Mega shopping malls in Seoul and the metropolitan area

by Korea Tourism Organization
Korea Tourism Organization

They are calling;
find all you need at these one-stop shops in Korea!

Located in various suburbs of Seoul, mega shopping malls are reinventing themselves through continued innovation to keep pace with the ever-changing needs of domestic and foreign consumers. These places are breaking away from the traditional role of shopping malls that simply meet the basic needs of shoppers; they are designed to cater to a broader array of services, such as fine dining, a wide-range of entertainment, and much more! These huge recreation-integrated shopping malls are truly a one-stop destination for all, and have been fervently welcomed by people of all ages and backgrounds.

Getting in tune with the latest trend of “malling”, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) carefully selected four outstanding malls that are setting the standard. Two of them, Parnas and COEX Mall of Gangnam, have been seeing a dramatic rise in popularity through their multinational fashion brands and premium food and beverage outlets. These two giant malls went through a soft opening (a lightly-announced opening to test operations ahead of the actual grand opening) and then later opened their doors wide to the public last year (2014).

In addition to Parnas and COEX Malls, Famille Station, conveniently located between Shinsegae Department Store (Gangnam Branch) and Seoul Express Bus Terminal, carries an upscale feel suited to high-end consumers and has been gaining a reputation among travelers, especially from Asian countries.

Yeouido IFC Mall, the largest mall in Korea, is situated in the west end of Seoul. After the recent renovation that included a variety of newly opened brands, IFC is now setting the latest malling trends through successfully launching their “total mall experience,” a concept that promotes visitors from all over the world to not just do their shopping, but also find high quality restaurants, entertainment centers, and a wide range of cultural experiences all under one roof.

Last but not least, AK Mall (AK Plaza Department Store - Suwon Branch), located in Seoul’s suburb of Suwon, has been recently nicknamed a “shopper’s paradise” for its perfect integration of first-class premium shops and large discount stores.

Pop-up shops, brand collaborations, and premium outlets draw the attention of those hunting for an impressive atmosphere and a trendy shopping experience. The most popular food and beverage outlets in Gangnam and Shinsegae Department Stores are part of these popular malls in order to entice shoppers.

One of the best parts is that these mega malls are all indoors, meaning good weather is no longer required to have fun all year long. Decorated with an assortment of themes, these malls have garnered considerable popularity even among window shoppers. Why not give yourself some time and go venturing out to these hotspots for the upcoming weekend?

Life is unfolding at COEX Mall

Recently added to Seoul’s Special Tourist Zone list, COEX Mall is entering a new era on a larger scale, equipped with assorted cultural facilities that are sure to please everyone’s taste. The renovation started in late November of 2014 and has turned the place into more than just an art and exhibition hall; it has created a multi-layered concept of shopping, tourism and entertainment, dubbed “culture platform.” By utilizing the world-renowned architectural firm Gensler for the design, the venue’s foot traffic now has a more optimized flow. Also, the project completed realizing its “Unfolding Sky” concept with its five uniquely-themed squares, enabling the new COEX Mall to bring in more amounts of natural light.

Establishing itself as Gangnam’s top shopping mecca, COEX Mall extends itself more to fashion, accessories, beauty, and lifestyle brands that meet the global standard. Housing over 200 different retail stores and a wide variety of dining establishments in addition to the large movie theater complex and aquarium, the mall is jam-packed with everything but a dull experience. It is also conveniently connected to the nearest major transportation hubs City Airport Terminal and Samseong Subway Station, as well as InterContinental Hotel, Hyundai Department Store, ASEM Tower, COEX Artium, and more.

More info

☞ Address: 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
☞ Transportation: Samseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 5 or 6. Enter COEX Mall through the connecting passageway.
☞ Hours: 10:00-22:00 / Open all year round (may vary by store)
☞ Brand information: ZARA Home, JAJU, Mamas & Papas, Lounge P, Kakao Friends, and more
☞ Website: www.coexmall.com (Korean, English, Chinese)
☞ Nearest attractions: COEX Artium, COEX Aquarium, Megabox COEX
☞ Inquiries: +82-2-6002-5300
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Parnas Mall, Asia's largest underground shopping center

Parnas Mall, located in the underground level of the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas Hotel, is a premium casual mall that features culture, shopping, and a mass of good eats. In 2003, it claimed the title of largest underground shopping mall in Asia, and with its re-opening in October of 2014 with the renovations at neighboring COEX Mall, it now is composed of dozens of shops carrying global fashion brands that before were only available in duty free stores.

