Although I have been running Seoulinspired for a few years now, I have yet to write articles about some of my favourite things to do in the city! Today, I want to start remedying this!
One of my favourite places to hang out and spend time around in Seoul is located at Sungshin Women’s University Metro Station (성신여자대학교 or 성신여대). The area is quite well known by university students of Korea University and Sungshin Women’s University, but it is rarely visited by others.
For this reason, I would call the area a hidden gem in Seoul. While it’s not exactly hidden, it’s far enough out of the way that visitors to the city rarely ever find it unless they are living in Seoul.
It’s also been my local neighbourhood for over three years at this point. Today I finally want to share why I have decided to stay for so long and what has kept me in the area! This area even recently made my list of the best streets in Seoul.
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Where is Sungshin Women’s University?
Sungshin Women’s University is located in the northern area of Seoul in Seongbuk-gu. If you know where Dongdaemun is, then just follow line 4 (the light blue line) 3 stops further north. This will take you to Sungshin!
The area is quite easy for most visitors to reach as it is located on Line 4. This line contains a lot of Seoul’s most popular attractions, including Myeongdong, Seoul Station, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun markets, Namsan Tower and more!
If you would prefer to use buses, there are many available. While there are too many to list here, some of the most commonly used buses are 151, 152, 172 and Seongbuk 04. All of these buses stop right outside the subway station. You can read my full Seoul public transport guide to learn more.
If you are already in the northern area of Seoul and are looking for something further to spend some time doing I would recommend getting on the train for a further 15 or 20 minutes and visiting Sungshin. There are a lot of different activities to do which I will get more into soon!
Where to Stay at Sungshin Women’s University?
Since Sungshin is located off of the main tourist path, there are only a few hotels that are available to book online. Of course, as with most of Korea, there are many options that allow for physical bookings. However, a lot of Korean hotels and motels tend to only be listed on Korean websites or don’t have online booking at all.
With that being said, it’s understandable to want to book a hotel in advance – it provides more security and you know exactly where you will be staying and how much it will cost in advance. If you would prefer to book in advance, the usual sites such as Agoda, Hotels.com and Booking.com have the best selection.
The best value hotel that I can recommend is the H Avenue Hotel. While it isn’t the best hotel, it is definitely acceptable – especially considering that it is usually very cheap! I stayed in the hotel at the end of 2019 and I can say that it is the nicest hotel for the price.
If you are looking for a more luxurious stay then the Best Western Arirang Hill Dongdaemun is a great choice. The hotel is located very close to the subway and just across the road from the main entertainment & nightlife area of Sungshin University.
What to Do at Sungshin Women’s University
The area of Sungshin Women’s University is quite small as it is based around one main road. While there are other activities to find in the nearby area, most of the attractions and shopping can be found on main road.
Despite being smaller than other areas (such as Hongdae, Itaewon or even Hyehwa), there is a lot to do and it is all relatively compact. This means that you will have no difficulty exploring the area in an afternoon.
It also means that it’s very quick and easy to move from one activity to another. I definitely appreciate this about the area as it can be very difficult to move between activities in bigger areas such as Hongdae.
Check out this guide on the best places to stay in Seoul!
Sungshin Women’s University excels in entertainment and that is one of the reasons that it is popular with students. Further, much of the entertainment is very affordable!
Although shopping and experiencing the cafes are some of the best entertainment in the area, I will skip over these in this section as they both have their own sections. Therefore, this will be dedicated to the other activities that the area offers.
Directly on top of the subway station you can find a large building that houses a CGV cinema near the top. This cinema is part of a chain which is one of the biggest in Korea. Movie tickets usually cost 10,000-15,000KRW and you will be able to find all of the newest movies there.
On the main street you will find a wide variety of things to do. There are many PC cafes, karaoke booths, arcades and much more! There is even a bowling alley – something that I have found to be quite rare in Seoul.
There are also activities such as board game cafes (which are really just cafes in name, they are more like areas you can go to play any board game you can imagine while enjoying some drinks).
If you want to escape from the real world for a while then there are currently three arcades located in the area. Further, there are also two different VR stores which allow you to experience virtual reality games and experiences.
Perhaps my favourite entertainment though is hiring bikes and exploring the area. There is a nearby stream called Seongbuk-Cheon that is a small city stream. The area is quite nice, and it allows you to easily get all the way to Sinseol-dong or Hanseong University.
I wrote more about the app that can be used to hire these bikes in this post. While the app is a bit hard to use (it’s not very well made), it is available in English.
Of course, there are many further activities in the area. One thing that Sungshin Women’s University area doesn’t lack in is activities. Everything from escape rooms to animal cafes can be found here! If you would prefer some more laid back activities, make sure to check out the section on cafes!
Read more about the best summer activities in Korea!
Although Sungshin University isn’t a popular area for nightlife, it does have a few unique and interesting bars. When it comes to Seoul, usually only areas like Hongdae, Itaewon and Gangnam are considered for nightlife.
While these areas are definitely the hotspots (and really the only areas with clubs), there are many other areas of the city that have fantastic bars and pubs. Sungshin is one of these areas.
There is a wide range of bars and they all focus on different areas. Some of them sell craft beers from around the world, while some focus on cocktails and wine. Of course, there are also many traditional soju bars!
If you are in Sungshin and looking to enjoy some drinks then make sure to look up and down. Not many of the bars are at street level, however, there are a lot that are located either above ground or below ground.
Further, most of these (and definitely the best ones) will not be located on the main street. The main street mainly contains stores and restaurants, and most of the stores that serve alcohol will be found around the corners down the side streets.
Cafes & Food
One of the areas in which Sungshin Women’s University excels is in food and drink. In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons that I have stayed in the area.
Of course, nearly every area in Korea sells wonderful food. I don’t think you can go wrong with food anywhere in the country! However, Sungshin has a large variety of global foods within an easy walk from one-another.
From Indian cuisine to Vietnamese, Japanese, and more, everything can be found close to the subway station. Even further, there are many fantastic Korean restaurants that sell a massive variety of different foods.
One of my favourite aspects of the area is the uniqueness and trendiness of many of the cafes and restaurants. Since the area is very popular with younger crowds (especially middle school, high school and university students), there are some very unique and beautiful cafes and restaurants that have popped up in the area.
When it comes to coffee and cafes Korea (and Seoul especially) has an incredible coffee culture. It’s something that many people don’t realise until they visit – or sometimes they won’t realise at all. It’s also the reason that I always recommend visiting cafes on my itinerary lists.
Sungshin University is no exception to this unique cafe culture that has popped up. There are hundreds of unique cafes and I, myself still haven’t had the chance to visit them all.
However, no matter what you are looking for – coffee under $1, beautiful cafes with flowers and board games, or virtual reality cafes, Sungshin has them all and more!
My one recommendation if you visit Sungshin and want to find the more unique stores is to check not only the main road, but also the back roads. While many of them look like small alleyways, they often house some of the best restaurants and cafes.
Due to the popularity among younger crowds, another area in which Sungshin excels is shopping. There are different stores located all over the main road, and you can find a massive variety of clothes and accessories here.
Although there are a lot of different stores, the area mainly focuses on clothing and accessories. You will find many stores selling clothing, including shoes, and jewellery. If you are looking for phone accessories (such as phone cases) this is also a great place.
If you are looking for more general items, there are also a few different stores around. Places such as Artbox and Daiso can easily be found in Sungshin – although, they can be found quite easily all over Seoul.
As with the cafes, there are also many more unique stores in the area. There are some stores that sell only plushies, some that sell second hand books (often very hard to find in Korea), some that sell international candies, and many more specialised stores in the area.
Since the area is located close to a women’s university, you will be especially in luck when it comes to shopping if you are a younger woman. While everyone can find interesting stores in the area, there is no denying that it is focused on this demographic.
Conclusion – Sungshin Women’s University
Sungshin Women’s University area is one that only a few visitors to Seoul get to visit. This is for no particular reason other than it’s not a widely publicised area. It’s no Myeongdong, Hongdae or Gangnam. However, just because it isn’t as well-known it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth visiting.
For this reason I would say that Sungshin area is one of the hidden gems that Seoul has to offer. There are many other areas that fall into the same category. While not being bad by any means – on the contrary, many are fantastic, they are often overlooked by tourists due to the more popular areas that take the spotlight.
If you are only staying in Seoul for a short time then it’s usual to want to experience the things that Seoul is most famous for. However, if you are staying for a week or more, then I highly recommend checking out the more unknown areas. Although they may not be as widely publicised, they are often amazing and have a lot to offer.
Further, they are often cheaper than the more popular areas. If you are looking for somewhere to stay that is relatively central, yet cheaper, than other areas, why not check out Sungshin? It has enough of its own attractions and it’s very easy to reach Myeongdong, Namdaemun, and Seoul Station from there!