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Travel Highlights

Travel Highlights

City Exploration to the heart of Seoul, Jongno

  • Tag Food Shopping Tour Trend
  • Date12/20/2021
  • Hit3961
Seosulla-gil in Jongno

Jongno 3(sam)-ga, Seoul ranked third in “The 49 coolest neighbourhoods in the world” for 2021, selected by the English travel magazine Time Out. What charms does this place, which draws the world’s attention and attracts an entire generation, hold? Jongno is the heart of Seoul, where Korea’s past and present, seniors and juniors, and retro and refined styles coexist. Today, we’d like to explore the charming area of Jongno 3(sam)-ga!

Gwangjang Market, a Traditional Korean Market

Gwangjang Market entrance
  • tteokbokki
  • <em>eomuk</em>, popular winter snack

Located in Yeji-dong, Jongno-gu, Gwangjang Market demonstrates the energetic daily lifestyle of Koreans. As Korea’s first permanent market with about 100 years of tradition, it houses numerous textile wholesalers and retailers of hanbok (traditional Korean clothes) material, curtains, and bedding. It has recently become more famous for its unique food street serving small gimbap, mung bean pancakes, and beef tartare. The savory aroma of food draws passersby into the market.

Taste of Korea at Gwangjang Market

Beef tartare & octopus

When entering Gwangjang Market, you will easily find beef tartare restaurants. We highly recommend trying the “chopped live octopus and beef tartare” dish, a combination of beef tartare and finely chopped live octopus. This delicacy is characterized by the savory taste of egg yolk mingling with the soft beef tartare and chewy octopus. The dish’s Korean name, nakji tangtangi, originates from the sound of chopping (tangtang) octopus (nakji) with a knife.

<em>Japchae</em> Kkoma gimbap with mustard sauce

Kkoma gimbap, highlighted in Time Out, is also known as mayak gimbap, literally meaning “drug gimbap,” because once you taste these addictive rolls with the mustard dipping sauce, you’ll never want to stop eating them. In addition, japchae, a combination of various vegetables, meat, and glass noodles, is a festive dish usually eaten on special occasions because of its complex and time-consuming cooking process. However, this delicious dish is readily available in Gwangjang Market for a reasonable price.

<em>Bindaetteok</em> & <em>hotteok</em>

We also recommend mung bean pancakes (bindaetteok) and griddlecake with sugar filling (hotteok). While the griddle cake filled with sugar and nuts is a sweet dessert-like snack, the mung bean pancake, made with mung bean dough, green bean sprouts, and pork, is perfect for hungry tourists and best enjoyed with drinks. The latter has a long tradition and is the most popular food at Gwangjang Market.

  • Gwangjang Market
  • Address: 88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울 종로구 창경궁로 88)
  • Directions
    - Walk for approx. 1 min from Jongno 5(o)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 7
    - Walk for approx. 2 min from Euljiro 4(sa)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 5), Exit 4
  • Operating hours
    - Market: 09:00-18:00 (closed on Sundays)
    - Vintage Shops: 10:00–19:00 (closed on Sundays)
    - Gourmand Alley: 09:00–23:00 (open all year round)
  • Website: (Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese)

Attractive Walking Spots along Seosulla-gil

Seosulla-gil surrounding Jongmyo Shrine

Once you’ve appeased your hunger in Gwangjang Market, let’s discover more of Jongno’s hidden charms while digesting another delicacy! Seosulla-gil, the western stone wall road surrounding Jongmyo Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a beautiful walking spot with a cozy and peaceful atmosphere. Behind the stone wall, a large old tree’s verdant branches offer a shady resting spot in the summer and become tinged with autumn colors in the fall. While walking along the 800-meter-long road and observing the stunning scenery, you will pass by traditional crafts workshops, jewelry multishops, cafés, pubs, and other interesting shops where you can stop and rest at your leisure.

Strolling along K-Crafts Street

Space 42 exterior
  • Space 42 interior
  • Korean jewelry craft

Do you know that the citizen identification tags and ornamental hairpins that appeared in Netflix’s popular K-zombie series “Kingdom (2019)” were made in a traditional handicraft workshop in Seosulla-gil? Also known as a K-crafts street, Seosulla-gil is home to many similar shops. We’d like to introduce you to Space 42, where you’ll find diverse jewelry crafts. This cultural complex offers various products from rising Korean jewelry designers. Its first floor has a jewelry multishop, while the second floor houses a lounge and experience booth where visitors can try their hand at making jewelry.

Enjoying Food and Drinks in Hanok

  • Café Sasa exterior
  • Signature menu mugwort latte & <em>gwapyeon</em>
Seoul Gypsy interior Craft beer & volcano potato salad

If you want to take a break from walking around Seosulla-gil, we advise you to visit Café Sasa for a delicious coffee or Seoul Gypsy for an alcoholic drink. Café Sasa, designed like a hanok, was featured in Time Out for its savory mugwort latte. In addition, the Seoul Gypsy, a remodeled 1950s hanok decorated in a unique pub style, boasts experimental microbrews and exotic dishes, including Vietnamese chicken and Thai salad.

