Published Oct 19, 2023 - Updated Oct 26, 2023
Seoul is one of the great Asian cities which remains somehow unknown in the west. The greater urban area of Seoul houses approximately twenty-five million residents (and counting), stretching across an expansive land so extensive that a ride on Subway Line 1 from the northern to the southern end takes more than three hours.
A quick glimpse at the map of this vibrant megapolis creates a vague sense of loss. An enormous amount of lines criss-cross the area of the Korean capital. Like veins and capillaries in a human body, the Seoul streets pump vitality in the urban fabric.
There is no better way to explore a city that wanders through its diverse array of streets. An entire life is probably not sufficient to set foot in all the major streets in Seoul. The problem when it comes to Seoul is, which of the thousands of streets available do we need to choose?
In this guide we compiled a curated list of the major streets in the city of Seoul.
Navigating the age-old pathways infused with culture and heritage, to the modern, energetic streets teeming with the pulse of city life, Seoul streets present a rich mosaic of experiences. Within this extensive guide, we aim to accompany you on a captivating expedition along Seoul's famed streets, revealing the anecdotes, historical significance, and distinct character of the most important avenues.
Eminent among these are Jongno, Myeong-dong Walking Street, Namdaemun-ro and Teheran-ro, thriving commercial centers with a rich heritage owing to their historical prominence and ease of accessibility. But let's examine the comprehensive list of streets in Seoul.
Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village, known as 북촌한옥마을 in Korean, is a residential neighborhood situated in Seoul, South Korea's Jongno District, characterized by a plethora of beautifully restored traditional Korean houses called 'hanok,' gaining significant popularity as a tourist attraction. (Read more)
Cheonggyecheon is a 10.9-kilometer-long stream and public space in downtown Seoul, South Korea, initially serving as a natural stream flowing from the Suseongdong Valley in Inwangsan, later transformed into part of Seoul's sewerage system. (Read more)
Myeong-dong Walking Street
Myeong-dong Walking Street, located in Seoul, is renowned for its prominence as a major hub for shopping, parades, and tourism activities within the city, consistently recognized as one of the world's top shopping destinations. (Read more)
Navigate Seoul through Olympic-daero, an 8-lane highway connecting various parts of the city, showcasing the urban development spurred by the 1988 Summer Olympics. (Read more)
Experience Seoul's modernity and business prominence by traversing Gangnam-daero, a prominent thoroughfare in the affluent Gangnam-gu district, teeming with commercial and cultural attractions. (Read more)
Seoullo 7017 Skygarden
Walk through Seoullo 7017 Skygarden, an elevated park adorned with plants and amenities, offering a unique perspective and pedestrian route in Seoul. (Read more)
Sungshin Women's University Shopping Street
Stroll along Sungshin Women's University Shopping Street, a trendy locale in Seoul boasting fashion boutiques, eateries, and a youthful ambiance. (Read more)
Garosu-gil - 가로수길
Explore Garosu-gil, a fashionable street in Gangnam, Seoul, renowned for its upscale boutiques, cultural significance, and vibrant blend of the old and new. (Read more)
Cheongdam-dong Luxury Shopping Street 청담동 명품 거리
Indulge in luxury shopping at Cheongdam-dong Luxury Shopping Street, a lavish stretch in Seoul featuring prestigious international brands and opulent shopping experiences. (Read more)
Apgujeong Rodeo Street 압구정 로데오 거리
Immerse yourself in the epitome of high-end fashion and shopping at Apgujeong Rodeo Street, a symbol of affluence and fashion-forward trends in Seoul. (Read more)
Samcheong-dong Street in Seoul is a four-kilometer stretch blending restored hanoks with modern amenities, emanating a trendy, hipster vibe.(Read more)
Gukhoe-daero is an eight-lane highway spanning 8.4 km in Seoul, forming part of Seoul City Route 46 and Route 49. (Read more)
Gayang-daero, a 2.2 km road, stretches from Gayang Bridge Interchange to Susaek Bridge Intersection in Gyeonggi Province and Seoul. (Read more)
Bamgogae-ro, a 3.6 km road, starts from Suseo Interchange in Seoul, showcasing a fusion of vintage vibes and modern transformations.(Read more)
Teheran-ro in Seoul's Gangnam district, colloquially known as 'Teheran Valley,' is a hub for internet-related companies and venture capital. (Read more)
Seun Sangga Shopping Area
