Travelling to Seoul soon? Be prepared to be awed by this wonderful city. Korea is hugely popular due to K-pop and many great Kdramas such as Squid Game, Crash Landing Onto You, and more. Every different city in South Korea is unique and in this article, we will be sharing what you can do in this huge metropolis of Seoul. If this is your first time in Korea, you should portion more time to fully enjoy this city.
Seoul is a busy city that is filled with restaurants and street food that serves really delicious Korean food, if you’re a food lover, this is the place you want to be. There are also many shopping opportunities from skincare, dried goods, clothes, and handmade items to vintage items which can cater to almost anyone’s shopping needs. If you’re a nature lover, Seoul has many green spaces to relax in, take photos or hike up. For the curious ones, walk through Seoul’s charming street and discover something new at every twist and turn. With Korea’s long history, history lovers can head to different palaces and museums to get their doses of history lessons. And when night comes, streets light up with performances, bars and clubs open, and the huge selection of nightlife activities will keep you busy till late at night.
You got to see this city in person to fully understand how great a location it is to travel to. In this article, we have more than 100 locations that you can reference to visit depending on your preferences. We have also categorised them so you can skip directly to any sections that you would like. These include unique places to visit, the most popular tourist attractions and the best things to do in Seoul.
Districts to Visit in Seoul
Insadong is one of the main attractions of Seoul. You will likely spend some time in this area immersing yourself in the cultural experiences. The best way to enjoy this area is by taking a stroll and looking at the art shops, knick knacks and street performers. The area has a lively, hip and cool vibe. There are many eateries here and finger food options. Do note that restaurants might be closed from 3-5 pm for a short break. It might be crowded as it is a tourist attraction but it will not affect your experience there. You will likely be able to find some great souvenirs, clothes and artworks of your fancy!
Hongdae is another popular street that all tourists will visit when coming to Seoul. It covers a huge area and you will need to spend a couple of hours exploring the shops and alleyways. You will often discover hidden gems at every turn you go to.
It is a different vibe in the day and night, however, we would recommend that you go in the evening or night instead. Hongdae is known to be the hottest place in terms of nightlife. There are clubs, bars, and restaurants that are open till late. You can even see buskers performing on the streets.
There are many fun little stores that you can patronise such as self-photo studios, fortune tellers, cafes, and boutique shops. It is a fun place to be for all ages so make sure to portion a part of your itinerary here.
Myeongdong like Insadong and Hongdae is a must-visit district when you come to Seoul. It is the absolute favourite of many tourists and even locals. If you like to shop and experience street food at the same time, you have to come here. It is well-known for famous Korean beauty items like make-up and skincare products. There are also other shops which sell snacks, socks and everyday items. You can shop till you drop!
This district opens till late, and during the night more street food vendors operate. The prices of these street food are quite pricey but you can still try them. Alternatively, head to their restaurants or cafes for some local specialities like ginseng chicken soup.
If you want to know more about this district you can look out for I-Seoul volunteers in red blouses and red hats. They are volunteers that answer tourist questions. Feel free to approach them if you have any queries. You will be able to see what languages they speak from the badge on their sleeves.
Head to Gangnam if you’re looking to visit South Korea’s richest district aka Beverly Hills of Seoul. You can also head over if you’re looking to shop for designer goods like Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Versace. If you have watched the television show Cheongdam Alice, it is filmed there and also the viral Gangnam Style dance. Stepping into the streets is quite a surreal experience.
Garosu-Gil is a trendy walking street in Gangnam-Gu known for its hipster vibe. It is a popular spot for people watching and houses a number of coffee shops and restaurants. However, after the pandemic, many shops are vacant and it is not the same anymore. You can try visiting this area if you’re looking to kill time.
The streets around Itaewon Station are very lively with people in clubs, bars and restaurants, the side streets and alleys are where the most fun is. The food selection is quite international over there to cater to the many expats and tourists. You can find restaurants of different cultures, you can find international foods like kebabs. Itaewon became famous from the drama Itaewon Class but the district’s reputation was also damaged by the 2022 Halloween Crowd Crush.
Touristic Activities to Do in Seoul
Rent a Hanbok
Renting a Hanbok has become popularised in recent years by the younger generation. You often see your family or friend posing in either Hanbok or military attire on social media and more tourists are jumping on this trend. Apparently, it is very easy to rent a hanbok, you can choose from the different hanbok available and if you’re travelling as a couple you can try a wedding-themed hanbok.
