Insadong, Jongro-gu, 인사동 서울특별시 South Korea
Photo courtesy of Korean Tourism Organization NY
InsadongWhen it’s time to escape Seoul’s bright lights and skyscrapers, head to Insadong, a quaint, historic neighborhood of winding alleyways begging to be explored. The area is also the best place to stock up on souvenirs, with dozens of stores dedicated to folk crafts, calligraphy, pottery, and hanboks (traditional Korean clothing). Of particular note is Ssamziegil, an open-air shopping complex with spiraling walkways and stairwells covered in graffiti. Here, you’ll find several eclectic boutiques as well as a rooftop garden decorated with love-themed ornaments. When hunger strikes, duck into one of the neighborhood’s many restaurants or teahouses, or sample treats from a street-food vendor. Because of its proximity to the Buddhist Jogyesa Temple, Insadong also has one of the largest concentrations of vegetarian restaurants in the city.