Seun Sangga Shopping Area, located in Jongno-gu, Seoul, was built in 1966 and has undergone redevelopment plans. (Read more)
Seoul Plaza, located in front of Seoul City Hall, provides an open space and hosts various events, including ice-rinks during winter. (Read more)
Gwanghwamun Plaza, a public open space in Jongno-gu, Seoul, holds historical significance and was renovated as part of eco-friendly projects. (Read more)
Insadong-gil, known for its traditional attractions, galleries, and cafes, represents the culture of past and present in Seoul. (Read more)
Jongno or Jong-ro, one of Seoul's oldest major thoroughfares, connects Gwanghwamun Plaza to Dongdaemun, housing numerous cultural and historical landmarks. (Read more)
Euljiro, named after General Eulji Mundeok, is an avenue in Seoul with historical and cultural significance. (Read more)
Daehangno is a culturally representative street in Seoul, extending from Jongno-gu to Hyehwa-dong, known for its cultural significance and earlier designation as a "street of culture." (Read more)
Chungmuro is a notable 1.75 km avenue in central Seoul, synonymous with South Korea's film industry and cultural heritage, named after Korean Admiral Yi Sun-shin, known as the "martial duke of loyalty." (Read more)
Namdaemun-ro, a significant 1.5 km boulevard, originating at Bosingak and terminating at Seoul Station, draws its name from Korea's National Treasure No. 1, Namdaemun Gate, showcasing historical buildings like Gwangtonggwan. (Read more)
Yeoseong Dongnibundongga-gil (Women Patriots Street)
Also known as Yulgok-ro 3-gil, this 440m road holds historical significance for its association with the Kun-Wha Institution and the independence movement during Japanese colonization, dedicated to promoting national education and women's rights. (Read more)
We have been presenting the major streets in Seoul but let’s have a look at how the addresses in South Korea are organized.
South Korea transitioned from a land-lot-based address system to a street name-based system called the Road Name Address system on July 29, 2011. This change aimed to simplify navigation for both Koreans and foreigners by using street names and building numbers. The new system is similar to address systems in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe.
In the early part of the last century, when Japan exerted control over Korea, they implemented a property identification system. This system assigned a specific number to each parcel of land within neighborhoods (dong - 동), eliminating the need for street names. As cities grew and parcels were divided or added, new numbers were assigned to these parcels, independent of neighboring plot numbers.
The old land-lot addressing system was officially discontinued on December 31, 2013.
The first thing to notice when it comes to a Korean street is the ending of the name.
- ending in -daero (대로,, Blvd.) over 8 lanes
- ending in -ro (로, St.) 2~7 lanes
- ending in -gil (길, 街, Rd.) all the other roads
Street names in South Korea, such as -daero (대로,, Blvd.) and -ro (로, St.), can be based on local features or neighborhood names, and sometimes the same name is used for multiple streets in an area, each with a unique number, aiming to aid location predictability and ease navigation for both locals and foreigners. Additionally, other types of streets like -gil (길, 街, Rd.) may derive their names and numbers systematically from the main street they branch off, facilitating efficient navigation.
Now that we know how to extricate ourselves from this tangle of roads, it is time to understand how the countless buildings along the -daero (대로,, Blvd.) -ro (로, St.), and -gil (길, 街, Rd.) are organized
Building numbers in South Korea are determined by a "basic number" system, where a virtual number increases by 2 every 20 meters along a street, following the pattern of odd numbers on the left side and even numbers on the right side, similar to many European countries. The building number corresponds to the basic number associated with the main gate's position adjacent to the street. For instance, if a building has three entrances and the main one is approximately 30 meters away from the starting point on the left side of Sejong-ro 2-gil, the building number would be 3, resulting in a road name address of "3, Sejong-ro 2-gil."
We collect few useful words that will help you to understand the Administrative divisions of South Korea
Do - 도 - Province. The highest administrative divisions in South Korea encompass provincial-level divisions, including provinces, metropolitan cities, special cities, and special self-governing cities, each with distinct types.
