Seoul is notorious for its infinite number of coffee shops that grow faster than I can type. In a city with over 10 million people and over 17 000 coffee shops, Korea’s capital city has more cafes per capita than Starbucks’ hometown Seattle or San Francisco.
Because the coffee shop market in Seoul is highly competitive (only around 55 per cent of newly opened coffee shops survive past the first year) and because cafe visitors seem to be much more interested in the café aesthetic than the coffee they drink, cafe owners started focusing on coffee shop concepts. In fact, having on point aesthetic is more important than location so you will often find some of the most trendy and Instagrammable cafes out of or on the edge of the city centre borders.
You can find 10 Instagrammable cafes with their locations I have visited in Seoul down bellow.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I am not receiving any compensation for writing this. Any links included in this post are not affiliate links and I'm only including them for reader's convenience. I am simply writing this because I want to share my experience with you.
1. 2D Cafe (그림 cafe YND223-14)
Theme: Black and white 2D cafe
Inspired by Korean TV show W where characters clash between the real world and a fantasy world inside a webtoon. Everything in it, from the walls to the furniture, mugs and plates, gives an impression of a comic book drawings, transferring you from a 3D to a 2D world.
Treat yourself to coffee, matcha latte, tea, sandwiches, cakes in a cup and much more. All of them served in a 2D coloured cups of course.
Find more information about my visit to this particular cafe by reading this blog post.
Address (English): South Korea, Seoul, Mapo-gu, 연남동 239-20 1층 카페
Address (Korean): 서울시 마포구 연남동239-20 1층 카페
2. Urban Space Myeongdong (어반스페이스)
Theme: Swimming pool ball pit, colourful swings, aesthetic cocktails
Urban Space in Myeongdong is Instagrammer’s perfect playground. This spacious and cute bar / cafe located right in the middle of shopping heaven Myeongdong sells some very prettily presented drinks (alcoholic and nonalcoholic).
Unleash the inner child in you by diving into swimming pool filled up with pink and white balls, inflatable toys and giant teddy bears. Swing on a rainbow, watermelon or ice cream shaped swing and indulge yourself with sparkly cocktail.
Apparently there is another branch in Seongsu, however, according to the blogs, the Myeongdong one is better.
Address (English): 5th floor, 23,Myeongdong 10-gil,Jung-gu,Seoul
Address (Korean): 서울시 중구 명동10길 23 5층
3. Zapangi (자판기)
Theme: Pink, unicorns and mermaids
This is probably one of the most popular Instagram cafes in Seoul. Famous pink vending machine is guarding the entry to the mermaid and unicorn themed cakes in tins and pastel cream topped coffees.
Read my full blog post about Zapangi cafe here.
Address (English): South Korea, Seoul, Mapo-gu, Mangwon 1(il)-dong, World Cup-ro 13-gil, 79 해오름 주상복합 1층
Address (Korean): 서울특별시 마포구 망원1동 월드컵로13길 79 해오름 주상복합 1층
4. King's Cross Harry Potter Cafe
Theme: Harry Potter
Seven floors of Harry Potter magic in Hongdae! Dress up in the robes and explore rooms themed after Harry Potter books and movies. A must visit for any Harry Potter fan.
Check out my blog post here for more information about this cafe.
Address (English): 417 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Address (Korean): 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 417
5. & 6.
Stylenanda Pink Pool Cafe Hongdae
Theme: Pink, pastel, pool
This cafe is located on the 4th floor of a Stylenanda flagship store where you can shop for clothes, make up, shoes and accessories. It is one of the most Instagrammable cafes in Seoul with an actual pool inside the cafe. You cannot swim in the pool but you can lounge on aesthetic pool chairs and take some really nice snaps.
The interior of this place looks quite similar to London’s famous Sketch. In comparison to Stylenanda Pink Hotel, this one is bigger and more spacious.
Address (English): 335-21 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Address (Korean): 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 335-21
Stylenanda Pink Hotel Myeongdong
Theme: Pink, pastel, hotel
The whole store is themed as a hotel (hence the name). In total, there are six quite narrow floors to the store. Fifth floor is designed as a poolside and that’s also where the cafe is located. The sixth floor is an outdoor area where you can chill on warm and non rainy days on big fluffy pillows. Sadly we were visiting this place when it was dark and the area was already closed for the day.
The whole shop has a lot of cute and Instagrammable corners, however, it is quite small and it can get pretty cramped. I would advise visiting the Stylenanda Pink Pool Cafe in Hongdae over this one but if you are in the neighbourhood, I would recommend having a quick dip in and out just so you can admire the interior and clever design of this place.
