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 built out of 200 shipping containers in blue. It os an interesting place in Seoul usually frequented by universities students, and foreign visitors are flocking in — Does it worth your trip down? If you are planning your Seoul travel itinerary, read on.
Nestled in the eastern end of Seoul, this place is slightly off the beaten path. It is not exactly near Gyeongbok Palace, Insa-dong, Myeongdong, Hongdae or Seoul Station (places that perhaps a 1st -time visitor would most likely go). Therefore, if this site sounds interesting to you, I’d suggest you make at least half a day off your schedule, and have the nearby Children’s Grand Park (어린이대공원) in the itinerary (if you are travelling during Spring and Autumn), and experience the buzzing nightlife at Konkuk University Station area to make your trip worthwile.
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 (As of 2017), 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 for the university 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 Common Ground is 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 feels like Korea. But to some other people, especially the 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 its popularity.
However, the idea of shopping and eating inside the container is fun, and something relatively uncommon in Singapore. So if that’s what you’re looking for, you will enjoy this place nonetheless. 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 the 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 are worth your time to check out.
- Get a peek into South Korean university life – those vibrant, carefree vibes make me young again!
- Instagram-worthy. Need I say more?
- Remember to check out other places around the Konkuk University area together, as this area is famous for its good food without the hefty price tag and interesting pubs. Chinese food (jjajjang myun and lamb skewers) is cheap here too!
- Clothing prices are not exactly cheap. But if you are good at spotting great promotions, you may still get some cheap buys.
- Depending on where you stay, this place could take more than 40 mins. ride on a subway. If your aim is to shop, Hongdae/ Ehwa/ Gangnam or Garosugil would probably fare better.
- Hipster feel? Not too sure when it’s already quite “mainstream”.
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