Hongdae (홍대) is an area in Seoul that is the home of Hongik University (where the area’s name comes from) and just a metro station away from other large universities in the surrounding area like Ewha, Sogang, Yonsei, and more. Because of this it has become a very active hub for college night life with a unique love for the arts, indie music, edgy fashion, and plenty of places to club or drink when the sun goes down.
Hongdae is great for:
Fun accessory shopping, clothing (tops, sweaters, etc), drinking, eating, cafes, clubbing, indie band performances, gallery shows, street art, comic book/art book shops, hanging out till all hours of the night.
Hongdae is a large and spread out area so it is someplace worth exploring if you have the time since it is filled with lots of little shops and goodies! If you want to get to the action quickly you can check out my map at the end of this post and head over to the main shopping street though!! When you enter the main area from the metro the road will go two ways, to the left is a slew of places to eat and drink at all hours of the day and night, and to the right is the busy street of small shops and ever-expanding boutiques as this area continues to thrive.
Snapshot of one of the popular shopping streets in Hongdae
I would call Hongdae almost the Harajuku of Korea, if you like unique artsy shopping you should have no problems finding things you like here. Overall, since it is a university area most of the shopping is quite affordable like Edae, but some of the shops are more in the medium to high price range due to the unique nature of the pieces.
You can find a LOT of the SAME items sold in Japan for 3x the price here in Hongdae much cheaper!
While Edae is my go to place for cheap trendy pieces and “pretty” clothing, if I want something new and exciting or unique I hop over to Hongdae and treasure hunt because this is a great place to do that. Eyeball pins, sparkle devil hats, spiked converse shoes, neon knitted caps, pastel grandma sweaters etc ~ all of these can be found here.
I find sales rack clothing here to always have a unique gem or two I have never seen before~ like a neon pink batman shirt or a sailor suit sweater, but you have to look and be prepared to pay a bit more for the added coolness. They also have plenty of the basics on sale as well for very cheap prices.
Inside the stores many of the pieces are unique (although most shops still do not have a clear brand identity or label like some Harajuku stores do) but the prices can rage from around 20,000-80,000 won ($20-80) for a top or something. It is a bit overpriced compared to most clothing here in Korea, but for the fun/crazy stuff you may not come across it in other areas of Seoul~ so it is your call!
Cheapest final deals will always be outside on the racks. Inside the price is higher, but you may be able to haggle a bit.
Since it is a young + busy area it is fairly difficult to haggle here nowadays though~ only bother if you are spending a lot.
Sparkle devil hat! I see these being sold a lot in Tokyo for over 3500 yen~ but in Hongdae you can find them for around 20,000 won or less! Also check out Nara’s amazing rainbow zipper bracelet he grabbed on one of our Hongdae shopping adventures ♥
If you want funky eyeball items, Hongdae has you covered!
also plenty of earrings in any shape or color you could ever want.
That whole table is filled with pairs of glasses for only 10,000 won!
We loaded up on beautiful fun scarfs for just 10,000 each as well! Fond one in this pile that we paid 25,000 for at a department store ^^; oops. Valuable lesson in Korea, almost everything you want ends up being someplace for 10,000 won at some point lol.
Check out more Hongdae graffiti HERE
My advice is to spend extra to buy fun and unique things here, grab some color or something with some cute lace or a fun contrast sash on it!
Generally everything on the outside sales racks are very good deal price-wise, so always give it a look! Sometimes Hongdae will have awesome sales racks in the front of the shop, and other times it is just plain basics XD Always worth a peek!
You can find some nice shoe stores for men and women here, but Nara and I prefer shoe shopping in Edae (better prices and selection) and just get clothing and accessories in Hongdae.
Nara found a really nice loose knit sweater for about 30,000 won!
One of the larger Men’s clothing shops on the main shopping street.
Yes, guys if you want to shop you should have plenty of choices in this area! Not as many shops as the girls have (as usual) but they have a lot of places that cater to guys or carry lots of unisex items! This is a good location to get a few fun pieces vs loading up basics most of the time though, so keep that in mind!
shops literally on top of each other!
