Adjusting to a new country, especially if you’re living in a big city, can be tough. That’s why I think it’s important to find your comfort zone, whatever your destination. For me, I tried to find spaces where I could relax and take a breather from hectic city life.
My apartment is on a main street in a business district with a lot of traffic, which can be, frankly, a bit overwhelming. But if I walk about 5 minutes from the apartment, I can turn onto a beautiful, leafy pedestrian-friendly street with cafes, restaurants, convenience stores, and a great waffle stand. This street, called Jeongdong-gil, has old, beautiful architecture, much of it from the 1930s, and is surrounded by elegant stone walls, originally from the Joseon period. There’s many brick buildings, including an old Franciscan friary, a hang-out for diplomats, and a high school which dates back almost a hundred years. The street leads up to the beautiful Deoksugung Palace. On this street, there are often night markets, which are complemented by the stone walls that light up at night. This is also one of the great places to admire Seoul’s fall foliage. I often take strolls here just to clear my head or I come to this street to do homework and get a coffee at one of the cafes. If you’d like to come here, I’d recommend checking out San Damiano book cafe, Jeongdong Coffee, Le Pul Cafe, Cafe Russo, and the Roundnd bakery.
Another place in Seoul that I love is Seoul Forest Park. It’s a relaxing spot where you can walk around, have a picnic, read a book, or just sit and people-watch. If you can find it, take the bridge to the Han River at sunset, and enjoy the view. If you’re at the park earlier in the day, I’d spend some time strolling along the Han River.
One of the most popular tourist spots in Seoul is Bukchon Hanok Village, located near Gyeongbokyung palace. It can get pretty crowded and definitely has a lot of overpriced coffee shops, but, if you go up into the upper part of it, there are some pretty views and cute (not over-priced) cafes overlooking the city. I’ve enjoyed walking around here on the quieter residential streets.
If you want to just walk through the city and see some greenery, one of my favorite places to walk is Gyeongui Line Book Street. It has a very urban feel, though also provides some needed respite from the chaos of somewhere like Hongdae. You can also check out the vintage shops and book stores along this street.
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My name is Sarah and I'm a student at Rice University. I'm a double major in history and anthropology, and I love to read and write. My favorite hobbies are walking around cities and trying new coffee shops!