Even if you only manage to squeeze in 24 hours in Seoul, you’ll be beating yourself up if you 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. Numbered among the top tourist attractions in the area are massive department stores, fashion boutiques, cosmetics shops as well as street food vendors and delicious restaurants and cafes.
Not sure where to go in Myeongdong? Explore the area to its fullest with this complete Myeongdong attractions guide including the best places to visit in Myeongdong…
What to do in Myeongdong
Reclaim your youth on Myeongdong Shopping Street
Ask any first-time visitor to Seoul what they know about Myeong-dong, it’s shopping. At the heart of the consumerist madness is Myeongdong Shopping Street.
This stretch of boutiques and department stores in Jung-gu provides a never-ending series of excuses to dispense with your won while visiting Seoul.
Hangin’ out among the best shopping areas in Seoul, the focus here is obvious at first glance.
Whereas fashion comes front and centre elsewhere in Seoul, South Korea’s obsession with outward appearance becomes ever more obvious in Myeong-dong with its wave of Korean skincare and cosmetics shops.
If you ever wanted to strive for a more youthful look and rejuvenate, this Myeongdong Shopping Street area is the mecca for it in South Korea.
Popular Korean cosmetics brands like Innisfree, Nature Republic, Etude House, and Too Cool For School dominate the scene here, but finding top-end clothing & accessories isn’t so difficult in this area either.
If you built up an appetite while the walking along street, you’ll also find a handful of excellent restaurants and popular street food vendors in the area.
Getting there: Finding Myeongdong Shopping Street is a cinch. Simply 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 and you’ll have a good idea of the hijinks that await at Myeongdong NANTA Theatre.
This award-winning comedy performance one of the top tourist attractions in Myeongdong—and Seoul as a whole. And since the Myeongdong NANTA Theatre show completely non-verbal, you don’t need to understand Korean to laugh your night away!
The NANTA Theatre centres around a fictitious Korean cooking show 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, brought to life by the 386-seat theatre’s dynamic sound system and acoustics.
The stunning interplay of visual and auditory elements mixed with the comedic factor make the popular NANTA show one that the entire family will love.
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, you might think that Myeongdong Cathedral seems a little more attuned to a age-old European city than a quintessentially Asian metropolis like Seoul.
You wouldn’t be so wrong.
This splendid cathedral dates back to the late 19th-century when it became 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 where sky-high pillars and pointed-arched ceilings meld into a cavernous space frequented by Seoul’s most devout Catholics.
Several bishops, priests, and martyrs, instrumental in spreading Catholicism in South Korea, are also enshrined in the basement.
Getting there: Hop onto Line 4 of the Seoul Metro, getting out a 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. And if there’s any place in the neighbourhood will bolster that reputation it’s Myeongdong Kyoja (Gyoja).
With over 40 years of experience behind it, Myeongdong Kyoja knows its craft, serving up some of the finest noodles and dumplings in the area.
The signature dish here is their kalguksu, a famous soup spun from hand-cut wheat noodles and a umami-loaded broth teeming with meat, dumplings and vegetables.
Even if this popular restaurant’s claim to creating kalguksu is unsettled, there’s no denying that 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 flavoured with ingredients such as 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 even 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, and one of the most famous places to shop in Seoul.
Much like the stretch of shops on Myeongdong Shopping Street (Myeongdong 8-gil), this legendary Korean shopping institution throws down an endless array of beauty supplies. Everything from skincare products & makeup to the latest domestic & international fashion brands show up on the shelves here.
Bargain-hunters will be in paradise here. The sheer size means there’s an never-ending assortment of 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 offer 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.
Even if clothing and cosmetics don’t turn your crank, there’s more to experience here than just shopping.
The basement food court is, surprisingly for a department store, an awesome place to eat and stock up on exotic foodstuffs. Poke around and you’ll soon be stuffing your face with a whole assortment of local and 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
Along with Lotte, Shinsegae Department Store is one of Seoul’s most complete luxury shopping experiences and 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 and a duty-free for foreign patrons.
Floor after floor of name-brand clothing, cosmetics, and accessories lay at the heart of the chain’s flagship location in Myeong-dong.
Like its competitor up the road, Shinsegae Department Store offers more than just a smattering of goods.
On the lower level lies a high-end supermarket where exotic fruits and other hard-to-find international delicacies await. There’s also a bustling food court here that offers a grand selection of some of the things to eat in Seoul.
What truly separates Shinsegae Department Store from its competition though is its cultural zone spread over several different departments. From a gallery showcasing modern Korean artwork from noted local artists to gift shops featuring traditional Korean handicrafts, there’s plenty to do here aside from dishing out money on luxury goods.
Getting there: Using Seoul’s public transportation, hop onto Seoul Metro Line 4, disembarking 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 the same name as the street you’re already on). The store will be one block up to your left.
Looking to get the most out of your visit to the top Myeongdong attractions? Check out these top-rated Seoul tours visiting some of the top points of interest in Myeongdong and beyond…
- Seoul Full Day City Tour: Nail down all the highlights of Seoul on this full-day city tour sweeping across the entire tourist core of Jung-gu including Jogyesa Temple, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Insadong, and Namdaemun Market. Extend the tour with a NANTA Theatre performance in Myeong-dong if you’re looking for an evening laugh!
- Korean BBQ & Local Street Food Tour: Taste the best of Seoul at nearby Namdaemun Market with this complete food tour including seven different Korea delicacies.
- Afternoon Seoul UNESCO & Traditional Markets Tour: Jam a ton into your afternoon with this 4-hour tour taking on the UNESCO World Heritage listed Changdeokgung Palace, Insadong Arts and Crafts Market, and Namdaemun Market, just steps from Myeong-dong. Includes all transportation and hotel pick-up/drop-off.
Best hotels in Myeongdong
Without a doubt, Myeong-dong is one of the top areas to stay in Seoul. With the multitude of things to do in Myeongdong and its awesome transportation connections to the rest of Seoul, there are plenty of reasons to grab a room at one of these best hotels in Myeongdong…
- Aloft Myeongdong: 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: A small boutique hotel set beside Myeongdong Shopping Street. The rooms, showcasing a movie-inspired industrial design, are sleek and unique.
- L7 Myeongdong: A brilliant hotel crawling up the Myeong-dong skyline from just outside the area’s main subway station. The rooms embrace modernity with clean design lines and lovely views of the Seoul skyline.