Hongdae Travel Guide: What To Do and Must-Visit Attractions

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If you’re looking for a new place to travel that’s rich with culture and history, you should consider South Korea. 

Seoul, South Korea is a popular tourist spot that has several districts with certain specialties. Hongdae is one of those districts, and here’s why you should visit it.

Hongdae is one of the most beautiful places in Seoul due to its commitment to art and entertainment. Hongdae and its surrounding neighborhoods are known for their trendy cafes and unique activities. 

An art lover’s dream is to visit Hongdae and see the eye-popping art, fashion boutiques, and thrift shopping.

The rest of this article will cover what to do in Hongdae, where to stay, what the district is known for, and a brief conclusion.

What To Do In Hongdae

Hongdae (홍대) is the perfect stop for someone who loves having a variety of activities all in one place. There’s no shortage of art and entertainment in Hongdae. 

One of the best places to go is Hongik University Street. It’s a vibrant street with lots of activities on it.

If you’re looking to stick your nose in the arts, go to the Trick Eye Museum Seoul or the NANTA 

Theater. When you’re done with all those activities, try relaxing with animals in the Meerkat Cafe. To finish off your list, test your wits in the Seoul Escape Room Hongdae 2.

Hongik University Street

Hongik University Street is perfect for walkers and shoppers alike. Unlike the other items on this list, you can walk around the street for free. 

You can interact with other tourists, see the architecture, take memorable photos, and more!

The activities on this street range from funky boutiques to avant-garde museums. There’s also plenty of cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs present. 

The nightlife is what makes the street so grand. Lights and signs make the street look even more gorgeous when it’s dark out.

If you’re interested in photography, Hongik University Street is a must-go. Along with that, music is prominent there. 

There’s an outdoor stage that hosts indie bands. If you love indie music, or are only just getting into it, then go visit the stage to see the various indie bands.

Shopping is another activity you can do. You’ll find the latest fashion trends there at the varying boutiques and street vendors. 

The fashion at Hongik tends to lean more on the hip and trendy side, but the good news is that a lot of it is cheap.

Lastly, there’s parades on the weekends that you shouldn’t miss. 

Those parades will get you invested in Korean culture. Keep in mind that Fridays and weekends are going to be when the street is the busiest.

Trick Eye Museum Seoul

As the name suggests, the Trick Eye Museum relies on playing tricks on your vision. 

Optical illusions bring art to life while also getting you invested in how Korean culture has impacted the art they display.

One minute you’ll be walking in the halls, the next you’re at an exhibit that makes you shrink to the size of a coffee cup. 

Or you’re suddenly riding a mythical creature while the other guests watch in awe. Of course, who can forget the exhibit that makes you join historical scenes.

These exhibits are all made using visual tricks such as parallax effects. 

The museum itself combines two-dimensional art murals with modern-day high-tech technology, like an augmented reality using their app called Trickeye Camera.

The fun doesn’t stop at the visuals. Going to Trick Eye also gets you admission to the Ice Museum. 

This museum is great for kids since it has kid activities such as an ice slide. However, it’s great for adults too since there’s ice sculptures and an ice hotel room.

NANTA Theater

If you’re looking for an amazing performance filled with laughter, visit the NANTA Theater (홍대난타극장). 

The NANTA Theater receives high praise for the interaction the performers have with the audience, which is impressive since the performances are non-verbal.

A famous example of a non-verbal performance group is the Blue Man Group. It’s impressive that without using words, the performers can draw the audience in. 

The dramatic facial expressions and talents are what makes visiting so worthwhile.

Another thing to consider are the front row seats. While at the Theater, it’s not uncommon that the front row will get picked to join in on the performance. 

If you want an even more interactive experience, sit in the front. If not, stay cozy in the middle or back of the auditorium.

Comedy is the focus of the performances. If you’re looking for something more serious, like a drama play, consider another Theater. 

Meerkat Cafe

Asian countries, particularly South Korea and Japan, adore the concept of animal cafes. These cafes are dining experiences where you can see and interact with various animals. 

Although they’re often common animals like cats and hamsters, there are some unique ones.

The Meerkat Cafe has more animals than you can count, so it’s best if you don’t wear clothes you really like if you plan to go. 

The critters like to nuzzle up on your pant legs and dig into your pockets. It’s a peaceful environment great for those who love animals.

This cafe is named one of the oddest places in Hongdae, which is saying something considering the entire district is known for being odd. 

The title comes from the variety of strange animals roaming around. Of course, meerkats are there, but there’s actually several others too.

Along with meerkats, there’s also genets, wallabies, raccoons, kittens, arctic foxes, and more. 

