Incheon Awakens As The Sun Sets

Photo: Incheon's Chinatown © Steveng1892 | Dreamstime.com

- October 23, 2015

Seoul is undoubtedly South Korea’s epicenter for all things culture and entertainment, but the capital city’s little sister to the southwest, Incheon, is all grown up and ready to establish herself. After hosting the 2014 Asian Games and undergoing a recent real estate overhaul, South Korea’s third-largest city boasts its own little metropolis of restaurants, festivals and an exhilarating nightlife that offers a refreshing respite from saturated Seoul.

As the sun sets over the Yellow Sea, take a breather in Tochon, a calm Korean restaurant where you can enjoy authentic delicacies among aquariums and waterfalls. If you’d rather grab a quick take-away meal before starting your night, line up at Shinpo-sijang (within the Shinpo Market) for a casual Korean snack like bibimbap or spicy beef and vegetables.

South Korea’s only Chinatown is located in Incheon, a city that prides itself on its proximity to mainland China. Stretch your wallet at Mandabok or opt for budget-friendly dumplings at Dada Bok. After a spicy meal of veggies and noodles, soak up views of Incheon’s port over dessert and coffee at Café Castle, also located in Chinatown.

If you’re craving a side of Western culture with your beef and noodles, Liquor Burger in Yeonsu-dong extends its American arms with all the comforts of home merged with an exotic locale. A big-screen projection television airs football (both European and American) and hockey, or get into the game with darts and foosball. A gentle mix of Westerners and Koreans flocks to the bar for its seven delectable burgers, including the Quadruple Bypass Burger.

As the sun sets, the lively streets of Bupyeong begin to wake from within the ordinarily peaceful city. The central Bupyeong Cultural Street is a veritable showcase of events throughout the year, and people-watching on this busy avenue never gets old.

While there aren’t many (if any) LGBT bars in Incheon proper, a quick subway or taxi ride transports you to Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood with its gay-friendly thoroughfare. Grab a pre-bar snack at Always Homme or Eat Me, and then flow out into the hordes hopping from venue to venue. From dance clubs like Le Queen to the more refined cocktail lounge Almaz, the diversity of the neighborhood will appease all tastes.

As the evening begins to roll over into the morning, make one last stop at Paradise Casino inside the Grand Hyatt Incheon. Table games and slot machines keep risktakers busy for hours.

Seoul may be the more well-known South Korean destination, but Incheon’s short distance to the port and the airport solidify its acclaim as a burgeoning entertainment oasis.

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