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Itaewon, Seoul – 22 Things To Do (2024)

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Popular with expats who have moved to South Korea and want to set up in Seoul, Itaewon is one of Seoul’s trendiest dining and shopping districts with many international flavours.

Still a little gritty around the edges, Itaewon is renowned for its coffee culture, craft beer scene and late night venues including many LGBTQ+ pubs and clubs.

Waikiki beach club bar Itaewon, Seoul

It should be mentioned that since the awful Halloween tragedy that occurred in Itaewon in October 2022, the area is a lot quieter than it used to be as many locals are too upset to return.

From Craft Beer Valley to Little Arabia, hipster hangouts to beautiful bakeries, here is our guide to the best things to do in Itaewon, Seoul in 2024:

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Accommodation in Itaewon, Seoul

Hotels and accommodation in Itaewon, Seoul include:

Budget ($)
H HOSTEL Itaewon
Sleek hostel with both dorm and private room options, plus a roof terrace and free breakfast. Select rooms have amenities such as a refrigerator, blackout curtains and in-room entertainment. Check out prices and availability for H HOSTEL Itaewon

Mid-range ($$)
Hamilton Hotel
Modern rooms with seasonal rooftop pool, large sauna (there is an additional fee to use these facilities) and a Korean barbecue restaurant. Located steps aways from the subway station. Check out prices and availability for Hamilton Hotel

Luxury ($$$)
Mondrian Seoul Itaewon
Five star luxury hotel with seasonal outdoor swimming pool, indoor pool, fitness centre and rooftop bar. Check out prices and availability for Mondrian Seoul Itaewon

Getting to Itaewon

The best way to get to Itaewon is to take line 6 of the Seoul Metro system.

When arriving at Itaewon Subway station, take:

  • Exit 2 for Itaewon Global Village center and World Food Street
  • Exit 3 for Seoul Central Mosque
  • Exit 4 for Itaewon Antique Furniture Street
Itaewon, Seoul metro sign

Alternatively there are many bus routes that run through Itaewon. Some of them have really cute faces on the front of the vehicle!

Itaewon, Seoul bus

Itaewon, Seoul – 22 things to do / neighbourhood guide

1. World Food Street / International Tourist Zone

Once one the busiest and most popular areas of Itaewon, World Food Street and the ‘International Tourist Zone’ has slowly started to reopen gradually since the awful events of the Halloween tragedy in 2022.

Itaewon, Seoul World Food Street / International Tourist Zone

World Food Street is a series of bars, restaurants and night-clubs with cuisine from all over the globe, including Mexican restaurants, Japanese sushi, dive bars and Irish bars.

Whilst fairly quiet during the day, at night, the street gets a little more busy with neon lights galore.

Jacks bar and grill -  Itaewon, Seoul World Food Street / International Tourist Zone

As the Itaewon tragedy is still very fresh in people’s minds (with a memorial located at the main entrance), several of the bars and restaurants have yet to reopen and some are still understandably reluctant to return.

Some of the most popular joints along World Food Street and the International Tourist Zone include Jack’s Bar (all day drinking den) and Momo’s Bizarre Adventure, a Japanese style izakaya bar with Totoro featuring prominently on the outside.

Itaewon, Momo’s Bizarre Adventure, Seoul World Food Street / International Tourist Zone
Momo’s Bizarre Adventure

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2. Leeum Museum of Art

One of Seoul’s most famous museums and galleries, this is one of the best things to do in Itaewon at any time of the year – even the architecture and cool mirrored sculpture outside are magnificent.

Itaewon, Seoul Leeum Museum of Art

As well as temporary exhibitions by world renowned artists, inside you’ll find two main sections at Itaewon’s Leeum Museum of Art, a traditional Korean gallery plus a section dedicated to more contemporary cultural pieces and paintings.

Whilst the permanent exhibition of ancient art is free to visit at Leeum Museum of Art, other exhibitions have a small fee.

Itaewon, Seoul Leeum Museum of Art

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3. XOLO Mexican

Located along World Food Street, XOLO Mexican is one of the highest rated restaurants in Itaewon and the whole of Seoul.

The interiors at XOLO Mexican are very Instagrammable and for us, was the best bit as we found the meal itself a little disappointing.

Itaewon, Seoul Xolo Mexican restaurant

Tacos at XOLO cost between 9500 to 10500 KRW for a set of two; we found our beef incredibly rare / (some would say ‘blue’ so buyer beware – we love ‘medium’ but not this).

Also if you aren’t a fan of Country & Western, steer clear of here as the playlist is straight outta Nashville.

Go for the drinks and interiors, a nice place to start a night out in Itaewon.

Itaewon, Seoul Xolo Mexican restaurant

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4. Itaewon Antique Furniture Street

A little bit of London in Itaewon, we walked down Itaewon Antique Furniture Street and were amazed to see a shop selling genuine London / British road signs – but very random ones like Barnet Council CCTV or Wembley Park Station.

Itaewon Antique Furniture Street Seoul

This alley of antiques began life back in the 1960s when US Troops from the nearby base would come to supposedly set-up flea market type sales to sell their furniture before returning home.

Along Itaewon Antique Furniture Street, you’ll see an array of antique shops in a European style setting – just remember to bring a big suitcase to Seoul if you want to take home one of those street signs!

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5. Itaewon Korean Photo Booths / School Uniform Rental

One of the most fun things to do in Itaewon at night (or any time of day really), Korean selfie booth stores are dotted all around the local area, including Photo Drink and Don’t L**k up along World Food Street / the Itaewon International Tourist Zone.

Photo drink Korean Photo Booths

Selfie kiosks in Itaewon are neon-infused photo shops (usually unmanned) where you can borrow clothes and fun props (like vegetable hats, big sunglasses, animal paw gloves etc) and then pose for selfies or take photos in booths for a small fee.

Often these Korean selfie photo booths allow you to print out stickers as a lasting reminder. We also spotted a Japanese style school uniform rental and photo booth shop in Itaewon called B Key Photo Tokyo.

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Bkey photo Tokyo Korean Photo Booths

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6. Kyoja Itaewon branch

One of Seoul’s most popular and inexpensive restaurants, Kyoja has been serving up delicious hand-made dumplings and noodles to hungry locals for decades.

Founded in the 1960s, Kyoja has a simple but succulent menu comprising just a handful of dishes – whilst their original branches can be found in Myeongdong, Kyoja also has a much quieter branch located in Itaewon.

Whilst the food at Myeongdong Kyoja is traditional, the service is a much more modern affair with automated ordering machines in several languages, plus food often delivered by robot servers.

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7. Seoul Central Mosque

Itaewon’s Mosque which is open to all and has signage in Korean, English and Arabic, the Seoul Central Mosque has two tall minarets and sits at the top of the hill in the Itaewon neighborhood known as Little Arabia.

Seoul Central Mosque Itaewon

The areas of worship at Seoul Central Mosque are segregated (there is a men’s prayer hall and a mixed prayer hall) and visitors are requested to stay silent and wear ‘loose modest clothes’ which are also available to borrow from the onsite changing rooms.

Seoul Central Mosque is free to visit and open daily from 9am to 7pm – there may be times during the day when certain sections are closed for prayers.

Seoul Central Mosque Itaewon

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8. Vietnam Quy Nhon Gil

The Vietnamese area and neighborhood of Itaewon, Vietnam QuyNhon Gil is a colourful area packed with Asian restaurants, cute signs plus best of all, lots of Vietnamese lanterns strung across the main thoroughfare (a little similar to the lantern packed streets of Hoi-An).

Vietnam Quy Nhon Gil Itaewon

Itaewon’s Quy Nhon is a fine foodie place and in the summer months, many restaurants here (Vietnamese and other international cuisine) have outdoor terraces to enjoy alfresco drinks and meals.

Be sure to take a picture with the big sign that says “Hello” in Vietnamese and the area’s mascot, a cartoon turtle wearing a  “Non la” (Vietnamese hat) and holding a lantern.

Vietnam Quy Nhon Gil Itaewon
Vietnam Quy Nhon Gil Itaewon

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9. Itaewon Bugundang Historical Park

A little place of peace in Itaewon, take a short hike up the hill from World Food Street to the Itaewon Bugundang Historical Park.

Itaewon Bugundang Historical Park

We found this to be the best lookout and viewpoint in Itaewon with nice views towards Namsan Park and the N Seoul Tower.

There are lots of benches to relax plus there is a beautiful memorial dedicated to Yu Gwansun, a Korean freedom fighter who died as a student fighting for her beliefs.

View of N Seoul Tower

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10. Itaewon Street Art

Itaewon’s side-streets and alleyways are packed with awesome street art and iconic illustrations – best of all, you generally just chance upon the murals as you are exploring the neighbourhoods.

Itaewon Street art charlie Brown
Itaewon Street art

The best areas to see Itaewon street art is around the Vietnamese Quy Nhon Gil or Little Arabia (especially the side-streets on the hill leading up to Seoul Central Mosque) but you’ll naturally see artwork in most places you go in Itaewon.

Itaewon Street art
Itaewon Street art dogs

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11. Taco Stand Itaewon

We’ve mentioned XOLO before as a popular Mexican restaurant in Itaewon, but we had a much better experience at the Taco Stand in Itaewon, located along the hilly road in the Yongsan Haebangchon Village area.

Itaewon taco stand Mexican restaurant

The Taco Stand is a small restaurant with authentic ingredients and tasty tacos at very reasonable prices.

Often with queues out the door, try to bag an outside table to watch the comings and goings of one of Itaewon’s busiest streets and hipster neighbourhoods.

Itaewon taco stand Mexican restaurant

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Craft Beer Bars

Itaewon is often referred to as Seoul’s ‘Craft Beer Valley’ – due to all the expats and foreigners who call Itaewon home, there has been a bevy of breweries and international style taprooms that have opened up.

Itaewon really is one of the best places to experience Seoul craft beer bars and breweries. The best craft beer bars and breweries in Itaewon include:

12. Chillhops Itaewon Brewery

Originally hailing from Seosan and now relocating their main-taproom to Seoul, Chillhops recently joined the rostrum of incredible Itaewon craft beer bars and taprooms.

A short walk up the hill (which makes the craft beer at the end all the more rewarding), the Chillhops Brewery Itaewon taproom is a neon nirvana with cool lighting and dark interiors.

Better yet, this New Zealand and Australia brewery in Seoul has a large range of craft beers plus a hot pie cabinet. The Itaewon Chillhops craft beer thankfully lives up to the cool interior and is highly recommended, seemingly very popular with expats and families.

13. The Booth Gyeonglidan, Itaewon

A huge Seoul craft beer selection and slices of freshly cooked pizza you say? Welcome to The Booth Gyeonglidan, a hip hoppy joint in Itaewon pretty much next door to Magpie Brewing (do both and make a night of it!).

The first thing you notice at Itaewon’s Booth Brewery taproom is the quirky interior with colourful illustrations and murals galore plus adornments like peeking cat curtains or a cuddly llama bear.

Thankfully their craft beer range is great too, with a massive menu consisting of several pages of beers, tasting notes and a pizza menu.

14. Magpie Brewing Co, Itaewon

Once the craft beer scene pioneers in Seoul with an upstairs tap room and downstairs basement set-up in Itaewon, the Magpie Brewing Company has a great reputation and tradition for brewing.

Magpie’s Itaewon brewery bar is also quite a ‘no frills’ affair with a long bench outside and several tables and chairs inside, plus the coveted bar side seats.

Magpie Brewing’s Itaewon taproom is a cosy affair and offers tastings most Thursday nights to help you get acquainted with Magpie’s craft beer range. Magpie Brewing sometimes offers one day and three week home brewing courses.

15. White Rabbit Taproom

“It’s all about the whiskey” as the sign outside White Rabbit taproom points out. Unlike the other Itaewon craft beer bars mentioned above, the White Rabbit’s main focus is its wonderful whiskey selection – the interiors look incredible.

A cosy and compact taproom inside with a nice outdoor terrace for alfresco summer sessions, the White Rabbit Tap House is a mainstay for young and old drinkers alike in Itaewon (popular with tourists too).

With a friendly owner and host, one of the nice features of the White Rabbit is that you may well up being asked to pose for a photo to go on their Instagram feed (always happy to accommodate especially after a few beers or whiskeys).

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16. No Mercy Burger

We were first drawn to the No Mercy burger shack in Itaewon (located in the Vietnamese neighbourhood) as not only does it have cute outdoor area, it also has the biggest misspelled sign we’ve ever seen (unless it is meant to be called Normecy Burger!)

No Mercy Burger Itaewon

A brilliant burger place painted in bright colours, No Mercy’s Deluxe Burger is a popular bite on TikTok and the talk of the town – these burgers are full of flavour and best served with an ice-cold beer.

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17. Passion 5 Bakery

A blinging bakery spin-off from the more pedestrian Paris Baguette chain, this upscale utopia of a cake shop and patisserie palace often has lines out of the door.

Passion 5 is the perfect place for some sweet treats after visiting the Leeum Museum of Art across the road and offers such decadent desserts as teddy bear shaped cakes or Christmas themed treats – others rave about their bulgogi sandwiches.

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18. Little Arabia / Middle Eastern Restaurants and Kebab shops

Itaewon’s shops and restaurants around the Seoul Central Mosque are often referred to as ‘Little Arabia’ and here is where you will find dozens of delicious Middle Eastern restaurants or kebab kiosks.

Troy kebab Itaewon Seoul

From popular wrap places like Sultan Kebab or Troy to chickpea tagines at Itaewon’s Plant Cafe, you won’t go hungry in Little Arabia. Busy day and night, follow your nose or just look for the longest queues.

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19. Itaewon global restaurant scene

If you want something more substantial than a kebab or falafel wrap, Itaewon is famous for its expat community and international neighbourhoods, attracting people from all over the world to resettle here.

Crispy Pork town restaurant Itaewon

Whilst the main focus for most visitors to Itaewon is the international restaurants on World Food Street, other popular places to eat in and around Itaewon’s alleys and side-streets include Crispy Town Pork, Buddha’s Belly (Thai), the Waffle University stall (bright yellow so very easy to spot) plus a light and airy vegan Italian eaterie, Breaghetti.

Buddha's Belly restaurant Itaewon
Waffle university restaurant Itaewon

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20. Yongsan Haebangchon Village

A hipster hangout with a cute village vibe, Yongsan Haebangchon Village is an avenue of cafes, bars and restaurants with stunning views of Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower.

We first visited Yongsan Haebangchon Village in Itaewon one sunny Sunday afternoon and the hillside street was full of trendy bars and pop-ups, many with heaving outdoor terraces.

From the Moroccan Cafe to Bonnies’ Pizza pub, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets in this iconic Itaewon district – a great place to combine with the Itaewon Craft Beer Valley taprooms and pubs near Noksapyeong Metro station.

Dawn Bagel restaurant Itaewon
Gogi boys restaurant Itaewon

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21. LGBTQ+ Bars in Itaewon

Many Seoul LGBTQ+ bars are located in Itaewon along a small stretch near to the Little Arabia district / Halal Hill.

Most of the bars are very small and popular clubs include Trance Bar, Always Homme, Queen and Soho. The best way to get here is Line 6 to Itaewon Station and take exit 3.

22. National Museum of Korea /  National War Memorial of Korea

Two national institutions are located on the outskirts of Itaewon in the Yongsan-gu area.

Korea’s National Museum is free to visit and has beautiful landscaped grounds with an impressive Giant Hall, an indoor Ten Storey Pagoda plus Children’s Museum. Allow plenty of time to explore as the number of exhibits and things to do here is outstanding.

The War Memorial of Korea is also free admission and has three stories of warfare history in Korea, including the centerpiece Korean War Room. In the grounds, you’ll also see huge war-planes and tanks plus a moving memorial walkway.

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