Hongdae (Hongik University Area)

Shops in the Hongdae Area (Hongik University), Seoul
Shops in the Hongdae Area (Hongik University)

Hongdae is a vibrant, energetic, and youthful neighborhood and nightlife district popular for indie music, street art, galleries, cafes, and shops. The area is named after the nearby Hongik University (Hongik Daehakgyo), one of the most prestigious fine arts universities in Korea.

Since Hongik University was built in 1948, it has gone on to be one of the top art and design schools in the country. Over the years, the Hongdae Area was developed around the university and grew into what it is today by the same artys people who lived in the area, worked in the area, or those who attended the university.

In the 1990s, many artists, performers, and musicians moved into the area thanks to cheap rent. They all had the hope of making a living doing what they loved whether it be creating street artwork, performing for a group of people on the streets, or jamming with their band in small indie music venues.

Free streetside performance in the Hongdae area
Street side performance
Urban artwork on the streets of Hongdae
Colorful and unique urban artwork found while walking through the area

Today, many of these same artists, performers, and musicians that arrived here decades ago have gone on to opening their own cafes, art galleries, theaters, shops, or music clubs. This has drastically changed the area today into a mecca of urban art and underground indie music lovers.

The Hongdae area is also the center of youthful the nightlife scene. Ihe area is one of the leading districts in Seoul for entertainment thanks to its indie culture that challenges traditional Korean culture. The area is famous for its endless options of music and dance clubs that are visited everyday by thousands of university students from Seoul and other international visitors looking to dance and party.

The streets of Hongdae at night
The streets of Hongdae at night

A “Club Day” his hosted on the last Friday of the month. The Club Day idea, which promotes local club business, was created in 2001. For 15,000 won, clubgoers get access to 11 different clubs in the Hongdae area. The fee also includes one drink.

The clubs part of the promotion are Club M.I, [email protected], DD, MWG (Myungwolgwan), NB, Matmata, Hooper, Saab, Hodge Podge, Jokerred, and Old Rock.