Grab some woof cotton candy! This dog and his owner have been selling in this area for years *_* he is huge and so sweet… just like the candy hehe.
Little Prince necklaces ♥ Korea LOVES him!!
In the past Hongdae was always a busy area, but now it is becoming extremely crowded with not only Korean students, but Expats, and tourists alike. If you come in the evening over the weekend it can get extremely packed with people shopping, people going to dinner, going out to drink, or looking for clubs to party at~ so if you wish to shop peacefully it is best to come during a weekday afternoon when the crowds are a bit thinner!
One of my favorite areas of Hongdae is the Mapogu Kiosk zone. If you head towards the popular hangout area “Hongdae Park” you will see a long row of yellow portable Kiosks! Usually these are set up from late in the afternoon till around 10pm (I have to double check the hours next visit!) and filled awesome accessories, one after another!!
This is my favorite area to shop!!!!
Nara always finds his jewelry at a Mapogu Kiosk~ some of the things they sell you can find in other areas of Seoul, but a lot of it is mixed around with totally random older, new, and handpicked things so you never know what treasure you will find!
If you need something custom engraved go to “Initial D” because he is one of the best in the area!
One of the Kiosks specializes in metal rings and will etch your name in beautiful tiny Korean, Chinese, or English for free! A ring with your name carved on it in Korean makes a really good souvenir ^^ The guy at Initial D does this all day freehand and is so good at it that it just takes him one minute!!
You can also buy his rings blank if you do not want anything etched on~ he has a lot of great stylish pieces for guys so we always stop by to see what is new.
Lots of little cute kooky key chains for sale!
One Mapogu Kiosk sells just trendy hats! Since it is winter, they have dozens of knitted kinds out in every color with pom poms, little bear ears, extra fluffy, and more! Check out the Psy dancing drawing~ haha the sign in the back says “Oppa’s Hongdae Style!”
Korea has taught me to love pins and broaches! They really make any jacket or bag extra awesome!
One vendor at the very end of the row sells a bunch of super cute character items~ I think a lot of his things are imported from Japan so they cost a little more, but are extra cute!
lots of stitch at his Kiosk!
If you are looking to shop for Korean cosmetics you can find a shop for just about every chain here~ Holika Holika, Etude, The Face Shop, Tony Moly, etc
If you are in the mood to try lots of cheap Korean street food you can eat your fill in Hongdae~ most of these are open very late to sell snacks to all the hungry drinkers and clubbers in the area on the weekend for just a few won!
Many of the street vendors are quite popular here, it is not uncommon to see lines form for certain foods.
If you want to sit down you can also find dozens of fun cafes, bakeries, lounges, and places to eat throughout the area!
Aside from graffiti, Hongdae is famous for catching live performances from new artists and indie groups. During the day you may see a group of High School boys playing soft songs on guitars, and after the sun goes down in another area you may come across a group of performers playing rock music or even beat-boxing. Nights (especially weekends) are never dull here and come alive with creative people. If you come on a good night you can see a dozen small performances throughout the area.
Shop all day and eat + party all night in Hongdae ♥
DIRECTIONS TO HONGDAE 홍대 SHOPPING
Artisy + Party area
Shops open around noon and close around midnight
Check out my other Hongdae posts for places to club, eat, or shop
Hongdae (“Hongik University” on the Metro in English) is on the Green metro line #2
You are going to want to use Exit #8 or Exit #9 and follow the map (or crowds walking) to the main pink area if you want to get to the major shopping zone right away…. really this is just the tip of the iceberg though! I have marked hongdae park in green, this is where you can find the row of Kiosks with some of the best goodies in my opinion!
♥ ♥ ♥
Make sure you check out my other Hongdae posts on this blog for more things to do while you are in this area!
Do you like shopping in Hongdae? What sort of cute things have you bought in this area? Have any favorite shops or places you like to go when you come here? Comment below and share!