Visiting South Korea? If you can’t wait to set your eyes on well-known K-fashion brands, skincare, and cosmetic products, and beloved Korean food, don’t forget to add shopping in Seoul to your itinerary!
Each shopping district in Seoul has its own personality. The popular Myeong-dong is known for its strip of cosmetic stores and beauty treatments. When it comes to clothing, head to Garosu-gil for luxury brands, Dongdaemun for fabrics, and Hongdae to experience cheap shopping in Seoul. Of course, for the mouthwatering Korean street food, Gwangjang market offers some of the best knick-knacks to snack on while you tour around.
South Korean Shopping FAQs
Before you go shopping in Seoul, here are a few tips you should know to avoid any faux pas as you browse through racks and shelves:
Clothing sizes in South Korea run much smaller than Western sizes.
Most shops won’t let you fit the clothes from the rack. Try to learn your size just by looking closely at the clothes as much as possible.
Wear minimal make-up (or none at all, if possible) because some stores might not let you try things on when they see you with make-up.
Shoes can also come in a one-size-fits-all scheme. Check if what you’re buying fits you comfortably.
Most places accept credit cards, but make sure you have the cash to quickly pay for small-ticket items!
Where to go shopping in Seoul
Ready to shop ‘til you drop? We’ve listed down 18 of the best places to get your much-needed retail therapy in Seoul:
1. Duty-free shops in Incheon Airport
Start early with your shopping spree at the duty-free shops, as soon as you land at Incheon Airport! These shops are also perfect for your last-minute souvenir shopping. If you’re scrambling on what to buy in Seoul, there are various items you can shop for: cosmetics, perfumes, liquor, tobacco, fashion, accessories, snacks, and even electronics! Some shops hold up to 200 famous brands, so you have tons of options to choose from..
Not sure where to start? Try the Hyundai Duty-Free Store or the Shilla Duty-Free Seoul Store, where you can quickly find items on your wishlist. Plus, you can get their store voucher on Klook for FREE! Yep, you get a silver membership, making you eligible for different discount coupons and tons of other perks.
Of course, who isn’t familiar with Myeong-dong? It’s one of the most Instagrammed shopping districts in Seoul, thanks to its popularity with big skincare and cosmetic brands. You can find over 1,000 Korean brands here, such as Etude House, The Face Shop, Nature Republic, and Missha. Be on alert for freebies as you stroll along — some stores have staff handing out testers and freebies on the streets!
Aside from skincare, Myeong-dong is also bustling with flea markets and fashion boutiques — perfect if you’re looking for places to enjoy cheap shopping in Seoul. Head over to CHUU Physical Store if you want to update your wardrobe. Check out trendy clothes and enjoy discounts when you book this CHUU Physical Store Discount Coupon with Klook!
Are you more into the boho-chic vibe? Garosu-gil might be the best place for you to go shopping in Seoul. This neighborhood is famous for its ginkgo tree-lined street which gives off a nostalgic walk-in-the-park vibe, just like a K-drama! Visit in autumn, when the trees are in their most golden foliage. As for shopping, Garosu-gil is the place to splurge on. It features an array of beauty and fashion products, most of which are from luxury brands. When you find yourself still browsing by dinnertime, Garosu-gil also features a wide variety of great restaurants and cozy cafes you can stay in after shopping!
On a budget? Experience cheap shopping in Seoul at Hongdae, a district near Hongik University. The street is buzzing with a youthful and trendy ambiance as it’s flocked by students and young people. Here, you can find indie K-fashion trends comparable to the Harajuku trend. Hongdae’s most visited attraction is the Hongdae Art Free Market which takes place from 13:00 to 18:00. You can find local artisan crafts, paintings, accessories, and secondhand goods and get to meet the artists and craftsmen themselves. Hongdae also holds live cultural events, street performances, and festivals as a university district.
Step back in time when you visit Insadong, which was once home to Korean nobles. Find yourself strolling along ancient hanok houses along the cobblestone streets. During the weekend, the main road is closed off to cars. It transforms into a cultural space, thanks to the classical concerts, art exhibits, and Korean street food that line up the area. Notable places to visit while you’re here are the Ssamziegil, a multi-level shopping mall where you can buy traditional souvenirs and handicraft products, and Hakgojae Gallery, where you can marvel at folk art.
6. Gwangjang market
Ever watched Netflix’s Street Food Asia? You might be familiar with Gwangjang Market, where mouthwatering dishes await you! Experience a different shopping experience as you roam around food stalls in one of South Korea’s oldest and most traditional markets. While you’re here, make sure to order a bowl of kalguksu (Korean noodles), munch on gejang (marinated crab), and have a bindaetteok (mung bean pancake). Aside from food and snacks, Gwangjang market is also the perfect place to go shopping in Seoul for bargains and vintage apparel.
