South Korea is a popular tourist country with beautiful cities like Seoul and Busan. In Seoul, there is a gigantic shopping area known as Myeongdong.
Is Myeongdong worth visiting, and what can you do there?
Myeongdong is gorgeous and bustling with life. It’s a wonderful spot to visit in Seoul and definitely worth your time.
Not only can you shop at underground shopping centers, but you can shop above ground at luxury brands that make you feel like a superstar.
On top of that, Myeongdong is very safe and good for both individual and multiple travelers.
The rest of this article will cover what to do in Myeongdong, where to stay, and what it’s known for.
What To Do In Myeongdong
Myeongdong (명동) is one of the most visited areas in Seoul. The reason why is because there’s so much to do, and there are so many friendly people to meet.
Myeongdong offers an amazing dining and shopping experience.
As for the district itself, there are various activities that you should try. For starters, the food. You should stop at vendors selling street food.
While on the topic of food, you should also give the restaurant Loco Quan 401 a try. It’s very popular and located at the heart of Myeongdong.
Other than the food, the most common activity is shopping. There’s the Noon Square that’s a fashion powerhouse.
Like the Loco Quan 401, it’s located at the center of Myeongdong. There’s also the Lotte Department Store, which is one of the largest department stores in South Korea.
Lastly, there are sights around Myeongdong you need to see. The art in Myeongdong is perfect for those looking to dive into the culture of Korea.
If you want to see the art, go to the 3D Black Art Museum.
Myeongdong Street Food
There’s no better way to get involved in Korean culture than trying out their food. Street food is a staple of Korean culture, and Myeongdong has plenty to eat.
Street food is exactly what it sounds like: food sold on the street. It’s cheaper than restaurant food and it’s made faster.
Common street foods include: Korean dumplings (mandu or 만두), Korean fried chicken, and various types of stews like kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae or 김치찌개).
There’s plenty of variety for those who want to try new things, and you can eat it without it interrupting your shopping.
While you’re in Myeongdong, there will be vendors everywhere. However, they’re most commonly found near the heart of the area.
With so many activities near the center of Myeongdong, vendors prefer to go there to set up.
Loco Quan 401
If street food isn’t for you, then the sit-down dining experience at Loco Quan 401 is worth a shot. It’s an eatery that was opened only a few years ago, back in 2015.
The youth of the building means it’s in great shape and clean. It’s a trendy restaurant for all food lovers.
As nice as appearances are, the menu is the meat of the restaurant. Loco Quan 401 has a diverse selection of entrees that come with side dishes (called banchan or 반찬 in Korean).
This menu includes but is not limited to, the following: Korean BBQ, kimchi noodles, and pork belly.
One of the best parts about Loco Quan 401 is that it’s near all the major shopping centers.
It’s at the heart of Myeongdong, meaning that as soon as you’re done eating, you can get right back to shopping. It doesn’t close until 12 a.m. KST, so you have plenty of time to eat and shop.
Noon Square is a gigantic shopping complex known for its jaw-dropping design and luxurious stores.
A unique trait it has is its outdoor escalator, which makes Noon Square the first building in South Korea to have one. Another defining trait it has is its square shape and countless lights.
Fashion and culture thrive inside Noon Square thanks to the countless stores there.
There’s some recognizable brands such as: H&M, Steve Madden, Zara, and Mango. There are also other facilities that bring entertainment, dining, and leisure activities.
Opened in August 2009, Noon Square is currently one of the most popular shopping centers in Myeongdong.
In Hangul, Noon Square is 눈스퀘어, so look for signs that have those characters, or find it on your Google Maps. Noon Square is a center you must see if you’re in Myeongdong.
Lotte Department Store
While we’re talking about shopping, it’s time to talk about the most popular department store in South Korea.
It ranked the top department store in 2020, and with the pandemic restrictions loosening, the number of shoppers is only increasing. Currently, it has 1.5 million daily guests.
The Lotte Department Store is a high-end, enormous department store that’s a favorite among tourists.
It dates back to 1979 when it first opened, and it has become famous for being a leader in the Korean fashion and shopping industries.
The impact it has makes it worth visiting. Along with that, if you don’t like the mall, you could always walk down the street to the local theatre.
There are restaurants both inside and nearby the mall, so you’ll always have activities to do in case the stores don’t fit your taste.
One thing to keep in mind is that Seoul is bustling with tourists and locals alike.
With the daily visitor count being over a million, you should go to the Lotte Department Store as early as possible to avoid the crowds.
