Itaewon is a global village inside Seoul. You will find foreigners from every corner of the world throughout the year, it is the world in Seoul all year round. It used to be a small village of public officials living in quarters in the Joseon Dynasty.
After the Korean War, Itaewon developed into an area with a large number of Americans, due to the U.S. Military Base, 'Yongsan Garrison' located nearby. Today, there are over 30,000 U.S. troops in South Korea and Itaweon has developed into a multicultural mecca of great foreign influence. This international place is also one of the most popular tourist areas in Seoul. Shops and restaurants with influence from Europe, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Malaysia, Thailand, and Mexico are widely available in Itaewon making the streets colorful and vibrant in terms of language and looks. The restaurant scene in Itaewon may very well be the most progressive in Seoul. The Cheongdam area south of the river may give Itaewon competition but Seoulites from around Seoul are beginning to discover the excellent dining opportunities in and around the streets of Itaewon.
In Itaewon you will find high quality leather products along with traditional Korean souvenirs. If you want to get custom-made shirts or dresses, Itaewon is also the place to go in Seoul. Furthermore, the main street is lined with brand stores such as Nike, Adidas, Converse, Apple Computers etc.
The local residents and visitors of Itaewon are dominated by Americans (both Military and civilian) but also many other 'international residents', who work and live here.
At night Itaewon really comes alive. The area is notorious for its nightlife. It has been labelled a nightlife/entertainment district for ages but if you ask young Seoulites today they will also mention the growing fashion and dining scene in Itaewon. Having said that nightlife is still what Itaewon is best known for. It is hard not to find a place to your liking. Itaewon has a significant gay/lesbian community, so you'll also find numerous gay bars in this colorful district, along with world class clubbing, numerous smaller clubs and lounges, Irish pubs, craft beer tap houses, sports bars, boutique hotels, cigar lounges, cocktail bars, hostess bars and Russian karaoke bars etc. Itaewon offers great variety for everyone.