Getting a Sense of Traditional Culture

Korea Saekdong Museum interior
  • Children’s hanbok display
  • Traditional Korean ornaments

The Seosulla-gil walking tour’s last course lets you discover the beauty of Korean traditions. Korea Saekdong Museum, featuring a traditional hanok-style and modern interior, displays Korea’s old clothing culture. The Korean word saekdong means “clothes with multicolored stripes.” The museum exhibits traditional wedding clothes and children’s clothes for celebrating their first anniversaries made of these colorful, striped clothes. In addition, you can purchase various modern accessories, such as mugs and pouches, made with the colorful stripe design in the museum shop.

  • Space 42
  • Address: 83, Seosulla-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울 종로구 서순라길 83)
  • Directions: Walk for approx. 4 min from Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Lines 1, 3, 5), Exit 8
  • Operating hours: 10:00–19:00 (Closed on Mondays and public holidays)
  • Inquiries: +82-2-1670-1420 (Korean only)
  • Website: (Korean only)
  • Café Sasa
  • Address: 147, Seosulla-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울 종로구 서순라길 147)
  • Directions: Walk for approx. 8 min from Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Lines 1, 3, 5), Exit 7
  • Operating hours: Weekdays 12:00–21:00 / Weekends 11:00-21:00
  • Inquiries: +82-2-762-7001 (Korean only)
  • Website: @sasa_seoul (Korean only)
  • Signature Menu: Mugwort latte
  • Seoul Gypsy
  • Address: 107, Seosulla-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울 종로구 서순라길 107)
  • Directions: Walk for approx. 4 min from Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Lines 1, 3, 5), Exit 7
  • Operating hours: Weekdays 17:00–24:00 / Weekends 15:00-23:00 (Closed Mondays)
  • Inquiries: +82-2-743-1212 (Korean only)
  • Website: @seoulgypsy (Korean only)
  • Signature Menu: Microbrew
  • Korea Saekdong Museum
  • Address: 85-7, Yulgok-ro 10-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울 종로구 율곡로10길 85-7)
  • Directions: Walk for approx. 3 min from Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Lines 1, 3, 5), Exit 8
  • Operating hours: 10:00-18:00 (Closed on Sundays & Mondays)
  • Admission: Adults 6,000 won / Teenagers & Children 5,000 won
  • Inquiries: +82-2-765-9286 (Korean only)
  • Website: (Korean, English)

Major Gourmand Alleys of the Newtro Culture

Jongno Meat Alley

Jongno is home to numerous food streets, ranging from old restaurants in Meat Alley and Pocha Street to Ikseon-dong Café Street, which incited Korea’s newtro craze. Let’s explore these gourmand alleys that attract people of all ages, from seniors to hipsters!

Meat Alley Packed with Well-Established Restaurants

Cauldron-lid-grilled pork belly Pork belly with assorted vegetables

Many long-standing pork restaurants serving grilled pork belly and pork skirt are situated along Meat Alley, next to Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station, Exit 6. These old restaurants each have their specialties, and Tongdwaeji Jip, known for its huge cauldron lid–grilled pork belly, is no exception. Grilled pork belly, considered Korean soul food, has become a popular dish among foreigners and is listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. You can enjoy pork belly and kimchi grilled over a hot cauldron lid and wrap them in lettuce or perilla leaf. If you want to properly appreciate trendy Korean food culture, we recommend that you end your meal with fried rice made with kimchi and cheese.

Delicious Dessert in Ikseon-dong

Cheong Su Dang entrance Black sesame cake

Ikseon-dong Café Street is a popular place among the youth to find exciting desserts. The hanok café “Cheong Su Dang” is known for its delicious desserts, such as soufflé castella, which is made upon order, black sesame cake, and pour-over coffee made from millstone-ground coffee. This café is also a famous photo spot thanks to its interior design. Its entrance is embellished with a bamboo lamp and stepping-stones, emphasizing Asian beauty, while its nature-friendly interior is decorated with moss and rocks.

Food Stalls at Night

Jongno food stalls at night Food and drinks

If you walk toward Nagwon Arcade from Exit 3 of Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station on Subway Line 5, you will find food stalls lining the roadside. In Pocha Street, you can try Koreans’ favorite snacks, such as mussel soup, grilled chicken feet, grilled sea eel, and green onion pancakes, served with alcoholic drinks on a street table. Along with Gogi Alley, Pocha Street also came highly recommended in Time Out. If you want to experience Korean night culture, this is the perfect place to end your Jongno travels!

  • Tongdwaeji Jip
  • Address: 44, Supyo-ro 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울 종로구 수표로28길 44)
  • Directions: Walk approx. 1 min from Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Lines 1, 3, 5), Exit 6
  • Operating hours: 12:00–22:30 (Closed Sundays)
  • Inquiries: +82-2-743-0683 (Korean only)
  • Signature Menu: Tongdwaeji grilled pork belly
  • Cheong Su Dang
  • Address: 31-9, Donhwamun-ro 11na-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 돈화문로11나길 31-9)
  • Directions: Walk approx. 3 min from Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Lines 1, 3, 5), Exit 6
  • Operating hours: 11:30–22:00
  • Inquiries: +82-0507-1318-8215 (Korean only)
  • Website: (Korean only)
  • Signature Menu: Stone pour-over coffee, original egg soufflé castella

More Info

  • 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: 1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)

* This column was last updated in November 2021, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check the details before visiting.