Be local, Enjoy Art! @Hongdae Free Market

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Be local, Enjoy Art! @Hongdae Free Market

After meet and talk to many travelers, I realize art is one way to get to know the foreign country. Of course! Art is a form of culture, so why not?

Hongik University has the best art program in country. I think that is why so many artists and art related excitements are around the school area..

Area of Hongik University, known as Hongdae (‘dae’ is a short for University in Korean), is famous for night life. Lonely planet introduces Hongdae as a student district with bars and budget restaurants and that is true but not all.

Now I ask you, what is art?.

Art is one of the hardest words to define what it is. Mona Lisa can be just a normal woman in painting for somebody. Expensive, creative by some fancy artist, impossible to own. Yes that is art. It is expensive because it is worth it but I prefer something more feels real to me..

Free market. Very unique charm of Hongdae..

Hongdae Free market

.A small playground in the small street is getting busy at weekend, very extinct looking people are gathering here as time goes by. Spread the mat on the ground, bring something out of their bags..

Nothing is same. No one brought same stuff.

Soon, this small park is filled with over 15 all set stores with fabulous art works.

This is a view of Hongdae free market at weekend.


T-shirts that he designed.

.Free market starts at 2002. An open market where fine artists meet and exchange ideas with visitors to create real works of art in an open public space. No barriers between artists and visitors. It starts with free spirit of share a real art..

Oil painting

.After 8 years of running, Free market is now one of significant place in Seoul..

Place of inspiration, creation and live arts.

This is Hongdae Free Market.


Gemston from Amazon on the rings

Personal anecdote.

Free Market is one of my favorite shopping place in Seoul. However most of time I went there, ended up with nothing in my hand, eventhough I was ready to buy some stuff! Do you know why? Because there are too much great stuff!

After one store to store it is getting harder and harder to choose. (I wanted to screem ‘Help the girl out!’)

Then you could say ‘buy something just click with you!’, then okay, if I bought all of ‘clicked’ thing, I may broke by now. Seriously.

I am quite an accessorry enthusiaste, so it is even harder to choose.

Last saturday, Kristen and I had lunch at Hongdae and glanced at Free market, turns out same result. Kristen found very pretty / practical perl earrings and I just gave up to choose. Oh well, it was nice window shopping!

Kristen at Free Market


If you are in Seoul or plan to do so, consider include Free Market in your itinerary. It is very good way to feel ‘local’ and ‘fun’ and of course, some Shopping! You can get something ‘One of a kind’..

Pressed real flower earrings


Jewerly box says 'Romance will feed you'


Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .


  1. Lilian says:

    Looks good but I don’t think I will be in that area. Definitely looking forward to my short one week trip to Seoul and Jeju Island in June =)

  2. Lilian says:

    Yup! I’m going Jeju too. Not too sure which area yet. But the itinerary is quite packed. So not too sure whether I can meet up with you. Do you live in central Seoul?

    • Juno says:


      yap. I live near shinchon. Quite central. 🙂 so you booked a tour package? That would be efficient 🙂

  3. Lilian says:

    Sounds like a great place to live =)
    Yeah, I decided to take a tour becoz it includes jeju for 2 days, and it solves the hassle of booking flights to Jeju, and then navigating around Jeju (which seems quite hard)!

    it will be short but I guess there will be time for a second visit in future on my own =)

    • Juno says:


      Of course! 🙂 2 days in Jeju seems nice. I’ve been one cause when my friend visit fron NZ I took her one. Since I know very little about ‘real’ Jeju. It was nice. 🙂 Jeju is soooooo beautiful at this time of year!! 🙂

  4. Lilian says:

    Really! Wow! Now I’ve even more excited about the trip. Will share about the trip when I’m back!

  5. ciki says:

    is that a rip off of the Mona Lisa at a Korean market? LOL – looks v real!

    I LOVE your korean markets. I really like Itaewon? how do u spell it? I like the necklaces and other funky stuff – very artistic!

    • Juno says:


      Haha no. that’s just an image I found on google. 🙂 hehe. Iteawon = 이태원. Iteawon is ‘foreign’ district in Seoul. So not much of Korean-y place. But sure they have exotic accessories!! 🙂 Next time when you visit i will take you to The most Korean-y places! 🙂

  6. LeslieTravel says:

    What a cool art market! I’d love to go and pick up some jewelry or a t shirt 🙂

  7. I really enjoyed your above work! Thank you for posting it!

  8. Kristina says:

    This looks awesome, how do you get to the park area? Can you give me directions to find it easier? Like what exit and how far to go…?

    Thanks! 🙂

    • Juno says:

      Hi Kristina, glad you liked the post!
      When you come out Hong-il University station (line 2, green line), find exit 9. It used to be number 5 but recently changed to number 9.
      And go straight till when you see Tom & Tom’s cafe and Cafe Bene, (you can see Family Mart across the street)
      When you see those cafe, turn left and go straight up. You will pass Willy’s (Mac Store) on your right hand side. At the end of that hill you will see Hong-ik University.
      Don’t cross the street to school, just when you see school at the end of the hill, then turn right to a little street. You’ll see lots of restaurants and people there.
      Hope it helps!
      You can ask where is ‘play ground’. then everybody will know.

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