Alleyways tend to show an unfiltered portrayal of the daily lives of its residents. And throughout life, it’s only natural to go through an array of emotions as you live your everyday lives. Well, here are some suggested paths to walk through depending on how you’re feeling at the moment.
Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Before the Korean War, Gyeongui Line Forest Park was once Gyeongui Line, stretching 518.5 km between Yongsanand Sinuiju. However, the tracks penetrating to the heart of Seoul has been overrun with plant life and nature, leading to the tracks being reborn as the longest park (6.3 km) in Seoul. The most popular section of the park is located near the vicinity of Yeonnam-dong and named Yeontral Park, following the beautiful example of New York's Central Park. Lined with trendy little restaurants, cafes, shops, and a row of pine and willow trees, the path is always filled with pedestrians passing through the area. A great place to sit down and catch a break from the daily grind, Gyeongui Line Forest Park is the perfect place to go with for some quality time with your family and friends.
There are thousands of print shops and publishing houses located along Mapo-gu and Hongdae. In that same area, near the Waugyo Bridge, visitors can also find Gyeongui Line Book Street, where an installation covers the sky with a forest of text, naming 100 must-read books and their excerpts. The 71 pillars holding up these text have the name of the old Gyeongui Line engraved into them.
535-221 Suyu-dong, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul
As more and more cafes opened up along the street leading to Bukhansan Mountain , it led to the formation of Suyu 4.19 Cafe Street. Relatively new, this street is located a short distance away from the city, offering a quiet place to relax and contemplate. As you quietly self-reflect during your walk along the promenade and browse through the coffee and desserts options offered by the cafes in the area, you'll soon find that all lingering traces of your anger have diminished and disappeared into thin air. Look outside the cafe window to have all your problems and worries blown away by the magnificent backdrop and scenery of the mountain.
Near Suyu 4.19 Café Street, visitors can find many historical sites and attractions such as Modern History Memorial Hall, April 19th National Cemetery , Dream Forest , and Hwagyesa Temple. These are must-visit spots to see some of the best cherry blossoms during spring and autumn foliage during fall.
Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul
Appearing in numerous songs and books, Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway is notorious for breaking apart couples that have walked along its paths. According to rumors, this is so because there used to be an old domestic relations court here in the past, drawing in many separating couples to walk down this path, and also because of the disconnected stone walls, an ominous symbol of broken bonds. However, these days, you can walk along the pathway without worrying about any of that. The portion of the wall that was once closed off due to the British Embassy was opened up again to the public since last December, connecting the walls again. Because of how the pathway connects to the inside of the palace walls, there's a time restriction on when you can walk the path, but knowing that you can now walk along the entire Deoksugung Palace walls without any obstruction is just liberating. (Pathway Hours: Tue – Sun 9:00 – 18:00)
Head to the 13th floor of Seoul City Hall Seosomun Building 1 to visit Jeongdong Observatory (Cafe Darak), where you can see Deoksugung Palace, Seoul City Hall, Gwanghwamun, and Jeongdong-gil sprawled out below like little miniature models.
Euljiro 3(sam)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Attracting a crowd every night, Euljiro Nogari Alley is a beloved old alley frequented by businessmen looking to enjoy some cheap beer and nogari (dried fish snacks) after work. Once an area famous for its print shops, the street was once filled with poor print shop workers looking to ease their weariness with a pint of beer and the cheapest snack they could afford on their budget, which happened to be nogari. The best snack to pair with a beer, nogari is basically a baby pollock. Dipping the dried baby pollack in gochujang (red pepper sauce) leads to a unique, savory taste that can be quite addicting. Sold at a cheap price, nogari costs 1,000 won a piece. For those who cannot eat nogari, there are many other snacks available as well to pair up with your beer.
Located in central Seoul, Euljiro Nogari Street is surrounded by many other attractions and tourist sites. Head north across the Cheonggyecheon Stream to see the palaces or cross the street to visit another food alley called Euljiro Golbaengi Street, famous for their golbaengi (sea snails).
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