Si - 시 - City. A city includes neighborhoods ('dong') and may encompass towns ('eup') and townships ('myeon') if both urban and rural areas are integrated. When an 'eup' within a county ('gun') surpasses a population of 50,000, the county can be upgraded to a city.
Gun - 군 - County. Guns have a population under 150,000, distinguishing them from cities ('si') or metropolitan districts ('gu'). They are less densely populated and more rural compared to 'gu.'
Gu - 구 - District. A gu is akin to a district in Western terminology. Metropolitan cities like Busan, Daegu, Incheon, and Ulsan also have 'gu.' Gu are further subdivided into neighborhoods ('dong').
Eup - 읍 - Town. An 'eup' resembles a town unit and is a division within a county ('gun') or some cities ('si') with populations under 500,000. Eups, along with myeon, constitute county (Gun - 군) divisions and are designated based on the main or secondary towns in a county or city. Towns, further divided into villages ('ri'), require a minimum population of 20,000 to become an eup.
Myeon - 면 - Township. A 'myeon' is a division within a county ('gun') or certain cities ('si') with populations under 500,000, alongside 'eup.' Myeons have smaller populations than eups and primarily represent the rural areas within a county or city. They are further divided into villages ('ri'), requiring a minimum population of 6,000.
Dong - 동 - Neighborhood. A 'dong' is the fundamental unit within districts ('gu') and certain cities ('si') without district divisions. It represents the smallest level of urban government with dedicated offices and staff. Occasionally, a legal dong may be subdivided into multiple administrative ‘dongs’, distinguished by numbers (e.g., Myeongjang 1-dong and Myeongjang 2-dong), each with its own office and staff.
Ri - 리 - Village. A 'ri' is the exclusive division within towns ('eup') and townships ('myeon'). It represents the most basic level of rural governance with a notable population presence.
Ga - 가 - Block. Several densely populated dongs are further divided into 'ga', primarily utilized in addresses rather than constituting a distinct level of governance. Additionally, numerous main thoroughfares in cities like Seoul and Suwon are also segmented into ga.
For people who really like numbers, here is some interesting statistical information related to the road networks in Seoul, the capital of South Korea:
• The total length of roads in Seoul slightly increased since 2004, reaching 8,174 kilometers in 2012.
• The combined area of these roads in the city was 83.28 square kilometers by 2012.
• The road ratio, obtained by dividing the road area by the urbanized area, experienced an annual average increase of 0.41% from 2004 to 2012, eventually reaching 22.2% in 2012.
• Specifically, Seoul had 26,500 meters of expressways, 168,880 meters of general national roads, and an impressive 7,952,149 meters of city roads as of 2012.
• Analyzing the changes in road lengths from 2006 to 2012, it was observed that the lengths of expressways and general national roads remained constant at 26,550 meters and 168,880 meters, respectively. However, the length of city roads increased by 25,930 meters during this period, growing from 7,871,771 meters in 2006 to 7,978,079 meters in 2012.
If the numbers above are still not satisfying your thirst for statistics, you can have a look at . In it, you can explore data related to the number of trips made in Seoul, public transportation, sustainable transportation, private transportation, accidents in the Korean capital, and many more pieces of information compiled by Seoul Solution. this PDF file (40 pages)
What are the main types of streets in Seoul?
Seoul's street network comprises several types of roads, each serving different functions. Major avenues like Gangnam-daero and Jongno are primary routes that traverse the city and connect various districts. Local roads, on the other hand, form the fabric of neighborhoods, providing access to residences, shops, and other local amenities. Arterial roads, such as the Olympic Boulevard, are crucial for handling higher traffic volumes and facilitating smoother movement within the city.
How is the street naming system organized in Seoul?
The street naming system in Seoul often reflects the geography, history, or landmarks associated with specific areas. Major streets may be named after neighborhoods they traverse, historical figures, or significant landmarks nearby. For instance, 'Euljiro' is named after General Eulji Mundeok, while 'Hongdae' is an abbreviation of Hongik University.
What is the significance of traditional streets like Insadong in Seoul?