Another place to go on a food trip while shopping in Seoul is Dongdaemun, one of South Korea’s largest retail shopping districts. Did you know that it’s home to around 26 shopping malls? Yes, that includes 30,000 specialty stores, 50,000 brands, and a wide array of items ranging from textiles to electronics! Head over to Mukja Gulmok for the munchies, a K-food alley with festivities and music performances in the evening.
8. Starfield COEX Mall
Located in Gangnam, Starfield COEX Mall is the largest underground shopping mall in all of Asia. It features over 300 brands from fashion to entertainment and tech. But, Starfield COEX Mall is more than just a shopping hub, it has other attractions for visitors, such as the Starfield Library, which has 13-meter bookshelves and over 50,000 books. If you’re coming with kids, you can enjoy a family day at Bricklive and play with colorful LEGO bricks, or visit the COEX Aquarium to see over 650 species of marine wildlife like sharks and sea turtles.
9. Lotte Mart
Bring home your favorite Korean food and snacks after buying them at Lotte Mart! It’s one of the leading discount stores where you can purchase high-quality products from groceries to household goods. There are tons of offers inside the store, like a BOGO scheme, percentages off, and discounts when you buy wholesale. If you need help on what to buy in this Seoul store, we recommend you get the famous Honey Butter chips, Pepero Sticks, and the delectable Binggrae Banana-Flavored Milk!
For designer brands and fine-dining restaurants, Apgujeong is your pal. This shopping district is the playground for Seoul’s chaebols and socialites. The upmarket district is lined with luxe boutiques and high-class department stores. It’s also famous for its beauty clinics if you want to get a beauty treatment or cosmetic surgery. Apgujeong also has fancy cafes with picture-perfect interiors — great for Insta-worthy shots. Have a sweet tooth? Head to Dessertree for decadent desserts!
Are you on your first visit to Seoul? Say goodbye to homesick woes when you visit the hip Itaewon. In this well-known foreigner district, you can meet fellow tourists like you. If you’ve watched Itaewon Class (if not, then you should!), you might be familiar with Itaewon being a famous food district. As Seoul’s Special Tourism District, it offers different kinds of cuisine, thanks to international restaurants and clubs occupying the streets.
On the hunt for cute home accessories? Samcheong-dong will take care of that for you. This neighborhood of a sprawling maze of traditional houses features a variety of small shops that sell unique interior goods and adorable accessories. If you want to bring home a little bit of Seoul, we recommend buying a cute frame or mirror in Samcheong-dong.
13. Gangnam Shopping Street
Go shopping in Seoul to the tune of PSY’s Gangnam Style when you stroll along Gangnam Shopping Street. As part of South Korea’s most exclusive neighborhoods, this shopping street has piqued the interests of many tourists. Here, you can find stores of iconic designers, like Kimmy J, the creme de la creme of Korean fashion. You can also find different flagship stores lining up the street, such as SPAO, Muji, KAKAO FRIENDS, and LINE FRIENDS.
14. Ewha Women’s University
Ever watched a K-drama and loved the female lead’s outfit? Gals out there should spend an hour or two at Ewha Women’s University’s shopping street, where you can find cute apparel and cosmetics at discounted prices! You can take your transformation to another level when you get a Korean hair treatment from one of the hair salons in the area. The shopping street is pedestrian-friendly and is a favorite hangout spot for college students, so don’t be surprised if you see some of them studying inside cafes.
Try not to lose your way along Seoul’s oldest and biggest market: Namdaemun Market. The market is a maze-like network of narrow alleyways filled with second-hand thrift shops and medicinal stores. It’s got everything you’re looking for: kids’ clothes, adult clothes, household items, accessories, and electronics. When you get tired from exploring, take a break at one of the food stalls and treat your taste buds to sannakji (live octopus), mandu (dumplings), and eomuk (fish cakes)!
16. Common Ground Shopping Mall
Another go-to hangout spot for young Seoulites is the Common Ground Shopping Mall in Gwangjin. Did you know it’s the largest container mall? The mall has four zones: the Street Market, the Market Hall, the Terrace Market, and the Market Ground. Find yourself amidst boutique stores, hip apparel shops, and various food and beverage stalls when you’re here.
17. SookMyung Women’s University
Another university shopping district in Seoul is located near SookMyung Women’s University. What makes this different from Ewha is that SookMyung is less busy and is more catered to foodies who are on the hunt for the next best treat. You can also join Korean food tours from here and learn more about traditional food such as kimchi!
18. Goto Mall
Wanna know Gangnam’s best-kept secret? Head to Goto Mall or the Gangnam Terminal Underground Shopping Center when you take the Seoul Subway. Goto Mall is a haven for fashionistas on a budget, thanks to the inexpensive choices for Korean clothing and shoes on the west end. When you get hungry, just walk over to the basement of the nearby Shinsegae department store to try out food from gourmet food stalls.
What are you waiting for? Start writing your list so you’re double prepared when you go shopping in Seoul!