Over the next few weeks, I encourage you to take a walk in Seongnamdong or “Old Downtown” as many expats call it. For the longest time it was the hangout of middle school students and old people. However, like most things it has been making a comeback in many ways. For the most part the old charm of the area still exist. Dank alleyways with interesting shops still exist but are slowly being replaced with trendy cafes and fashionable shops and restaurants.
These days it has more charm as the city is taking steps to improve the overall look and feel of the “old downtown” However, not to be outdone by Busan, the city of Ulsan has put up their own Christmas tree and it does make the area a little more festive. Some may say “tacky” but I for one feel that we need more Christmas lights around town.
During my walk through the area, there was a band playing some familiar Christmas tunes. It was a great evening to be out and about. The gangs of middle schoolers still prowled the walking street making it a hassle to get through. However, the smell of fresh roasted coffee from one of the 20 or so cafes along the street and the glow of the lights kept me feeling festive.
If you are driving, the best time to go is Sunday night as the underground parking lot near the library (just up from JJ’s Bar) is free and most people don’t even realize it is there. For the rest, just walk past Shigaetop heading away from the river and the Exordium towers. Just follow the lights.
For coffee suggestions, I would highly recommend cafe 57 as it has some great coffee and fresh roasted beans. It is located at the far end of the street, closest to the library and parking mentioned earlier. If you are down in the area on a Thursday, pop in to Toolbox for their special! Get a bacon cheese burger, fries, and a beer for 10,000 won. You can’t beat that kind of a deal.