Though, Korea isn’t too big on celebrating western holidays as much as it is here but no doubt, they are slowly starting too. The secret to finding all the festivities in Korea is to seek out where all the foreigners are as they are the top influences. And one of the places is Myeongdong, a neighbourhood located in the central district of Seoul, Jung-gu.
If you are visiting Seoul, Myeongdong is the neighbourhood you have to visit especially if you are after a shopping spree. Starting as early as the 1970’s, it’s become the “it” place to see all the trends. During this time, a lot of the city’s renovations took place and highrise buildings began to be built. Which is why you’ll see plenty of department stores, restaurants, high end boutiques in this neighbourhood. Now you know why people flocked to Myeongdong, right? It became a popular place to hit for the trends, all located in just one neighbourhood. Oh, and make sure to take a break while you shop to enjoy indie artists busking along the streets too 🎶
During the holidays, Myeongdong’s Shopping Street is a tourist attraction on its own. Not only will you be grabbing every item that catches your sight with all the holiday deals, but this is when Christmas decorative lights have gone up. Big department stores like the infamous Lotte Department Store and Shinsegae Department Store, have set up beautiful Christmas decorations all around their buildings. As soon as I search up Myeongdong on Instagram, my page suddenly fills with these Insta-worthy pictures 🎄
After all the shopping, curb your hunger by grabbing a bite to eat! Obviously you’ll find infinite K-fusion restaurants across the neighbourhood. For more Insta-opportunities themed cafes the infamous flagship Stylenanda Pink Hotel store that even has a cafe upstairs are a must visit.
But there’s a few restaurants that many Myeongdong residents rave about. For K-BBQ, three-floor restaurant, Yuk Tong Ryeong (육통령) is one where you have to go for a big feast especially, after all the shopping. It’s considered to the the best K-BBQ place in Myeongdong known for their Jirisan Mountain black pork which can only be found near Jirisan Mountain or Jeju Island. Myeongdong Kyoja (명동교자) is another must-go restaurant 🍲 It’s been open for over 40 years and there is a very good reason why. It’s know for their kalguksu (칼국수), knife-cut noodle soup. Filled with meat, vegetables and even dumplings, it’s comfort in a bowl. It’s been said that they were the ones that created kalguksu in Korean, but when it’s that delicious, who even cares if it’s true right? Whatever Myeongdong restaurant or cafe you hit, it will definitely curb your hunger.
Myeongdong may just be known for trendy shopping, there’s a few places with cultural attractions when you're in the area. Myeongdong Cathedral is one of them that adds a bit of culture and contrasts between all the very modern high rise buildings. Being the first, gothic style church in Seoul it reveals buildings with very intricate details in both exterior and interiors. If you are in Myeongdong, visiting the Cathedral leads you down to other attractions like the Namsangol Hanok Village and N Seoul Tower too, all located in Jung-gu making your day trip very worthwhile.
We’ll seeing more of Korea’s cities starting to celebrate western holidays! If you happen to spend the holidays in Korea, feel a little bit at home by visiting places like Myeongdong where the holiday spirit is in full spring!