Gangnam Style: People Watching in Seoul's Swankiest Neighborhood
No, it’s not your imagination. Everyone—men, women, children, even dogs—dresses up in Seoul. Sure, you’re bound to see the odd denim-clad dud, but on the whole you’re more likely to spot bow ties and blazers or blouses and heels walking the streets on a daily basis.
If you like a little glitz and glamour in your people watching, head over to Gangnam (yes, the one immortalized by Psy in the song of the same name). Sip a cappuccino at any of the myriad cafes as you watch dolled-up ladies and dandified gents strut their stuff.
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The Luxury Labels of Gangnam
The upscale avenues of Gangnam are home to the city’s most exclusive fashion boutiques: Think Hermes, Marc Jacobs, and Kate Spade. Hoards of label lovers flock to the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets to browse the latest in handbags, shoes, and accessories.
It’s not that you can’t buy these labels in every other major city on the planet, but there’s something about the “look at me!” vibe in Seoul that makes people watching a fun addition to the luxury shopping experience.
The Gangnam district has become synonymous with style, and the designation doesn’t stop short of Seoul’s glitzy party scene. But in a neighborhood that is reputed to be worth more than the entire city of Busan (Korea’s second-largest metropolitan area), partying in Gangnam does not come cheap.
Many of the high-end nightlife destinations, such as dripping-with-decadence Club Eden, charge upwards of $30 just to enter. After all, someone has to pay for the ostentatious luxury of the club’s décor.
If you’re keen to spot celebs on your night out, swanky nightclubs like Club Answer or Club Ellui are your best bet, while for a quieter evening, head Coffee Bar K, renowned for its classy atmosphere and selection of single malt scotch.
Other evening options include the plethora of cafes in the Gangnam area selling good old beer and wine.
Club Eden, 602 Yeoksam-dong,Gangnam-gu
Club Answer, 125-16 Cheongdam-dongm Gangnam-gu
Club Ellui, 129 Cheongdam-dong Gangnam-gu
Coffee Bar K, 89-20 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu
It’s not all Louis Vuitton and Chanel in this quirky museum dedicated to woman’s favorite accessory. Inside this handbag-shaped building located in Seoul’s chic Gangnam district, you’ll find over 300 purses on display, some dating back as far as the 1500s.
When the history of bags with names like “chatelaine” and “sweetmeat purse” begins to overwhelm, head downstairs to the workshops to watch modern designers craft their own wares, or to the gift shop where you can buy—you guessed it—your very own handbag.
17 Dosan-Daero 13 Gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul