I'm excited about my first trip to Seoul in August (gonna be hot!) but can't decide which neighborhood to stay at. Creative type here interested in Art/Design/Books/Coffee/Shopping.
I've done plenty of research—Myeoung-dong is packed with teenagers and tourists, Apgujeong and Gangnam filled with super high-end retail, Itaewon full of eclectic expat hangouts, and Hapjeong a hub for artsy teen types. Is there somewhere I'm missing? I personally like to be surrounded by cafes, bookstores, and independent retail (think Nolita in NYC, Naka-Meguro in Tokyo, etc)
I'm looking at an AirBnB studio right by the Gongdeok subway stop, in the Yongsan neighborhood. Even tho it's a direct train ride from ICN with no transfers (hence the convenience for a first-timer in Seoul like me), and the apartment is a stone's throw away from the subway stop—the neighborhood is seriously lacking in character and style. Judging from Google Street View, Gongdeok is basically a bunch of high rises and not much else. The pluses are that Gongdeok is a major transport hub (easy access to other cool hoods) and the studio is dirt cheap. Would you recommend staying there?
Where's the sophisticated, thoughtful, hip Seoul with creative types who appreciate art/design/coffee/books/etc? Thanks!