One notable part of Seoul is the Seocho-dong area. Seocho-dong straddles Gangnam Station in the east, Seocho Station in the west, Seoul National University of Education in the north, and Umyeonsan Mountain and Nambu Station in the south. The area is affluent and includes many luxury apartment complexes, office buildings, and fancy residences. At first glance, Seocho- dong doesn’t seem to be the ideal place to hang out compared to Seoul’s other neighborhoods. However, the area has a few unique spots that bring it to life and make it worth visiting. There are 9 fun things to do in Seocho-dong, which you can read about here.
#1. Forest Park
Stroll or exercise in the Forest Park, a small path that goes from Umyeonsan to Banpo-dong. One side of the park is a twenty foot high soundwall. A freeway is on the other side. Opposite the soundwall are parking lots, apartment complexes, and a few parks. The Forest Park has lots of greenery. There are pine trees, redwood trees, vegetation, plants, and a variety of flowers. Some parts of the park are narrow, and other parts are wide. Free exercise equipment is found sporadically in the park. The equipment includes pull-up bars, bodyweight equipment. and calisthenics machines. As the park crosses streets, it is connected by wooden bridges. Forest Park ends at two roads. In the south, it ends at a highway in front of Mount Umyeonsan. On the northern side, it ends at a highway that is about parallel to the Express Bus Terminal. People can walk or exercise in the Forest Park. Some just sightsee and enjoy the greenery. Others read on park benches. There are many people walking dogs and some joggers as well.
#2. Le Miel Coffee
Drink, study, or relax at Le Miel Coffee, near Gyodae Station exit 14. The cafe is a two- story space with chestnut tables and chairs and ivory walls. In an area dominated by corporate coffeehouses, Le Miel Coffee is a breath of fresh air. The coffee menu has all the standard fare, but it’s the food that really sets Le Miel Coffee apart from the competition. A small bakery section has freshly baked scones, bagels, and cookies. Le Miel Coffee also has special cakes and a variety of muffins as well. Most evenings, the upstairs is crammed with students on laptops and notepads.
#3. Seoul National University of Education Station Food Court
Explore the food court at Seoul National University of Education Station. It has a large array of traditional Korean food, including galbi jjim, bibimbab, donkatsu, kimchi fried rice, galbi tang, and salung tang. Thai and Vietnamese food are also available. They serve tom yum goong and pad thai and banmi and pho, respectively. The food court is somewhat hidden from the public. To find it, go to Seoul National University of Education Station’s exit 8. It is accessible from both the street level and the subway level. If going by subway, you can find it before the exit 8 stairwell. From the street, go right out of exit 8 and take the first staircase on the right. The stairs lead directly to the food court. The low- key decor spot is packed with office workers from adjacent buildings at lunch time on weekdays, so be prepared.
#4. Seoul National University of Education campus
Walk, run, play basketball, or do pull ups at Seoul National University of Education. Though a small university campus, it has gates that are accessible to the public. The university has a field that doubles as a soccer field and a running track. One end of the field also has basketball hoops, and the other side has pull up bars. Every evening, an array of students and locals walk or run on the track. Some people chat on the bleacher seats, people watch, or just use their phones. For an area with so many buildings and apartment complexes, the university campus is a relaxing spot and a hidden open space with expansive views of the sky.
#5. Han River Park
Walk to the Han River Park, which has a variety of attractions. People picnic, exercise, use exercise equipment, play basketball and tennis, ride bicycles, rollerblade, and skateboard along the park’s many pedestrian roads, fields, and structures. The Han River Park is a constant fixture throughout Seoul’s many varied neighborhoods. What’s unique is that each part of the park has its own design and physical environment. So each part of the park has its own unique appeal. The portion of the park located near Seocho-dong has boats, fields and trees, and expansive views of Namsan and the north side of the river. The activities people can engage in there vary. First, it’s a good place for exercising. In addition to walking trails and bike paths, there are tennis courts, basketball courts, and free exercise machines. Next, it’s a good place to picnic. The area has grass fields and many locals bring mats and snacks. The Seocho portion of the convenience stores have snacks and beverages. Just spending time at the park is also worthwhile. On Friday and Saturday evenings, about a dozen food vendors set up booths or trucks and serve locals both Korean and international cuisine. In summer, there are water shows from the bridge at 6 PM. In the summer, the park is one of the cooler spots in the area.Unlike other parts of the Han river park, the Seocho side has available food and drinks. There are convenience stores and a cafe on a boat.
For the majority of weekend goers, it’s likely they do a little bit of it all: stroll, use the exercise equipment, take in the sites from the grass or benches, and buy beverages and snacks. To access the Han River Park in Seocho, go to the Express Bus Terminal and go north. There are numerous entrances that lead to the Han River Park.
