HOURS: Daily 24 hours
SUBWAY: Sinsa (Line 3)
Though it’s officially called Dosan-daero buk 5-gil, everyone knows this street in Seoul’s posh Sinsa area as “Garosu-gil,” or “tree-lined street,” after the stately gingko trees that adorn the 700-meter lane.
Whether it’s the trees—particularly lovely in autumn—or its proximity to the trendy Apgujeong district, this deceptively diminutive stretch of road has long been a magnet for the city’s trend-setters.
Starting out as an artists’ enclave in the 1980s, it later attracted up-and-coming designers and boutiques, which have since been joined by quirky cafés, bars, and curio shops. Frequently described as Seoul’s version of New York City’s Soho, or a slice of continental Europe, it may not approach those heights of sophistication, but it has a markedly different flavor from the city and certainly warrants an afternoon of exploration.
In recent years it’s taken on a decidedly French cast, seen in many of the shop names (Le Brunchie, A Priori The, Fleur & Goute) as well as the bakeries and coffee shops crowding the area. Many of Garosu-gil’s boutiques sell stylish, highly customized clothing, accessories, and stationery from local artists and designers, but bring a loaded wallet—this is an upmarket part of town, and goods and services are priced accordingly.
© Jonathan Hopfner from Moon Seoul, 1st Edition