I feel like I have barely scratched the surfaces of these two neighborhoods in Mapo-gu 마포구 on the west side of Seoul. I can’t quite do them justice yet. Still, I hope to inspire you to explore these areas surrounding three major universities in Seoul.
Yeoman is one of the hottest cafe districts in Seoul, with local artist shops, bars, and restaurants tucked in between.
Hongdae is this university’s club scene, but Yeonnam will give you the laid-back bar-hopping vibes if you can be pulled away from the desert and coffee.
To find this area take line 2 to Honkuk University and use exit 3 to get up to the street, then get lost to the north left of the line.
This area has winding streets with something on every corner that will make you want to stop in for a coffee, dessert, or meal. Between the instagramable cafes, take a walk along the Gyeongui Line Forest Park or hunt down the hidden graffiti tunnel between Ewha and Yonsei University campuses. You may see your favorite Korean star taking Instagram photos here.
Geurim Cafe and Randy’s Doughnuts are two cafes that draw Koreans and tourists alike. Yes, the same California Randy’s that Ironman is seen chilling out in when Nick Fury asks him to join the Avengers. Although these two spots are worth it, it expect long lines and drink and time limits in Geurim’s case. One of the downsides to the famous cafes (especially the small ones) in Korea is that they do have time limits in parts of the cafe. It is common to have to order before you can snap a picture, so if a place is too busy, you can’t just snap a few photos and go. If a place is busy, you’ll just have to wait or come back later.
Another great spot in Yeonam is Travel Maker, where you can enjoy an authentic American Dinner Breackfast complete with Tapatio hot sauce. For those of you who know, you know what a treasure it is to find this outside the southwest and Mexico. Also, breakfast is primarily soup, dumpling or hangover, in Korea. Most places open after 10a, sometimes even 12p, so this is a great place to keep on your list if you get hangry in the morning.
I can’t wait for my next visit to Seoul to explore this cute area more and taste all the deserts these cafes have to offer.
Hongdae short for Hongik University 홍익대학교, is the most famous part of Mapo, known for its young club scene. Some of the hottest clubs in Korea are located here next to Hongik University. At night Hongdae is alive with people filming K dramas, Busking, driving their hot cars down the streets, and partying past last call.
During the day, the shops are filled with people getting the latest fashions for cheap. From the Kakao and Line friends stores to Nike, Romistory (plus size fashion), and affordable fashion for less than $10 USDA. After shopping or getting your tarot read by one of the many readers lining the streets, you are sure to find a cute and cozy cafe to relax in.
Something is mesmerizing and exciting about being in Hongdae, even if you are not into the club scene like me. Around every corner, there is something to discover, especially if you grew up far from a major city on the other side of the world. This magic created by chaos is hard to describe; even my photos can’t do Hongdae justice.
If your looking for an area that Has both aesthetic cafes and a poping club atmosphere, look no further than Yeonnam and Hongdae in Mapo-gu, Seoul
The Hot Spots
Cost: average drink is $6,500 KRW or $5.22 USDA
서울 마포구 성미산로 161-10 그림카페
Randy’s (Raendiseu) Doughnuts
Cost: $2,200-3,500 KRW per doughnut or $2.77-2.81 USDA
서울 마포구 동교로 247
Cost: $6,500-15,000 KRW or $5.22-10.45 USDA
서울 마포구 양화로21길 37
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