With its location directly connected to Samseong Station, COEX Mall, a casino, and Hyundai Department Store, it reaps the benefits of having over 3 million shoppers pass through its entrances per month, and rumors are floating around that people are calling it the “Garosu-gil of Samseong-dong.” Also, with all its cultural events happening regularly in the halls of this complex, it’s no wonder that visitors keep pouring in. Its luxurious and stylish atmosphere is complimented with a sophisticated interior design, and given its incredible mix of ethnic cuisine from around the world, this mall is a favorite stop for many international business people.

More info

☞ Address: 521, Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
☞ Transportation: Samseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 5 or 6.
☞ Hours: 10:00-22:00 / Open all year round (may vary by store)
☞ Brand information: [Fashion] Il Bisonte, Parsons. W, Allsaints, Millefiori, etc. / [Food and beverage] Junior's Bakery & J's Coffee, KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn, Ramen Hansungmungo, etc.
☞ Website: www.parnasmall.com (Korean, English, Chinese)
☞ Inquiries: +82-2-599-7085
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

A must stop for K-Pop fans! SM Town@COEX Artium

S.M. Entertainment, one of Korea’s largest entertainment companies, unveiled this six-storey, 8000-square meter building to immense fanfare in 2015 following the re-opening of COEX Mall.

SM Town took the first step into this uncharted territory by inventing a multi-purpose hallyu culture space never before done. At the first floor’s “Welcome Zone,” visitors are welcomed by top SM celebrities and offered a variety of fun as they walk up to the top for some shopping at SUM, a store filled with celebrity-related merchandise, then on to becoming a K-Pop star at SM Town studio, and finally winding down with some sweets or beverages at SM Town’s LIVErary Cafe. On the fifth and sixth floors is SM Town Theater, the first hologram theater in Korea, and is set to dazzle all its visitors with futuristic visual presentations.

SUM Cafe, a kind of pop-up store on the fourth floor, is a must-see spot for all who wish to visit SM Town. It features limited edition desserts inspired by SM artists in collaboration with a famous dessert brand, as well as showcases exclusive limited edition goods and SM artists’ personal items. You can also create your own jukebox by recording your favorite songs here. You will lose track of time as you cruise along the lavish exhibit spaces and browse through the assortment of products.

SM Town at COEX Artium can be cloud nine for those who ardently pursue hallyu stars like EXO, Super Junior, Bigbang, PSY, and others. With the surging popularity of these K-stars, SM Town has over 2,500 visitors a day and 40 to 50 percent of them are primarily from Japan and China.

More info

☞ Address: 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
☞ Transportation: Samseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 5 & 6. (located next to COEX)
☞ Hours: 10:00-22:00 (hours are subject to change)
☞ Performing hall information: 808 seats (5F: 628 seats, 6F: 180 seats)
☞ Inquiries (and reservations): +82-2-738-8289
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Famille Station, the place to dine and drink

As an affiliate of Shinsegae brand adjacent to Seoul Express Bus Terminal, Famille Station opened its doors to the public in November 2014 after a three-month renovation. To its credit, the area has now become more modernized and organized, housing more than 30 world-famous food chains and fashion brands (some stores are still scheduled for opening) imported from 10 different countries.

For this reason, Famille Station is largely crowded even on weekdays, during lunch hours, and especially close to 6 p.m. when there is a heavy influx of people making long lineups. People wouldn’t mind waiting an hour or two to sit down for a bite at this “gourmet paradise.” Great dining choices like hotspots from Garosu-gil and Sinsa-dong, exclusive picks from restaurants and bars in Gyeongnidan-gil and Iteawon-dong, and hidden gems brought from Sangsu-dong in Mapo-gu are so irresistible you won’t be able to leave the place on an empty stomach. Therefore, seeing hungry customers lining up row after row in front of places like Olban (buffet-style Korean dining), Gooseulhambak (Hamburg steakhouse), and others will be no strange scene.

Limited coffee shops like Starbucks Reserve and Devil’s Door, a giant brew pub serving tasty craft beers, are other attractions adding more reason to visit Famille Station. The mall is also situated in a convenient location, as it’s directly connected to Express Bus Terminal Subway Station, where Seoul Subway Lines 3, 7, and 9 intersect.

