Seollo 7017: Pedestrians, Cafes & Plants in Seoul
Seollo 7017, the new 1,024 meter long park in the center of Seoul, offers a great, albeit short, walk over what used to be an overpass in the downtown area of city.
The now landscaped path offers a lovely walk from Malli-dong past Seoul Station to Namdaemun Market. The name Seollo means “Seoul Road” and 7017 comes from 1970 when the road was originally built and 2017 when it was turned into the public park that it now is. In the 90s some concerns were raised regarding the safety of the structure and the symbol of economic growth was set to be demolished in 2015. But, Mayor Park Won Soon suggested turning it into an urban park much like New York City’s High Line Park and from there the inspiration was born. It’s got some growing to do before it’s like High Line BUT, it’s definitely a great walk to have downtown.
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There are 17 exits along the path leading into the nearby districts with restaurants new and old and cafes and more. One of the highlights for me was the installation at the Malli-dong plaza end.
From ground level, you wouldn’t even realize that there is a deep hollowed out area that is a design lover’s dream of steps and reflective surfaces.
Once you step down into the crevice can you really appreciate the thought behind this installation. This was by far the most artistic and photo-worthy area of Seollo for me. Most people I’ve shown these images too and suggested a visit were shocked to see that the installation is NOT just the above ground reflective panels. You really cannot tell that there is an amazing area beneath until you’re right on top of it so definitely get really close to appreciate this awesome outdoor area. It is at the Malli-dong end as well that you can find 7017 Seoul Bibimbap, a casual Hansik eatery. This eatery serves up the standard Korean fare from bibimbap with side dishes to stir-fried pork and bulgogi too. This is probably the best eatery to head to if you really want a filling meal in a Seollo eatery (Hours: 11:30am ~ 10:00pm).
There are 645 giant concrete pots that have trees, flowers and other plants overflowing from the tops. There are cafes that are simply decorated with everything in the space in the same color which makes them very aesthetically appealing. A gallery, souvenir shop and restaurants are on top and accessible via paths that exit the path. The cafes don’t offer terribly much to eat so I wouldn’t plan on eating lunch at the cafes but that’s why I suggested heading to that eatery for a filling meal. The cafes that are actually ON the path have a rather limited amount of seating and seem to offer just two or three food items along with drinks. This is probably done to keep people moving along the path rather than sitting all day.
Rose Bingsu offers a selection of bingsu or the popular Korean shaved ice dishes as well as a selection of Korean style pastries along with coffee. Hydrangea Bread has a selection of Korean style toast sandwiches, meaning a sliver of meat and a lot of cabbage, and a few drinks. Magnolia Cafe has coffee and ice cream and Acorn Sweets has acorn sweets and buns. Each spot keeps it pretty simple and straightforward. Like I said, I wouldn’t plan to have a substantial meal at any of these cafes because they just don’t have that many options. They are more of a stop along the way as you walk to pick up something and go.The best thing about the path is that it adds a pedestrian friendly area that ONLY pedestrians can access. Throughout Seoul it’s painfully obvious how little pedestrians are given respect on thoroughfares especially when a motorbike or other wheeled contraption goes flying by on a side walk. The other thing about this path that is notable is that there is hope it will revitalize interest in some of the districts along the route that have been overlooked what with the growth of areas like City Hall and the shopping mecca of Myeongdong. The districts of Malli-dong, Jungnim-dong and Cheongpa-dong that the walkway goes through offer some historical spots to see as well from the Culture Station Seoul 284 to Gaemi Supermarket that has been in business for more than 100 years. There are all kinds of things to check out in the area. I wouldn’t head down JUST to see Seollo 7017. But, if you’ll be downtown, it’s worth it to check it out.
Will you be coming to Seoul to travel? Make sure you know where to stay to see the sights! Check out the Hongdae Designers Hotel to stay in a young art district or the Myeongdong TMark Hotel if you’d like to stay in the shopping district of Seoul. Or if you’d like a more authentic option, stay in a traditional Korean home downtown near the historical neighborhoods that’s been renovated and updated for travelers.
Know Where To Go!