Student Lily Lu Explores Café Culture in South Korea - Center for Global Engagement

Student Lily Lu Explores Café Culture in South Korea

by: Lily Lu


If you ever find yourself in South Korea, you can’t miss Korea’s café culture. From themed cafes to animal cafes to print cafes, if you can think it up, it’s probably out there somewhere. When I first made the decision to study abroad in Seoul, I knew I wanted to visit some cat cafes, but as someone who never really liked coffee or desserts, I did not know that I would end up enjoying the café culture so much during my stay.

If you enjoy animals, you will definitely enjoy going to one of Seoul’s many animal cafes. There are cafes dedicated to cats, specific breeds of dogs (such as Pomeranians and Samoyeds), meerkats, sheep, and even raccoons from what I have heard. These cafes require an entrance fee which may sometimes either be buying a drink per person or have a drink included. There are often rules for how to handle the animals which you are educated on before you are allowed to play with them. Once you understand the rules, you are free to play with the animals for however long you would like, though some cafes do impose time limits. These cafes also often offer treats or toys for the animals that you may either have for free or purchase for extra fees.

If you aren’t a big fan of animals, there are many different themed cafes as well. There are many cafes with beautiful decorations based around interesting concepts, for example, there is a Harry Potter themed café. Many cafes also have their own photo spots where you can take photos for your Instagram if that is something that you like to do.

Dessert is something I never really cared for before coming to South Korea, but now on some days, dessert is all I eat (unhealthy I know). On café menus, you can often find delicious cakes and other goodies to satisfy your sweet tooth. Some cafes are dedicated to selling primarily just cheesecakes, or donuts, or cinnamon rolls, or bingsu… you get the point. My personal favorites are croffles and bingsu.


Beyond the animal cafes, themed cafes, and dessert cafes, there are many more types of cafes to suit your every need. If you want somewhere to rest in the middle of the day, healing cafes allow you to nap away from home, and sometimes even provide massages. If you are a student studying for midterms or finals, you will likely find yourself at a study café which provides a quiet place for students to work and study. If there is a need, there is almost certainly a café to fulfill it.