Live like a local from the Joseon period by renting a hanbok which is usually worn on special occasions, festivals and celebrations. You can also rent additional accessories like Daenggi for your hair, and take as many photos as you want for memories. It is one local experience that you will not be able to get in other countries. Some people list this activity as one of their items on their bucket list so if you have the chance try it out!
While watching Korean dramas there is bound to be a scene where the actors/actresses head to a place where they wear an orange attire to relax and talk about life. That is actually called a jjimjilbang, it is a traditional Korean bathhouse to enjoy different spa treatments. In each of these bathhouses, there are hot and cold pools, saunas of different temperatures, massage areas and communal sleeping rooms. It is a cultural tradition that is done with family and friends, where they relax and bond with each other. It is a great place to unwind and relax.
Apart from these jjimjilbang is known to improve blood circulation, help with weight loss, reduce stress and help with clearing of pores. Some Koreans even make this their weekly beauty ritual. You can easily spend hours in each of these bathhouses and the cost is really affordable too.
Noraebang is a Korean-style private singing room that you will at some point visit if you’re living in Korea. It is very popular among Koreans of all ages and it is essentially part of the Korean culture. The word 노래 (norae) stands for “song,” while the word 방 (bang) means “room.” You will find plenty of Noraebangs in Seoul, just locate the sign 노래방. Hongdae is one of the best places to find these cool singing rooms.
Korea Themed Cafes
If there’s one thing you see on your family or friend’s Instagram during their Korea trip is likely a themed cafe. There are many different types of themes such as dogs, cats, secret gardens and traditional tea houses. In Seoul, these cafes are very popular, and the more special the theme, the more visitors it gets. For example, one theme is based on poop, everything about poop, which is really popular. Simply search from the different types of themed cafes and choose the one to go to, you’re basically spoilt for choices.
Korean Baseball Game
Do you know that baseball is South Korea’s most popular sport? If you’re visiting Seoul really consider heading to a game at Jamsil Stadium. The ticket prices are very cheap and easy to purchase. You don’t even have to book in advance, just head there on the same day and make your purchase. Even if you’re not a fan or know about baseball, it is the participation of the audience that makes it so enjoyable. Depending on the seat choices that you choose, you might even be seating in front of a hypeman or woman that will lead chants and dances to keep the spectators entertained. There are many food options available and the must-get is fried chicken with beer.
If you’ve walked along the streets and seen red tents with people eating in them, it’s a Pojangmacha. It is also commonly known as Pocha the short form of pojangmacha (포장마차). You get to find cheap and good food when patronizing these tents. The popularity of these tent bars has risen over the years partly due to the influence of Kdramas. There are even dedicated streets that are lined up with rows of Pocha.
The best way to enjoy a Pocha is to order their side dishes/snacks 안주 (anju), and pair them with alcohol. You can also order other dishes available too. It is a really cost and casual atmosphere great for chatting with family and friends.
Before leaving Korea, be sure to visit Lotte Mart! Lotte Mart is a hypermart that has everything you need. It is mainly a place to buy Korean food, snacks and souvenirs back home. They offer a lot of tasting sections where you can taste different food on promotion before deciding to buy them. For foreigners, you can get a VAT refund by showing your passport at the cash desk, however, there is a minimum spend of 30,000 won. There are many Lotte Marts around but one of the largest you can go to is at Lotte Mart Seoul Station.
Traditional Markets to Visit in Seoul
Gwangjang Market is a market that you will find on tourist reels and food tours. It is recommended by anyone who has visited Korea before. When heading into the market, there are two different types of stalls, one is permanent shops where you can head inside and seat. While the other is temporary stalls which are operated by “Ajhummas” of Korea, they are usually older aged women that feel really homely. Similar to your grandmother of sorts who is great at cooking. These temporary stalls are usually chosen by tourists so as to get the full experience of sitting while looking at the Ajhummas cook.
You can join a food tour but exploring it yourself is highly recommended. There is a wide range of food to choose from such as mung bean cake, cold noodles, pancakes, tteokbokki, fish cake, blood sausages, kimbap and more. You will see that most stalls are selling similar items, so simply choose the one that you prefer. The signboard is mostly in Korean and you can use Google Translate to help you. Alternatively, simply point to the food you want.
