Shopping in Myeongdong
LINE 4 Myeongdong Exit 5, 6, 7, or 8
LINE 2 Euljiro1 (il)-ga Exit 5.
Myeongdong is a big shopping district in Seoul and if you want to shop this IS the place to go! You will find cosmetics stores, small boutiques, department stores, foreign brands (such as Zara, Forever 21, etc), and more here. You will probably find multiples of some stores as you walk through Myeongdong. Most stores on the first floor, coffee shops and restaurants are the upper floors.
We came to Myeongdong three different times on three different days to shop (and I still have things I wish I had purchased).
On the first day, we went at about noon which was apparently very early for Myeongdong. Stores were just opening up and the streets were relatively quiet. I also didn’t buy much despite spending more than three hours there. That was because I was intimidated and overwhelmed. As the day gets later, people will set up carts along the main streets selling street food, accessories, and clothes. You really should be there in the evening (of course it also gets very crowded).
There are people standing outside of most stores (especially the cosmetic stores) telling you to come into their store, and that they are giving out samples (with a purchase). They are often speaking in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese with a very high squeaky voice. At first I was turned off by this, and did not want to walk in or buy anything. It really did take a while before I was brave enough to walk in.
Once inside, sales people will immediately greet you and follow you throughout the store. If you speak English most of them will just stay quiet and just follow you and maybe point things out to you, but if you speak Chinese they will start chatting with you asking what you are looking for and start introducing products to you. This is also your opportunity to try out products.
Don’t worry if you missed something, because you will most likely walk by the same store again with in a couple minutes. If you want more attention and smaller crowds you should go to the stores down the smaller streets. The bigger stores have more things to try though.
If you are a K-pop or Korean drama fan, you will definitely find tons of posters and life size cardboard cut outs of celebrities. SM Entertainment has a store and dedicates the top floor for fans. My favorite is the picture on the left here, he is three stories high! And he is everywhere inside too.
Below is a picture of everything I bought in just one day (not the first day, I think this was day 2). A couple t-shirts, a sweater, lots of cosmetics, tea, and CD’s. All of the little boxes, and little packages are samples.
Of course there is more than just shopping in Myeongdong. You make a quick stop back at the subway station to rent a locker to drop off your load and go site seeing next.
LINE 4 Meong-dong Exit 8 (walk along Tongyero-gil st. for about 300m, turn right at the intersection)
LINE 2 Euljiro1 (il)-ga Exit 5 (turn right and walk along Myeongdong3-gil st for 400m, turn left and walk along Myeongdon-gil st.
We had been trying to make it to the Myeongdong Cathedral every time we were in Myeongdong but we would get distracted by the shopping and get lost. On our last day in Seoul, we made our third and final spot in Myeongdong. We walked straight to the tourist info people and asked them how to get to the Cathedral, and we got our directions. It is not located near the main streets of Myeongdong, but I did notice that when we took the subway exit pointing towards Myeongdong Cathedral there was construction. And as we walked up to the Myeongdong Cathedral, we saw construction (so we’ve been walking right past our destination!).
The Myeongdong Cathedral was one of the first western buildings and the biggest building in Seoul when it was built in the late 1800’s. Today, it is an icon in this popular tourist destination. There is English Mass at 9:00am every Sunday (which we tried to go to, but couldn’t make it).
For more information and a list times and locations for English Mass check out their official website.
Grab a bite: Myeongdong Croquette명동고로케 거리뷰
Walk straight from the front door of the Myeongdong Cathedral. You should see it before getting to the Cathedral.
Click here for map and directions
After checking out the Myeongdong we headed towards a gift shop right outside the church (down the long drive way), but saw a long line instead. My curiosity got the better of me, we decided to get in line with out really checking what were getting in line for. Well, we knew it was food (we were not hungry though).
Turns out it was croquette. I had only had this Korean version of croquette once from Paris Baguette (a Korean bakery) in San Diego. I didn’t really care for it, probably because I didn’t eat it immediately. This time, we waited in line for 10-15 minutes (the line was long, but it was moving the whole time) and made fresh. I think that’s the formula for yummy food right?
There are five different flavors to choose from: potato, vegetable, red bean jam, cream cheese, and mustard. Between the three of us, we changed our mind several times on what flavor we wanted to try (we were only getting one since we were not hungry). We ended up deciding by seeing which one looked the most popular. It was worth the wait! Crispy on the outside, and soft and flavorful inside.