Jongno remains one of Seoul's most important financial and cultural districts, and its hotels are located within easy reach of several exquisite palaces as well as the South Korean president's residence, Cheong Wa Dae.
Covering roughly four square blocks, the Insadong neighborhood is a cultural and religious center lined with art galleries, teahouses, shops, restaurants and temples. On weekends, the main street is blocked to vehicular traffic, allowing the throngs of people to mingle without having to dodge traffic. Musicians perform on sidewalks and on a main stage, and the area is home to large musical instrument market. One of Insadong's more recent attractions, the Asia Eros Museum is a quirky diversion for those who need an off-beat break from shopping.
Jongmyo shrine, Art Center Nabi and Gahoe Museum are among the area’s other popular attractions. The top floor of the 33-story Jongno Tower offers stunning views of a district that contains 40% of the nation's antique shops and art galleries and 90% of the traditional stationery shops. Particularly noteworthy are Tongmungwan, the oldest bookstore in Seoul, and Kyung-in Art Gallery, the oldest tea house.
The Jongno shopping area is best accessed on foot from Insadong, taking the underpass through Jonggak Station. A convenient way to visit the area’s most famous galleries is to use its popular Art Center Bus service.