I have tried to avoid Myeongdong for the longest time in Seoul because of a less than ideal first time there in 2009. It's a very high traffic area and a tourist destination so it's very easy to be overwhelmed, esp. if you're not used to that many people. My most recent visits, however, have been surprisingly fun and I'm starting to like going there in the afternoons until around 11 p.m. before it gets a bit harder to get home via subway (the last trains are at 11+). Here are a few of my Myeongdong finds and street food galore in photos when I found my way there from Nandaemun (walked) and when I brought some guests there (LOL feeling tour guide haha). For starters, you see the GimGaNe 김家네 restaurant below? It's a popular kimbap and rappoki chain. Yum!
Myeongdong is a subway station away from Hoehyeon (Nandaemun stop) so I had this thought to find my way there on foot one day. Since I didn't have a map on me, the mobile TIC (tourist information center) guys - they walk around in a red "i" uniform - and traffic enforcers were very helpful in pointing me to the right direction. I got there around 2 p.m. during a Sunday and the crowd was not bad. Three tips in Korea: When in Myeongdong and you're planning to buy from retail stores, look for Global Tax Free or Global Blue Tax Free (blue or orange, bring passport) at the doors. The stores, as far as I know, don't open until around 10 or 11 a.m. so it's okay to sleep in or go to other places first haha. If they don't understand English, try speaking in Mandarin Chinese ;)
I looked around for a bit and I came across a 1000 won store. That price range here is not very common so I went in.
Even guys were enticed. Haha.
They were selling accessories from the Red Eye store like earrings, necklaces, etc. I bought some 1+1 scrunchies for my hair ;) This is not a permanent store so you really have to be on the lookout for bargains.
It was near my fav store Artbox. This branch is a bit small but I always buy something cute from this store. I bought a 1500 won sticky phone cleaner this time hahaha. Very good buy.
There are big buildings of Forever21, Uniqlo, H&M (I think, there's a big one in Hongik Univ station) and other international brands.
I found another 1000 won shop selling keychains, socks and blings haha. For clothes and other stuff, I like going to other places ;)
One thing I've noticed during my last visit this November were the street food choices. There was really more variety now than last 2013 when I stayed at the Lotte Hotel near here for the Wiki Korea Tour. Or I might not have been that observant then haha. Myeongdong comes more alive at night when carts occupy the middle part of the streets. So here are some street food available (and a few more items) when it gets dark in Myeongdong. Not all are Korean and some might be for tourists or new concepts but it's fun to try them at least once in Korea. There's fried shrimp,
chocolate coated strawberries,
KPOP and Korean novela items (and socks),
baby items like shoes,
twist potatoes with hotdog,
rice cake chicken balls
(haven't tried them yet but it's tempting),
selca sticks (these pods are so in haha),
kebabs (I think because more for tourists looking for Halal options),
chicken with dipping sauce,
sausage with rice cakes,
Chinese dumplings and pancakes,
Korean food in smaller portions like chapchae,
peeled huge roasted chestnuts (they peel it for you so it's cool but some I found here were burnt so I kept looking for other carts),
odaeng (fish cake), soup, tteokbokki,
other nuts and dried stuff,
jjajangmyun (black noodles),
(the Korean kind is yummy for me, sweet and juicy but depends on the season)
and mini red bean fish cakes.
I didn't try all of them and I think some Korean food found in the streets taste different from the one in restaurants (like restaurant tastes better). If you count it all also, the small servings on the street also cost more haha. But if you only have a night, if you're by yourself, just want to try or want variety with friends then you might want to check out Myeongdong at night.
P.S. There are lots of Chimek (chicken + beer) places in one part. I know the Myeongdong Gyoja place and Andong Jjimdak (very big serving) restaurant are must eats here as well. It is also more likely that restaurants won't turn you away here if you're a solo traveler. Make sure to take the subway home before 11 p.m. ;) You can see Namsan Tower here from a distance. Oh, there is also supposed to be an art market in Myeongdong every Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. although I wasn't able to find it.