Seoul’s Itaewon is a common tourist hotspot famous for its electric culture, diversity in the number of cuisines it serves on a plate, glorious Korean history exhibited on the shelves of its renowned museums, and for the liveliness on its streets during the later hours. Other than this, there still remains a lot to do when in Itaewon and the itinerary goes on and on. Let us check out a list of things you cannot afford missing in Itaewon-
There are many local shops and streets to shop around in Itaewon and the most famous being the Itaewon Antique Street. Despite that, Itaewon has stores like Lush and Olive Young quite common amongst the locals owing to their premium quality cosmetic products like non-liquid shampoo bars, the most interesting range of perfumes, etc. The enlisted stores are also ideal for buying souvenirs for your friends and family.
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
Run by the Samsung Foundation of Culture, the Leeum Museum is a private art museum consisting of two sections- the first section features the traditional art of the Korean people including pottery, calligraphy, etc. while the second section is all about contemporary art. Taken as a whole, the Museum is a mix of two different eras and is an interesting place to explore for both adults and youngsters.
Empty your wallet at the Itaewon Antique Shopping Street
The history of this street dates back to the time after the second World War during the 60s when the American troops were about to return back to their homes and had to sell their furniture and other belongings before leaving Korea. Since then, the street has been occupied by small furniture shops selling antique, but beautiful furniture. One can also look for varieties of ladies’ handbags available at the nearby shops.
Turn the pages of history at the War Museum of Korea
Itaewon is what it is because of its history. The streets of Itaewon are full of foreign shops and restaurant owing to the settlement of American soldiers during the Korean War. To learn more about the history of the Korean War, one must visit the beautiful Korean War Museum located very close to Itaewon. When at the Korean War Museum, do not forget to pay respects at the War Memorial built in the memory of war martyrs. The museum also offers various educational programs for school students visiting the place for educational purposes and different cultural events like military music being played in the memory of the brave soldiers.
Try the best Onion Rings at Nekkid Wings
At a walking distance from the Itaewon station, this American-style restaurant cum bar serves a variety of wings along with 11 innovative kinds of sauces. One must certainly try the speciality of the place, the crispy Giant Onion Ring. The place has a beautiful ambience and is ideal for dining when in groups as it serves different kinds of budget-friendly platters as well which can be shared and relished amongst a group of friends.
Go vegan at Plant, grab sandwiches at Casablanca Sandwicherie
Counted amongst the rarest cafes in Seoul where dairy free drinks are served, the Plant Café and Kitchen offers its customers a host of drinks and vegetarian meals. Much to one’s surprise, the place is loved by the non-vegetarians as well and has a warm and welcoming ambience greeted by greenery and cute little cushions. One should also try one of those mouth-watering sandwiches at Casablanca Sandwicherie along with a mug of beer. Do not forget to try the Moroccan Chicken when at Casablanca.
Take a walk through the Namsan Botanical Garden
Rich in both its flora and fauna, a walk through the trails of Namsan Bontanical Garden is worth your time. Representing all the rainbow colours, this park is a package in itself. During the autumn season, the park plays a host to a number of events which take place under the shadow of the pink and red leaves of the season. The month of April is most ideal for a walk around the Cherry Blossom Path, the longest trail in this park, during which the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival takes place. Not just this, the park also has other attraction such as the Namsan Tower and the Namsan Cable Car through which one can enjoy an aerial view of the beauty hidden in this place.
Listen to Jazz at All That Jazz-
Established somewhere around the 70s, All That Jazz is the oldest bar in Korea and adds to the history of the place. Despite a tough competition offered by numerous new bars swarming up around the area in due course of time, the place has managed to stay in the limelight till now. Live music begins at around 6:30 in the evening and one can stay as long as he/she wishes to after paying an entry fee of a thousand Won. The place has a great ambience and watching the live performance by different Jazz artists is just beyond what you might experience at a regular bar.
