The “Brooklyn of Seoul” – otherwise known as Seongsu-dong to locals – has definitely caught on internationally with its charm.
For a few years now, the neighbourhood’s juxtaposition of edgy shops tucked in raw industrial grit has drawn attention from the city’s young, artsy and hip. Along with the likes of iconoclast G-Dragon and actor Kim Soo-hyun who have homes there.
To put the neighbourhood in a more Singaporean context, think of it as a mix of Haji Lane and Gillman Barracks. But with the former’s free-spirited expression housed in repurposed functional spaces.
From cafes brimming with personality to conceptual retail spaces, addresses at Seongsu come with plenty of character.
Exploring what the area has to offer will take days. But this walking guide will take you past some of the most significant spots for a fulfilling day out.
1. Multipurpose culture centre Seongsu Yeonbang
Begin the day by alighting at Seongsu subway station, and take Exit 3. Take the second right turn down Yeonmujang 11-gil and after the second junction, you’ll come to Seongsu Yeonbang.
This factory-turned culture centre has varied eats and a rooftop cafe, along with retail and instagrammable spots to fuel your feed. I highly recommend dessert cafe Index Caramel for their delicious sweets, with the Earl Grey and Moldon Salt being my favourite.
2. Daelim Changgo, Supy and Tongue Planet
Then, follow the road out to the main street of Seongsui-ro and head right.
Within a minute, you’ll see Daelim Changgo and Supy across the street. The former is a holding warehouse of all things baked and caffeinated. While the latter sports a funland of streetwear labels presented through revolving doors and neon signs.
Joining them is Tongue Planet at the next junction – a cheeky, quirky mix of designer art and cafe rolled into one.
After being fuelled up, it’s time to stroll west down Yeonmujang-gil – the main street where it all happens.
Take your time to investigate, and watch out for signs here that point into buildings to be surprised by unexpected retail encounters or pop-ups.
During my visit, hipster-mag Kinfolk launched their fragrance line-up Kinfolk Notes along this street. It’s also here you’ll find remnants of old businesses that still peddle their shoes and leathercraft – the original stakeholders of this area.
4. Point of View stationary shop, Pigeongram cafe
Stationary enthusiasts will love Point of View for their offerings, with three levels of crafty tools from fountain pen nibs to ornate ribbon scissors.
Across the street and down a little further, a picturesque building houses Dior’s luxurious lineup.
A few steps further on, Pigeongram serves specialty coffee and drip bags designed to look like giant cigarette boxes, all behind a vintage stand that looks frozen in the 1970s. It is this kooky mix that makes Seongsu-dong popular, and worthy of return visits to discover more at its side streets.
5. Seongsu’s Seoul Forest section
At the end of the main road, head across where the road splits threeways and take the leftmost path of Wangsimni-ro 4ga-gil. Head straight till you hit the main road of Wangsimni-ro and cross over to the Seoul Forest section of Seongsu.
Here, the residential brick blocks converge to give another vibe, with its own brand of snazzy cafes and vintage retail to explore. At parts, it even reminds one of Europe.
To finish off your adventure, there’s no better way to cap it off than a stroll through the beautiful Seoul Forest itself.
Spring offers cherry blossoms, azaleas and tulips, while autumn brings a golden canopy of leaves.
Conclude your day with dinner at Galbi Alley, where the quintessential Korean day is celebrated with grill, beer and cheer.