Gwangjang Market, Seoul’s first and oldest covered market, was originally the place to buy traditional Korean clothing items, such as hanbok. Though the market still specializes in textiles, it’s become one of Seoul’s biggest street food hot spots, where foodies can sample nearly any type of Korean cuisine under the same roof.
Gwangjang Market ranks among the most popular for foodies. Some sightseeing tours of the city stop here, especially food-centric walking tours, where travelers can taste some of the market’s best bites. If you’re in the market for a tailored silk dress or set of high-quality bed sheets, head upstairs to the wholesale shops, where most anything can be custom-made at a fraction of the cost you’d pay in Seoul’s high-end shopping districts.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Gwangjang Market is a must-visit for foodies and fashionistas looking for custom-made clothes.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Many vendors will offer a discount if you pay in cash instead of using a credit card.
- The market is largely wheelchair-accessible, though not all food stalls offer accessible seating.
How to Get There
To get to Gwangjang Market, take the Seoul metro to either Jongno 5-ga Station (Line 1) or Euljiro 4-ga Station (Lines 2 and 5). Several buses also stop at the nearby Jongno 5-ga Station bus stop.
When to Get There
The market tends to be busy all day, Monday to Saturday, though it’s a bit quieter on weekdays. Most of the shops close on Sunday, but the food court remains open.
What to Eat at Gwangjang Market
In the food court, dozens of vendors pack tightly together, busily preparing quick meals for shoppers passing through. The variety is astounding, but bibimbap (a Korean rice dish with ground meat and vegetables), dumplings, and savory mung bean pancakes are always safe and tasty bets.