OWL Magazine Korea

Seoul’s Enjoyable Neighborhood for Walking: Yeonnam-dong

Yeonnam-dong is a neighborhood located in Mapo-gu, Seoul. In the past, it was part of Yeonhui-dong, but in 1975, it was incorporated into Mapo-gu and became Yeonnam-dong, which means “south of Yeonhui-dong.”

Yeonnam-dong used to be a residential area for the local residents, but at some point, it suddenly started gaining attention.

“Close to Hongdae, Connected to the Gyeongui Line Forest Trail”

Yeonnam-dong has a significant geographical advantage, being quite close to the street in front of Hongik University. Hongdae has become a prominent urban area, not only in the northern part of Seoul but also attracting visitors from abroad.

As the commercial district in the Hongdae area became more active and expanded, it naturally extended to nearby areas. It expanded to the south, including Hongdae, Hapjeong, and Sangsu areas, and to the north, reaching Yeonnam-dong, expanding the commercial district of the Hongdae area.

“Gyeongui Line Forest Trail Enhancement Gave More Attention”

In particular, Yeonnam-dong started to gain attention with the activation of the Gyeongui Line Forest Trail Park. The Gyeongui Line Forest Trail Park, which was created by utilizing the abandoned railway tracks where trains used to run, was established. The park, divided into several sections, quickly became a “hot” place, entering Yeonnam-dong area under the nickname “Yeontral Park.”

Various cafes and shops that stimulate the sensibilities of the younger generation entered, establishing it as a “hip” place.

“Eliciting Old Sentiments in the Neighborhood”

In fact, in the past, Yeonnam-dong was more of a residential area rather than a place with a strong commercial feel. It was a neighborhood where houses were located rather than apartments, giving it a nostalgic atmosphere.

As large-scale apartments were built in the Seoul and Gyeonggi areas, and many people began to live in apartments, Yeonnam-dong, which retained the old sentiments of the past, gained a unique charm. With its charm based on evoking memories and romance, cafes and shops with distinctive personalities entered, quickly emerging as a hot place.

“Unique Buildings, Cafes with Unconventional Ideas”

Yeonnam-dong has become a place where you can encounter buildings and interiors that preserve distinctive personalities. If we were to pick one cafe that best showcases the uniqueness of Yeonnam-dong, it would be the “Picture Cafe.” The Picture Cafe is a cafe created with an interior design that causes a 2D optical illusion, making it a place where innovative ideas are prominent.

To visit such places filled with ideas and uniqueness, it has even become a tourist attraction visited from all over the world. The “Picture Cafe” is also exporting its ideas overseas, contributing to the nation’s prestige.  However, there are cases where someone illegally replicates the ideas for their own gain, which can be bittersweet.

In addition to the Picture Cafe, Yeonnam-dong is a place where you can encounter various spaces with distinctive personalities. “Tuk Tuk Noodle Thai” is a restaurant that sells Thai food and has been listed in the “Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand.”

Furthermore, well-maintained streets, distinctive shops, and houses that evoke old memories come together to create a tranquil atmosphere in the neighborhood.

“Autumn Scenery in Yeonnam-dong”

To capture the autumn atmosphere of Yeonnam-dong, I took a walk through the area on a somewhat chilly day and captured it in photos. Particularly, even without entering anywhere specific, I believe that Yeonnam-dong is a neighborhood with the joy of walking, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

“Seoul, A Neighborhood Eliciting Old Sentiments: Yeonnam-dong”