Introduction: About Garosu-gil/Sinsa, Seoul

Even though the name Garosu-gil actually means “tree-lined,” it’s hard to remember that the famous street even has trees on them (except, of course, when the stinky gingko nuts start to fall in the autumn) and that the real name of this street is Dosandaero 13-gil. Made iconic from Korean dramas and K-pop songs, the reputation of Garosu-gil dates back to the 1980s when an influx of art galleries began to populate the neighborhood.

Since then, it’s gone from being Korea’s hidden fashion spot to being Korea’s top tourist attraction for international trendsetters. Instagramming yourself with shopping bags full of the latest couture or at one of Garosu-gil’s atmospheric cafes is a must when you’re in this neighborhood, and you won’t even have to worry about sticking out with the selfie sticks!

Turned off by the crowds of tourists and want to feel like a local? Dying to find a place that’s more about the coffee than about being seen? Here’s a pro-tip: check out Garosu-gil’s side streets and you’ll find that there are still pockets of quiet available in this hot spot.

How to get to Garosu-gil/Sinsa, Seoul

a) How to get to Garosu-gil/Sinsa, Seoul from Incheon International Airport (or Gimpo Airport)

The easiest way to get to the Hongdae from Incheon International Airport (or even Gimpo Airport) is by the Airport express train (ARX). It stops at Hongik University Station, which has transfers to Line 2 and the Gyeonui Jungang Line.

  • SubwayTake the AREX to the last stop, Seoul Station. Transfer at Seoul Station to the subway for Line 4. (There is no direct connection. You need to get out of Seoul Station, walk across the train line to the subway line.) Take Line 4 to Chungmuro Station, transfer to Line 3 for Sinsa Station.
  • Airport BusesNo 6006, 6009
  • TaxiDepending on traffic and tolls, your bill will come out to approximately 60,000 won. (1 hour)

Subway Stations

Sinsa Station, Line 3 (Orange)
  • Exit 1 : Walk straight out of Exit 1 and you will immediately be greeted with Lotte Cinema.
  • Exit 2, 3&4 : These exits will lead you towards Nonhyun Station and away from the main Sinsa area.
  • Exit 5&6 : These exits will take you on an indirect path towards Han River Park.
  • o Exit 7&8 : A straight walk out of these exits will lead you towards the main Garosu-gil entrance. (Exit 8 is slightly closer to Garosu-gil than Exit 7).

Popular Buses : 145, 148, 441, 542, 4212, 3030

Tip : The Sinsa bus stations (No. 22-015 and No. 22-016) are actually located in between Sinsa and Nonhyun Stations. Although it might take you longer to walk to those stations from Garosu-gil, they can take you north of the Han River in minutes and are a great option especially if there’s no traffic (15 minutes to Itaewon, 20 minutes to Myeongdong). However, avoid taking this bus route during rush time and on weekend nights.

Where to stay in Garosu-gil/Sinsa

Although hotels and Airbnbs in this area charge slightly more for its location, guesthouses and hostels in this neighborhood are a great deal. Catering more towards women, there are dozens of clean and modern guesthouses available at great prices. If you stay in Garosu-gil, you are in walking distance to several great restaurants and just a bus ride away to the Gangbuk area.

Hotel La Casa

Featured in several magazines, looking at pictures of Hotel La Casa can definitely persuade you to stay there. Opened up by the interior goods store Casamia, La Casa is often noted for its beautiful products and lavish furnishing. The location, right between Garosu-gil and the Han River Park, also make it a top pick for trendsetters visiting Seoul.

  • Best for couples/ families
  • Boutique hotel
  • Notable interior design

Hotel Foreheal

Located slightly closer to Nonhyun Station, Hotel Foreheal proclaims itself a “well-being hotel.” With an extensive list of spa and massage services available, this hotel is a great option if you’re looking to get in some relaxation time during your stay in Seoul. Also notable is how affordable the prices are for the quality that you’ll be receiving.

