Walking Through Wonseo-dong Alleyways
See & Do Tours
Walk through Wonseo-dong, a quaint neighborhood located next to Changdeokgung Palace, to see the harmonious coexistence of tradition and modernity in one place. Beneath the blue sky, weave your way between low tiled roofs to spend a quiet, peaceful day exploring the small shops and stores within Wondseo-dong's alleyways.
The best place to start your walk to Wonseo-dong is Changdeokgung Palace. Housing Biwon (Huwon), a beautiful garden enjoyed by past Joseon kings, the palace is a must-visit attraction.
Entry to the garden is only allowed via guided tours which are offered daily from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. Featuring Buyongji Pond Pond, Aeryeonji Pond, Yeongyeongdang Complex, and Jondeokjeong Pavilion, the Secret Garden looks and feels differently by season. A place free from the city’s noise, Changdeokgung Secret Garden is the perfect place to go for people looking for some peace and quiet.
Korea's first painter to adopt the Western style of painting, Go Hui-dong came back from studying abroad in Japan to design and build his own hanok house in 1918. A house retaining the characteristics of houses built specifically in that time period, Go Gui-dong's House was where the artist spent his next 41 years making his art. Constructed with a long hallway, glass doors, and a modern toilet, the square-shaped building is a mixture of styles belonging to the traditional and modern. Featuring an exhibition hall with Go Hui-dong's works and his actual studio, the building also has a well-preserved room where artists used to gather together back in the past.
Walk along Changdeokgung Stonewall Walkway to come upon a brick building covered in ivy. Formerly known as Space Group Building, this building currently known as Arario Museum in Space and can be seen as the starting point of modern Korean architecture. Built in 1971 and registered as Cultural Property No. 568, this building carries great meaning and significance. After studying abroad and graduating from a Japanese university in 1960, Kim Swoo-geun, a renowned Korean architect, came back and completely transformed the Korean architecture scene along with Kim Joong-up. Many of his works, including Walker Hill Hill Top Bar, Sewoon Shopping Center, and more can still be found throughout the city. Reminiscent of kiwa roof tiles, the ivy-covered black brick walls coexist harmoniously with the neighboring hanok houses. The building underwent expansion in 1977, added new spaces 20 years after that, and restored the hanok house connecting the old building with the new spaces in 2002, bringing this place to its current appearance today.
Located next to Changdeokgung Palace, Wonseo-dong is a quiet little neighborhood where the only form of public transportation are the small green town buses. But upon closer look, visitors will be able to find many cute little shops, cafes, and workshops nestled in between the old, twisting alleyways of this area.
Located in a remote area inside Wonseo-dong, PAIRS is a small little showroom/vintage shop selling both domestic and international products. The reason why the owners opened up a shop in such a remote place is because they hoped it would only attract customers who were really into their products. Some of their most popular products are LP records of 70s soul and punk music, Levi's 501 jeans, and Fruta earrings. A treasure trove of products with the look and feel of a particular era, PAIRS is a popular place for shopping enthusiasts.
Located inside the new glass building of Arario Museum in Space, Dining in Space is a French restaurant offering stunning view of the city. Using French-style cooking techniques, Chef Noh Jin-sung often incorporates reinterpretation of dishes based on the availability of ingredients. Listing only the ingredients instead of dishes, the restaurant's menu was designed this way to prevent diners from developing a certain expectation of their orders and to allow diners an experience where they could just purely enjoy the taste of their food. Chef Noh Jin-sung is very proud of his "Sea Urchin, Lemon" dish. As stated in its name, this dish is made from sea urchins and lemons. Taking inspiration from sushi, the chef substitutes lemon zest for vinegar and add in some greens, uni, and cream to make a whole new kind of dish. To enjoy this unique dining experience against a stunning cityscape of Seoul, visitors should remember to make their reservations in advance.
Opening in a 2-story western-style house in Dohwa-dong, Mapo-gu, this place is the 2nd branch store of Fritz Coffee Company. Because of how they roast their own coffee beans and make their own bread, Fritz Coffee Company is a beloved brand in Korea. Visitors often buy their bread inside the Wonseo branch store, located inside the new building of Arario Museum, and take their food outside to enjoy them inside a hanok house. Surprisingly, the savory taste of bread and fragrance of wooden hanok houses blend well together for a unique sensual experience.
Mostly known for their sharp and vividly colored bags, Fibreno is a stationery boutique shop selling products like deskpads, pencil holders, key rings, tray, and bags. Majoring in graphic design, the owner fell in love with leather while working as a fashion MD, and after studying in Scuola del Cuoio, a leather school in Firenze, she came back to open up this shop. Featuring vivid colors and a simple design, Fibreno's products are perfect as everyday bags. Feeling that real leather wasn't a good fit for desk products, the owner uses synthetic leather for her stationery products.
Aya is a hat making workshop run by a designer who studied fashion in Paris and hat design in Japan. Selling handmade hats for men and women, the owner studied fashion design in Esmod Seoul in her youth, only to go study hat design in Japan during her fifties. It's been 4 years since then. Adding hat making skills to her sensibility as a fashion designer, she was able to create a style of products belonging to her brand Aya. Designed with the concept of her products being "everyday wear for normal people", her hats are full of interesting details. Every wrinkle, corsage, and stitch put into her hats are intentional. Rarely using synthetic fibers like polyester, most of Aya's hats are made with natural fibers to retain a prettier shape.
Displays of elegant candles casted in the shape of porcelain-shaped pottery inside the showroom make it seem as if you've stepped into a museum. A craft working selling candles and soap, Noo evokes a spirit of consumerism in its visitors. The candles are made from natural ingredients such as beeswax and soy wax and casted in the shape of Korean pottery. Made using techniques from candle-making and ceramic-making, the candles look like minature pottery, making them perfect decorations to adorn the inside of your house.