See & Do Tours
Trends always make a comeback. Maybe it’s due to the reoccurring sense of nostalgia existent within every generation. But, ever since a couple of years ago, retro and vintage items have been coming back into trend as more and more retro spaces pop up all over the place.
Due to the popularity of drama series like “Reply”, more and more younger generations have become more enthusiastic about retro spaces like arcades, music cafes, and record stores. Whether it’s retro fashion, music, or design, visitors will find themselves completely charmed during their exploration of retro Seoul.
Located on the second floor of Seoul Folk Flea Market, Youth 1st Avenue is a recreation of a street back in the 60s and 70s. Store fronts and signs for antiquated stores like pawn shops, dry goods stores, electronic goods stores, antique theaters, and music dabang can be found all over this place. As part of the city’s innovation projects, Youth 1st Avenue is also a place where young artisans can come sell their handcrafted goods. To experience how things were back in the past, try strolling through Youth 1st Avenue, stop by the dabang, and try some of their old-style coffee.
How did Korean people live in the past? What kind of uniforms did they wear for school? Where did they go to study? Where did they go to hang out with friends?
In the past, stationary stores were easily found near every school. Whether it was looking for clay or paint for art class, tambourine for music class, or snacks to enjoy with friends after school, these stores were the place to go for everything. In front of those stationary stores were mini arcade machines where kids would sit on tiny bathhouse stools and jam the buttons until it spit out prizes like candies and collectible cards. In a time where personal computers were nonexistent, arcades were the best thing on Earth for kids. These nostalgic arcades can be still found throughout Seoul today.
Seochon’s Okin Arcade was used as a shooting location for the very popular drama, “Reply 1988”. Ikseon-dong’s Kom Kom Arcade is the hottest new dating spot for younger couples. Namyeong-dong’s Kom Kom Arcade continues to look as it did back in the past. It only cost 500 won to play and bring about the familiar feeling of nostalgia.
There was a time when a singer sold over 1 million copies of his album. Back in the 80s and 90s, when vinyl records were all the rage, music dabang (music cafes) were the places to go to listen to music.
Carefully collected tapes, CDs, and records were pushed to the side by the advent of MP3 and downloadable music. But with the returning retro trend, these items have begun to once again appear in the market.
1. Seoul Music : A music store that’s been around for over 45 years since its opening back in 1972. Located in the underground shopping center below City Hall, it manages to keep in business, even today.
2. Dol Record : It opened in 1975 and continues to have a steady stream of customers. Dol Record is the place to go when looking for specific LP records. It’s also a place where people can go to sample some LP records on the store's turntable.
Open since 1983, Taobangnae is an old dabang that has managed to keep in business. Although the exterior looks shabby with its old outdated sign, many people continue to flock to this place to immerse themselves in the retro atmosphere. Many students can be seen here hotly debating various topics while cradling their cream sodas.