Hyehwa

Hakrim Dabang: Seoul's Original Cafe

Although there aren't any statistics to back this up, I assume that Seoul, South Korea has a bigger concentration of cafes than any other city in the world. Which is pretty impressive, considering that coffee was practically unknown until the late Joseon dynasty in the early 1900s. Even then, coffee shops, or dabang as they were referred to, were few and far between, with Seoul's coffee culture only developing into what it is today in the 2000s.

Hanging Out in Hyehwa

Once the center of Seoul's art and music scene, Hyehwa is a neighborhood bursting with creativity and youthful energy. The area is situated in the northeastern part of the capital and is also known as Daehangno, a nickname derived from dehag, or "university," because of its close proximity to a number of learning institutes.

Over the past decade, Hongdae has garnered the reputation of being Seoul's SoHo, lessening Hyehwa to a mere a notch in the history of the city's culture boom. Today, it remains off the radar to most tourists and is even overlooked by locals. Nevertheless, it remains to thrive as Seoul's theater district- with over 80 independent theaters showing performances on a daily basis- and is brimming with diverse, inexpensive eateries, eye-catching cafes and greenspaces to boot. The neighborhood, while seemingly typical on the surface, is one of surprises. It just takes a bit of digging to discover them.

DuDu (두두)

Name: DuDu (두두)

Location: Hyehwa


Urban Art and City Views at Naksan Park

There's no question that Seoul is a city for art lovers.  From internationally renowned museums to obscure independent galleries, there's a space dedicated to just about every genre and medium of visual art.  But it's not only in galleries that masterpieces can be found in the Korean capital. 

Urban art, also known as street art, is becomming more common throughout university neighborhoods like Hongdae and Shinchon.  Many of the murals that can be found in these areas are expressive and offer insight into Korean culture.  Still, few of these art spaces are as unique and aesthetic as those in Naksan Park in northern Seoul.


Music, Melodies, and Metal at Jazz Story

One of my favorite things about Seoul is that it is scattered with hidden gems, unsuspecting and obscure, that offer those that are lucky enough to discover them a special treat.  Restaurants, cafes, galleries, and bars are easy to find in Korea's capital city, but it's the ones tucked into back alleys and inconspicuous buildings that allure me the most, making me feel as if I've been let in on a secret when I find them.  

Coffee with Character, Part V

The temperatures in Korea are dropping quickly.  Too quickly if you ask me.  Soon enough, Seoulites will be forced to bundle up and head indoors to escape the harsh Korean winter weather..  While there are plenty of things to do throughout the city during the winter, there's no better place to pass a cold day than in a cafe- especially when it's themed. So, just in time for winter, I give you a new list of places to explore during the cold season to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, served with a whole lot of character.

1.  Capi Capi Loom Loom Cafe:  If you've had your fix of Hello Kitty and want to cuddle with another cute Japanese character, Capi Capi is the place for you.  Rilakkuma, a ridiculously adorable teddy bear famous throughout Asia, is the star of this cafe in an unassuming building near Sungshin Women's University. 

Wedding, the Musical

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a rather bizarre wedding that featured father-of-the-bride drunkenness, a rock-n-roll twist-off, and a gay stripper. OK, so it wasn't a real wedding, but rather the latest non-verbal performance to hit the stage of the PMC 대학로 자유극장 theater in Hyehwa-dong.

I was happy to be on yet another blogging mission from the Korea Tourism Organization heading to Hyehwa last week after work. Hyehwa is Seoul's theater district and though I frequent the area, it isn't often that I go there to see plays. Most of the performances held in the district are in Korean, so it was exciting to be heading there for a musical. After locating the PMC venue, I took my seat in the musty-smelling theater and admired the cheesy set, seemingly straight out of The Wedding Planner. I didn't know what to expect but had a feeling it was going to be an interesting hour or two.

Language Exchange Café (Gangnam / Hongdae / Hyehwa)

Date: 
Repeats every week every Sunday until Tue Jul 31 2012 .
Sunday, May 27, 2012 - 15:00

 

Language Exchange Café 언어 교환 카페 (강남/홍대/혜화)

 


Go support some fellow expats at the Filipino market


It's a little disheartening to read "Seoul’s Filipino market to be cut in half" because of 'complaints from local residents'. So says the Joongang Daily:


The five places in Seoul you're not partying at - yet

When it comes to partying, Hongdae or Itaewon are the two areas that come to mind. They cater to foreigners, offer cheap drink specials, and are the places to see lots of other foreigners. If you're tired of being catered to, however, here are 5 areas where the locals go to get their party on.

As a general rule, you won't stay out partying all night unless you're in Hongdae or Itaewon. Enough of those places stay open until the subways start up again, but few places in other areas will. If you're deadset on taking the first morning subway home, however, it can be done. Another thing to remember: most places will have tables and booths for groups. A couple will be fine, but you'll have a better time with a larger group - say, 4 to 6 people.


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