If you have the opportunity to vacation in Seoul in the near future, you should jump on it! Seoul is an amazing city full of culture, art, some of the best food you’ll ever eat, and TONS of shopping.
Shopping in a new city is always fun and exciting because you can pick up unique pieces that reflect the taste and style of an area, and your purchases will always remind you of the vacation you took and the memories you made there.
Seoul’s a big city, so use this article to help you decide which shopping districts to check out and which to pass up. Be sure to tell us all about your favorite Seoul shopping areas in the comments below!
Seoul Shopping #1: Myeongdong
If you’re in need of some new cosmetics or skin care products, Myeondong should be your first stop while shopping in Seoul! The cosmetic shops in Myeondong believe in treating their customers very well – some shops will offer you multiple free samples or a free facial/massage with your purchase of skin cream or makeup. Talk about hospitality!
Myeondong is known for the crazy number of skin care and makeup retailers than line the streets, but it’s also a great spot to shop at large international stores like Forever21 if you need to pick up some quick and inexpensive fashionable ensembles for going out on the town. Most shops in Myeondong also give out coupons to encourage another visit on your way out the door, so keep in mind that you’ll probably be back!
Seoul Shopping #2: Hongdae Area
You know how college kids always know what’s cool and what’s not before the rest of the world does? Take advantage of their fashion sixth sense by shopping in the Hongdae area, which is right next to the Hongik University. In this part of Seoul you’ll find plenty of interesting, trendy clothes and unique pieces of art – the university has an impressive art department, and its influence has definitely spread to the surrounding shops!
Hongdae is also home to fun flea markets during the warmer months, where you’ll be sure to find something one-of-a-kind to purchase. Check out Hongdae if you want to pick up some items that are uniquely Korean for souvenirs and gifts for friends back home.
Seoul Shopping #3: Insa-dong
If you’re looking for a good area to find unique Korean arts and crafts to bring back home, definitely check out Insa-dong! Insa-dong is one of the most popular Seoul shopping areas amongst tourists because of the different types of crafts sold in the shops there – whether you’re looking for pottery, locally made artisan paper, or traditional clothing, there’s something for everybody! Almost half of all Korean crafts are sold in Insa-dong, so it’s famous for good reason.
If you’re planning on shopping here, be sure to remember that cars are only allowed on the streets of Insa-dong during the week – if you’re shopping on a weekend, your best bet is to take public transportation or to find parking elsewhere. It’s well worth it! Be sure to grab a bite to eat at one of the surrounding cafes before you head out of the area.
Seoul Shopping #4: Dongdaemun Market
If you’re looking for high fashion, venture on over to the Dongdaedum shopping district! Dongdaedum is the best place for searching for top of the line clothes that’ll make heads turn everywhere you go once you return home from your vacation in Seoul.
Dongdaedum isn’t only good for finished articles of clothing, however – the district is most well known for being a bustling center of the textile industry, so you’ll also find amazing fabrics and see fashion wholesalers milling the shops at nighttime. Dongdaedum is also worth checking out because it’s interesting – it’s a fun mix of new and old, with a mix of modern buildings and old architecture.
Many of the stores in the market also know how to keep tourists (and locals) interested, and they can make simple custom jewelry and accessories on site. That’s one way to be sure you leave with something that you won’t see on anybody else! Check out Dongdaedum before you leave Seoul – you’ll be sad you missed it if you don’t.
Seoul Shopping #5: Ewha Shopping Area
Do you have a special young lady in your life that could benefit from a fashion-forward shopping trip? If so, be sure to stroll through the streets in the Ewha Shopping District! This district is right next to the Ewha Women’s University, so naturally the clothing and accessories found at the shops in the area are geared towards fashion friendly young women, and they’re inexpensive to boot to appeal to college students. Sounds like a win/win, right?
Ewha is also known for its selection of cute shoes, which make GREAT souvenirs because they’ll take up virtually no space in your suitcase. Check out the Ewha area for a variety of cute items to spice up your wardrobe (or your lady friend’s).
Seoul Shopping #6: Itaewon
The Itaewon shopping district has long been a popular tourist attraction – it is near where the original U.S. military base was located, so it quickly developed into a shopping area notorious for keeping foreign taste in fashion in mind. Itaewon is also known for the custom tailored suits that some of the shops in the area create from scratch – and for good reason, because the suits are amazing quality!
If you’d like to pick up an ensemble that you’ll be sure to use time and time again, get a custom, timeless suit made in the Itaewon market to bring back home with you. The next time you’re invited to a wedding or gala you’ll be glad that you did!
Are you excited to visit Seoul? Remember it’s just one part of everything that makes South Korea great. Where is your favorite place to shop for clothes, accessories, and interesting items in Seoul? Be sure to let us know in the comments below so we can check it out and report back!