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Even though we have the unique privilege of living in the city that never sleeps, it’s inevitable that we can often find ourselves confined to Morningside Heights because of class, studying, extracurriculars, or just because you need to catch up on sleep.

Whether you’re someone who wants to explore the city but are unsure where to go, or someone who has never gone past 110th Street or 125th Street, Spectrum is launching a new series that will help you explore the different neighborhoods of New York City.

In this edition, Spectrum is taking you to Koreatown.

Officially located in the two blocks just south of the Empire State Building from Fifth Avenue to Broadway, Koreatown is full of cultural and culinary gems. Koreatown was established in the ’80s with the opening of a Korean bookstore and a few restaurants and continues to expand to this day.

What to do

Get down at karaoke bars

Though K-Town is host to a ton of different karaoke venues, Gagopa Karaoke is often seen as one of the best for its fun atmosphere and huge array of songs in multiple languages. Visitors also recommend MK Karaoke, 5 Bar Karaoke & Lounge, and The Spot Karaoke for their fun atmospheres and affordable entertainment.

@erikaneola / via Instagram

Stock up on Korean beauty products

Many beauty gurus swear by Korean beauty products, which can be found at an array of different stores in K-Town. Check out places like TonyMoly, The Mask Bar, and Skylake Skincare for some luxurious face masks and skincare products with a cult following.

@mabelkay / via Instagram

Immerse yourself in K-pop

K-pop has taken the world by storm. Plenty of stores, including the well-known Koryo Books (think of it as The Strand, but for Korean books and culture), offer a quirky variety of Korean products (think T-shirts to stationary to music records) featuring your favourite K-Pop stars as well as all types of books.

@azurekitsune / via Instagram

What to eat

Korean BBQ at Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong

Locally viewed as one of the best Korean BBQ restaurants in NYC, Baekjeong promises fresh, authentic Korean cuisine with an atmosphere to please. Diners can have fun cooking their own food at their table. Lunch boxes are $8 and meals start at $11.

@tastingtable / via Instagram

Cheap eats at Food Gallery 32

Home to many vendors of traditional Korean cuisine, Food Gallery 32 offers an incredible array of dishes at affordable prices. Pro tip: Definitely give the bungeo-ppang (fish-shaped pastries) a try!

@angelicaa.yip / via Instagram

Sweets and tea at BESFREN

A self-proclaimed “modernized Korean dessert brand,” this little shop offers traditional sweets in creative flavours. Also be sure to check out any of its famous ginseng teas for a healthy boost. If BESFREN doesn’t float your boat, check out the wildly popular Grace Street Cafe just down the street.

@lynzeemarmor / via Instagram

What to see

Korea Way

Korea Way (32nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue) is the heart of Koreatown. Snap a picture of the dazzling Korean signs and explore this street’s 15 24/7 restaurants (though perhaps not all in one night).

@xiao._.hu / via Instagram

Korean Day Parade and Festival

Pop down to K-Town in October for this annual celebration of Korean culture and influence in NYC. Expect a lively parade featuring traditional Korean music, dances, and costumes.

@detroitmichael / via Instagram

Escaping the stress culture on campus and exploring this beautiful city is something of an understated importance. Take this chance to delve into a new and fascinating culture with plenty to learn and experience.

Did we miss any of your K-Town faves? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum.

Mariella Evangelista is a Spectrum staff writer and a Barnard first-year. Korean food is the fastest way to her heart. Reach her at mariella.evangelista@columbiaspectator.com

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