Korea’s four distinctive seasons, with cold winds in winter or the sudden downpours during the rainy season in summer, may cause varying levels of inconvenience in having a pleasant shopping experience in Korea. However, the weather causes no problem at the top five underground shopping malls in Seoul, where one can go and fully enjoy shopping, without being restricted by the whims of weather. Not only are these shopping malls lined with shops, but they are also packed with restaurants, cafés, and cultural attractions. Plus, these malls are connected to the subway, allowing you visit the malls conveniently and enjoy shopping while keeping your feet dry even in the middle of a rain storm.
Goto Mall (Gangnam Terminal Underground Shopping Center) and Famille Station
Express Bus Terminal Station Underground Shopping Mall
Goto Mall, a contraction of gosok teomineol, meaning "express bus terminal," and Famille Station are often referred to as shopping heaven for women. A long shopping aisle connecting Banpo Station (Seoul Subway Line 7) and Express Bus Terminal Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, 7, 9) flourishes with multitude of stores offering various goods, making it the largest underground shopping mall of its kind in Seoul. The latest clothing trends, accessories, cosmetics, interior products and wholesale flowers – there’s nothing here you won’t find. You can also enjoy a delicious meal or a cup of coffee at one of the many popular restaurants and coffee shops, or seek entertainment at a movie theater. In addition, shoppers can move easily around the area due to the expansion of aisles that connect Shinsegae Department Center, Central City Terminal, and Express Bus terminal.
Directions: Express Bus Terminal Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, 7, 9)
Operating hours: 10:00-22:00 / Open all year round (Hours vary by shop)
Nearby attractions: Banpo Hangang Park, Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain, Shinsegae Department Store – Gangnam Branch, Famille Station, Sinsadong Garosu-gil Road
Famille Station website: www.centralcityseoul.co.kr (Korean, English)
Yeongdeungpo Underground Mall and Times Square
Times Square (top) & Yeongdeungpo Underground Mall (bottom)
Yeongdeungpo has long been a hub of public transportation in Seoul that is always crowded with people coming and going. Since the opening of the mega shopping mall Times Square, it has been drawing even more traffic. Yeongdeungpo Underground Mall offers a variety of products marketed to different age groups from teenagers to seniors. In addition, visitors can also visit Shinsegae Department Store and Times Square connected to the underground mall for a variety of shopping options.
Directions: Yeondeungpo Station (Seoul Subway Line 1)
Operating hours: 10:00-22:00 (Hours vary by shop) / Closed on the day of Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day) (Closed days vary by shop)
Nearby attractions: Times Square, Lotte Department Store – Yeongdeungpo Branch, Yeouido Hangang Park
Times Square website : www.timessquare.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Gangnam Underground Shopping Center
Gangnam Station (top) / Shops in Gangnam Underground Shopping Center (bottom)
Surrounded by tall buildings and exquisite shops, Gangnam Station on Seoul Subway Line 2 and Sinbundang Line is quite popular among international travelers. Gangnam Underground Shopping Mall is where is where affordability meets quality as it boasts the greatest concentration of clothing, cosmetics, and telecommunications stores, making it easy for shoppers to do price comparisons before making purchases. Also, the Sinbundang Line Underground Shopping Center, which is attached to Gangnam Station, features low- to mid-priced brands and franchised coffee shops spread out over a large area, offering one of the most convenient and comfortable underground shopping experiences. For those who are determined to go on a big shopping spree, try walking through Gangnam Underground Shopping Mall all the way to Sinnonhyeon Station on Seoul Subway Line 9, and exiting out on to Gangnam-daero Road. The much-loved Gangnam-daero Road is known for its sprawling shopping district.
Directions: Gangnam Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, Shinbundang Line)
Operating hours: 11:00-23:00 / Open all year round (Hours vary by shop)
Nearby attractions: Samsung D’light, Kukkiwon, Gold Spa (Hwanggeum Oncheon), Sinsadong Garosu-gil
Jamsil Underground Shopping Center and Lotte World Tower & Mall
Snapshots of Jamsil Underground Shopping Center
Another shopping center in the heart of Seoul is located at Jamsil. Jamsil Underground Shopping Mall is connected to Lotte World and Lotte Department Store – Jamsil Branch, offering a wide range of shopping options. In particular, a fountain inspired by the Trevi Fountain in Rome will catch your attention at the square located between Jamsil Station and Lotte Department Store. This “Trevi Fountain” in Jamsil Station is guaranteed to serve as a great backdrop for memorable souvenir photos. Lotte World Tower is another must-go attraction within the area that has an aquarium, a movie theater, department stores, and restaurants.
Directions: Jamsil Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 8)
Operating hours: 10:00-22:00 / Closed first and third Monday of every month (Closed days vary by shop)
* All stores operated by Lotte Department Store and Lotte World Tower have the same closing days as Lotte Department Store.
Nearby attractions: Lotte World, Lotte World Tower & Mall, Songpa Naru Park (Seokchonhosu Lake), Jamsil Sports Complex, Olympic Park, Jamsil Hangang Park
Lotte World Tower website: www.lwt.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Starfield COEX Mall
Stores in Starfield COEX Mall (Credit: Starfield COEX)
Starfield COEX Mall is a well-known underground shopping mall in Korea that houses many brand stores. A movie theater, aquarium, duty-free shops, casino, COEX InterContinental Seoul, and department stores are delightfully connected to the underground mall, making it possible to enjoy shopping and cultural experiences without leaving the building. Famous restaurants and trendy dessert cafés, along with character pop-up stores and kid’s cafés located in the mall provide a fun day for all generations. With the opening of Starfield Library in May 2017 (bottom right photo), Starfield COEX Mall is gaining more popularity than ever!
Directions: Samsung Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), connected to Exit 5 & 6
Operating hours: 10:30-22:00 / Open all year round (Hours vary by shop)
Nearby attractions: Bongeunsa Temple, Seven Luck Casino – Seoul Gangnam, Seolleung & Jeongneung Royal Tombs
Starfield COEX Mall website: www.coexmall.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)