The Best Places to Shop in Seoul
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
There's a reason that designers, chefs, and travelers love to dive into the boutiques, malls, markets, and designer shops of Seoul and that Gangnum Style was such a sensation back in 2012. It's no secret: Seoul loves to shop.
200 Achasan-ro, Jayang 4(sa)-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is a city built on innovation and commerce. Combine the two and you get Common Ground, the world’s largest container shopping mall. Developed by the design firm Urbantainer, the project was intended to revitalize unused land in...
52 Myeongdong 8-gil, Myeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Excitable employees hawk two-for-one creams and thrust shopping baskets at unsuspecting passersby, but their annoying antics don’t diminish the fact that Nature Republic is one of Korea’s most popular skin and beauty stores. Purveying candy...
53 Myeongdong-gil, Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
K-Beauty is big business, and Olive Young, one of Korea’s most popular beauty shops purveys products not only from Korea, but France, the US, and Japan among many other locales. This cavernous emporium sells lip balms, nose hair scissors and...
83-21 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Perhaps the most medically-minded of Korean beauty brands (or at least with packaging and stores that look that way), Mediheal products are said to promote clean and healthy skin, and are supposedly recommended by primary care physicians. The...
Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Notebooks and markers and pencils, oh my! Art Box offers a kaleidoscopic array of school supply fun, a favorite among Korean students of all ages. Found in various locations around Seoul, this colorful stationery shop sells everything from...
511 Yeongdong-daero, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The COEX Complex in Gangnam is more than just a mall, convention center, and exhibition hall. It’s a few city blocks filled with cool buildings that will thrill those who have a penchant for unique architectural design. Perhaps the most iconic of...
662 Gyeongin-ro, Sindorim-dong, Guro-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Located in southern Seoul at the Sindorim Subway Station is D-Cube City. This retail monolith houses scores of shops and restaurants. There are the ubiquitous H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo, but also trendy Korean labels such as Bean Pole, Codes...
Euljiro 6(yuk)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Dongdaemun, the old East Gate of Seoul, has been the site of a market for generations. Today, the double-roofed stone arch no longer marks entry into the city, but the capital's residents still come here to haggle over everything from shoes to...
11 Dosan-daero 45-gil, Apgujeong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
In Seoul’s swank Gangnam district, books are the new black. Upscale book publisher Assouline has various concept stores around the globe, with the Gangnam location being the brand’s first foray into Asia. The lounge provides highbrow customers...
21 Cheonho-daero 4-gil, Sinseol-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul's Folk Flea Market is a place where you can buy anything, I mean anything! This scary contraption looks like an invention of a comic book super-villain, but for the small price of 5 dollars you could be tightening those crow's feet and...
Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tucked away in the heart of downtown Seoul is the quaint Insadong district, where a Korea of yore comes to life in the form of traditional artists and musicians, shops selling Korean crafts and souvenirs, and street performers dressed in native...
688 Nodeul-ro, Noryangjin 1(il)-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Korea puts its own spin on sashimi at the Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market. Bargain for a piece of raw fish (hoe, pronounced “hway”) amid the lanes of fishmongers, then head upstairs to have one of the in-house restaurants garnish your prize...
52-3 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Koreans are masters of skin care, and Korean beauty products are sweeping the globe. One of the most popular beauty brands is a label called Skin Food. The brand takes natural ingredients such as celery, broccoli and coconut (basically a salad for...
지하 200 Sinbanpo-ro, Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Not only is the Express Bus Terminal a major transportation hub, it’s also the site of Seoul’s largest underground shopping mall. Attached to the subway station, Goto Mall sprawls for a half-mile and houses more than 600 stores. When...
Yeongjung-ro, Yeongdeungpo-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Department stores in Korea have a special kind of glamour, and of the three major players—Lotte, Hyundai and Shinsegae—Shinsegae is the most glamorous. Bursting with designer bags, shoes and clothes, the glittering interiors and constant crowds...
73 Majang-ro, Hwanghak-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The Goblin Market is Seoul’s first flea market; it's been in operation since around the end of the war. The market is huge, with more than 500 booths. Some stalls sell new stuff, while others’ merchandise seems to be the result of...
21 Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Hoehyeon-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Among the biggest and most chaotic markets in Korea, Seoul's Namdaemun Market is the capital's oldest, dating to the 1400s. Today you can find ANYthing here, if you're willing to brave the crowded alleyways tucked in behind skyscrapers:...
961-2 Dapsimni-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul’s Janganpyeong Antique Market has more than 150 stores, with everything from furniture to fine art. Antique is sometimes loosely defined, but it’s a good place to look for scroll paintings and calligraphy and lacquerware. Need a man-size...
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