Insadong is a culturally rich neighborhood and street in Seoul, known for its preservation of traditional Korean culture, arts, and crafts. This historic street is lined with traditional Korean wooden houses (hanok), art galleries, antique shops, and tea houses. It offers visitors a glimpse into Korea's heritage, showcasing traditional practices and cultural artifacts.
Which streets in Seoul are popular for shopping?
Myeongdong is a bustling shopping district renowned for its vibrant fashion scene, beauty products, and street food. It attracts both locals and tourists seeking the latest trends and skincare products. Dongdaemun, another prominent shopping area, is famous for its fashion markets, showcasing a vast array of clothing, textiles, and accessories.
How is traffic managed on the streets of Seoul, especially during peak hours?
Traffic management in Seoul involves a comprehensive approach, utilizing traffic signals, lane discipline, and advanced traffic management systems. During peak hours, traffic is regulated with the help of traffic lights, designated lanes for buses and bicycles, and public transportation prioritization to mitigate congestion.
Are there pedestrian-friendly streets in Seoul?
Yes, Seoul prioritizes pedestrian-friendly streets to enhance the walking experience and promote sustainable urban mobility. Streets like Cheonggyecheon Stream, for example, are pedestrian-only zones adorned with beautiful landscapes, making them ideal for leisurely walks.
What are some of the technological advancements incorporated into the streets of Seoul?
Seoul has integrated various technological advancements into its streets, including smart traffic management systems. These systems use real-time data to optimize traffic flow, reduce congestion, and enhance road safety. Interactive information kiosks provide real-time updates to help residents and visitors plan their journeys effectively.
Which streets in Seoul offer a vibrant nightlife experience?
Streets like Hongdae and Itaewon are vibrant nightlife hubs in Seoul. Hongdae is adjacent to Hongik University and is popular among the youth for its dynamic club scene, live music venues, and trendy bars. Itaewon, known for its diverse international community, offers a wide range of bars, restaurants, and clubs catering to various tastes.
Are there historical streets in Seoul that offer insights into the city's past?
Seoul boasts several historical streets that offer a glimpse into the city's rich past. Bukchon Hanok Village is a preserved neighborhood showcasing traditional Korean houses (hanok), providing visitors with an authentic experience of Seoul's architectural heritage. Ikseon-dong is another area with a historical ambiance, featuring traditional Korean houses converted into modern cafes and boutiques.
How do the streets in Seoul contribute to the overall culture and lifestyle of the city's residents?
Streets in Seoul play a vital role in shaping the city's culture and lifestyle. They are the focal points for community gatherings, cultural events, and various activities. From traditional markets to modern shopping districts, the streets reflect the city's diverse and evolving culture, offering an array of experiences that define the lifestyle of Seoul's residents.
Let's harness the power of video for a drive through the bustling streets of the Korean capital and catch a glimpse of the iconic Gangnam District.
Our interactive map is a powerful tool that offers a dynamic exploration of Seoul's vibrant landscape. The map has been designed with an intuitive search function, allowing you to navigate through various parameters and unveil the city's essence in a tailored manner.
• People: Interested in discovering locations tied to notable figures in Seoul's history or contemporary scene? Simply select the person's name from the side menu, and our map will guide you to relevant sites associated with them.
• Entities (Institutions, Companies, Organizations, etc.): Curious about the influential institutions, renowned companies, or significant organizations that shape Seoul's fabric? Select one and our map will pinpoint their respective locations.
• Dates: Delve into Seoul's history by selecting a specific date. Whether you're interested in exploring historical events, architectural evolution, or urban development, our map will display the relevant locations based on your selected timeframe.
• Words (Special Words Describing Specific Concepts): Looking to unravel the city's unique culture, architecture, or specialized domains? Enter specific keywords or special words associated with your desired concept into the search bar. Our map will showcase the locations intertwined with the essence of those words.
• Questions: See what are the places that respond to a specific question, navigate through the archive of questions related to the street in Seoul and discover new places on the map.
With these flexible search options, you can tailor your exploration, ensuring a rich and personalized understanding of Seoul's intricate urban tapestry. The map is open to contributions and suggestions for additional streets, encompassing historical insights, etymology of names, or intriguing anecdotes for the curious explorer approaching Seoul.