Common Ground 커먼그라운드 — I bet many of you have heard about South Korea’s first pop-up store built with shipping containers. This trendy shopping district is made of 200 shipping containers in blue is a characteristic place in Seoul bursting with energy and vivacity. Does it worth your trip all the way down? Here’s my view.
Nestled in the eastern end of Seoul, this place is slightly off the beaten path compared to all other common tourist sites. If you plan to visit this place, it is best to check out the nearby Children’s Grand Park 어린이대공원 during Spring and Autumn, and the nightlife at Konkuk University area to make your trip worthwhile.
You may find quirky, young designer brands here in the blue containers, and sorry, no, you won’t be able to get mainstream brands here at common ground, so all these added a somewhat “hipster” atmosphere to the place. Since it is very near to Konkuk University, it is known to be a hangout place for the students. There are food truck areas at the central square market, and also restaurants at the 3rd-floor terrace. You may also find exhibitions, performances and events held in this space. Here’re some of the photos during my visits over the years:
If you ask me if it really worth your trip down, I would say yes, and no. Over the years, this place has gone too “mainstream” it starts to lose its originality. This place somehow reminds me of Myeongdong. Well, to some people Myeongdong IS Korea and it FEELS like Korea. But to many people, especially locals, many parts of it feels foreign. One man’s meat is another’s poison, for me, this place is gradually losing its charm due to popularity.
However, the idea of shopping and eating inside the container is interesting, something relatively uncommon in Singapore. So if that’s what you’re looking for, you will enjoy this trip down. There’s also a newly opened shipping container cluster some 2.6KM away, which is called the Under Stand Avenue. This trendy new place has a stronger sense of locality, and is best visited during weekend as of 2017.
I have also listed down the Yays and Nays of visiting Common Ground, hopefully, it’ll help you decide better. 🙂
- You get to do some shopping in the containers! Some of the designer shops really worth your time to check out.
- Get a peek into South Korean university life – those vibrant, carefree vibes making you young again.
- Instagram-worthy: I must say your photo will look quite impressive especially when you’re in white.
- Remember to check out other places around the Konkuk University area together, as this area is famous for its cheap & nice food and interesting pubs. Chinese food (jjajjang myun and lamb satay) is cheap here too!
- Prices are not exactly cheap. Yes, you may still get some cheap buys. I got a tailored cutting pants at KRW 15,000. But most of the stalls are, however, quite similarly priced to the shops in Hongdae or Ehwa.
- Depending on where you stay, this place could take more than 40 mins ride on a subway. If your aim is to shop, I’d suggest you shop around Hongdae/ Ehwa/ Gangnam or Garosugil.
- Hipster feel? Nah, not quite really when it is flooded with people from you-know-where.
Common Ground 커먼그라운드
200, Achasan-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul (Konkuk University Exit 6, Line 2 or 7)
서울특별시 광진구 아차산로 200 (자양동17-11)
Tel: +82 2 467 2747
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm
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