Hidden Gems In The Hip Hannam District In Seoul
Hannam district, or Hannam-dong, has quickly become a hot spot hangout for the locals looking for intricately well designed restaurants and cafes alongside some artistic and musical venues to inspire.
The neighborhood can be enjoyed from morning until night and should be. The district has always had airs of international inspirations what with the roads lined with embassies, but with the influx of music performance spaces along with the ever popular art museum in the area and now surrounded by chic cafes and local design and lifestyle shops, this is a classy hip place to hang out a bit different from the younger boozy streets of Itaewon just up the road and a bit more low key than the flashy Cheongdam District across the river.
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From smart design inside and outside of buildings to fun neon signs and more, here is where to go to make the most of a day in the Hannam District of Seoul if you reach it via Hangangjin Subway Station. Don’t forget to look up while you walk because numerous buildings in the area really have some beautiful design techniques you’ll only notice gazing up while you walk.
This black intricately designed building beckons from the street without fanfare. The exterior is rather boding yet let’s passerby know NOTHING about what is held within. Exactly how Stradeum wants to keep it, this hidden gem is the “ultimate music experience place”. After paying a small fee, visitors can enter to find the perfect place for music listening pleasure. The first floor, or the Sound Gallery, provides a variety of chairs, sofas and carpets to lounge on near walls that provide headphones to choose from. The basement provides an open space for group listening or enclaves to sit in for listening. Upstairs, levels two and three provide auditoriums for intimate concerts and live shows and on the rooftop, there is a lounge cafe. The entire building is set up to make for an intimate music listening experience in any corner of the space.
Address: 251 Itaewon-ro, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울시 용산구 이태원로 251)
Leeum Samsung Museum Of Art
This museum tucked away up an alley in Hannam-dong has been open since 2004 and provides traditional Korean art collections as well as international modern and contemporary art showcases as well. The museum also features a child education and culture center so it’s a stop for solo visionaries, families and wandering couples too. One of the highlights of the museum is a spiral staircase with Choi Jeong-Hwa’s Alchemy hanging from the ceiling above the fourth floor all the way down to the lobby on the first floor. The museum is comprised of three buildings and can provide hours of inspiration.
Address: 60-16 Itaewon-ro 55-gil, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울시 용산구 이태원로 55길 60-16)
Hyundai Card’s: The Music Library + Understage
The architecture of this building screams to pedestrians to see what the heck is going on. The structure has a HUGE mural and the mural continues up to a container box ceiling. There’s a huge empty space in the center to look out over the Hannam-dong district and then the other side is Hyundai Card’s Music Library and Understage. This library contains over 10,000 records, 3,000 books and every issue of Rolling Stone magazine ever published since 1967. From controversial records to rarities and new releases, this library literally has it all. Members of the public are welcome to step inside the unique building and listen until their ears and hearts are content.
Address: 246 Itaewon-ro, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울시 용산구 이태원로 246)
For Coffee & Conversation
This cafe a few minutes down the road from the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art provides a chic and modern respite to discuss or ponder the artistic renditions just perused. Not only is the cafe itself intricately designed and comfortable at the same time, but they also offer a 20% discount on orders to patrons that can furnish their ticket from the recently visited museum of art. Sip some wine in the dark moody interior or enjoy a latte in the well lit atrium.
Address: 743-33 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울시 용산구 이태원로 743-33)
This small roastery cafe goes full throttle into the industrial exposed cement aesthetic. Downstairs, customers place their order and can look through the glass walls into the back to see the roastery in action with a Probat and Gothot roaster emitting all kinds of smells and clouds. Upstairs, an open space with a high ceiling and large clear windows letting tons of light in to a space where chairs and tables surround an indoor green garden. It’s an awesome spot not only to drink up some java but have serious discussions on the best music artists of this decade. Head downstairs and you’ll find the MMMG lifestyle and design shop. The shops multiple floors house the brand’s timeless minimal and clean looking products. Definitely visit the cafe and then visit each floor below for inspiration for a minimal lifestyle.
Address: 738-20 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울시 용산구 이태원로 738-20)
For Food To Fill The Belly
This straight up no fuss no muss eat your burger and like it joint knows how to serve up fresh high quality meat on buns. Located down an up and coming alley in the Hannam-dong area, their restaurant is a bit hidden away, but worth the hunt to find them. While the interior of the restaurant has been given a modern industrial aesthetic with a 90s style neon sign, it isn’t overdone or too in your face cool. The burgers are not too expensive, as a lot of other spots in the area are, but has priced their straightforward dishes fairly. Downtowner’s avocado burger is the star of the menu and deservedly so. It’s mighty delicious. It had this patron and her friend dreaming of burgers the next day. Check it out, but get their early to avoid the lines.
Address: 683-63 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울시 용산구 이태원로 683-63)
Jackson Blvd would best be summed up by the neon sign that hangs inside reading “people disappoint, pizza is eternal”. They serve up substantial salads with delicious dressings, regular crusted pizzas with just the right mix of toppings and deep dish pizzas too. Craft beer combined with some pretty can’t be beat prices on pies means this place should be everyone’s lunch or dinner stop if you’re looking for a slice of heaven in Hannam-dong.
Address: 26-1 Itaewon-ro 55-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울시 용산구 이태원로 55길 26-1)