  • Best for couples/ families/ friends
  • Spa and massage services
  • Outdoor garden

Dormy-inn Premium Seoul Garosu-gil

Located right outside Sinsa Station, the Dormy-inn Premium Seoul Garosu-gil is a popular hotel for guests looking to enjoy the luxuries of the neighborhood. Now only is the main Garosu-gil street only a five minute walk away, there is a notable spa and sauna within the hotel if you’re looking to unwind from a hard day’s work of shopping. Additionally, the breakfast here is a much higher quality than many hotels of this price range.

  • Best for solo travelers/ friends/ couples
  • Spa and sauna available
  • Excellent breakfast
  • Central location

PandaGo Guesthouse – Women’s only guesthouse

This women-only guesthouse is located in a small residential home close to the Garosu-gil area. There are dormitory rooms available for women traveling alone as well as double and triple rooms for friends traveling together. Meticulously clean and well-reviewed, PandaGo Guesthouse is a top pick for women traveling to Seoul.

  • Best for female travelers/ friends
  • Female-only guesthouse
  • Great on a budget
  • Well-designed space

The Ja Guesthouse (Garosu Stay)

Located right off of Garosu-gil, The Ja Guesthouse (also called Garosu Stay) is a small guesthouse with both female-only and mixed-sex dormitory rooms. There is also a large common room with a television where guests can interact with one another as well as a dining space and kitchen. Breakfast is served every morning.

  • Best for solo travelers/friends
  • Great on a budget
  • Well-designed space

Jenna Suite Gangnam Garosugil

At the Jenna Suite, there are several types of rooms available to suit all different kinds of needs. Couples on a budget can opt for the double bedroom with shared bathroom, there’s the standard family room for families or for a large group of friends and dormitory type rooms for solo travelers. One aspect of the great hospitality is the staff here will even order groceries for you upon request!

  • Best for solo travelers/ friends/ couples/ families
  • Great on a budget
  • Excellent hospitality

Where to eat

The Jjukkumi

If you’re a fan of jjukkumi or spicy grilled baby octopus, The Jjukumi is once place you can’t miss. Here, the jjukkumi is pan-cooked in extra hot sauce and can be served with thick slices of pork. Wrap the baby octopus in your choice of lettuce wrap with a slice of garlic and voila–an explosion of flavors on your tongue! A serving for two isn’t super filling, but add fried rice after your meal and you won’t be leaving hungry.

  • Address: Gangnamdaero 152gil 69 Gangnam-gu Seoul (Sinsa-dong 540-18 1F)
  • Phone Number: 02-541-4628
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-11:30pm, Sa 12pm-11pm, Sunday: closed
  • Map Link: MAP LINK


One of the most famous fried chicken eateries in all of Seoul, Hanchu is loved for its extra crispy Korean fried chicken as well as its lively atmosphere. (The interior is nothing fancy, but there’s an old charm about that, too.) On any given night of the week, it’s a popular hangout for chimec (chicken and beer, duh) and loyal fans of the joint also swear by the fried peppers.

  • Address: Nonhyeonro 175gil 68 Gangnam-gu Seoul (Sinsa-dong 549-9)
  • Phone Number: 02-541-0969
  • Hours: 5pm-3am
  • Map Link: MAP LINK


Tired of Korean barbecue restaurants where you’re stuffing your jacket into a plastic bag and chasing down a waiter to take your order? Despite the fact that Gaehwaok does serve meat, it’s nowhere near the idea of a typical Korean barbecue restaurant. It combines the aesthetic of fine dining and provides quality cuts of meat at reasonable prices. Sure, it’s not as cheap as the average corner BBQ joint that serves unlimited meat for 10,000 won, but you can probably choose Gaehwaok on a special night out before or after a black tie affair without breaking the bank.

  • Address: Nonhyeonro 175 gil 63 Gangnam-gu Seoul (Sinsa-dong 550-8)
  • Website:
  • Phone Number: 0507-1408-1459
  • Hours: 10:00am-12am
  • Map Link: MAP LINK

Mokpo Jip

Named after a coastal city in Korea’s South Jeolla Province, many of the offerings at Mokpo Jip are seafood based–and many of those seafood offerings aren’t bad. However, the main sought-after dish here is by far the spicy, steamed chicken stew (dakdoritang). Served with a generous portion of portions, the chicken in the stew is more tender than any other that Seoul has seen. A longtime favorite in the neighborhood, don’t be surprised to find long lines during weekends here.

