Itaewon is a culturally diverse district in Seoul where you can find a variety of shops and restaurants hailing from different countries all over the world. The area developed as such because of the presence of American soldiers here during the Korean War. Today, it is a popular tourist spot where you can find delicious international foods, a tidy sprawl of shops, and a vibrant nightlife. You can refer to the map at the bottom of this article to get an idea of the respective attractions’ locations. If you want to stay in this area, a good hotel would be the Hamilton Hotel, which is situated in an ideal location to explore the clubs, restaurants and bars of this area. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below!
1. Indulge in Delicious Pastries at Passion 5 Patisserie
Passion 5 is a bakery/cafe in Itaewon that is widely touted to be one of the best patisseries in Seoul! Other than serving freshly baked breads, the patisserie also offers delicious sweet pastries and desserts. We ordered the Strawberry Cake (KRW 6,700), which had layers of fluffy cake alternating with luscious pastry cream, complete with strawberry slices. It was one of the best cakes I had ever eaten! The flavours were balanced nicely and the cake turned into a pleasant mush in my mouth. The café had a great ambience too, making it the perfect place for us to take a short break before starting our exploration of Itaewon.
Directions to Passion 5
From Exit 3 of Hangangjin station (Line 6), walk for 3 minutes towards the cafe. It is located at the ground floor of a black building with a 2D red bird statue outside. Check out the Google Maps directions to Passion 5.
Phone Number: +82 2 2071 9505
Operating hours: Daily 7.30am to 10pm
2. Eat Delicious Softree Ice Cream
Walking along the streets of Itaewon, we stumbled upon Softree, a cozy cafe that sells the popular soft-serve ice cream. Because the weather was quite cold, we decided to order the Mother-Bread (KRW 2,800) , which was basically a piece of golden-brown toasted bread served with luxuriously smooth soft-serve ice cream. It tasted heavenly! The delicate sweetness of the ice cream romanced our taste buds and left us wanting more. The bread was crisp and crunchy to the bite, combining with the sweet soft-serve to form a harmonious blend of flavours.
Directions to Softree (Itaewon)
From Hangangjin Station (Line 6), walk along the main road for about 15 to 20 minutes towards Itaewon Station (Line 6). The small cafe is located along the road on the left side.
3. Explore International Cuisines behind Hotel Hamilton
Itaewon is an area infused with foreign cultures, and the street behind Hotel Hamilton is a prime example of this. Along this short stretch of road, we found restaurants serving a wide variety of international cuisines. If you want to try something different from Korean food, this is the place to visit.
The street is a very short walk from Itaewon Station (Line 6), behind Hotel Hamilton. You can refer to the Google Maps directions to Hotel Hamilton.
4. Indulge in Korean Fried Chicken and Beer at Chi Mc
Chi-Mc (or Chi-maek) is a Korean phrase that means “chicken and beer”. “chi” means chicken (Chikin) and “maek” means beer (MaekJu). At Chi-Mc, this is exactly what you will find: Korean Fried Chicken and ice-cold beer! Unfortunately, we did not manage to eat here but based on online reviews the KFC here is really good.
Directions to Chi Mc (Itaewon)
The restaurant is located beside Itaewon Station (Line 6), near Hotel Hamilton. You can refer to the Google Maps directions to Hotel Hamilton.
Chi Mc (Itaewon)
Address: Hotel Hamilton, Itaewon-ro, Seoul, South Korea
Phone Number: +82 02 749 1390
Opening Hours: the restaurant opens after 1pm till late
5. Revel in Itaewon’s Incredible Nightlife
Itaewon is well-known for its vibrant nightlife. There are many clubs and pubs here that are open throughout the night. Several of them are located behind Hamilton Hotel.
Address: Hotel Hamilton, Itaewon-ro, Seoul, South Korea
6. Namsangol Hanok Village
You can get a feel of traditional Korean culture at Namsangol Hanok Village. It is not located in Itaewon, but is nearby on the other side of Namsan mountain. You can look at the map to see what I mean. Over here, you will find traditional Korean houses, exhibits of Korean craftwork, and traditional Korean games such as tuho (arrow throwing), neolttwigi (seesaw jumping), and yutnori (traditional board game).
Directions to Namsangol Hanok Village
From Exit 4 of Chungmuro Station (Line 3 & 4), walk for about 5 minutes. Click here to see the map.
Namsangol Hanok Village
Address: Namsangol Hanok Village, 28 Toegye-ro 34-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Opening Hours: | Apr to Oct: Daily 9am – 9pm | Nov to Mar: Daily 9am – 8pm | Closed Every Tuesday. If Tuesday is a holiday, the village is closed on the next day |
7. N Seoul Tower
One of the highlights of our trip was visiting the N Seoul Tower! This is a communication tower that provides broadcasting signals for various Korean media stations. It stands at an impressive 236m tall. We took the subway to Myeong-dong station and walked to Namsan Cable Car station at the base of Namsan mountain. From there, we took the cable car up to the base of N Seoul Tower. We did not go up the tower itself because the queue was too long.
The view was awesome! We had wonderful views both from the cable car and the base of the tower. We visited at night so we got to see the beautiful night skyline of Seoul. The whole city was lighted up in a vibrant display of colours.
We also found many “love locks” hanging on the railings and various structures. Suffice to say, this was a romantic area and we spent quite a while here, reveling in the beautiful night view while holding each other’s hand.
Directions to N Seoul Tower
From Exit 3 of Myeong-dong Station (Line 4), walk uphill for about 15 minutes along the street on the right side of Pacific Hotel. You will reach the Namsan Cable Car Station. From here, take the cable car up to the base of N Seoul Tower. For admission rates, other ways to reach the tower, opening hours, and more details, check out the links below.
At Itaewon, you will find fashion catered to foreign tastes. The clothes here are generally bigger in size. There are also shops offering custom tailored suits, hiphop street wear, and an underground market for ladies bags.
This article is part of our completely free and fantastic Ultimate Seoul Travel Guide. Why spend days researching when all your holiday information is simply a click away? 🙂
Map of Itaewon