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[Well-curated] Kick back at classical music listening room, bask in warm weather or watch world go by at rooftop cafe

May 13, 2022 - 09:00 By Korea Herald
Interior of Music Space Camerata (Park Ga-young/The Korea Herald)
At Music Space Camerata in Hyeri Art Valley, Paju, a city located west of Seoul and close to Panmunjeom, it’s rare to see visitors talking or typing on a laptop. Classical music plays nonstop and it’s not background music -- it’s why you are here.

It’s a perfect place for those who are already getting tired of social interaction in the post social-distancing era and for those who want to discover new classical music.

At Music Space Camerata, you can lay back in a deep black leather chair that faces a huge speaker system, including almost 100-year-old Western Electric speakers, a Klan Film Eurono junior speaker and a grand piano. Many read books or just immerse themselves in the music.

The space has a high ceiling and the gray walls have five pieces of big drawings, adding a touch of green to the otherwise monochromatic space. The music plays nonstop and a man with salt-and-pepper hair, Hwang In-yong, the founder and owner of the place who used to be a radio DJ, appears to place the LP cover to show which music is playing. 

Interior of Music Space Camerata (Park Ga-young/The Korea Herald)
Different programs are prepared for the weekends -- a reading program in partnership with a major publisher Munhak Dongne, or live concerts. For this Sunday, the music space will play Natalie Dessay’s “Baroque,” which is part of “The Diva” series. On May 21, a trio of piano, cello and “haegeum,” a traditional Korean string instrument, will play a combination of Western and Korean music during a concert titled “May I Love You?”

One downside is that the 55 seats fill up quickly during peak times. If you find that it is full, Hyeri Art Valley has many cafes, restaurants, small museums and craft shops that are worth a visit.

The regular entrance fee to Camerata is 10,000 won, which includes a complimentary drink. It is open from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. It is closed on Thursdays.  

People gather at the Seoul Library Plaza on April 23 to read a book at Seoul Plaza. (Seoul Metropolitan Government)
Seoul Plaza transformed into outdoor library

Seoul Plaza, the 1,300-square-meter plaza in front of the Seoul City Hall, has been turned into an outdoor library where passersby can grab a book and sit down to read, enjoying spring weather. The library operates every Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through October, except for July and August. 

People gather at the Seoul Library Plaza on April 23 to read a book at Seoul Plaza. (Seoul Metropolitan Government)
The Seoul Library Plaza has reopened after two years of suspension due to the pandemic, offering some 3,000 books curated under the themes of “happiness,” “together,” “future” and “sympathy.” People can grab a chair or mat on the lawn to read. Some 20 parasols provide shade.

An exhibition of picture books by illustrator Lee Suzy, the 2022 winner of the illustration section of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, will be on display throughout May.

The library is closed on rainy days. 

A rooftop view of Fortitude.A (Fortitude.A)
Enjoy the warm weather at rooftop cafe

As the days and evenings grow warmer, people are taking their drinks outside to take in the fresh air, enjoy the dazzling sunlight and the panoramic city views.

If you want to relax this weekend, regardless of the time of day, a visit to the rooftop of Fortitude.A may be an option.

Fortitude.A, a cafe and bar in Haebangchon, Yongsan-gu in central Seoul, welcomes coffee and dessert lovers with a fantastic range of delicious drinks.

A rooftop view of Fortitude.A (Fortitude.A)
Hand-drip coffee and desserts, ranging from rich cheesecakes to vegan brownies, will satisfy visitors with different tastes.

The weather in the afternoon too hot? Visit at night to enjoy a night view of Yongsan at the rooftop with beer, wine and cocktails.

You will soon be mesmerized by the glimmering lights and the warm breeze.

The rooftop has become a famous Instagram spot to grab a snap against the city nightscape, so don’t forget to take a photo whilst enjoying the scenery.

A rooftop view of Fortitude.A (Fortitude.A)
The cafe offers craft beers and various wines priced between 8,000 won to 16,000 won per glass. Pizza, Gambas al Ajillo and a cheese plate are also available to pair with your drinks.

The cafe opens at 1 p.m. and closes at 10 p.m. during the weekend. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.