Even if you can only squeeze in 24 hours in Seoul, don’t skip out on the best things to do in Myeongdong. Located in Jung-gu, Myeongdong is the consumerist heaven of Seoul and home to some of the most interesting things to do in Seoul.
Among the top tourist attractions in Myeongdong, you’ll find some of Seoul’s finest shopping spots. Myeongdong is jammed with massive department stores, fashion boutiques, and cosmetics shops. The area is also a great destination for foodies. Prepare your tastebuds for its popular street food vendors and delicious restaurants & cafes.
Not sure where to go in Myeongdong? Explore this exciting Seoul neighborhood to its fullest with this complete guide to the best places to visit in Myeongdong!
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What to see & do in Myeongdong
Reclaim your youth on Myeongdong Shopping Street
Ask any first-time visitor to Seoul what they know about Myeong-dong and it’s shopping. At the heart of the consumerist madness is Myeongdong Shopping Street (Myeongdong 8-gil). This popular shopping street in Jung-gu comprises a stretch of boutiques and department stores. They provide never-ending excuses to dispense with your won while visiting Seoul.
Myeongdong Shopping Street hangs among the coolest shopping areas in Seoul. Whereas fashion is front and centre elsewhere in Seoul, Myeongdong is all about lookin’ good. Myeong-dong is home to a wave of popular Korean skincare and cosmetics shops.
Striving for a more youthful look and want to rejuvenate? The Myeongdong Shopping Street area is the mecca for it in South Korea. Korean cosmetics brands dominate the scene here. Look out for Innisfree, Nature Republic, Etude House, and Too Cool For School.
Finding clothing & accessories isn’t difficult in the area either. Plenty of international brands grace the street, including Uniqlo, H&M, and Guess.
Built up an appetite? You’ll also find a handful of excellent international & Korean restaurants in the area. There’s a great selection of street food vendors, too. Snacks to seek out include tornado potatoes, roasted lobster with cheese, and Korean egg toast.
Getting there: Finding Myeongdong Shopping Street is a cinch. Take the subway to Myeong-dong Station (Line 4) and use Exit 6 to get to street level. The street you’ll exit to, Myeongdong 8-gil, is where the action takes place.
Laugh until it hurts at Myeongdong NANTA Theatre
Strip the Blue Man Group of their makeup and throw them into a teppanyaki grill. You’ll have a good idea of the hijinks that await at Myeongdong NANTA Theatre.
This award-winning comedy performance is one of the top tourist attractions in Myeongdong—and Seoul as a whole. The Myeongdong NANTA Theatre show is completely non-verbal. You don’t even need to understand Korean to laugh your night away!
The NANTA Theatre centres around a fictitious Korean cooking show. The performance is driven by the beat of samul nori, a traditional Korean percussion ensemble. Actors use various kitchen tools—from knives to cutting boards—to pound out the cadence. The show surges to life with the 386-seat theatre’s dynamic sound system and acoustics.
The performance features stunning interplay of visual and auditory elements. Mixing in the comedic factor, the popular NANTA show will entertain the entire family.
Want to guarantee your seat at the NANTA Theatre? Skip the line (and the language barrier) and book your Seoul NANTA Show Ticket before you leave!
Getting there: Take the Seoul Metro Line 2 to Euljiro 1-ga Station in Jung-gu. Leave the station using Exit 6. Walk south along Namdaemun-ro to Myeongdong-gil and turn left. Follow the street for one block, and you’ll find the theatre on your right.
Get a shot of European grace at Myeongdong Cathedral
At first glance, Myeongdong Cathedral seems more attuned to a age-old European city than an Asian metropolis like Seoul. This splendid cathedral dates back to the late 19th-century. It was the first Gothic building in South Korea and the epicentre of the Roman Catholic community in Seoul.
The graceful Gothic facade of Myeongdong Cathedral continues to the interior. Inside, sky-high pillars and pointed-arched ceilings meld into a cavernous space. It’s the most popular place of worship for Seoul’s most devout Catholics.
Enshrined in the basement are several bishops, priests, and martyrs who helped spread Catholicism in South Korea.
Getting there: Hop onto Line 4 of the Seoul Metro, getting out at Myeong-dong Station. From Exit 6, turn left onto Myeongdong 8-gil. At Myeongdong-gil (about 350 metres ahead), turn right. In less than 200 metres you’ll see the cathedral on the right.
Nimble on yummy kalguksu at Myeongdong Kyoja
One of the top things to do in Myeongdong is eating. If there’s any place in the neighbourhood that bolsters that reputation, it’s Myeongdong Kyoja (Gyoja).
