Myeongdong is one of Seoul’s most accessible shopping districts for tourists. It’s located in the heart of the city and caters to Western tastes, with big-name brands and English-speaking staff. Big malls also stock local labels, but don’t come to Myeongdong looking for traditional Korean culture.
The Myeongdong district is divided into five distinct areas. The main area of retail outlets is on Myeongdong Street. Sizable shopping malls such as Migliore and U-too Zone mingle with shops stocking well-known brands. Prices aren’t cheap, but you are guaranteed genuine products rather than imitations.
Two side alleys branch off to the east and west halfway up Myeongdong Street. These sell mid-range brands such as Club Monaco and Guess.
Continue east to Myeongdong Cathedral, a rare example of Gothic-style architecture and the first cathedral in Seoul to be built from brick. The north section of Myeongdong is taken up by Central Street, home to the National Souvenir Center (another big shopping mall) and a cluster of fast-food restaurants.
China Street is a small enclave of Chinese stores, stalls and restaurants. It’s located just behind the former Chinese Embassy. The street has a retro feel and is popular with Seoulites looking for something out of the ordinary. They also come here to enjoy spicy Shandong dishes. If you prefer to eat Korean, consider dining at one of Myeongdong’s many local restaurants and eateries. Try kalguksu (“knife noodles”) or donkas (deep-fried pork cutlets).
Myeongdong has its own subway station on Line 4. This will get you to the south end of the district. To start from the north, go to Euljiro 1-ga. Stores tend to open mid-morning to late evening.