Hongdae – the street of art and indie culture

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Hongdae (홍대), an abbreviation of Hongik Daehakgyo (meaning Hongik University (홍익대학교)), is also commonly known as Hongik University Street, or the Hongdae area. The area is a popular neighbourhood in Mapo-gu, Seoul, and is known for its indie music culture and youthful ambience.


Hongik University Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, Airport Railroad)

For the interactive map, click here: smrt.co.kr

Accessory shops, cosmetic stores, gourmet eateries, clubs, lifestyle stores and unique cafes are what make this hotspot popular with local youths, young professionals, and increasing number of tourists who want to know and be infused with the young culture in the capital city. The area also lines up with street art festivals, cultural performances, open-air gigs and performances that draw the majority of the crowds.

There is this Hello Kitty-themed café, and what makes this café popular is not just its attractive pinky concept but also the fact that it offers free and fast WiFi!

 In the area, there are plenty clubs to visit: M2, Via, Jokerred, Tool, NB, Q-VO, DD, Saab, Hooper, Ska, O.R, Myeongwolgwan, Evans, FF, WATERCOCK, Freebird, Soundholic, DGBD, Hole, Liveclub Ssam and Spot. Popular and lesser-known indie-rock bands alike can be found performing in these venues. With the increased number of brands that are springing up in the area around Hapjeong Station, more new talented indie bands are springing out to perform, making the street the most prominent indie scene in the city.

One of the most popular clubs in Hongdae is Freebird. The club offers live indie band performances; even Lunafly frequents this club to perform too!


One of the biggest Korean entertainment labels, YG Entertainment, is located just near the street. It attracts tourists who are also K-pop fans to stroll the street, hoping for a lucky moment that they may chance upon their favourite idols.

 In 2007, a old coffee shop in Hongdae was actually remodelled to be used as the film set for the MBC drama The First Shop of Coffee Prince, starring Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun Hye. Thanks to the popularity of the drama, the exterior and interior of the shop have been totally overhauled to become one of the most visited places in Hongdae.

Inside the coffee shop, visitors can find a number of props that were used in the drama, including a painting by Han Yoo-joo (played by Chae Jung An). If you have been a fan of the drama, you will want to take this opportunity to stop by for a cup of coffee and reminisce the lovely drama scenes at the actual film set.

How to get there:

Take subway line 2 to Hongik University, and go out of Exit 4. Turn right at Seven Springs corner and pass the intersection. At the 3-way intersection, turn left. Walk about 100 meters on the road above the playground and walk towards the road on the right side. Walk about 500 meters until you find the coffee shop on the right.

[Directions provided by VisitKorea.or.kr]


Later in 2011, a cafe in Hongdae was also used as one of the filming locations in tvN drama Flower Boy Ramyun Shop starring Jung Il-woo.


In all, Hongdae offers more than just clubbing or shopping experience. It is a vibrant gem of art and indie culture in Seoul.

We will constantly update this article whenever we have further information, pictures and videos, so join us as we set to discover more of Hongdae.

Bookmark this page if you are planning to visit Seoul soon! 



Check out our stories on K-indie music below:

For articles on indie music, click here

Our exclusive interviews:

Interview with Lucite Tokki

Interview with J Rabbit


A project under Seoul Korea – Global Seoul-mate 2013

Certificate S130080

Watermarked photos: [email protected]

Other information and photos belong to respective websites:

english.visitkorea.or.kr (1)english.visitkorea.or.kr (2)


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