Neighboring the immense Yongsan American Garrison, Itaewon was once shunned by locals as a seedy, red light district. But within the past few years, Itaewon and its surrounding neighborhoods such as Kyunglidan and Haebangchong have undergone a major revival to quickly become one of Seoul’s hottest areas. Here, trendy international restaurants dot the area alongside hip lounge bars and some of Seoul’s hottest
club venues. After dark, Itaewon comes into its own as one of Seoul’s top party scenes. The crowd is a fascinating patchwork of all backgrounds and identities, including a small but thriving Muslim community (centered on Korea’s sole mosque), the LGBT community (with a string of popular bars and clubs), and a wide range of ethnicities and cultures scattered around. Those seeking a quiet respite should head towards the eastern end, in Hannam-dong, which not only has one of Korea’s best art museums, the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, but plenty of mid-range to upscale restaurants and cafes.