Exploring Uijeongbu and Namyangju: Where to Go and What to Do

Just north of Seoul, the bustling capital of South Korea, lie the cities of Uijeongbu and Namyangju. While these areas might not be as well-known to foreigners as other tourist hotspots, they are regarded as an extension of Seoul, and the closest encounter with nature to Koreans. (Actually most of the parts of the cities are connected with Seoul subway lines and buses)

Here, we guide you through some of the top things to do in Uijeongbu and Namyangju, showcasing the unique charm and attractions that these cities have to offer.

1. Uijeongbu Budaejjigae Street

source : Korea Tourism Organization

Uijeongbu Budaejjigae Street is an iconic food experience in South Korea. Budaejjigae, meaning “army stew,” originated during the Korean War when food was short, and locals used leftover ingredients such as Spam, sausage, and canned beans from U.S. military bases, which were in the city. This dish has since evolved into a beloved Korean comfort food.

Walking down Budaejjigae Street, you’ll find numerous restaurants, each with its unique ingdients and recipe. The street is a vibrant hub, often filled with the delicious aroma of simmering stews and the lively chatter of visitors. For foreigners, visiting this street is not just about tasting a delicious meal; it’s about experiencing a piece of Korean history and culture.

Why Visit?

  • Cultural Significance: Understanding the origins of budaejjigae offers insight into Korea’s post-war history and culinary evolution.
  • Culinary Adventure: Each restaurant offers a slightly different flavor profile, allowing you to taste a variety of interpretations of this iconic dish.
  • Local Experience: Mingle with locals and enjoy the bustling atmosphere that is quintessentially Korean.

2. Uijeongbu Music Library & Art Library

For those seeking a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of Seoul, the Uijeongbu Music Library and Art Library provides a perfect retreat. Built and run by the city, these libraries are not just repositories of knowledge but also architectural marvels. The Music Library, with its extensive collection of music records and books, is a haven for music lovers. The Art Library, on the other hand, offers a vast array of art books and exhibition spaces.

The libraries are designed to encourage relaxation and contemplation. With comfortable seating areas, beautiful interiors, and scenic outdoor spaces, they offer a peaceful environment to unwind, read, and appreciate art and music.

Why Visit?

  • Architectural Beauty: The modern and aesthetically pleasing design of the libraries makes them a delight to visit.
  • Cultural Enrichment: Explore a vast collection of music and art resources that cater to both casual visitors and serious enthusiasts.
  • Peaceful Ambiance: The tranquil setting is perfect for a leisurely afternoon of reading or quiet reflection.

3. Hyundai Premium Outlet ‘SPACE1’ (Namyangju)

Shopping enthusiasts will find much to love at the Hyundai Premium Outlet ‘SPACE1’ in Namyangju. This shopping complex is one of the latest additions to the retail landscape near Seoul, offering a wide range of high-end brands, fashion outlets, and lifestyle stores. With its convenient location and excellent transport links, the outlet is easily accessible from Seoul, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

Apart from shopping, the mall also boasts a variety of dining options. From trendy cafes to gourmet restaurants, there’s something to satisfy every palate. The outlet’s modern facilities and spacious layout ensure a comfortable shopping experience, or even just hanging out for a day with eye shopping.

Why Visit?

  • Convenience: Easy accessibility from Seoul makes it a hassle-free shopping destination.
  • Diverse Offerings: A wide range of stores and brands cater to different tastes and budgets.
  • Dining Options: Enjoy a meal or a coffee break at one of the many eateries available.

4. Starbucks The Bukhan River R (Namyangju)

Located along the scenic Bukhan River, which is one of the roots of Han River, Starbucks The Bukhan River R is not your average cafe. This unique Starbucks branch offers stunning views of the river, making it a perfect spot to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee. The cafe’s spacious outdoor seating area is particularly popular, providing a serene backdrop for your coffee break.

One of the highlights of this Starbucks is its dog-friendly policy, making it an ideal destination for pet owners. The combination of beautiful natural scenery and the welcoming atmosphere makes it a standout location among the many Starbucks branches in South Korea.

Why Visit?

  • Scenic Views: Enjoy peacful views of the Bukhan River while sipping your favorite coffee.
  • Dog-Friendly: Pet owners can bring the pets and relax in the outdoor seating area.
  • Relaxing Atmosphere: The tranquil setting provides a perfect escape from the urban hustle.

5. Sudong Valley (Namyangju)

For nature lovers, Sudong Valley in Namyangju offers a refreshing natural escape not far from Seoul. This beautiful valley is known for its clear, clean waters and lush greenery, making it a perfect spot for a day trip. Whether you’re looking to hike, picnic, or simply enjoy the serene surroundings, Sudong Valley has something to offer.

In recent years, Sudong Valley has gained popularity among Koreans as a hidden destination for a quick getaway from the city. The area is well-maintained, with designated picnic spots, walking trails, and facilities to ensure a comfortable visit. It’s an excellent place to relax and reconnect with nature.

Why Visit?

  • Natural Beauty: Experience the tranquility and beauty of one of the cleanest valleys near Seoul.
  • Outdoor Activities: Enjoy hiking, picnicking, and exploring the lush surroundings.
  • Easy Access: Its proximity to Seoul makes it an ideal destination for a day trip.