The stalls close quite early, so try to head there for lunch instead of dinner. As it is a really famous market, be prepared to squeeze shoulder-to-shoulder with other visitors at temporary street food stalls.
Dongdaemun Market is a great place to visit if you want to experience local Korean life. It is recommended for all ages and everything is priced affordably. The best part about this market is its street food where you can get to taste delicious Korean food. There are also different shops that sell souvenirs, make-up and clothes. One interesting thing about this market is that there is 8 floors of textile stores, similar to a wholesale market for textiles. It is a unique and traditional place that you should visit. Stalls close quite early, so try to be there before 5 pm.
Noryangjin Fish Market
It’s the experience that counts at Noryangjin Fish Market, this is a market where you choose the seafood that you want and haggle for the best pricing. You can then head up to the restaurants above and pay a processing fee for them to cook these seafood for you. You can choose from different cooking methods such as steamed, grilled, fried or stir fry. The cost is separate, you buy the seafood from the stalls and you pay the processing fee to the restaurants. Alternatively, you can also just head up to the restaurants and purchase their ready-cooked options. Get ready to bargain for the best prices and do not hesitate to walk away if the prices are not good. As it is a market remember to wear non-slippery shoes for safety.
This a pretty interesting market with a twist. This market isn’t really very big, with around 5-6 street food stalls. What is interesting is that you have to purchase traditional coins to purchase food. Each coin is worth 500 won and the minimum is 10,000 won. They will then hand you a bento box where you can then go around the street choosing the street food you would like to try. The street vendors will put the food in your bento box and once you’re done, you can head up to the place where you exchanged for the coins to eat as they have benches and tables there. It is recommended only if you’re in the area during lunchtime, because the variety is quite limited and the price is also not very cheap.
Namdaemun Market is located close to the famous Namdaemun Gate, it is open 24 hours but most shops only operate from early morning till late at night. It is one of the oldest and largest traditional markets that consists of over 1000 shops. It is another popular market that tourists and locals head to, so it can get crowded during the day. It operates in a way that the stuff they sell is not geared only towards tourists, so you can find items like home equipment, clothing, ginseng, dried food and tourist favourite street food. Head into the alleys to explore interesting shops that pop up at every turn. Be ready to bargain with the vendors for a good deal, it is a common practice that is done in the Korean culture.
It is very accessible by public transportation and the market is very well organised. It would be good if you are able to use cash instead of card payment as the vendors there usually prefer cash instead. Head there to get your belly filled and bring some souvenirs back to your home country.
Hongdae Free Market
Hongdae Free Market is a small market almost like a flea market that sells handmade items. It is a place to search for good quality souvenirs to bring home. There are many vendors that are selling unique crafts, jewellery and small knickknacks. It’s really interesting if you’re into creative art and handmade goods. As it is a handmade item, the price might be slightly higher, but you can head there to window shop too. At any time you feel hungry there are street food stalls to fill your stomach.
Seoul Folk Flea Market
This is a huge flea market that spans several buildings and streets. It is a very interesting place to find just about anything, from junk to treasures, from food stalls to jewellery stalls. If you like to rummage through a bunch of items to find something that you like then this is for you. You will never know what you can find here. You will likely spend a few hours at the Seoul Folk Flea Market.
Gyeongdong Traditional Market
Gyeongdong Traditional Market is a less touristy and more local traditional market. There are many things being sold at this market ranging from everyday needs to exotic items like silkworms and ginseng. This is a great place where you can buy good quality ginseng at half the price compared to other touristy markets. The market is really huge and sectioned into dried goods, seafood, fresh fruits and ginseng. Prices there are very reasonable as it is a local market. Do be aware that people there speak little English so try using Google Translate if needed. Also, bring cash as we noticed that only cash is accepted there.
Palaces to Visit in Seoul
Changdeokgung Palace is one of the best attractions in Seoul, it is a must to visit for all tourists. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it has a huge area to cover so there are many things that you can see. From beautiful temples, gardens, ponds, etc. The architecture is very grand and it shows us the side of Korean history that you will not be able to find in books. There are multiple palaces within this area which are surrounded by nature and have their own theme.
