Tours

The artistic touch that shines in between the gaps of the old: Itaewon Usadan-gil

See & Do Tours

 
The artistic touch that shines in between the old: Itaewon Usadan-gil

If you wanted to see the 60's and the 21st century harmoniously coexist in one place, where would you go? You could visit a movie set or a museum, but for a real-life experience, try going to "Usadan-gil" in Itaewon where young and hip artists are starting to settle in between the cracks of the old buildings. Because of their presence, Usadan-gil is slowly transforming and the more you look around, the more you'll get a taste of how things are really starting to properly develop .

The name "Usadan" comes from King Taejeon's era, where sacrifices were lifted up in order to usher in the rain.  After the liberation, this street was a cluster of shanty towns, but with the formation of legalized businesses in the 1960's, it started to become a village with real brick houses. The area started gaining momentum to become redeveloped, but these plans were cancelled after some time.

 

The most charming characteristic of Usadan-gil is the beautiful and balanced harmony of the old and the new.  Like something that would appear in the drama "Rustic Period", there are old-fashioned barber shops but then right next to it there are brand new coffee shops. Old ladies pass by loudly groaning about the toils of life, but then there are young men walking around with "two block" hair cuts. Usadan-gil first started to evolve this way because young artists were attracted to the low rent that came with the shabby looking buildings; the natural vintage feel of the place helped win their hearts as well.

 

These young people are working hard to change Usadan-gil into a place that is new and unconventional. Whether it be writing or drawing a piece of art here and there, they are taking the steps to transform this area and have also invited other artists to join in the process. More studios and cafes are starting to appear with business owners who have an artistic eye. One example of how Usadan-gil has transformed is the "stair market" right next to the Seoul Central Mosque.

①②③ The weekend "Stairway Flea Market." Find things here that you normally wouldn't see in your daily life.
 

"Itaewon Stairway Flea Market"

The Stairway Flea Market is operated by around 60 local artists. The market sells a variety of different items, e.g., cookies that come in really cute shapes and even necklaces that resemble African culture, to name a few.

Dates: March-October

Time: 12:00 ~ 18:00

Location : Next to the Seoul Central Mosque

The charm of this place will become really apparent if you open your eyes just a little bit more. Like the 60's or 70's, the street is a little disorderly and there are random miniature stores that come out of nowhere. There are also restaurants where you can't tell what the menu is and buildings where you're not quite sure whether it is an office space or a store. One place that has been attracting a lot of attention is a building that says on the outside: ‘We made this space because we liked it, but because we all need to get along in life, we invite you to come and take a rest.”

 

 

 

 

④ On Usadan-gil, there are a lot of cute and cozy shops like these. You might almost get it confused with the streets of Hongdae.

⑤ Look out for the words "rice" or "alcohol" in order to tell apart the restaurants.

⑥ One artist's studio. It would be hard to tell what kind of establishment this is without first seeing the sign "Come inside."

⑦ Constructed in the 70's, the Seoul Central Mosque is located in the center of Usadan-gil.

 

TIPS

Subway : Line 6, Itaewon Station, Exit 3

Buses : Yongsan 01, 400, 405, 421

Itaewon Special Tourist Zone : www.itaewon.or.kr (Korean)

Yongsan Culture Center: www.yongsan.go.kr/site/ct (Korean)

Facebook : www.facebook.com/wosadan (Korean)

Bus : 02-797-7319



 
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