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Seoul is all about combining the old with the new. That’s why Seoul’s markets are a great way to get in touch with Korean history and culture. Snap up a bargain and try some tasty street food with our guide to the best markets in Seoul.
Literally translating to “Great South Gate Market”, Namdemun is Seoul’s oldest and largest market, dating back to the 1400s. Today, Namdemun is a great location to pick up cheap clothing, kitchenware and more. The best part about the market is that most vendors offer wholesale prices, making it easy to find a bargain or two. Namdemun’s many food vendors offer the opportunity to try various local snacks while you shop.
Seafood lovers will enjoy spending some time at Noryangjin Market. It is the largest fish market in the country and is open 24 hours a day. If you are looking for an especially exciting experience, head to the market early in the morning to watch the bustling fish auctions. Not only can you buy fish, crustaceans and pretty much everything else that comes out of the ocean here, you can also eat it on the spot. Various vendors prepare a fresh meal for you right there at the market.
Dongdaemun is the center for fashion lovers in Seoul. Whether you want to pick up a few pieces of clothing or want to buy fabric to make your own, Dongdaemun is the place to go. Not only does this market offer cheap items, but it is a bustling center for fashionistas and aspiring designers, who offer their creations to test the local waters. In total, the market covers 26 shopping malls, 30,000 specialty shops, and 50,000 manufacturers. The best time to visit is in the evening when the market really comes to life.
Every Saturday from March to November, local artists, performers, and even musicians get together to form this unique market, offering handmade arts and crafts and unique entertainment performances to the crowd. The best part about Hongdae Free market is the relaxed atmosphere that lets visitors engage with the local vendors and performers and get to know their stories and the background of their products.
Yangjae Flower Market is one of those hidden attractions in the city not many people know about. The market first opened in 1991 and started out selling cut flowers. Today, it is the largest flower market in South Korea and carries flowers and plants of all varieties. The market also sells gardening related items.
Established in 1905, Gwangjang Market is the oldest traditional Korean market in Seoul. It is popular among foreign visitors as it is the perfect opportunity to sample your way through Korea’s endless snack and street food selection. Over 5,000 shops on 10 acres make Gwangjang Market a must-visit when in Seoul.
Just west of Gyeongbokgung Palace, you will find Tongin Market. While it might seem ordinary at a first glance, the market is actually a hotspot for the popular Korean dish tteokbokki, chewy rice cakes in a spicy chili sauce. The market is also a piece of Korean history in itself, as it was created for Japanese residents in 1941 when Korea was under Japanese rule.