girl crossing the street in Hongdae

Hongdae: The Best Neighborhood in Seoul?

Hongdae is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Seoul. It’s lively, is home to many restaurants and has a certain kind of feel to it. As Hongik University is located here, this part of Seoul is filled with students.

In this article, you’ll find out what to do, where to stay and where to eat and drink in Hongdae. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this charming neighborhood in Seoul.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

street performance in Hongdae, Seoul
Street performance in Hongdae

Is Hongdae worth visiting?

Hongdae is definitely worth visiting. It’s a neighborhood in Seoul which has its own kind of vibe to it. You have to visit to understand this. You’ll notice that even the people here dress differently, in a particular kind of style.

Hongdae is one of the reasons why Seoul is really worth visiting. It’s vibrant, trendy and has lots of things to do. Because of this, it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Seoul.

streets of Hongdae

Where to stay in Hongdae?

So, where should you stay in Hongdae? An accommodation can really make or break your stay. That’s why I’ve written down the best places to stay for you:

Mercure Ambassador Seoul Hongdae

Staying at Mercure is always a good idea. If you want to stay in a great hotel in Hongdae, I highly recommend staying at Mercure Ambassador Seoul Hongdae. It has a fitness centre, free WiFi, a 24-hour front desk and feels very luxurious.

It’s located 500 meters away from Hongik University Subway Station, which is a very convenient location for exploring the neighborhood. Click here to view its latest prices and availability.

L7 Hongdae

You might want to stay in a luxurious hotel WITH a swimming pool. Then this is the best place for you in Hongdae. Here you can swim while admiring the city lights.

Do keep in mind that the rooftop pool has an additional cost. If you don’t mind spending a bit more and you want to stay near the liveliness in Hongdae, then this is your best option.

Hi Jun guesthouse

Hi Jun Guesthouse is one of the best places to stay in Hongdae. It’s around a fifteen minute walk from the popular Hongdae Street. It’s actually nice that it’s in a more quiet area, as you don’t have the noise of the popular areas, yet it’s close enough to walk to. 

Even though it’s in a peaceful area, it’s still surrounded by several restaurants and cafes. There’s also a convenience store located 10 meters away from the guesthouse.

It’s one of the most affordable places to stay here. If you’re interested in reading a full review of my stay here, you’ll find it over here. If you want to check its rates and availability, then you should click here.

Hi Jun Guesthouse outside area
Hi Jun Guesthouse

The best things to do in Hongdae

Hongdae is bigger than you think. There are so many things to do here. Here are some of the best things to do in Hongdae:

Walk around Hongdae street

Hongdae Street is definitely the main attraction in Hongdae. It’s filled with restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. For entertainment, it’s a must-visit in Hongdae.

Hongdae street

Watch street performances

One of the best things to do in Hongdae is definitely to watch its street performances. Don’t worry, you’ll find at least one of them. You’ll mostly find them near Hongdae Street, but also near to Hongik University.

From dancers to aspiring Kpop singers, there’s a variety of performances. To be honest, watching the street performances was one of my best experiences in Seoul, South Korea. It really makes you feel like your part of a local experience. 

Street performance at Hongdae Street
Street performance, Hongdae

Explore Mangwon Market

It feels like a more local, smaller version of Gwangjang Market. Here you’ll find frozen s’mores, Korean fried chicken, octopuses and many more interesting Korean foods. It’s a must-visit during your time in Hongdae.

I only saw three tourists here in total. When walking through the market, you can spot a nice little hidden away cafe called cafe beanteum. It’s located not far from Mangwon station (5-10 minute walk). 

korean fried chicken at mangwon market in hongdae
Korean fried chicken @Mangwon Market

Visit the War & Women’s Human rights museum

Only opened between Tuesday and Saturday, this small museum is worth visiting. Even though it’s only small, it’s very impressive and informative.

