Animal-themed cafés have become a sensation in Seoul and just about every neighborhood has at least one cat café, but nearby Hongdae is where young travelers you get their pick of pets: We recommend Bau Haus Dog café and Thanks Nature Sheep Café. You and the kids get to play with a herd of adorable furry friends without the responsibilities of a litter box and vet visits. And did we mention that time spent with animals has been proven to lower stress levels and increase overall happiness? Next head to Artbox, where you can stock up on the cutest stickers, stationery, hair accessories and just about every kind of toy that you can put glitter and a bug-eyed cartoon character on. Last but not least, treat yourselves to some ice cream. You'll find all-natural swirls of rice-flavored soft-serve at Sobok. Traditional toppings include steamed pumpkin, dried persimmon, honey and nuts. The cone is also topped with their special creation, the injeolmi ball, a sphere of ice cream coated in grain powder (before forewarned that the powders, a popular dessert topping in Korea, sometimes contain gluten).
Near to the Conrad Seoul, you’ll want to take a cab or walk over the Mapo bridge for these activities. Once in Seogyo-dong, you can make your way between our picks on foot to see everything in one trip. The narrow alleyways can be rather confusing, so bring a map along.
BAU HAUS DOG CAFÉ: 64, Yanghwa-ro, Mapo-gu; 82-(0)2-334-5152; bau.cyworld.com
THANKS NATURE: 10, Hongik-ro, Mapo-gu; 82-(0)2-335-7470; facebook.com/TNcafe
ARTBOX – HONGDAE: 31, Wausan-ro 21-gil, Mapo-gu; 82-(0)2-332-2253; artbox.co.kr
SOBOK: 58, Eoulmadang-ro, Mapo-gu; 82-(0)2-6014-0861; sobokorea.com