And don’t forget to snap a shot of the famous bathtub filled with flowers which you can find on the second floor (ground floor is considered first floor in Korea).
Address (English): 66-2 Chungmu-ro2ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Address (Korean): 서울특별시 중구 충무로2가 66-2
7. Meerkat Friends (미어캣프랜즈)
Theme: Meerkats and exotic animals
Whilst cat cafes are becoming more and more popular across the world, Korea goes one step further with their llama, racoon, sheep and many more other more unusual animals themed cafes.
Meerkat Friends cafe is a cafe where you can purchase cold bottled drinks as well as pet meerkats and enjoy the short performances of other animals like racoons, wallabies, South African Genet and arctic foxes.
You can meet up the animals up and personal by paying a small entrance free which gains you access to the playpens where you can spend to up to 10 minutes playing with meerkats. After that you can participate in small feeding and tricks show with other animals as well.
You need to remove your shoes and read and agree to the rules before you can enter the area. For example, to not disturb animals when they are resting and to follow the instructions of the staff. They ask you to put all your valuables in a closed bag on top of the counters or tables to prevent the racoon taking stuff from your bag. They also urge you to speak with the staff in you see one of the animals taking your property or if you see any hygiene issues. There are no children under age of 15 allowed inside.
When you are in the meerkat enclosure, the member of staff is present to guide you on what you can and cannot do with the animals as well as to keep the space clean and hygienic.
Be aware that the animals have their natural smell which might be quite bothersome to you. I did not really enjoy the meerkat enclosure but I did enjoy the feeding of the animals where you also get the opportunity to practice some tricks with them. Arctic foxes are especially cute and fluffy!
Besides meerkats, all the other animals roam around the cafe freely except for when they are put in “time ou” aka resting area.
You do not have to purchase drinks, but you do have to pay entrance fee which is around 12 000 KRW.
Address (English): 19-12 Wausan-ro 21-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul (3rd floor)
Address (Korean): 마포구 와우산로21길 19-12 (3층)
8. & 9. Line Friends + BT21 Cafe
Theme: Line Friends, BT21 characters (RJ, Shooky, Mang, Koya, Chimmy, Tata, Cooky, Van)
If you are a fan of Line Friends or BTS, then visiting Line Friends stores is amust even if just for window shopping.
In blog post here I write in detail about where to shop for BTS and BT21 merchandise in Seoul.
There are 10 Line Friends stores in Seoul and If you are not sure which one to visit, I have a cheat sheet for you!
LINE FRIENDS Flagship Store in HONGDAE
Line Friends Hongdae has the biggest BT21 themed cafe that spreads across the whole basement floor. The cafe is decorated with paintings, neon art and statues of all the characters.
Address (English): 141, Yanghwa-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Address (Korean): 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 양화로 141
LINE FRIENDS Flagship Store in ITAEWON
Character themed drinks are served at all the Line Friends cafes.
Line Friends Itaewon is where BT21 characters were actually created. You can sit at the tables where BTS members created their characters and you can also see the original sketches. Every character has a little glass display so you can learn more about characters there as well.
Itaewon shop also has life size models wearing BTS outfits with character heads which can be a bit creepy :D.
Address (English): 200 Itaewon-ro, Itaewon 1(il)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Address (Korean): 서울특별시 용산구 이태원1동 이태원로 200
I have also visited Kim Seokjin's Japanese restaurant in Songpa-gu.
10. Arriate Tea House
When it comes to popular instagrammable cafes, Arriate flower cafe takes an unofficial crown as the queen of the Seoul's Cafe scene. There are two cafes, one in Hongdae and one in Gangnam. We have visited the Gangnam branch.
This cafe is really jaw dropping. Not only is there a massive flower garden hanging from the ceiling, but you are also greeted with a giant flower wall as soon as you step inside. You really feel like you are hanging inside a greenhouse!
We visited the place very early on a Sunday morning and there were only another two people there. As with the rest of the cafes in Seoul, being there just after the opening is the key.
Address (English): 520 Nonhyeon-ro, Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Address (Korean): 서울특별시 강남구 역삼동 논현로 520
Read about our visit to a hidden traditional Korean tea house here.
Seoul is no doubt the capital of quirky cafes and tea houses. We have visited a different cafe almost every day of our stay and I feel like we have barely scratched the surface. New cafes pop up as mushrooms after the rain and I have no doubt that the next time I’m visiting Seoul there will be at least 10 new must visit Instagrammable cafes.
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