It showcases the stories of the so-called ”Comfort Women” during World War II. The museum is incredible, yet horrific at the same time.

It’s a little difficult to find though. When you get to the right street, you have to walk till the end of the street and then turn right uphill. This is where you’ll find the museum. 

War & Women's Human Rights Museum in Hongdae
Near the War & Women’s Human Rights Museum

Stroll in Gyeongui Line Forest Park

This park in Hongdae is the perfect place to go for a stroll. You’ll see lots of locals walking here as well. It’s also a good place to walk if you want to get from A to B instead of using the roads. It’s very green and feels like a nice escape. It feels a world away from the business of Hongdae Street. 

couple walking hand in hand in forest park Hongdae

Go shopping

Hongdae is home to lots and lots of shops. You’ll find a lot of them near Hongik University station or near to Hongdae Street. From large malls to big stores and small stalls, there are lots of different shopping experiences to be found here.

If you’re looking for trendy Korean clothes, then this is the place to be. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen so many trendy clothes in my lifetime. Suddenly I felt underdressed every time I would walk around Hongdae Street.

By the way, if you want to buy some souvenirs such as face masks or Korean make up, then Olive Young is a great store to check out. They have affordable products and are popular among locals. There are several of their stores in Hongdae.

Olive Young store Hongdae

Discover vintage treasures

There are also several great thrift stores in Hongdae. One of them is located behind popular Hongdae Street. You’ll recognize it by the sign Ropa Usada. They sell both new as vintage clothing.

They have some unique finds, hence I highly recommend visiting if you’re into thrift shopping. Sometimes they have a sale going on with pieces from 5000 to 10000 won per piece. 

vintage clothing at ropa usada
Vintage clothes at Ropa Usada in Hongdae

Where to eat and drink in Hongdae?

There are lots and lots of places to eat and drink. Here are some of the best places to go to:

Fullinamite

If you’re looking for a tasty burger, then look no further. The burgers at Fullinamite are amazing, simply put. They also serve fries with a bolognaise kind of sauce on top of it (this is definitely not the correct term, but you get what I mean).

It’s located a little hidden away near Hongdae Street. When you see colored steps, go upstairs and on your right you’ll find this hidden gem.

burger at fullinamite

Gongcha

Gongcha is one of the best places to grab a bubble tea in Hongdae. You’ll find the regular brown sugar bubble tea, but also other delicious variants. There are several stores throughout Hongdae, so you’ll definitely walk past one when strolling through the neighborhood.

Gongcha

Comma Cafe

A quiet book cafe in the neighborhood is Comma Cafe. It’s pretty large, yet still feels like an oasis of peace. Especially the downstairs area is worth visiting. If you’re looking for a place to study, get some work done or simply relax, then this is your place. 

Cafe Comma

Greem Cafe

This cafe is a popular place to visit due to its black and white decor. It looks like the entire cafe has been drawn by hand. It feels a bit like an optical illusion and is worth visiting just to check out the interior.

Greem Cafe

Ver’s House

If you like plants, head over to Ver’s House. This cafe has multiple stories. You can sit outside or inside. Especially the outside is a nice place to relax and be surrounded by greenery. It’s one of my favorite cafes in Hongdae and I highly recommend going here.

Ver's Cafe

Wwwmaum cafe

This cafe is the perfect place to relax. It’s located very close to Hi Jun Guesthouse. Around 10 meters away. You’ll find Korean books here, relaxing music and comfortable chairs. It’s one of those serene places worth going to to unwind after a day of exploring. It feels very homey. 

Cafe in Hongdae

In conclusion

When visiting Seoul, you should definitely wander around Hongdae neighborhood. What would be even better, is staying here for at least a couple of days. In this way, you’ll really be able to feel the atmosphere of the buzzing district.

Come here to watch street performances, try new kinds of street food at Mangwon Market and shop trendy clothing and skincare. Hongdae won’t disappoint!

Away with Danae

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