With over 40 years of experience behind it, Myeongdong Kyoja knows its craft. It serves up some of the finest noodles and dumplings in the area.
The signature dish here is their kalguksu. This famous Korean soup is spun from hand-cut wheat noodles. They’re drenched in an umami-loaded broth teeming with meat, dumplings and vegetables.
The popular restaurant’s claim to creating kalguksu is still unsettled. Either way, your tastebuds are in for a treat here.
Other favourites here include bibimguksu (spicy noodles), kongguksu (cold soybean soup with noodles) and mandu, Korea’s take on silky-smooth Chinese-style soup dumplings. Like xiaolongbao, they burst with ingredients like ground pork, green onions, sesame oil, and ginger.
Getting there: Hop on the Seoul metro to Myeong-dong Station (Line 4). At Exit 8, swing left and walk about 2.5 blocks. The restaurant will be on your right side (Myeongdong 10-gil 29)
Spend a whole lotta won at Lotte Department Store
Long before most Korean cosmetics were a gleam in the eye of their founders, Lotte Department Store opened its doors 1979 near Myeong-dong. Since then it’s become one of the most popular places to visit in Myeongdong. Today, it’s still one of the most famous places to shop in Seoul.
Lotte Department Store shares much in common with the shops on Myeongdong Shopping Street. This legendary Korean shopping institution throws down beauty supplies, skincare products & makeup. All the latest domestic & international fashion brands show up on the shelves here.
Bargain hunters will be in paradise here. The sheer size means you’ll enjoy never-ending sales and discounts as you swing from floor to floor.
Best of all, Lotte Department Store is geared towards international shoppers. It’s a duty-free shop that offers tax refunds to foreigners. You can even pay for your items and have them waiting for you at the airport on your day of departure.
Clothing and cosmetics don’t turn your crank? There’s more to experience here than shopping. The basement food court at Lotte Department Store is a surprisingly awesome place to eat. You can also stock up on exotic foodstuffs here. Poke around. You’ll soon be stuffing your face with local & international foods, from Korean banchan (small starters) to Japanese sushi.
Getting there: Head over to Euljiro 1-ga Station on Line 2. The store is connected to Exits 7 & 8.
Fuse culture and serious shopping at Shinsegae Department Store
Like Lotte, Shinsegae Department Store is one of Seoul’s most complete luxury shopping experiences. It tops the list of what to do in Myeongdong for shopaholics.
Shinsegae Department Store is replete with all the top brands you’d expect in an upmarket store. The flagship location in Myeong-dong is also home to a duty-free for foreigners.
Floor after floor of name-brand clothing, cosmetics, and accessories await shoppers. And like its competitor up the road, Shinsegae Department Store offers more than a smattering of goods.
On the lower level lies a high-end supermarket. Exotic fruits and other hard-to-find international delicacies await. There’s also a bustling food court here. It offers a grand selection of some of the finest things to eat in Seoul.
What separates Shinsegae Department Store from its competition is its cultural zone. It’s spread over several departments. Look out for galleries showcasing modern Korean artwork from noted local artists. You’ll also find gift shops featuring traditional Korean handicrafts. There’s plenty to do at Shinsegae besides dishing out money on luxury goods.
Getting there: Using Seoul’s public transportation, hop onto Seoul Metro Line 4. Disembark at Hoehyun Station in Jung-gu. From Exit 7, turn left at the first street. At the next block, turn right and walk along Namdaemunsijang-gil. (Confusingly, it’s the same name as the street you’re already on.) The store will be one block up to your left.
Best hotels in Myeongdong
Without a doubt, Myeong-dong is one of the top areas to stay in Seoul. Besides all its own great points of interest, the area is well-connected by public transportation to the rest of Seoul. Grab a room at one of these popular hotels in Myeongdong…
- Aloft Myeongdong is a lovely design hotel with hip & trendy styling. The spacious and comfortable rooms are quiet and feature wonderful Seoul city views. The location in the heart of the area puts you minutes away from incredible street food, restaurants, and shopping.
- Hotel 28 Myeongdong is a small boutique hotel set beside Myeongdong Shopping Street. The rooms, showcasing a movie-inspired industrial design, are sleek and unique.
- L7 Myeongdong is a brilliant hotel crawling up the Myeong-dong skyline. It’s located just outside the area’s main subway station. The rooms embrace modernity with clean design lines and lovely views of the Seoul skyline.