Follow WGSN CxC strategist Charlotte Chan to Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city and the destination for a laid-back, coastal alternative to the capital.
Dubbed the Miami of South Korea, Busan has long been a holiday destination with beautiful beaches that the landlocked capital cannot offer. It is home to the world’s largest department store, Shinsegae Centum City Busan, and Korea’s biggest amusement park, Lotte World Adventure Busan.
The port city is also catching up as a candidate for World Expo 2030 and pushing itself to become a crypto hub. It positions itself as a growing convention hub as well as a one-to-watch bleisure destination.
The retail scene is very much youth-inspired. Apart from streetwear favourite Balansa, the new Ader Error Seomyeon Space, pet accessories store CRR and lifestyle store Object are other popular names in the hip Seomyeon area among the local MZ generation.
Hyper Ground is a new space gathering local and international youth favourite brands at Shinsegae Centum City Busan. Located in the usually high-end, brands-focused area, it's further evidence of the emergence of youth inspiration in the city.
Daelim Mansion, the hidden gem housing fashion and creative pop-ups and showrooms, Luft Mansion, the sister lifestyle store of the popular Luft Basement store, and the new Helinox Creative Center are all making Haeundae not only a sight-seeing favourite, but also a lifestyle shopping spot.
Cafe hopping is an essential part of a Busan trip, just like other South Korean cities, and seaside cafes such as architecturally unique offlow and outdoor-indoor Rendeja-Vous Haeundae are making the scene dazzling.
The city's creative energy also makes it a must-visit, home to the Busan Film Festival, Art Busan and Busan Biennale. Culture spaces include the digital experience at Museum 1 and Busan Museum of Art, anchoring the local and national art scene.
Alongside all this, the buzz-creating floating city prototype Oceanix – set to be built by 2025 – is further ensuring Busan is one to watch in the region.
If you’re a WGSN subscriber, get inspired by our Busan: Inspiration City guide. Live now on the site.