If you want to experience Korea like a MZ Generation local, there are actually a few spots in the huge city that is Seoul. These hotspots aren’t necessarily a city, or even a suburb but they’re certainly the hot places that MZ Generations are flocking to. You may not know these as they’re the places that spread through word of mouth.
The Seoul Guide
One of the most popular touristy neighbourhoods would be around Gyeongbokgung Palace, the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty. A must-visit for tourists and locals alike. Did you really go to Korea, if you didn’t visit wearing a Hanbok? 😂 But if you want to go where locals are flocking to, Changdeokgung Palace is the place! Oh, and don’t miss out on the beautiful garden. It’s hidden behind that it’s often looked passed, so much so that Koreans call it the Secret Garden.
When going to Gyeongbokgung Palace, many tourists will go to Bukchon Hanok Village as it’s so close by, But there’s actually another Hanok Village neighbourhood in Ikseon-dong that tourists don’t really know about. It is filled with cute but tiny alleys with some being set up by local artists.
Madang Flower Cafe is one of the more popular cafes, being so Instagrammable that it featured in the k-drama Goblin. Another pretty one is Midamheon, mainly because of the courtyard found behind. Just wandering through, you’ll find bits and pieces that are unique and won’t be found anywhere else; a perfect place to buy a little souvenir.
Can’t get enough of the traditional vibes found in Seoul? Hop over to Insa-dong, a neighbourhood filled with countless alleys. You’ll find over 100 art galleries, traditional restaurants and teahouses! But the must-go’s are without a doubt the art galleries, the stars of Insa-dong. Though, I must say that the teahouses and restaurants in Insa-dong are the perfect complement to the galleries. The only thing is they are hidden deep within the twisting alleyways, making it feel like an endless treasure hunt.
During the weekend, the main road is blocked off from cars, so stalls can be set up outside. Definitely THE place around Seoul where they can experience and see traditional Korean culture first-hand. If that wasn’t quite enough, make it complete with the quirkiest mall you’ll ever find, Ssamzigil Shopping Mall!
Eulji-ro is known as the ‘hip’ neighbourhood of Seoul that it’s also known as ‘hipjiro’, and not far from another tourist destination, Myeongdong. So if you want the best of both being a tourist and feeling like a local, why not visit both? Head to Nogari Alley and it’s filled with Koreans enjoying a night of eats afterwork. Packed full of both local and hole-in-wall restaurants that open until late, Eulji-ro is the neighbourhood for a drink (or three) and a good feast while you’re at it!
There’s my round-up of some local hotspots that you may have not heard of! Honestly, you do have to deep dive a bit to find these since they aren’t really talked about. Being small neighbourhoods, each have their own charm that makes Seoul more of a special spot than it already is. If you happen to near any of these neighbourhoods, definitely take peek in between these alleys; you never know you may want to come back the next day!