in Seoul partying, Dongdaemun offers late-night shopping and a wide array of both street food vendors and restaurants. In Korea, most stores are open until 10 or 11pm every day of the week, so late-night shopping really does mean late-night shopping in Dongdaemun, where many stores are open until 3am or later.
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