Enjoy at the Itaewon Global Village Festival
Continuing the legacy since 2002, the Itaewon Global Village Festival takes place in the month of October every year. This festival has become a cultural hub that annually attracts a dense crowd from places across the world. The most interesting events organised during the festival include Food exhibitions, street performances, cultural activities representing different countries, etc.
Relax at one of the best Spas in Seoul-
Relax at one of the best Korean Spas like the one at Itaewon Land or at Dragon Hill. These places offer relaxing spas, massages, steam baths and much more after that long day you had. Although such places have modernized with time, the feel is traditional. They also offer bathing facilities, sleeping areas, outdoor pools, and other amusement activities.
Being one the liveliest places in Seoul, Itaewon happens to be a major clubbing centre. The place plays a host to some of the most electric clubs which stay open overnight. The place is mostly swarming with tourists around the night time as one cannot afford to miss being on the streets of Itaewon. Soap Seoul and Pub Crawls are one of the best clubs to spend the night with their amazing taste of music and a decent crowd.
Pay your respects at The Itaewon Mosque
Also known as the Seoul Central Masjid, this Mosque was built somewhere around the early 20th century. This is the biggest and the first masjid in the city of Seoul and the shops surrounding the mosque has a middle-eastern touch to them as the mosque is situated amidst the Muslim street of Itaewon. The kind of shops, restaurants and cafes in the area make one feel as if it’s a different city altogether making the Mosque a common attraction amongst the tourists and even the locals.
Try your hand at pottery at the Chulsoo’s Pottery Workshop
Quite close to the Itaewon Mosque is this little place called Chulsoo where they conduct pottery workshops which a common activity most tourists love to indulge into. The atmosphere this place offers is quite interesting as people from across the world with different nationalities unite to a indulge into a traditional Korean craft-making activity reminding us of the simple fact that political borders might separate us but creativity inside all of us binds us in the most uncommon ways. Over here, the enrolled can design their pots as per their heart’s desire. What is even more interesting is that once the class is over, every visitor is presented with a pot as a return gift with a message from any random visitor from the previous batch.
DIY- Make your own perfumes at the G.N. Perfume Studio
Amongst other cool and fun activities one can indulge into on the streets of Itaewon is trying a hand at the art of perfume making at the famous G. N. Perfume Studio which offers around 150 bases and 20 varieties of scents to choose from. One can not only choose their own scents and bases, but also their favourite perfume bottle to carry their customized perfume in it and label it as per their own wish. One can also buy a bottle or two as souvenirs or gifts for friends and family.
Take a break at Passion 5 and Softree Ice Cream
The Passion 5 Bakery and Café is much loved by the locals of Itaewon for the heavenly pastries this place serves. This place offers varieties of pastries, jarred desserts, and different kinds of eclairs to choose from. The Softree Ice Cream is known for its unique style of serving an ice-cream along with a toasted loaf of bread adding to the divine flavour of the ice-cream. Weird as it may sound, the combination has been tried and tested by the chefs across the world and much loved by all of them. These two cafés should be on your list of things to do in Itaewon if you have a sweet tooth and crave for sugar all the time.
Cherish a meal at Manimal or Buddha’s Belly
When in Itaewon, a non-vegetarian certainly cannot miss out on having a meal at Manimal which serves the best varieties of smoked meat across the country. They serve the same along with interesting sides like mac and cheese and cornbread. Another such place is the Buddha’s Belly which serves the most delicious Korean favours on your plate and what’s even more interesting is that this place does not even dig a hole in your pocket as it is pocket friendly. Do not forget to have a taste of the Thai Green Curry at Buddha’s Belly and the taste shall linger on your taste buds fort quite a lot of time.
Despite this long list of the most amazing things Itaewon offers its visitors to engage with, dozens of restaurants, bars, cafes, museums and shops remain off the list. But, they’re certainly not off the road, are they? So, go and explore the rest of the city for yourself starting with this map we have traced for you and Itaewon might just turn out to be the liveliest city on your list.