Photo: SM TOWN’s SUM
Located in various suburbs of Seoul, mega shopping malls are reinventing themselves through continued innovation to keep pace with the ever-changing tastes of domestic and foreign consumers. These places are breaking away from the traditional role of shopping malls that simply meet the basic needs of shoppers; they are designed to cater to a broader array of services, such as fine dining, a wide-range of entertainment, and much more! These huge recreation-integrated shopping malls are truly a one-stop destination for all, and have been fervently welcomed by people of all ages and backgrounds.
In particular, Parnas Mall and COEX Mall of Gangnam have been seeing a dramatic rise in popularity among both domestic and international visitors through their multinational fashion brands and premium food and beverage outlets. Famille Station carries an upscale feel suited to high-end consumers and is easily accessible via public transportation.
Yeouido IFC Mall is situated in the west end of Seoul. After the recent renovation that included a variety of newly opened brands, IFC is now setting the latest mall trends through successfully launching their “total mall experience,” a concept that promotes visitors from all over the world to not just do their shopping, but also find high quality restaurants, entertainment centers, and a wide range of cultural experiences all under one roof. Last but not least, AK Mall, located in Seoul’s suburb of Suwon, has a perfect integration of first-class premium shops and large discount stores.
Photo: Main gate of COEX Mall (top left) / Inside view of COEX Mall (top right)
Kakao Friends Flagship Store in COEX Mall (bottom left) / Pororo Park Flagship Store (bottom right)
COEX Mall has long been at the heart of international conventions. Fully reopened in November 2014 after extensive remodeling, the mall is now entering a new era on a larger scale, equipped with assorted cultural facilities that are sure to please everyone’s taste. It has been turned into more than just an art and exhibition hall; it has created a multi-layered concept of shopping, tourism and entertainment, dubbed a “culture platform.”
The venue’s foot traffic now has a more optimized flow and is set to offer a fully indoor, refreshing cultural experience for shoppers who frequent the Gangnam area. The dynamic sights and convenient range of facilities provided offer a great experience for even the shortest of visits.
Photo: Connecting passage and shops at Parnas Mall
Parnas Mall, located in the underground level of the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas Hotel, features culture, shopping and a mass of good eats. Reopened in October of 2014 in connecting with the renovations at neighboring COEX Mall, it now has extended its scale, including dozens of editorial shops, beauty brands and global fashion brands that were previously only available in duty free stores.
Parnas is directly connected to Samseong Station, COEX Mall, a casino, and Hyundai Department Store. The mall claims to be a premium casual mall, complimented with a sophisticated interior design, not to mention a luxurious and stylish atmosphere. Cultural events are also held regularly in the halls of this complex, continuously pulling in visitors.
Photo: Exterior (top left) and interior views of SM TOWN@COEX Artium
S.M. Entertainment, one of Korea’s largest entertainment companies, unveiled SM TOWN to immense fanfare in 2015, following the reopening of COEX Mall. SM TOWN is divided into various areas, including the “Welcome Zone,” where visitors can read greeting messages from top SM celebrities; SUM, a store filled with celebrity-related merchandises; SM TOWN Studio, offering the experience of becoming an SM artist; SUM Café, selling sweets and beverages; and SM TOWN Theater.
Photo: Interior scenes of Famille Station
Famille Station houses many food chains from famous restaurants in Sinsadong Garosu-gil Road, Itaewon’s Gyeongnidan-gil Road, and Sangsu-dong in Mapo-gu. These restaurants offer everything from buffet-style Korean dining and Hamburg steakhouses to health-foods. The mall is also connected to Central City Terminal, and is in the area of Shinsegae Department Store – Gangnam Branch and JW Marriott Seoul, making it even more appealing to tourists who look for a one-stop-for-all shopping experience.
Photo: IFC Mall entrance and theater (top) / IFC Mall interior views (bottom)
Located in Yeouido, home of The National Assembly Building, various broadcasting corporations and financial institutions, IFC Mall is an international-style shopping mall containing various global brands. In addition to the great shopping, basement level 3 is a restaurant area with a European theme called Food Empire, where shoppers can satisfy their appetites with all kinds of cuisine, including Korean, Indian, Southeast Asian, American, Japanese, and European. Across from Food Empire is CJ FoodWorld, a restaurant owned and operated by CJ Group. Across the street from IFC Mall is Yeouido Park, an excellent little haven to escape from the bustle of city life.
Photo: Times Square exterior (top left) / Interior views of the mall
Located at Yeongdeungpo Station on Seoul Subway’s Line 1, Times Square serves the city of Seoul as a fully-equipped entertainment and culture space, with the Courtyard by Marriot Seoul Times Square, Shinsegae Department Store – Yeongdeungpo Branch, CGV Movie Theater, E-Mart, Kyobo Bookstore, and countless clothing stores and restaurants. Times Square also houses Asia’s largest digital premium movie theater screen, drawing the interest of many tourists.
In addition, the mall’s Main Atrium is the largest community space of its kind in Asia, and extends all the way to the roof. The venue also holds numerous performances and launch events for global companies, famous celebrities holding autograph sessions, and even TV broadcasts being filmed.
Photo: Shops and artwork inside AK Plaza
AK Plaza, along with Suwon Station, is one of the city’s landmarks. This latest fashion district also has dining establishments and many entertainment facilities, including a movie theater, lead to its shopping and culture image. It also makes it a popular place for young adults and tourists to hang out. One area of note is the basement level’s food street, which was designed to look like Korea of the 1970’s, making visitors’ meals even more memorable.
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* This column was last updated in August 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.
<Last updated on August 29, 2016>