  • Address: Gangnamdaero 152 gil 24 Gangnam-gu Seoul (Sinsa-dong 514-3)
  • Phone Number: 02-549-5119
  • Hours: 11:30am-12pm
  • Map Link: MAP LINK

Tofu Factory

Despite the fact that tofu is so often touted as one of Korea’s miracle foods; fresh, quality tofu is impossibly difficult to find here in Seoul. One place that you will be able to find many variations of it is at Tofu Factory. Here, the popular dish to order is the soondubu-jiggae or the soft tofu stew. With your choice of spice level and meat, the bubbling soup dish will have you drooling before you take your first bite.

  • Address: Gangnamdaero 160 gil 21 Gangnam-gu Seoul (Sinsa-dong 521-2) 
  • Phone Number: 02-6339-3646 
  • Hours: Weekdays: 10:00am-12:00am, Saturday/Sunday/Holidays: 10:00am-10:00pm 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 

Mom’s Hands Restaurant (엄마손맛집)

Of course, no one can cook as well as your mom can and that saying is propagated in Korea as much as any other country. At Mom’s Hands Restaurant, the hearty and wholesome food is meant to recall the simple, made with love dishes many Koreans are used to eating at home. Samgyeopsal (pork) and dakbokkeum (marinated, fried chicken) are offered as shareable mains, but feel free to order any of the meals for one. You won’t be disappointed!

  • Address: 68 Nonhyeon-ro 175-gil  Gangnam-gu Seoul
  • Phone Number: 02-543-1239 
  • Hours: 11:30am-10pm 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 

Shinsao Gopchang (신사소곱창)

Even if you enter thinking that grilled intestine is not for you, this restaurant might change your mind. Serving meaty, chewy cuts of gopchang (grilled intestine) over a barbecue fire, you’ll find that having this cut of meat isn’t that much different in taste than your favorite Korean barbecue. Try the “intestine-made dish” and get a sample of all that the restaurant has to offer–you might even find that the eclectically textured abomasum is your favorite. (Or not! But it’s worth a try!)

  • Address: Apgujeongro 2 gil 62 Gangnam-gu Seoul (Sinsa-dong 512-10)  
  • Website: 
  • Phone Number: 02-515-9931 
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday: 5:00pm-3:00am, Sunday: 5:00pm-1:00am 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 


Opened in 2011, Ryunique currently places 27th on Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants–a prestigious list complied by William Reed Business Media. Owned by Chef Ryu Tae-hwan who often talks about his father as inspiration for the restaurant’s opening, the food served here is a creative fusion of Japanese-French. Colorful, aesthetic dishes should be expected as well as high prices.

  • Address: Gangnamdaero 162 gil 40 (Sinsa-dong 520-1 1F) 
  • Website: 
  • Phone Number: 0507-1436-9279 
  • Hours: Lunch: 12pm-3pm, Dinner 6pm-11:30pm 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 


One of two restaurants in Korea to receive three stars from the prestigious Michelin Guide, Gaon is headed up by Chef Kim Byeong-jin. Although it’s questionable whether or not Gaon actually deserved such high accreditation from the restaurant, few could deny Gaon’s success in serving “fine dining” Korean food. They are noted for simple plating as well as their ability to bring out the flavors of traditional Korean ingredients.

  • Address: Dosandaero 317 Holim Art Center M Floor (Sinsa-dong 651-24) 
  • Website: 
  • Phone Number: 02-545-9845 
  • Hours: 5:30pm-11:00pm, closed Sundays 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 

Ganjang Gejang Alley

There is a love-it or hate-it attitude when it comes to people and their ganjang gejang (crabs marinated in soy sauce). However, there are enough fans of the dish that it’s gotten a small street of its own. Called the Gangjang Gejang alley, Sinbanpo-ro 47-gil is lined with restaurants that specialize in this dish as well as agwijjim (braised monkfish). Since very few tourists endeavor to be so adventurous, there is a heavy locals-only vibe these restaurants. Portions rarely come for one so come with a friend or come ready to eat!

