Flea & Free Markets
Among some of Seoul’s major tourist sites are a few unique flea markets selling all kinds of secondhand goods and antique items. Some of them take place all year round, while others are held on a weekly, yearly, or seasonal basis. From handmade goods and food to artwork, secondhand clothing, household appliances, musical instruments, and other unique items, the sheer diversity of goods is enough to warrant a visit to any of Seoul’s major flea markets located in the popular and accessible neighborhoods of Hongdae, Myeong-dong, Gangnam, and Itaewon Special Tourist Zone.
The Hwanghakdong Flea Market is a special market located along the Cheonggyecheon Stream that sells secondhand goods. It is also popularly known as “Manmul (all-things) Market” due to its variety of goods and “Dokkaebi (a Korean goblin) Market” as the dark interior of the shops stacked high with antiques makes one think of a place where goblins might live. The flea market is comprised of street vendors selling old books and videos, the antique street, the electronic appliance stores, the machinery stores, and the stalls out on the street. The market place became more popular thanks to the recent visit of G-Dragon, a member of the Korean pop group Big Bang, during the shooting of Korea’s popular entertainment show Infinite Challenge (Muhan Dojeon; 무한도전).
- 1) Sindang Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 6), Exit 11. Take a right out of the exit. Walk to the four-way, cross the street and take a right to arrive at the market.
- 2) Dongmyo Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 6), Exit 5. Walk straight and cross Cheonggyecheon Stream. Turn left after crossing the stream and take your first right to reach the market.
- Date: Open all year round (open-air stalls are closed in the case of rain or snow.)
- Operating hours: 09:00-18:00
The Seoul Folk Flea Market sells specialty products from different regions in Korea. The market was formed by gathering the former shops and vendors of Hwanghak-dong Flea Market (Dokkaebi Market), who lost their shop locations during the restoration of the Cheonggyecheon Stream. The Seoul Folk Flea Market offers everyday goods, souvenirs, and folk items that shed light on the past lifestyles of Koreans. The market is divided into specialized spaces for selling miscellaneous goods, clothing, antiques and crafts, local specialties, tourism souvenirs, and more. Visitors to the market can also enjoy a wide range of traditional Korean snacks and food at affordable prices.
- Address: 21, Cheonho-daero 4-gil, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul
- Directions: Sinseol-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 9. Walk straight out of the exit and take your first right. Continue along this street, take your second right. The market will be ahead on your right.
- Date: Second and fourth Tuesday of every month
- Operating Hours: 10:00-19:00
- Website: pungmul.seoul.go.kr (Korean only)
Ssamziegil, an arts and crafts specialty shopping mall on the famous Insa-dong Street, first opened its doors December 18, 2004. Visitors can find a diverse collection of Korean handicrafts and designer goods. The shopping mall has four above ground levels which are connected by a walkway that wraps around the mall’s atrium. The shopping center offers plenty of attractions as exhibitions, performances, and events take place in its courtyard. In addition, nearby Insa-dong Art Street and the many galleries, traditional teahouses, and restaurants lining Insa-dong Street allow visitors to experience traditional Korean culture in the heart of Seoul.
- Address: 44, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
- Directions: Anguk Station (Seoul Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6. Walk about 40m ahead and turn left down Insa-dong Street. Ssamziegil will be ahead on your left.
- Date: Open all year round (Closed on Seollal (Lunar New Year's Day) & Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day) holidays)
- Operating hours: 11:00-21:00
The Hongdae Free Market started in 2002 in the college neighborhood of Hongdae and has been held each year to allow artists and visitors a chance to interact and communicate in a public, open space. It is Korea’s largest art market, bringing together over a hundred artists who put on performances and sell, exchange, and exhibit their work every week; it sets itself apart from flea markets, where second hand goods are sold and purchased. The works that are most commonly sold here include metal crafts, leatherworks, ceramic crafts, woodcrafts, glass works, and recycled art. Visitors to the market can also enjoy performances by local buskers.
- Address: 84, Yeonnam-ro 1-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul (the playground area of Hongdae)
- Directions: Hongik University Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 9.
Exit straight and walk until the first big 4-way intersection and take a left. Continue along this street until reaching the entrance of Hongik University. Turn right at this 3-way and the playground where the market operates is on the right.
- Date: Every Saturday (March-November) *Cancelled in the case of rain or snow
- Operating hours: 13:00-18:00
Myeong-dong Myeongnang Market
The Myeong-dong Myeongnang Market is a night market held from 17:00 until 21:00 on Fridays. Around a hundred groups participate every week in making up the vendors of this market. As this weekly market takes place in the major Seoul tourist destination of Myeong-dong, it draws many international tourists and locals alike. Visitors can explore a wide variety of goods and crafts that reflect the unique personality of each vendor in a relaxed, playful atmosphere. Come nightfall, candles and lanterns are lit at each stall to create a pleasant atmosphere.
- Address: 181, Euljiro 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul (the area of the KEB Bank plaza)
- Directions: Euljiro 1 (il)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 6.
Take your first left and walk straight to reach the market, which takes place within the KEB Bank plaza.
- Date: Every Friday (May-October) *Cancelled in case of rain or snow
- Operating hours: 17:00-21:00
Seocho Saturday Flea Market
The Seocho Saturday Flea Market has been held for 13 years and was originally a place for selling used household items in an effort to combat the effects of Korea’s IMF economic crisis in 1997. Comprised of around 700 stalls each week, the flea market is held on Saturdays from 9:00 to 15:00. The market is divided into different sections with goods for the general public, children and adolescents, nursery products, and seasonal items. The market also holds street concerts, creative arts programs, and other hands-on events for visitors.
- Directions: Sadang Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 4), Exit 11. Take an immediate right out of the exit and the market will be up-ahead.
- Date: Every Saturday (March–November) * Cancelled in the case of rain or snow.
- Operating Hours: 09:00-15:00
This page was last updated on March 11, 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here.