More info

☞ Address: 205, Sapyeong-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul
☞ Transportation: Express Bus Terminal Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, 7, 9), Exit 3. Follow signs through connecting passageway to Famille Plaza.
☞ Hours: 10:00-22:00 (varies by store)
☞ Facilities: 26 food and beverage stores (1F), beauty salon/spa, hair, nail, kid's cafe (2F), Starbucks (15-year celebration signature store) (3F)
☞ Inquiries: +82-2-6282-0114
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Yeouido IFC Mall, the heart of international shopping

Located in Yeouido, the home of the National Assembly and various broadcasting corporations and financial institutions, IFC Mall is an international-style shopping mall containing various global brands, such as H&M, Zara, Uniqlo, Massimo Dutti, 8 Seconds, and other SPA (specialty retailer of private label apparel) brands. The mall itself runs from the first basement level until the third floor, although there is an “IFC Street Shop” on basement level 3, which also connects directly to Yeouido Station (Seoul Subway Line 5 and 9). IFC is known especially because clothing stores take up about three quarters of the shops in the mall, and aside from that there is also a large bookstore and a movie theater.

On basement level 3 is a restaurant area with a European theme called Food Empire, where shoppers can satisfy their appetites on any kind of cuisine, including Korean, Indian, Southeast Asian, American, Japanese, and European. Across from Food Empire is CJ FoodWorld, owned and operated by CJ Group, Korea’s famous food and beverage conglomerate. Inside FoodWorld is Olive Market, a grocery store designed with the concept of maximizing the pleasure of food into all of their products. All in one place, you can purchase and feast on your meal, which is made in house and includes CJ ingredients. Across the street from IFC Mall is Yeouido Park, an excellent little haven to feel like you’ve escaped from the busy city life, and if you walk just a little further, you will reach the Hangang River.

More info

☞ Address: 10, Gukjegeumyung-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul (23, Yeouido-dong)
☞ Transportation: Yeouido Station (Seoul Subway Line 5, 9), Exit 3. Follow signs through connecting passageway to IFC Mall.
☞ Hours: IFC Mall 10:00-22:00 / IFC Street Mall 10:00-21:00 / (Varies by store)
☞ Website: www.ifcmallseoul.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Inquiries: +82-2-6137-5000
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Yeongdeungpo Times Square, Urban Entertaining Lifestyle Center

Located at Yeongdeungpo Station on Seoul Subway's Line 1, Times Square serves the city of Seoul as a fully-equipped entertainment and culture space, with the Courtyard Marriot Hotel, dozens of offices, Shinsegae Department Store, CGV Movie Theater, E-Mart, Kyobo Bookstore, Amoris Wedding Hall, as well as countless clothing stores and over 200 restaurants. The movie theater here also holds the Guiness World Record for the largest movie theater screen.

With its next-door Shinsegae Department Store and Lotte Department Store located right at Yeongdeungpo Station, this place comes highly-recommended by shoppers. The Main Atrium, shown in the picture above, is the largest open space of its kind in Asia, and extends all the way to the roof. On Saturdays and Sundays, visitors can see free performances and events only available at Times Square, and the venue also holds numerous launch events for global companies. You can also often find celebrities holding autograph sessions, and even TV broadcasts being filmed here, making it a place where shopping is only the beginning.

More info

☞ Address: 15, Yeongjung-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
☞ Transportation: Yeongdeungpo Station (Seoul Subway Line 1). Leave the station through Lotte Department Store. Cross the street and continue on for 200 m. Turn left and walk straight 150 m to arrive at Times Square.
☞ Hours: 10:30-22:00 (open all year round; hours vary by store)
☞ Website: www.timessquare.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Inquiries: +82-2-2638-2000
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

From luxury shoppers to penny pinchers, Suwon AK Plaza has it all!

AK Plaza, located at Suwon Station, has been Gyeonggi-do's top shopping ground since it opened in 2003. With the opening of the trendy AK& Shopping Mall and Novotel Ambassador Hotel in December of 2014, AK Town is now complete. Its fashion, accessories, Food Street, and movie theater give it its shopping/culture image, making it a popular place for young adults and teenagers to gather. In particular is the basement level's Food Street, which was designed to look like 1970s Korea, where you can check out all the cool retro artifacts after enjoying your lunch in a restored 1970s bus or train car.

More info

☞ Address: 924, Deogyeong-daero, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do (18, Maesanno 1-ga)
☞ Transportation: Suwon Station (Seoul Subway Line 1). Follow the hallway connected to the second floor of the store.
☞ Hours:
[AK PLAZA] 10:30-20:00 (Monday-Thursday), 10:30-20:30 (Friday-Sunday, National holidays) / [AK&] 10:30-22:00 / (Hours vary by store; refer to official website for details)
☞ Website: www.akplaza.com (Korean only)
☞ Inquiries: +82-31-1661-1114
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Korea Tourism Organization website

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