CONTRIBUTED BY CHRISTINE BRUNS
My husband and I explored a bit of Dongdaemun on a rainy Saturday afternoon. We hopped in a taxi and our first stop was Heunginjimun Gate, at the northern end of Dongdaemun. It is Korea’s National Treasure No. 1 and is the last remaining gate of the Four Great Gates of the Seoul City Wall, built at the start of the Joseon period (about 600 years ago). It’s undergoing some restoration at the moment, but is still quite impressive to see.
Right in the center of Dongdaemun’s History and Culture Park is the unique looking Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). It really looks like a giant, silver spaceship. Or maybe just a collection of silver blobs. Whatever it reminds you of, the view of the area from nearby buildings at night is stunning.
The complex consists of five areas: an Art Hall (A); a Museum (M); the Design Lab (D); Oullim Square and the Design Market (-2F); and the outdoor history and culture park (1F). Around the main structures, we explored the history and culture portion of the site: ruins of buildings un-earthed when the site was being converted from the previous sports stadiums to the current design. There are museums, a portion of the Seoul Fortress Wall, and additional relics all around the base of the plaza.
Towards the back of the building, there are a number of large art pieces, like this impressive Haechi made from recyclable products:
After touring the outside, we headed back towards the Design Lab in building D, which features a grass lawn on the roof, and explored the unique products for sale by the artists while enjoying the creative decor. First stop was at the Info Desk, though, as we wanted to grab a map of the building. If you enter the complex from the subway, just look for the giant question mark above the doorway on the silver blob to the right.
Inside the Design lab, there is an open area market with a variety of items for sale – bags, paper crafts, toys, paper, furniture, ice cream… it’s pretty eclectic.
This is also where the iPlay kid’s area that I previously wrote about is located.
Oullim Square is the site of events and exhibits throughout the year and the Design Market is full of shops and restaurants. The Art Hall houses rotating events and exhibits; I have personally gone there for a Transformers exhibit and a hanbok fashion show. The Museum also houses a variety of events and displays throughout the year.
Shopping is one of the main things that Dongdaemun is known for, so we found a few more areas to explore. There is an underground market with vendors selling blankets, fabrics, and custom made hanboks. Above ground, the area is surrounded my fashion markets, fabric vendors, and modern malls. We’ve had posts about some great fashion shopping experiences, as well as toy shopping and yarn shopping.
http://www.ddp.or.kr/MA010001/getInitPage.do (in English)
Hours: (all may vary for special exhibits)
Art Hall – 10am-9pm
Museum – 10am-7pm (closed Mondays, New Year’s Day, and Chuseok)
Design Lab – 10am-10pm (closed on 3rd Monday of every month)
Oullim Square and Design Market – open 24 hours
Outdoor Park – open 24 hours
281Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
Google Maps Coordinates: 37.566725, 127.009506
Bus–Check available routes here: http://www.ddp.or.kr/DI010020/getInitPage.do?MENULEVEL=8_5_1
Car–for driving and parking information: http://www.ddp.or.kr/DI010018/getInitPage.do?MENULEVEL=8_5_
Seoul Subway–Lines2, 4, or 5 –Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, Exit 1
Things to Do Nearby:
Looking for some entertainment? Why not try the Klive Hologram Concert at the Lotte Fitin Mall across the street?
Want to do some more sightseeing? You can catch the Seoul City Bus Tour in front of the DDP’s Building A.