You did it! You finally booked your trip to Seoul, and I'm sure you can't wait to see what this beautiful city has to offer. And believe me, this city has LOADS of fun activities and great sites to see. However, it can be soul-draining (no pun intended) finding the best places to stay in Seoul. Fear not! We did the work for you and narrowed down the hottest districts to stay at on your next Korean adventure.
Myeong-dong is by far one of the greatest places to stay amongst tourists all over the world. This vibrant colorful city never seems to sleep, and visitors can explore the nooks and crannies of this packed city at all hours. If you're a serious shopper, this is the perfect district for you. Ranking at the 9th most expensive shopping street in the world, you're likely to find all sorts of goodies like Eastern and Western style clothing, souvenirs, and delicious food.
Another great perk about staying in Myeong-dong is the location itself. The district lies in the beating heart of Seoul and has two different main lines that run directly into the district. Also, you can access City Hall, Dongdamun, Namsan Tower, and many other great attractions within twenty minutes by train.
However, if you do decide to make Myeong-dong your place of residence for your trip, beware that the city really doesn't sleep. If you're a light sleeper, make sure to choose a hotel on the outskirts or an Air BNB that isn't right in the center of the shopping area.
At first glance, Gangnam looks more of a corporate mecca that tourists are trying to avoid at home. However, when you peel back the layers of skyscraper buildings, there are hidden shops, sites, restaurants, bars, and all kinds of entertainment you won't want to miss. Like Myeong-dong, Gangnam is a night owl and has late night activities every day of the week.
Gangnam also has two main stations in the district. However, these aren't just you're average train stations. Hidden beneath the concrete are a network of endless shopping malls that stretch across the entire district. If you want to get out of Myeong-dong and find some other cheaper shopping, come out and take a peak at these subway shops.
The only downfall about Gangnam is the price and location. Gangnam is one of the more wealthier districts in Seoul, so make sure to come with a full wallet in order to enjoy some of it's features. It is also about 40 minutes away by train from City Hall. However, the hotels and Air BNBs in the area are immaculate. When they say, "You get what you pay for," it most certainly applies here in the best way possible.
When you first see Seoul Station with your own eyes, you know that this town has some serious action. Seoul Station is one of the largest stations in Seoul with various lines that take you all over South Korea. It's also full of shops and delicious food. I personally spent most of my time in Seoul Station since I worked walking distance away from this location.
Locally, they consider this part the "old city" since it isn't as new as Gangnam and other emerging districts. If you want to get a feel of how the locals live and eat, this is the right place for you. Although there isn't as much nightlife as some of the other districts, there are plenty of areas to walk around and explore. Also, there are western restaurants in case you get a bit of a craving.
There are many hotels located near Seoul Station since Line 1 ends there and it is the main line to Gimpo Airport and Incheon Airport. Also, if you want to catch a cool AirBNB, get one close to the station since there's a Lotte Mart with all the groceries and necessities you could possibly want for your trip.
If you are feeling your Korean skills are not quite up to par, this is the perfect place for you. Located on the north-west part of Seoul, Itaewon is a hip town full of diversity and all kinds of excitement. Since the town is located near the US Military base, many English speaking soldiers go to Itaewon for a night out in town.
Because of this, there are many different western style restaurants saturating the streets. You can even find a Taco Bell, which was one of my oases when I was working in Seoul. There are all kinds of Western style bars as well where you can sit down and have some nice scotch and whiskey, which is not commonly available in other parts of Korea.
Since Itaewon is located on the western part of Seoul, it is a bit harder to get to some of the main sites to see. However, if English is your only language and Korean isn't quite in your dictionary, this is the perfect place to stay for you. Also,, this makes a great area to meet if you have any friends that are working as English teachers in the area.
If you are looking for some serious excitement and nightlife, Hongdae is THE place to stay. Located right next to Sinchon and Hapjeong, which are create romantic areas for couples and delicious restaurants, it's an excellent place to check out how the locals enjoy their free time.
If you go to Hongdae on the weekend, you will for sure see shoulder-to-shoulder packed streets. The streets are full of performers, young people, and party-goers. You can even find some establishments that open after midnight. If you like to drink, there are endless bars that are open until the morning, so no need to worry about ending the night too early.
Hongdae is also a reputable arts college, so there are many college students in the area. If you don't mind the noise, we recommend you staying in the district. There are also fantastic Air BNBs close by in the suburb areas and small alleyways.
At first glance, Yeoido may not seem like the most appealing district to stay in. However, if you do plan on visiting Seoul in the spring (the BEST time to visit Seoul), you will really capture the beauty of nature in Korea. During the spring, cherry blossoms bloom and line the sidewalks with gorgeous pink flowers. The sidewalks run parallel to the Han river, which is also an excellent destination during the summer.
If you like animals, many pet lovers bring their dogs for walks and to enjoy the park. If you're looking for hustle and bustle, this may not be the district for you. However, the peace and serenity of this area is definitely a must visit.
This is another affluent community, which makes staying in an Air BNB that much more worth it. If you have a little extra spending cash, then we highly recommend grabbing a hotel in the area as well. The closer to the river, the better the view.
Wanna shop until you drop, but you're on a serious budget? Welcome, my friends to Dongdaemun Market! This area is packed with ENORMOUS skyscraper shopping-malls that are open at any hour. Plus, the merchandise here is a little more affordable. If you don't mind maneuvering your way through winding shop stalls, you will for sure find a deal you won't want to miss.
Not only is this area a plethora of purchase heaven, it also has incredible food choices and bars. You can also check out the brand new art museum and explore the interesting architecture.
Right next to Dongdaemun is Namdaemun, which is very similar to this district. However, the types of materials you can purchase in Namdaemun is wholesale products and for an older age. This is a great area to grab souveniors for family at home.
There are many beautiful hotels to stay at in this area that are decently priced. Since the district is predominantly a shopping area, many hotel prices are lower to encourage visitors to stay.