Hongdae: Shopping, music, dancing, busking and more
Hongdae, famous for its youthful ambience, unique cafes, dance clubs, fashion outlets and busking, attracts people in their 20s and 30s. As the sun goes down it comes alive.
Exit No. 9 of Hongik University Station, on line No. 2, leads one directly to paradise. Sounds funny? I’m serious. For all the music lovers and shopaholics and those who’re looking for unique experiences, Hongdae is the place to be a real paradise. The area is full of energy and enthusiasm. Whoever visits the neighborhood can feel the enthusiasm.
People who’re interested in art can visit Picasso Street. People who’re looking for unique experiences can visit the Raccoon Café, the Kakao Talk Café, the Sheep Café, the Hello Kitty Café or the Air Café. People who are interested in handicrafts must visit Hongdae on a Saturday. Every Saturday, there’s a flea market held at the Hongik Children’s Park. You can enjoy artistic goods, handicrafts, exhibitions and performances. Hongdae is a great place for shopaholics, too. Since it’s a university neighborhood, you can get the latest fashions and cosmetics at cheap prices. As for people who like going to night clubs, Hongdae has some of the most famous dance clubs in Korea, such as Cocoon, NB2 and Club Veera.
The neighborhood is also famous for language exchanges. If you’re staying in Korea for any length of time and want to learn Korean or any other language, you can join these meetups. Through these meetups, you can learn a language as well as make new friends. These meetup groups can be easily found on Facebook.
As for me, Hongdae is my favorite place to hang out in Seoul. I’ve been to Seoul twice. During my first trip, I stayed in Hongdae. During my second trip, which was for a week, I visited Hongdae three times. The best thing which I like about Hongdae is its buskers. I’m from India and there busking is not popular. Many people don’t consider it a good thing. I never saw a busker before my trip to Korea, so it was a different experience for me, in sociological terms. It was culture shock for me. Even though I’ve seen it in different TV shows and movies, and read about it, I never expected it to be a part of daily life in Hongdae.
The reason why I love busking is that it connects the artist directly with the crowd. Artists, as well as the audience, can be seen enthusiastically enjoying the performances. It also gives a platform to artists to show off their talent. It’s an opportunity for the artists to do what they love. As I heard from my Korean friend and found out by reading an article, some of them eventually get hired by entertainment agencies, too. Several agencies have used busking as a medium to debut new artists. It’s cost efficient and a great way to reach people in large numbers.
There are four or five platforms in Hongdae where different artists have different performances, places where artists who put on great performances can win over the audience. At those places, you can enjoy dance performances or singing performances, or even comedy shows. I was so interested in busking that I wanted to interview some of them, but because of my hesitation I didn’t. I really regret it now. I hope I can get another chance to interview buskers and learn more about busking.
Busking really seems to have its root in the daily lives of the Korean people, as the government is also putting efforts into improving such public music. In 2016, the Seoul Metropolitan Government launched a project to improve and expand Hongdae Street to help improve the busking environment and the walking environment, helping them to coexist in harmony. The project will be finished in June 2017. This will take busking in Hongdae to a whole different level.
By Akansha Arya
Korea.net Honorary Reporter
Photos·Videos: Akansha Arya