3D Black Art Museum
The 3D Black Art Museum is known for having paintings that visitors can interact with. It’s a museum focusing on 3D art that plays tricks on your mind using optical illusions.
Not only is it very colorful, but it’s suitable for all ages, making it perfect for a family vacation.
Shopping and eating are always welcome, but taking a break to go inside and see a painting of a boxing kangaroo is relieving.
Yes, inside the museum there’s a painting of a boxing kangaroo. The art ranges from wacky creations like the kangaroo to calmer displays of colors and lights.
Unlike the restaurants and shops, the museum closes early. If you’re planning to go, make sure you go in the afternoon or early evening.
Going early guarantees you have enough time to tour the entire building without risking going over closing time (9:30 p.m. KST).
Where To Stay In Myeongdong
There are many luxurious hotels to choose from when staying in Myeongdong.
There are cheaper ones that still give you great luxuries or expensive ones that bring amazing benefits.
From free Wi-Fi to mini-bars, there’s a plentiful amount of hotels to choose from.
Hotel28 (호텔 28) is a 4-star hotel that has more amenities than the average hotel.
It has 24-hour service, taxi service, meeting rooms, a bar/lounge, free Wi-Fi, free parking, a doorperson, baggage storage, a restaurant, a dry cleaning service, and more.
As for room amenities, they are as follows: air conditioning, soundproof rooms, a safe, a flatscreen TV, a refrigerator, a hair dryer, a minibar, complimentary toiletries, and more depending on the room you get.
There are non-smoking rooms and suites available.
The reason this is a good pick is that it’s not outrageous, it’s highly rated, and it has the best location.
It’s in the center of Myeongdong, making it close to all the activities mentioned in this travel guide.
Address: 13 Myeongdong 7-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Royal Hotel Seoul
The Royal Hotel Seoul is a 4-star hotel that’s also highly rated and includes plenty of amenities. Also located in central Myeongdong, it includes all of the amenities as the Hotel28. There is one key difference though: the Royal Hotel Seoul has free airport transportation as well as taxis.
On weekdays, prices range from 55 dollars a night to 78 dollars a night. Weekends are more expensive, coming in at around 98 dollars for a Saturday, and 60 for a Sunday. The Hotel28 is from 74 to 96 dollars for weekdays, 118 on Saturdays, and 83 on Sundays.
Address: 61 Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Hotel Skypark Myeongdong II
Hotel Skypark is a cheaper alternative to the above options, but without losing the luxury. It’s a 3-star hotel with average prices being 32 dollars a night. It doesn’t have as many amenities, but it does have: free Wi-Fi, complimentary instant coffee, a hot tub, shuttle buses, and more.
This hotel has both non-smoking and smoking rooms available, and it also has family rooms. That makes it a great choice for a family getaway. The ratings are high for this hotel, and since it’s in the center of Myeongdong, you’re a short distance away from the activities.
Address: 22 Myeongdong 9-gil, Euljiro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
What Myeongdong Is Known For
Tourism in Myeongdong is high because of the shopping it’s known for.
Korean cosmetic brands like Nature Republic are in Myeongdong, which draws in both locals and tourists.
Vendors line up and down the streets selling various foods, clothing, and other cosmetics.
The underground shopping areas are famous for being cheap but trendy alternatives to more expensive fashion.
The shopping areas above ground, like the Noon Square and Lotte Department Store, are ginormous shopping centers that get millions of visitors.
To get through all the shopping at Myeongdong, you’d need at least a day.
Shopping is what Myeongdong is best known for, which is why tourists go back multiple times to pick up goods they didn’t get their first time visiting.
However, shopping isn’t the only highlight of Myeongdong.
The food immerses tourists into Korean culture using street food, trendy restaurants, and cafes.
There are hundreds of vendors, restaurants, and cafes all around Myeongdong ready to serve you delicious food and drinks.
Myeongdong is an extremely popular shopping area in Seoul, South Korea. There are plenty of activities ranging from shopping to visiting museums.
You can shop at the most popular department store in South Korea, the Lotte Department Store, or you can visit the 3D museum.
There are countless 4 and 3-star hotels to stay in while you’re touring Myeongdong.
The best options will be at the center of the area so you can get to the activities as fast as possible.
The hotel prices will vary based on where you’re staying and what days you’re staying there.
Lastly, Myeongdong is known for its shopping, culture, and food. There’s under and above-ground shopping, museums and landmarks, and street and restaurant food that brings out the glories of Myeongdong.