Oppa Gangnam Style! It is safe to say that most of us are familiar with this groundbreaking song by Psy, which was released in 2012 when K-pop was just beginning to get recognized outside of Korea. While the name Gangnam may be better known around the world as the name of Psy’s international K-pop smash hit, the neighborhood of Gangnam in Seoul, South Korea, has a character all its own.
Luxury goods, ancient temples, and exciting cultural attractions (not to mention plenty of K-Pop allusions) await you in this hip and expensive urban nirvana called Gangnam. There is a lot to do in this city, but if you are looking for high-end brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, and Cartier, you will find everything you need here.
Let us not dally any longer, shall we? There is so much to see and do in this opulent place. Not sure where to begin? Fret not. Check out the best of what Gangnam has to offer at these exciting locations.
Top Things To Do & Visit In Gangnam
1. Statue Of Gangnam Style
To start things off on the right note, we have our very own Statue of Gangnam Style. Located outside the East Gate of the COEX Mall and COEX exhibition center, this bronze-style sculpture has been called a “weird and wonderful” Seoul attraction. The Statue of Gangnam Style was unveiled in 2015 as the ultimate tribute to Psy and his worldwide hit “Gangnam Style,” which was partially filmed in this very location. Psy’s now-iconic dance routine was shot in part at exit 5 of Gangnam Station. When you stand next to it or on the platform in the center of the statue, the Gangnam Style music track plays.
2. Cheongdam Food Street
Cheongdam Food Street, conveniently marked along K Star Road, is a gourmet paradise in Gangnam, boasting more than 50 restaurants. Along Cheongdam’s Food Street, you can indulge in a wide variety of cuisines, from the healthy options at Granology (a premium granola eatery—how Gangnam!) to the Japanese-style Izakayas and numerous coffee shops.
3. Maison Kitsuné Cafe & Clothing Shop
One of the most stylish clothing stores and a beautiful cafe go hand in hand at Maison Kitsuné, which is tucked away in a leafy alley off a side street in Gangnam. A quaint bistro with fairy lights overlooks a forested courtyard on the ground floor. The upper floor and another studio downstairs next to the cafe both stock Maison Kitsuné’s superb ‘foxy’ apparel. As a French-Japanese lifestyle brand with branches in numerous countries and a record label, Maison Kitsuné is ideal for Gangnam-style shopping and sweets.
4. Hyundai Department Store Apgujeong Main Store
The Hyundai Department Store Apgujeong Main Store, one of the largest malls in the district, has a facade reminiscent of the Roman Colosseum. Luxury retailers including Gucci, Chanel, Hermès, and Tiffany & Co. are housed at the Hyundai store in Gangnam, which spans seven stories (including six floors of retail space, one story of restaurants, and a rooftop garden).
The “Bladerunner of Breweries,” Artmonster, is one of Gangnam’s trendiest spots due to its neon signs, craft beer, and self-pour technology. Artmonster Gangnam is a stylish bar in a plush neighborhood. Hong Kong-style neon street signs lure you into the alleyway out front, where your adventure begins.
Music videos, dramas, and TV talk shows have featured Artmonster Gangnam. Fortunately, Artmonster’s core menu, seasonal selections, and collaborations are a beer treasure trove. Even better, advanced technology lets you pour beers. You get an electronic wristband for pouring drinks when you sit.
6. Lotte World Tower & Seoul Sky
It’s time to party in Gangnam. Up next comes the Lotte World Tower, which is not only the tallest structure in South Korea but also the sixth-tallest structure in the entire world. It launched amid much fanfare in 2017 and offers stunning Seoul skyline views. The viewing deck, dubbed ‘Seoul Sky,’ operates on floors 117–123. At its apex, you’ll find a chic lounge, a handful of eateries, and a sky terrace, as well as a glass floor walkway (not for the faint of heart).
7. Megabox Cinema Gangnam
I’m sure this will be an auditory delight for moviegoers. The Megabox Cinema in Gangnam is located in the basement of COEX Mall and is the ideal spot to see new releases from South Korea and Hollywood. This aesthetically pleasing Gangnam movie theater includes 17 screens as well as a stunning coffee shop in its lobby. The Megabox COEX theater shows both mainstream and independent films, as well as occasional live streaming of events.
8. Bongeunsa Temple
One of Seoul’s most beautiful Buddhist temples, Bongeunsa, was built in the eighth century but rebuilt extensively in the twentieth century after several wars damaged it. There are many memorials, religious buildings, and temple-inspired homestays. The temple visit is free. Highlights include the peaceful hillside setting where a 100-foot stone Maitreya statue overlooks Gangnam-su. A square below it houses thousands of tiny Buddha statues, making it an impressive sight in its own right.
9. K Star Road Aka GangnamDol Bears
In stark contrast to the tranquility of the Bongeuna temple, the K-pop bears of K Star Road are a popular tourist attraction in Gangnam. These “GangnamDols” decorate a kilometer of the road with twenty large bears, each one representing a top star in the world of K-pop. The star of K Star Road, as you might assume, is a massive Psy bear or GangnamDol (near Apgujeong Rodeo Station exit 2), but other bears include Girl’s Generation, Miss A, and 4Minute, and yes, the BTS Gangnam-su bear is highly coveted.
10. Starfield Library At COEX Mall
Starfield Library, located within Starfield COEX Mall, is one of the most unique and visually striking features of any Seoul shopping complex. Isn’t this the most beautiful and easily accessible library in the world? With all of the posing and photographing going on, it can be difficult to get a book off the shelf. The books can be read by anyone without signing up, and there are several cafes and coffee shops ‘hidden’ among the enormous bookcases. This library has been featured in several well-known K-dramas, including:
- Record of Youth (2020)
- Lovestruck in the City (2020-2021)
- Kkondae Intern (2020)
- The Beauty Inside (2018)
- Personal Taste (2010)
- Sweet Spy (2005-2006)
- Lovers in Paris (2004)
- Beautiful Days (2001)
If you have a desire to travel to South Korea someday, you should not miss the chance to go to Gangnam, which is not only luxurious but also provides a great deal of free time to wander around and create new experiences.