has more of a restaurant feel, featuring an
artisanal food menu and an extensive range
of rice and fruit wines.
The craft beer scene here has grown
exponentially in recent years, and Magpie
Brewing Co., which began as a hobby for five
friends and now has several locations and a
brewery on Jeju Island, is a prime example.
With a core offering available year-round, the
company also regularly introduces limited-release beers infused with a variety of unique
and seasonal ingredients.
A trip to Gyeongbokgung is an essential
visit for any first-timer to Seoul. This palace
and its surrounding compound feature
some of Seoul’s most stunning architectural
sights. Built in 1395, it was the main royal
palace of the Joseon Dynasty and has
undergone various incarnations, but much
of what you experience today is an accurate
reconstruction. Highly recommended are
the free, guided tours available at 11 a.m.,
1: 30 p.m. and 3: 30 p.m. daily. The area
around Gyeongbokgung is also home to
multiple museums, including the National
Museum of Modern and Contemporary
Art, Seoul’s answer to London’s Tate or the
MoMA in New York.
Also in the vicinity is Samcheong-dong, a
charming, hilly neighborhood with restored
traditional houses and numerous galleries,
boutiques, restaurants and even stores where
one can rent a hanbok—a popular pursuit
for the selfie-taking locals visiting the nearby
palace. It’s an ideal area to sample local eats and pick up quirky souvenirs.
For a thrilling look at contemporary Seoul, head to futuristic Dongdaemun
Design Plaza (DDP), designed by the late powerhouse architect Zaha Hadid.
This vast art, design and technology hub—the centerpiece of the buzzy
Dongdaemun area—is characterized by its massive, curvaceous forms and
open 24 hours a day. Made from 5,800 tons of steel, the multifunctional space
is used for conventions, exhibitions and fashion shows, and as a showcase
for Korean and international design. Its different zones include an art hall, a
museum, a design lab and a design marketplace; cutting-edge boutiques and
rooftop parks round out the experience.
The DDP also includes the Dongdaemun History & Culture Park, which
highlights the archaeological remains from the Joseon Dynasty that were
unearthed during the site’s excavation. In fact, one might view the DDP as a
microcosm of Seoul itself: It’s endlessly fascinating, always plugged in, and full
of the signature swagger and peacocking style of this world-class, 21st-century
megalopolis. Yet if you know where to look, the ever-evolving history of Seoul
is hiding in plain sight. [
fashion pops up on
the streets of