  • Address: Sinbanpo-ro 47-gil

Best Bars in Garosugil/Sinsa

Although Garosu-gil is not necessarily an area well-known for bar hopping, there is plenty of alcoholic fun to be had in this neighborhood if you look in the right places. Unless you’re incredibly lightweight, chances are you probably won’t get drunk on the one or two drinks you’ll be ordering on Garosu-gil– it’s really not the kind of neighborhood where you get smashed, but you are welcome to try…

Art C Collection Lounge

For a neighborhood that’s obscenely trendy, it’s surprisingly difficult to find anything other than a pocha or an izakaya in the ten-minute radius of Garosu-gil. And if you’re looking for a cool, atmospheric place to have a cocktail–Art C Collection Lounge is just that. A 3-story venue that serves coffee and tea on the first and second floors, the basement where the lounge is located is adorned with experimental artwork. The bar serves a variety of delicious cocktails, but an Instagram favorite is the Rose cocktail which comes covered in real rose petals.  

  • Address: Apgujeongro 10 gil 33 B1 (Sinsadong 534 B1) 
  • Website: 
  • Phone Number: 0507-1437-0050 
  • Hours: Weekdays: 6:00pm-3:00am, Weekends: 2:00pm-3:00am 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 

Mikkeller Bar

The first official Mikkeller bar to open in Korea, some locals can remember a time when a Mikkeller beer cost you 20,000 won a bottle–if you could even find it. Originally from Copenhagen, the brand is well loved in Europe for its gypsy brewing and recognized by beer lovers all over the world. For a local variation, try the North Korea inspired beer called the Taedonggang.

  • Address: Dosandaero 17 gil 33 Gangnam-gu Seoul (Sinsa-dong 544-22) 
  • Phone Number: 070-4231-4723 
  • Hours: Weekdays: 5:00pm-12am, Saturday: 2:00pm-12am, Sunday: 2:00pm-10:00pm 
  • Map Link : MAP LINK 

Izakaya Negi (네기)

Although izakayas once dominate all of Garosu-gil’s sidestreets, many of the less successful venues have closed down as the street’s property values increased. One izakaya to emerge, however, is Japanese Dining Negi. Offering fresh cuts of sashimi as well as various kinds of sake, soju and beer, the Japanese-style bar is loved for its food as much as it is for its ambiance and alcohol.

  • Address: Gangnamdaero 152 gil 67 Gangnam-gu Seoul (Sinsa-dong 540-19) 
  • Phone Number: 02-512-0803 
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday: 6:00pm-2:00am, closed Sundays 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 

Wine Bar Petate (페타테)

Although the wine scene in Korea has improved drastically in the past ten years, a decent wine bar in this city is still a rare find. At Petate, not only is there an excellent assortment of wines, you can take your pick of single-malt whiskeys and cocktails to boot.

  • Address: Apgujeongro 14 gil 32 Gangnam-gu Seoul (Sinsa-dong 546-20 2F) 
  • Phone Number: 02-516-3342 
  • Hours: 6:00pm-4:00am 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 

Best Cafes in Garosugil/Sinsa

If you’re wondering why the price of coffee in this neighborhood is so high, it’s because you’re not just paying for the imported beans¬–you’re paying to sit for hours. The cafes in this neighborhood aren’t necessarily great for getting take-out and walking around but they are great for when you want to take a break and people watch.


Borrowing from the Swedish word “to have coffee,” Fika is a 3-story café just off the Garosu-gil main street. Easily recognizable with its bright blue exterior reminiscent of the Swedish flag, you’ll find large spaces for doing work as well as some Swedish pastries. On weekends, the space is sometimes rented out as a party venue strangely enough.

  • Address: Apgujeongro 14 gil 30 Gangnam-gu Seoul (Sinsa-dong 546-21) 
  • Website: 
  • Phone Number: 02-511-7355 
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9:00am-11:00pm, Sunday: 10:00am-10:00pm 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 

Independent Coffee

One of the most loved cafes in the Garosu-gil area, Independent Coffee combines plush leather seating with exposed brick walls. Allowing for plenty of sunlight, this is a great café to head to during the weekday when there might not be as many people. The espresso is quite delicious but no comparison to the popular, calorie-rich granita con panna.

  • Address: Gangnamdaero 162 gil 27-16 Gangnam-gu Seoul
  • Phone Number: 02-543-7584 
  • Hours: Weekdays: 11:00am-11:00pm, Weekends: 10:00am-11:00pm 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 

Kafe Kolbalt

One of the coziest cafes in the Garosu-gil area, Kafe Kobalt is one of the few spots where you can have an intimate conversation in the neighborhood. The low lighting and the stacks of magazines make it a comfortable space to chat with a friend for hours.

  • Address: 35-5 Gangnam daero 160-gil Gangnam-gu Seoul
  • Website: 
  • Phone Number: 02-3443-1513 
  • Hours: Weekdays: 12:00pm-10:00pm, Saturdays: 12:00pm-10:00pm, Sunday: 12:00pm-9:00pm 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 


If you’re picky about your coffee and prefer a good brew to nice atmosphere, Ikovox might be your best bet in the Sinsa area. Here, you can decide how light or dark you’d like your coffee and drink it whilst admiring the café’s simple interior adorned with school furniture. Coffee snobs rave about the espresso here at the same time commenting on how easy good espresso can be made–especially if you’ve got the beans right there. 

  • Address: 37 Apgujeongro 10 gil Gangnam-gu Seoul (Sinsa-dong 534-10) 
  • Phone Number: 02-545-2010 
  • Hours: 8:00am-11:00pm (closed day after holidays) 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 

La Eskimo

Located right on the main Garosu-gil street, La Eskimo is a second-floor establishment that serves a variety of juices, teas and coffee. While the beverages are slightly overpriced and quite average in taste, the intimate air about the café still makes it worth visiting.

  • Address: 27 Apgujeongro 12 gil Gangnam-gu Seoul (Sinsa-dong 546-3) 
  • Phone Number: 02-512-9244 
  • Hours: 10:30am-10:30pm 
  • Map Link: MAP LINK 

Best Dessert Shops in Garosugil/Sinsa

Can’t resist something sweet to go with your coffee? The Sinsa area is a great place to be if you’ve got a sweet tooth and the desserts are also beautiful enough to boot!

Deux Cremes

Although the name of the restaurant is French for “two creams,” the establishment itself doesn’t entirely focus on French desserts.  You can buy slices of cake in-store or take home a whole cake (for quite the hefty price tag.) Their desserts change seasonally due to the quality of fruits that are available–but it also means that whatever you’re ordering will be super fresh.

  • Address: 45 Dosan-daero 15-gil Gangnam-gu Seoul
  • Phone Number: 02-545-7931
  • Hours: Daily 11am–11pm
  • Map Link: MAP LINK


If you’re visiting Korea and dying to make your friends back home jealous, be sure to head to Sona where they serve up some of the most aesthetically pleasing desserts in town. The menu ranges from a variety of chocolaty classics to more adventurous options like the Frozen Goat Cheese.

  • Address: 40 Gangnam-daero 162-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
  • Phone Number: 02-515-3246
  • Hours: Tues-Sat 12:30pm-11pm, Sun 12:30pm-10pm
  • Map Link: MAP LINK

Il Gelato

Opened up by an Italian-Korean couple, this gelateria serves 20 different kinds of gelato with flavors ranging from special, classic and fruit. Those looking to fuse in Korean flavors into the Italian dessert can order the injeolmi (Korean rice cake) or the sesame flavors and those looking for more traditional choices can opt for one of the rich, chocolaty flavors.

Dore Dore (Thank You Cakes)

If you’re a dessert fan and you’re familiar with Seoul, chances are that you’ve already seen dozens of these rainbow cake imitations. The interior of the cake available at this brand was so popular that a slew copycats have begun to emerge in the past two years. And although the Sinsa branch isn’t the brand’s original location, it has definitely been a favorite throughout the years. Check it out for yourself and decide if it’s worth the hype.

Beauty Services in Garosugil/Sinsa

If you’re being attentive, you’ll notice hundreds of beautification clinics all over the Sinsa area– the Gangnam area is sometimes even called the plastic surgery capital of the world. Everything from jaw shaving and breast implants is available here, but in truth, if you’re looking for information about that, you’re better off searching in-depth about each individual clinic.
Additionally, there are other high-quality beautification services you can get here in Sinsa for great prices. (For Korea, the Gangnam prices are some of the most expensive, but it still may much cheaper than your home country.) Designer hair salons, skin clinics that specialize in botox and filler, nail salons (that also do eyelash extensions) as well as eyebrow tattoos and threading are just some of the services that you can receive here.

Best Places to Shop in Garosugil/Sinsa

Steve J & Yoni P

One of the most well-recognized Korean designer brands, Steve J and Yoni P opened up their Garosu-gil flagship store to much praise. With styles that range from outrageous to casual, the denim line is particularly loved. From the window display outside to tasteful interior, Steve J and Yoni P is definitely worth checking out.

Pleasure Lab

The second location of this female-focused sex-shop, Pleasure Lab might not necessarily offer the best prices for their goods (compared to many Western countries), but they are definitely a shop worth supporting. With bright lighting and friendly smiles, Pleasure Lab is the only chain in Korea to focus on female pleasure. Open-minded and fluent in English, the women of Pleasure Lab are quick to answer any questions you might have about sex in general and about products in Korea.

  • Address: 3F, 10 Dosan-daero 13-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
  • Website:
  • Phone Number: 02-516-0610
  • Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, Sunday 11am-6pm (Private consultations available by reservation)
  • Map Link: MAP LINK


Korean fashion is all the rage in Asia and that’s more apparent in Garosu-gil more so than anywhere else in Seoul. How do you know which shop to head to? Indiband is a great option for women looking for stylish clothing at reasonable prices. This Indibrand in particular has three separate levels. Outwear, jeans, tops and skirts are available in the colors that are trending right now as well as accessories and handbags.

Soil Baker

For those looking to buy souvenirs whilst visiting Seoul, the Korean china available at the markets might look especially tempting. Ironically enough, however, many market goods are made in China and it may be difficult to buy domestically crafted Korean ceramics. Providing an answer to that is Soil Baker. Here you’ll find a variety of Korean chopsticks, bowls, plates and other kitchen accessories that have been produced locally. The designs are beautiful and the quality is much higher than what you might find elsewhere.

Line Store

A popular destination in the Garosu-gil area, the Line Store carries goods with your favorite Line characters on them. Large dolls of the characters are also here for your photo-taking pleasure. This branch might be a bit busier than the others, but the people-watching is just one part of the fun!

  • Address: 27 Dosan-daero 13-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
  • Phone Number: 02-3448-1764
  • Hours: Daily 10am-10pm
  • Map Link: MAP LINK

Perche Shoes

While it may be tempting to buy 10,000 won ballet flats in the subway, you should be aware that they can easily fall apart within a matter of weeks. At Perche Shoes, you’ll find similarly stylish shoes at slightly higher prices but they can last you for years–making it a much better value. The store is used to walk-ins and tourists so feel free to ask to try them on!

Best Clubs in Garosugil/Sinsa

Simone Handbag Museum

Stirring up a lot of sensation, Travel CNN called this museum “every boyfriend’s worst nightmare.” However, it’s a museum that targets the stereotypically superficial only. With over 300 bags on display (many of them of historical importance), one can come here and genuinely appreciates the decades of changes that the handbag has gone through.


Are the clubs within walking distance of Garosu-gil the best ones? Perhaps not. But if you’re factoring in the trouble of getting a taxi home to your Sinsa-abode then, it’s really not so bad to be somewhere nearby and party without worrying how to get home.

Club Bound

Located right next to Sinsa Station, Club Bound is one club that can definitely fill your need to dance while you’re in Seoul. With a more intimate dance space than many of the mega clubs in the Gangnam area, it’s much easier to meet people at this club (and dually much harder to get rid of someone as well). If you are staying near Garosu-gil, one great aspect is that you’ll be able to walk right home.

Club Arena

A club that’s gotten some talk in the past year–Club Arena plays mostly electronic and EDM music. The dress code here is quite posh and also quite strict–a rule that’s barred several angry partiers out. If exclusivity if part of your party life, than Club Arena is one place to consider.