#6. Seorae Maeul Park
The Seorae Maeul Park has sweeping views of the local urban terrain and foothills. The park is accessible from many locations and is mostly situated on a cluster of connected hills that stretch from the Mount Umyeonsan foothills to the express bus terminal. It is made up of two smaller parks: Seoripol Park and Mongmaretteu Park. The latter park has a connection to the Seoul French community. Seorae Maeul has a very modern feel to it. It has well maintained pathways. There are also bridges, stairs, benches, rest platforms, and grass fields. The park is best in the spring and fall, as it’s gardens are most impressive then. The area is full of verdant greenery, with a variety of trees, bushes, and flowers. To reach it, go to Seocho Station exit 5 and go straight until reaching the first cross street, Donggwang Ro. Turn right and walk straight until reaching a forest. From there, there will be signs and a path that leads to Mongmaretteu Park on the right.
#7. Vegan Cafe
The Bread Blue is a small vegan cafe on one of the side streets between Nambu Station and Gyodae Station. The cafe has assorted baked goods. They have green tea and chocolate scones. The drink menu serves tea and coffee. It’s an uplifting place to have a chat or read a chapter of a novel, with its minimalist design and ashen walls. Mostly, the cafe is an oasis of modern sensibilities in an otherwise old and historic neighborhood where traditional hofs and korean restaurants are the norm.
#8. Mount Umyeonsan
Climb Mount Umyeonsan. The path is well maintained, and has benches, signs, workout spots, and panoramic views. The peak is about a one hour hike from the bottom. A special aspect to Umyeonsan is that it gives views of the southern river and Gangnam area, in addition to Namsan and the rest of Seoul. To get to Mount Umyeonsan, go to Nambu Station and go out either exit 4 or 5 and then go straight until Nambusunhwan-ro. This is a big multi- lane road and after using the crosswalk, there is an entrance nearby that is the main path to the peak.
#9. Gangnam Station
Finally, Seocho-dong is a short walk to the more interesting parts of Banpo-dong. There are spots worth checking out for the food or the nightlife at Gangnam Station, such as Butterfinger Pancakes for American style pancakes and food and Club Octagon for nightlife.
Leading the interesting spots in Gangnam is Butterfinger Pancakes. Butterfinger Pancakes serves a variety of waffles and pancakes. It has American style breakfast food, in other words, eggs, sausages, and bacon. There are also special dishes like the T- Bone Steak and Pancakes and Dixie Fried Chicken Strip Platter. Other restaurants worth checking out are Bronx,Dos Tacos, and Yuksam Naengymeon. Bronx is a restaurant that serves pizza and craft beer. They have IPA, Pale Ale, Stout, Hoppy Lager, Golden Ale, and other beers. The prices are usually less than 4,000 Won per beer. Though the area has many authentic and delicious pizza restaurants, Bronx has cheap craft beer and a lively atmosphere. Dos Tacos is one of the long standing Mexican restaurants in Seoul. They serve delicious Mexican food. One recommended staple is the nachos. Yuksam Naengmyeon, a Korean franchise that serves affordable bibimbab or cold noodles with meat. It is located next to Gangnam Station Exit 12. It is one of the first restaurants on the left.
Club Octagon is one of the must see spots in Gangnam. Some other nightlife spots include Woodstock Gangnam, Rainbow Hookah Bar, Thursday Party, and Bulldog Pub. Club Octagon is a club that has long been an important pillar of Gangnam entertainment. The popular nightlife spot is best visited on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sundays from 11 PM to 7 AM. Club Octagon was opened in 2011 and has been ranked as 7th by DJ Magazine: Top 100 Clubs Chart. The venue prides itself on the fact that it is more than just a club and that it offers cultural content to club patrons. Another spot to check out is Woodstock Gangnam. Woodstock Gangnam is a hard rock and heavy metal bar. The walls have rock and roll posters and the venue always has good rock music playing on its sound system. Next, Rainbow Hookah Bar is a hookah lounge in a basement on a side street off Gangnam Dae-ro. Another bar is Bulldog Pub. Bulldog Pub is an American style pub with darts. It’s a great spot to connect with Gangnam expats. One unique aspect of the bar is the polaroids of bar regulars that line one of the walls. Last, Thursday Party is one of the newer branches of the popular franchise, as it opened in Gangnam in 2019. Thursday Party has cheap drinks, plenty of seats, and good crowds. Most party goers in Gangnam find themselves at Thursday Party at some point during a night of drinking.
Seoul National University of Education Station Food Court
Seocho Jungang-ro 129, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul
The Bread Blue
3 Sinchon-ro 12da-gil, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
3 Gangnam-daero 61-gil, Seocho 4(sa)-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul
818-11, Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
645 Nonhyeon-ro, Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Rainbow Hookah Bar
308-11 Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul
3F 35 75 Gil Seocho Dae-ro Gangnam-gu, Seoul
810-2 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
1308-14 Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul
David Kute has an appreciation for Seoul’s distinct neighborhoods. From Dongdaemun’s market stalls to Hongdae’s rock music venues, the city continues to fascinate him. After spending many years living and working in Seoul and South Korea, he started the blog Rooftop on the Hanok. The blog is a place to share information as well as explore facets of life on the Korean peninsula. He enjoys writing fiction and playing basketball when he’s not researching or writing Rooftop on the Hanok posts.