Seongsu-dong Café Street
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Young and hip vibes overflowing in the “Brooklyn” of Seoul

Seongsu-dong Café Street

Recently, Seongsu-dong has become a hot place often dubbed the “Brooklyn of Seoul.” Like the Brooklyn of New York, young artists began gathering in an old factory district that was abandoned as the industry declined and revitalized the neighborhood into today’s Seongsu-dong. In 1908 during the late Joseon era (1392–1910), Seoul’s first water purification plant was built on a former stock farm, and then in the 1960s as modern industry rapidly developed the area was transformed into an industrial complex. Being right by the Hangang River and close to Gangnam, the vast land where horses were raised was perfect to form an industrial complex.

About 3,000 manufacturing companies and factories were concentrated in the area during its glory days, but abandoned factories began to appear after the 1990s as the manufacturing industry began to decline. By the 2000s the area become known to people as an old and rusty factory complex.

“Aspiring young artists who found interest in the old and empty warehouses and factories in the complex began transforming them into cultural spaces by adding modern touches without erasing the old.”

It was in the 2010s that young people began to gather in Seongsu-dong. Aspiring young artists who found interest in the old and empty warehouses and factories in the complex began transforming them into cultural spaces by adding modern touches without erasing the old. Young people started to explore the area and whenever they discovered new hip and unique places hidden in the alleys they posted them on their social media, and soon Seongsu-dong became a social media hot spot.

Cafés and restaurants serving signature menus unavailable elsewhere, workshops with unique stationery and cute household items, experimental artworks by young artists, and bookstores with rare hard-to-find books.

Housing such shops and amenities, Seongsu-dong became a cultural playground frequented and enjoyed by young crowds. Among them, Seongsu Federation is a much loved cultural space of Seongsu-dong that added modern features and sentiments to an old warehouse and factory, and Grandpa Factory is a newly emerging hot spot that repurposed a fabric dyeing company and automobile company into a huge coffee shop that also serves as a cultural complex.

Seongsu Federation

A village formed over scars of a war that gradually deteriorated with time was saved by the local community. Like old houses that shared a wall leaning and supporting each other, the villagers and local artists also supported each others’ back and breathed in arts and culture.

Grandpa Factory 

A fabric dyeing factory built in the 1960s that was left abandoned after serving its purpose for over 50 years was reborn as a cultural space in 2019. The L-shaped factory building surrounding a small yard consists of a single-story section, which preserved its original high ceiling and gable roof, and a two-story concrete box.

All the walls facing the yard are made of glass so that it can absorb as much natural sunlight as possible and brighten the interior space. In the middle of the yard you can see a cozy and fairy tale-like tree house sitting atop an old zelkova tree. You can go into the tree house through the wooden stairs on the second floor and enjoy the view. Every June to July, beautiful hydrangeas fill the rooftop garden. Various paintings and sculptures by young artists are displayed throughout Grandpa Factory, so you can enjoy a cup of coffee while admiring art.

TIP: Also popular in the area, Foreplan is a coffee shop in Seongsu-dong Café Street created by architects. The interior, furniture and props inside make the space look and feel like an architectural design office. 

Address Seongsu-dong 2-ga, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
1-minute walk from Exit 3 of Seongsu Station, Seoul Subway Line 2

Address14 Seongsui-ro 14-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Time 10:00a.m. - 22:00p.m.

Address9 Seongsui-ro 7ga-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul

 

Nearby tourist attractions

Seoul Forest

 

 

Seoul Children’s Grand Park

 

Geondae Ogeori (Konkuk University Intersection)

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