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Nightlife in Korea

Event date: 2013-08-14

Seoul is certainly one of the most lively and dynamic nightlife capitals of the world. Even after midnight, throngs of people wander the streets in major shopping districts and popular downtown areas. The top attractions at nighttime are Dongdaemun Market for late-night shopping and the Hongik University (Hongdae) neighborhood with its concentration of nightclubs. For fabulous night views of Seoul, visit the observatory in N Seoul Tower or 63 City on Yeouido Island. Many visitors enjoy 63 City’s museums and dining facilities in the afternoon and stay past sunset to catch a glimpse of Seoul at night from high above in the skyscraper. If traveling with children, some options include recreational parks that open until 8 or 9pm or an exciting non-verbal show. Those with an interest in Korean traditional liquor can try some of the establishments serving Korean makgeolli.

Dongdaemun Market

In the evening, as soon as visitors exit Dongdaemun Station (Subway Line 1 & 4) or Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station (Subway Line 2, 4 & 5), they’ll find themselves a party to one of Seoul’s busiest street scenes. The area around Dongdaemun is more than just a great shopping venue; it’s the perfect place to experience some of the fun that the city has to offer.

Fridays at Migliore

Glittering neon signs and loud music wakes up sleepy souls as people start crowding the streets of Dongdaemun. An outdoor stage surrounded by giant fashion malls (Doota, Migliore, Hello apM, and Good Morning City) is a spot for regular dance performances, concerts or other exciting events. Even though the night is young, thousands of young men and women are already swarming down the fashion street that runs past the various shopping malls. The bustling, splendid night has only just begun.

Nighttime Stroll along Cheonggyecheon

Visitors often start their walk along Cheonggyecheon at Dongdaemun. Connected to the Han River, Cheonggyecheon is a stream over 3.7 kilometers long that runs right through downtown Seoul. Though once a stream that was hidden underneath the road, it was restored to its original form in 2003, redefining the landscape of Seoul. Getting more beautiful at night with the addition of lighting in some places and laser displays in others, a walk along Cheonggyecheon is the perfect complement to a night out on the town.

Fashion Leaders Converge at Dongdaemun

 As the evening goes on, the number of shoppers increases in Dongdaemun. Bored by seeing the same-old brands in department stores, visitors come here to browse among the fresh creative new looks at shopping malls such as Doota, Migliore, Hello apM, and Good Morning City. These fashion hotspots are among the first places to receive new merchandise, showcasing the fashion industry’s latest masterpieces. Cheaper than those in department stores, clothes in Dongdaemun are sold 24 hours a day. Even though the malls mainly sell clothes, they also have a variety of other products scattered throughout, including: stationery, food, souvenirs, and products for children. There is even a movie theater.

The Yellow Tents of the Open Market

Early in the evening, while the area’s giant shopping malls are crowded with customers, the Open Market near Exit #4 of Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station (Subway Line 2, 4 & 5) waits quietly until 10:00 pm before finally revealing its glory in a glitter of sparkling lights. The Open Market boasts endless rows of yellow tents selling clothes, leather goods, glasses, shoes, bags, and other accessories at majorly discounted prices. Although it lost some of its commercial luster after the nearby shopping malls popped up, it still draws people looking for that extra something special in Dongdaemun.

Wholesale Clothing Town

Dongdaemun gets even busier after midnight. Retailers from across the country gather in the Wholesale Clothing Town to do business alongside the droves of older international travelers that have come to sightsee. Across from the shopping malls, the Wholesale Clothing Town is like a huge warehouse that sells virtually every type of clothing made in Korea. Retailers waiting in front of wholesale shops such as Nuzzon, Yours, and Designer Club with large bags are a common scene at night in Dongdaemun.

Delicious Late-Night Snacks

It’s natural to get hungry when shopping in a large place like Dongdaemun. The late-night snacks sold at street stalls, in addition to the shopping, are yet another reason why people congregate here. Around Gwanghui Market and Jeil Pyeonghwa Market, numerous street stalls sell a variety of foods such as toast, hamburgers, dumplings, tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cake, vegetables and fish cakes in gochujang (red chili paste) sauce), fish cakes, and tteokgalbi (grilled beef and pork with a sweetened soy sauce marinade). In the early morning, the streets are filled with the lively sound of friends meeting and talking over soju (Korean distilled alcohol) and eating savory sundae gopchang (cow or pig’s intestines stuffed with various ingredients and fried with spicy sauce). Although the appearance of the nearby shopping malls led to the reduction of street stalls selling late-night snacks, many street vendors still stand proud, adding the delicious smell of their wares to the warm night air. Dongdaemun’s mix of fun and flavors is a rarity that can’t be found anywhere else in Seoul.

Night View of Seoul

N Seoul Tower

Atop Namsan Mountain (262 meters) in the heart of Seoul stands N Seoul Tower (236 meters). Completed in 1969, this beloved city landmark has come to represent the city itself and has been Seoul's most visited observation deck for several decades. The tower itself is a major attraction as it is brightly illuminated in the evening. The tower is lit blue when the dust density in the air is 45㎍/㎥ or lower, and white when greater than 45㎍/㎥. To get to N Seoul Tower, start at the Namsan Mountain cable car. After reaching the tower, visit the outdoor terrace and observation deck for a panoramic view of Seoul. Also be sure to spend some time with the adorable teddy bears at the Teddy Bear Museum.

For a 360 degree view of Seoul, take the elevator to the observatory. There are several restaurants and cafés on the first through fifth floors. The upscale n•GRILL seems to attract guests celebrating special occasions, while the Korean restaurant HANCooK caters to family visitors. For those who are skipping dining, there is also an observatory café for coffee and pastries, and on the second floor (T2), simple snacks and beverages are also available. Also, don't miss the famous Sky restroom with a view.


InKAS - International Korean Adoptee Service Inc | Phone: +82-2-3148-0258 | Fax: +82-2-3148-0259
(03698) 213ho, 153-3 Pyeongchang-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul