• Take your pick of the coolest homegrown fashion and design brands
  • Enjoy a tea break at a traditional Korean cafe
  • Discover rice ales and contemporary cuisine at an inviting gastropub

Itaewon has long been known as an expat neighborhood, but a few blocks east, the alleyways of adjacent Hannam-dong are full of homegrown fashion brands, including big names like eclectic punk-inspired Steve J and Yoni P. Also look for the minimalist womenswear brand E comma E and jewelry shop Monday Edition, whose pieces have been spotted on all manner of Korean celebrities. It would be a mistake to skip out on MMMG, a design emporium that includes everything from art books on the top floor to local Korean lifestyle goods in the basement. Take a tea break at traditional café Damkkot (we love omija, or five-flavor berry tea) before perusing the cruelty-free designs by Mo Jain Song, multi-brand import shop Beaker (one of the few places to find brands like Band of Outsiders and Aspesi in Seoul), and the unique shoes at Chaussure Lapin. Keep in mind that Korean sizes generally top out at US women’s size 8. Gents will appreciate the upcycled menswear line Re;code at Series;Corner, made from car seatbelts and upholstery. Finish with dinner at Wolhyang, a gastropub that pairs makgeolli (traditional rice ales) with contemporary Korean dishes. There atmosphere here blends international modern with Korean traditional touches (both floor-seating and chairs are available here). You can’t go wrong with a pitcher of Wolhyang’s house-made organic brown rice ale and a crispy, hot kimchi jeon (savory pancake). Or give samhap, sinus-searing fermented skate, steamed pork, kimchi and seasoned chives a try.

North of the Han River and sitting in the shade of the Seoul Tower, the Yongsan district is known for its wide selection of shops and nightlife. You’ll also find it within walking distance of the Conrad Seoul - simply make your way over the Mapo bridge, past Wonhyoro-dong and Yongsan Park.

STEVE J AND YONI P: 19, Daesagwan 5-gil, Yongsan-gu; 82-(0)2-796-4766;

E COMMA E: 11, Daesagwan 5-gil, Yongsan-gu; 82-(0)70-8627-3873;

MONDAY EDITION: 57, Daesagwan 11-gil, Yongsan-gu, floor B1; 82-(0)70-4284-5923;

MMMG: 240, Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu; 82-(0)2-549-1520;

DAMKKOT: 24, Itaewon-ro 49-gil, Yongsan-gu; 82-(0)2-797-1157;

MO JAIN SONG: 257, Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu; 82-(0)2-797-6231;

BEAKER: 241, Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu; 82-(0)2-749-7077;

CHAUSSURE LAPIN: 234-1, Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu; 82-(0)2-792-1638;

RE:CODE AT SERIES;CORNER: 244, Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu; 82-(0)2-797-0710;

WOLHYANG: 16-3, Itaewon-ro 54-gil, Yongsan-gu; 82-(0)2-794-9202;