To top it all off, the cafe has an amazing selection of drinks you can choose from. Although there’s lots of nature crawling around, you should try to relax at the Meerkat Cafe.

Seoul Escape Room Hongdae 2

Escape rooms are taking over the world. Hongdae is yet another district that has them, and these escape rooms are perfect for anyone trying to channel their inner Sherlock Holmes. 

There are more escape rooms around Hongdae, but this one is the top-rated game room in all of Seoul.

Since 2015, more than one million guests have visited. The rooms are creative and entertaining, and many of them include music to match the theme. 

One guest reported action music playing in their room, and another reported adventure music in an Amazon Rainforest themed room.

Where To Stay In Hongdae

With Hongdae being a trendy and common tourist spot, you can expect high-quality service from hotels and lodges. 

You can get budget hotels that offer a quiet stay, or you can go more luxurious and get 4-star hotels with countless amenities.

Chuls Lodge

Starting this list with an affordable lodge, Chuls Lodge is one of the best places to stay while visiting Hongdae.

 Not only is it cheap, but its location is perfect. It has many attractions without ever getting too noisy. There’s 175 restaurants and 17 attractions within 0.3 miles.

Along with that, both the property and rooms have amazing amenities that’ll make your stay special. 

As for property amenities, here are some of them: free Wi-Fi, children activities, a bar/lounge, baggage storage, breakfast in the room, airport transportation, and more.

There’s also many room amenities: air conditioning, housekeeping, wake up services, a kitchenette, a bath/shower, a clothes rack, a microwave, a refrigerator, and a coffee/tea maker. 

This lodge speaks Chinese, Korean, and English.

Address: 48-10 Wausan-ro 29-gil Mapo-gu 3rd floor, Mapo-Gu, 04052

L7 Hongdae

L7 (L7 홍대) is for those looking for more luxury. It’s a 4-star, traveler’s choice hotel, and it has an even better location than the Chuls Lodge with 221 restaurants and 21 attractions within 0.3 miles. 

Also, the spoken languages are: English, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.

Although there aren’t many room amenities, there are countless property amenities, including but not limited to: a rooftop pool, conference facilities, a bar/lounge, a restaurant, a fitness center, complimentary instant coffee, breakfast, 24-hour front desk and check-in, and more.

Address: 141, Yanghwa-ro, Mapo-gu, Mapo-Gu, 03995

Hotel Baroato

Hotel Baroato is a 2-star hotel that has high reviews. It’s located in the center of Hongdae, making it perfect for those who love walking. 

It doesn’t offer much in the way of amenities, but it still has a sun terrace, a shared kitchen, and a vegetarian breakfast.

It’s known for having spacious and cozy rooms, averaging a comfort score of 9.5/10. If you’re looking for a budget hotel that has a nice location and a quiet atmosphere, then you should try the Hotel Baroato (바로아토).

Address: 212-22, Donggyo-ro, Mapo-gu, Mapo-Gu, 121-816

What Hongdae Is Known For

Unlike other districts in Seoul, Hongdae is unique in a strange sense. It has many quirky activities and architecture, making it stand out more to tourists.

Anyone with an eye for art will appreciate all the impact Hongdae’s art has had on the surrounding city of Seoul.

The thing Hongdae is most known for is its eccentric take on life. There are murals in the streets, intriguing cafes opening up all over the neighborhood, and clubs focusing on indie music and urban arts. 

Art scholars and critics alike adore Hongdae for its diverse art culture.

Hongdae is also known for its youthful ambiance. This is because of the fashion choices and appeals to nightlife and self-expression. 

Art is a form of expression, and artists go there to begin their careers in a safe environment to do so. However, it goes beyond just art, youth, and fashion.

When creativity is involved, food becomes more presentable and enjoyable. The cafes and restaurants in Hongdae are highly praised and influential for their creative spin on the dining experience and the food itself.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for somewhere new and trendy to visit, Hongdae is the perfect choice for you. 

Located in Seoul, South Korea, it’s an art haven with activities ranging from dining with animals at the Meerkat cafe to trying to escape from the Seoul Escape Room Hongdae 2.

There’s no shortage of places to stay when you’re visiting Hongdae. 

Whether you’re going to a budget hotel like Hotel Baroato, a cozy lodge-like Chuls Lodge, or somewhere luxurious like the L7 Hongdae, you’re going to be near hundreds of restaurants and dozens of activities.

Art thrives in the district of Hongdae. Hongdae is most known for its art and freedom of expression. 

Fashion, music, and physical art are the three core values residing there. Along with that, the dining experience in Hongdae is fascinating and creative.

About The Author

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Jason Park

Jason has been living in Seoul over 4 years and during that time, he has experienced a lot of the city's quirks and charms. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others who are interested in learning more about South Korea.

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