Evening walks are one of our favorite activities. since we started dating in 2008, Stephanie and I have used neighborhood walks as a form of easy exercise, free entertainment, and grounding element to wherever we find ourselves. No matter where we’ve traveled or lived, we always make sure to explore a place on foot. This slowed pace and methodical block-by-block method of exploration has always kept us in touch with our surroundings and community, as well as keeping us up to date on the ever changing landscape that surrounds us. Recently and on a much needed walk after a hard week, we stumbled upon a newly renovated area of Yeosu called Angel Alley. While we had been in the area plenty of times before, we were reminded of how local walks can reconnect you with the city you live in, not the one you feel yourself growing tired of.
Angel Alley is located near Jinnamgwan, a historical site of significant importance in Korean history, at the top of a hill. From the museum near Jinnamgwan we crossed a pedestrian bridge and started our climb toward a neighborhood we knew for its faded murals and tight, winding alleyways. Looking to get lost, we instead found ourselves in part of town that only barely resembled the quaint collection of houses we’d known previously. As we began to explore, we found ourselves in the middle of a city works project to rejuvenate and resurrect this once inspiring neighborhood. Walls that previously displayed worn out and dated artwork have been repainted with updated and vibrant new murals depicting everything from fun modern art to depictions of historic battles against the Japanese. The fronts of staircases have been painted with ascending works of art that change as you walk up, adding to the “paintings everywhere” atmosphere that neighborhoods like Gamcheon in Busan have become famous for. Since no two paintings in Angel Alley are alike, a simple walk quickly becomes a scavenger hunt for what other artistic elements can be found further on up the road.
Apart from the attention-grabbing paintings and murals that line Angel Alley’s winding footpaths, we continually had to force ourselves to look out to the horizon while we were hunting for new art. Sitting atop a sizable hill, this neighborhood has spectacular views of the nearby bay and cityscapes in nearly every direction. The narrow alleys often frame the city off in the distance, but a platform has been (re?)built near the old signal tower and gives an incredible elevated view of the area. Angel Alley and the small plaza at the top of the hill truly are relaxing relief areas from the city that give visitors an eagle eye perspective on the hustle and bustle below. The beautiful bay, downtown, and nearby neighborhoods provide eye candy for photographers and vista-appreciators alike. There’s a lot going on down below and enjoying the view is a great way to rest your legs after hiking up the hill.
To add to the newly rejuvenated paintings, it’s worth noting that several new coffee shops and cafes have been built near the top of Angel Alley. On a warm afternoon and after a short uphill walk, a refreshing beverage or snack while enjoying air conditioned-views is a perfectly comfortable compliment to the area’s charm. Indoor and outdoor seating is provided at some of the cafes, along with interesting paintings, statues, and face-in-hole boards for visitors to enjoy. One of the more prominent cafes is angel themed and along the road near the top while another cafe is music themed- complete with an Elvis statue. Fun cafes, but the views are their main selling point. Since both are located along the roads near the top, we sometimes drive to this area for the cafe views alone, but we’ve found welcome rest on walks in the area as well. We really enjoy supporting small businesses in unique areas in lieu off chain shops moving in, and these cafes are a nice example of local shops we hope succeed.
No matter if you’re a Yeosu local or visiting our fair city, a trip to Angel Alley is time well-spent. We love exploring on foot and this neighborhood has been one of our most pleasant discoveries in Yeosu. The views from the top, paired with the murals along the alley walls makes for a perfectly enjoyable adventure without leaving the city. We highly suggest starting at Jinnamgwan, making your way through the murals and alleyways, then continuing on down the other side of the neighborhood toward the waterfront park down by the water. Take your time in this area and be sure to take in the stellar views along the way. We love this area and know anyone who follows this guide will as well.
By bus, arrive at Jinnamgwan using the bus numbers below.
From Jinnamgwan, cross the pedestrian sky bridge and enter the neighborhood following signs. This whole area is expanding its murals, so we suggest leaving the main path from time to time to search for more. Once you arrive at the top (marked by our pin below), continue down the other side toward the water.
Enjoy the rest of our photos below!