For a traveling bookworm, being surrounded by books is enough to make one happy, even if you can’t understand the language they are written in. For a relaxing time spent with a cup of coffee and stacks and stacks of books, head to one of these book cafés in Seoul or Busan during your next trip!
Starfield COEX Mall has it all, from shopping to dining, exhibitions, an aquarium, and even the Starfield Library! The library is open to all visitors to freely browse and enjoy the many books and other printed materials that are available.
Starfield Library is huge, with towering shelves of books that catch your eye. These 13-meter-tall shelves hold over 70,000 books in a multitude of genres, such as humanities, economics, hobby, practical skills, and even foreign publications. Other attractions of the library include the large Art Project which changes seasonally, an e-book section, and the book lounge which hosts cultural events throughout the year.
The POSCO Center Branch of Korean coffee franchise Terarosa Coffee feels like a large library. It is the second Terarosa branch to incorporate steel, following the opening of the Suyeong Branch in F1963 in Busan. The café makes use of its connection with the POSCO steel company in their design, and even operated the POSCO Steel Gallery within the café before the outbreak of COVID-19.
The café is filled with over 10,000 books donated by the POSCO cooperation. Many of the books are foreign books focused on art and science, so tourists can easily find something they can read! The scent of Terarosa’s signature pour-over coffee will make your book reading session even better. If you need a break, just head to the steel central stair seating and people-watch. You can watch the baristas as they mix up drinks! For a bit of shopping, head to the merchandise corner for some kitchen items.
Terarosa - POSCO Center Branch
Book Park Lounge is located on the third floor of the Blue Square performance hall in Yongsan. A 1-day pass for admission costs just 9,900 won and offers access to over 3,000 curated books, drinks, and cultural events like lectures and book clubs. If you’d like to take in the city view, the outdoor terrace overlooks Hannamdaegyo Bridge; for a more studious time, head to the individual laptop zone to focus! The furniture within the lounge comes from a luxury lifestyle shop, so you can spend the whole day in comfort.
If you happen to find a book you can’t bear to leave behind, take it downstairs to the Book Park bookstore to purchase.
Eternal Journey aims to read the mind of travelers. The book café is located within The Ananti Cove in Gijang-gun, Busan, near the famous Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. The Ananti Cove is open to all visitors, not just Ananti Hilton hotel guests. There are two entrances to Eternal Journey, but the side connected with Ananti Hilton is unique. The gently curving arches that line the corridor have become very popular as a photo zone on social media.
Eternal Journey is also well-known for their unique book displays. Unlike regular bookstores that display all their books grouped by category, Eternal Journey curates their products, grouping books and related items in 55 themes based on current issues and trends.
If you’ve had enough time spent cooped up inside, buy a book and head outside to the Galmaet-gil, a coastal walking path along the ocean in front of The Ananti Cove.
Seongdong BookMARU, located on the first floor of the Seongdong-gu Office, has received recognition in the Public Building Awards of Korea. From outside, you could easily wonder what the big deal is, but when looking from inside, you’ll find yourself lost in the beauty.
Seongdong BookMARU is divided into seven spaces for visitors to relax in. Choose from the Reading Stairs, Book Way, Book Café, Cloud Study, Rainbow Lounge (vision gallery), Rainbow Archive, or the Rainbow Library Stairs. The building is built in a ㄷ-shape, with the central atrium being the main space.
If you’re visiting with a child, you’ll want to visit the Rainbow Lounge, limited to two people.
* This column was last updated in August 2021, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.
* Operations subject to change depending on current social distancing levels.