If you crave for amazing nightlife, incredible street art, have a taste for indie-pop music, and an happen to be an admirer of cheap, yet delicious street food, Hongdae might just be the place for you. Hongdae is one of the coolest places to be in Seoul owing to its crowd of youngsters coming over to study in three different universities this place is a host to. Let us take a tour through the streets of Hongdae and find out the best things to do over here.
Go 3D at the Trick Eye Museum
Go trick your eyes and experience what real-world magic looks like at the Trick Eye Museum. You can get lost amidst the mesmerizing paintings at this museum and feel almost as if you’re inside one of them. Sounds much like Harry Potter, right? Well, it is. Get yourself clicked with the magical wall art or be the size of a cup while standing at certain angles and mess with your friends. The optical illusions at this museum are far away from the understanding of common people, yet powerful enough to leave a lasting impression which makes the Trick Eye Museum stand apart from your everyday boring museum.
Take a walk around the Hongkik University Street
One of the liveliest places in Hongdae is the Hongkik University Street owing to its crowd of youngsters. The streets near the University are always buzzing with clubs, cafes, trendy shops and more. The university area is ideal for budget-friendly cafes and bars and shopping. Shop for fashion accessories, or maybe those cute little socks, have the most delicious Korean food and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the place.
Say Hi to cute animals at Hello Kitty and Meerkat Cafe
Much like the animal cafes in Shibuya, Hongdae has so many cafes reserved for the animal lovers out there. There are racoons, cats, sheep and more at dozens of animal cafes in Hongdae, Meerkat Café and Hello Kitty being one the most loved ones. Hello Kitty would be the go-to-place for not just the cat lovers out there, but also for those who believe that love comes in all shades of pink. At Hello Kitty, everything is pink, from the walls to the furniture, which sets the mood about right- to love and be loved by those furry little cats.
Shop like crazy at Hongdae Free Market
Open from the month of March to November; the Hongdae Free Market is a shoppers’ stop that must be on your list. If you are an appreciator of art, this place would be what a library is to a bookworm. Much like a flea market, this place opens on a specific day for a specific period of time which is 1:00 - 6:00 P.M. on Saturdays. This place is home to budding artists and also witnesses one of those amazing street performances around the corner.
Try the Ziplocked Cocktails and Pajeon
Have one of those amazing cocktails they serve in ziplocked bags and enjoy those weird sounding Pajeon pancakes and feel blessed. Weird as it may sound, Pajeon are Korean savoury pancakes with cabbage, and they might just as well surprise you with how heavenly they taste. Do not be so quick to judge these pancakes and try them once. The experience would be worth memorising for a lifetime.
Enjoy the nightlife on the streets of Hongdae
In case you haven’t noticed, Hongdae tops the list of the cities with the best nightlife in Seoul. The clubs with their amazing taste of music are hard to avoid if you are a night owl. The crowd of youngsters from Hongkik University just adds to the crazy party mood of the place. Some of the clubs in Hongdae remain open till sunrise, so you don’t even have to worry about where to spend the rest of the night once you’re as drunk as you could be. Just grab your drink and hit the dance floor and dance along with the beats till the sun is up and make the best of your visit to one of the liveliest places in the world. After all, it’s not every other day that one happens to be in Hongdae, right? So, feel the vibe and lose yourself into it.
Have a round of laughter at the Nanta Theatre
Laugh hard while watching one of these performances at the Nanta Theatre when in Hongdae. A non-Korean speaker is more than welcome over here as the ninety-minute-long performance is entirely non-verbal. The plot involves three cooks and an amateur, and with just this much, they make you laugh so hard without even speaking that you almost cry. Spending an hour and a half at this place would surely be worth your time. The hidden message behind avoiding the bar of language adds to the warm and welcoming nature of this beautiful city that Hongdae is.
Unmask that bathroom singer at Hongdae’s Noraebangs
Not much different from a Karaoke, Seoul’s Noraebangs literally mean singing rooms. At one of these Noraebangs, you can rent a room all to yourself, bring over your friends or maybe join in with strangers, bond over music and unleash that singer within you. Some of the Noraebangs are English friendly as well if you’re not comfortable with Korean songs.
Get weird at the Love Museum
Another museum coming your way might not seem very exciting at once, but Hongdae certainly is not just all about museums. The Love Museum in Hongdae is yet another not-so-regular museum. Although pornography is banned in South Korea, this extension of the Trick Eye Museum is all about sexual imagery and not-so-modest poses. Some find it hilarious, the others over-expressive and vulgar. We’ll leave the rest for you to explore and decide for yourself and let us know how your experience was.
Appreciate the art at Mural Street and around Hongdae
Be it the metal walls or random construction sites; all has been painted in colours of the rainbow on the streets of Hongdae. One cannot fail to appreciate the graffiti on the walls of Mural Street when in Hongdae. This place is a hub for budding artists who want not just their art to be appreciated but also to send a meaningful message to the world using their creativity. The entire street is scenic making it a good spot for taking photographs. The Mural Street sets in just the right mood for you to fall in love with Hongdae.
Cherish that Cheese Chicken and Soondae on street
Speaking of the street art at Mural Street reminds one of the amazing street food this place serves. You cannot miss out on the most amazing Cheese Chicken, and Soondae served around almost every nook and corner of Hongdae. And guess what’s amazing, it’s all budget-friendly and doesn’t even dig a hole in your pocket after all that chilling at bars and cafes in Hongdae.
Budget-friendly meals at Monster Pizza and Hakata Bunko
It might surprise you, though, that it’s not just the street food that’s affordable in Hongdae. We would recommend you to grab a meal at one of these amazing restaurants quite close to Hongkik University street. Grab a giant slice of pizza at Monster Café or try that delicious Japanese Ramen at Hakata Bunko without digging a hole in your pocket and you won’t regret it.
Raise a toast at the Isaac Toast Hongdae, Gulp Giant Waffles
Grab your breakfast at this unique toast bar and be amazed at the varieties of toast they serve at Isaac Toast Hongdae. If you have a sweet tooth, satiate your desire and have one of these giant, creamy and colourful waffles on the streets as a dessert. We bet you would love them.
Devour a 32-cm tall Ice-cream
Speaking of giant waffles, pizzas and all, you cannot miss this giant-sized 32 cm tall ice cream. From chocolate to strawberry, from vanilla to green tea, they serve all flavours of ice cream, which are almost thrice the normal-sized ice cream we have. It’s not only monumental in its size, but also in taste. Once you have it, the taste is sure to remain with you for quite a while, although it might be a little overwhelming for you if you’re not a huge fan of sugar.
Witness the mind-blowing street performances
Since you’ve made it to Hongdae, you have to watch at least one of these amazing street performances live. If you are a K Pop fan, this would be your go-to place. Be it street dance performances or jamming sessions; you can enjoy all on the streets of Hongdae and never get enough of them. It’s always electric out there on the streets of this city. Wherever you find a crowd circling a group of people with speakers, that would be your cue. Join in and be mesmerized by the hidden talent this place has.
Take a walk around the Gyeongui Line Forest
Not far from Hongdae is this place called the Gyeongui Line Forest where one could enjoy a refreshing walk amidst nature after being a little overwhelmed by the vibrant city vibe. This place has become quite famous amongst the locals as a regular gathering or a family picnic spot where one can walk around and breathe in the fresh air after a long tiring day at work. This place stands totally in contrast with the streets of Hongdae and lets you explore the green side of Hongdae.
Go fishing at one of these indoor fishing cafés
Try a hand at indoor fishing at one of these cafes near the university street and win amazing prizes. The friendly staff is more than happy to help you if you are a beginner at fishing. Indoor fishing seems to be an exciting thing to do when you can even win prizes depending on the weight of the fish you catch. Sounds fun, right?
DIY- Rings, toys, pottery and much more
Be creative with ceramic toys and paint one for yourself or try a hand at pottery and make your own cups and plates by enrolling into one of those unique ceramic classes in the city. One can also customize a ring, a necklace or even a bracelet in one such tourist-friendly classes.