It is better to go earlier as it is a tourist attraction, so you won’t have to queue and also have some quiet time inside before it gets crowded. There aren’t many food options inside the palace so remember to bring some food or snacks in case you might get hungry.
There is an option to buy a separate tour to visit the secret garden which is highly recommended for the whole experience, you can buy it when entering the compound.
Regarding the amount of time needed to visit the palace, you would likely need around 2-3 hours. You will need a longer time if you’re embarking on the secret garden tour as well.
Another touristy thing to do is to rent traditional costumes and stroll in them during your visit to the palace. At the same time, remember to snap some photos for memories.
Many tourists omit taking up this tour as there is an additional payment of 5,000 won needed. However, we would recommend you take on this Secret Garden tour to get an eye-opening experience of the combination of nature, architecture and history of the royal gardens and residences. Do note that English tours are really popular so buy them early together with your ticket to Changdeokgung.
This palace is one of the most visited ones in Seoul. The palace grounds are really huge and you can spend hours here. It will be good to have a tour guide to bring you around the place so you can understand the place better. It is a must-visit for all tourists to learn about the olden ages and how people lived in the palaces.
Be sure not to miss out on the performance of the changing of guards at 2 pm. Rent a Korean traditional outfit before heading over to the palace and there will be no entry fees. You can also take amazing photos in your Hanbok here. You should definitely visit if you have never been inside a palace before, there are many eye-opening exhibits. It is better to enter in the early morning around 9 am when there is no crowd so that you can take more clean photoshoots. Crowd and tour groups will arrive at around 11 am.
Gyeonghuigung Palace isn’t as popular as other palaces partly because most buildings in this palace were destroyed by the Japanese to make a school. However, this palace has hundreds of years of history and has gone through renovations to restore the existing buildings to it’s original grandeur. There are not many people visiting this place so it’s actually a great spot if you would like to take photos.
Amongst all the palaces out there, Deoksugung Palace might be one of the most beautiful ones you can visit. It will be wise you get a guided tour which lasts around 30 mins and you can also extend it to visit Daehan Empire History Museum. The whole place is filled with historical structures and the architecture is historically and culturally intriguing. Some bonus to coming to this palace is that it is uncrowded so taking beautiful uninterrupted pictures is easy, also there are flowers at every corner of the place and the whole area is clean too.
You would probably recognise this place if you have watched The Last Kingdom on Netflix. When you’re there in person you can get to see the ancient art up close and relive how they lived back then. IKt is a great place to spend a few hours and learn something new.
This place might not be as grand as the other palaces but it contains more nature such as a lake, planetarium and huge ground rocks. There are many traditional living places for queens and female associates which you can take a look at. To understand better, you can read the plaques or follow an audio guide. Some paper panels have small holes that could have been poked by children and you can use them to peep into the rooms. The entrance fee is only at 1,000 won so head there for a simple walk and rest.
Museums to Visit in Seoul
National Museum of Korea
If you’re into visiting the representing museum of a country, the National Museum of Korea is the one to visit. This is a really huge museum with 3 floors showcasing different things. They have a great collection of relics that are collected throughout Korean history. Due to the huge size, you need 1 full day and might not even go through everything. The museum is very organised and the artefacts they have collected seem endless. The collection of cultural gems is a testament to the vibrant and rich history of South Korea. Whether you’re an art lover, a history enthusiast or simply curious about the history of South Korea, this museum will leave you feeling enriched and enlightened. The best thing of all is that most exhibits are free of charge, where can you go to see treasures for free?
Leeum Museum of Art
Leeum Museum of Art is one of the best art museums in Seoul. It has a great collection of art and they use technology to help with the understanding of items showcased. The whole experience is really neat and proper with lots of art to see.
You can be surprised to see arts that are strange and unexpected. For example, a horse hanging from the ceiling, a banana taped to the wall or a person sitting inside a fridge. Be also amazed at the architecture of the museum as it is known for.
The exhibits are mostly free but you need to make reservations online before heading down. Don’t just show up and expect to be let in, as you will need to wait for the next time slot opening. Also, some exhibits are not free so check properly before making your booking online.
National Palace Museum of Korea
This museum is a must-visit after your visit to Gyeongbokgung Palace. It is just right beside it. The objects and treasures are very valuable and some are even UNESCO recognised. They have various sections of exhibits such as accessories, household items, calligraphy and more. It is a good place to understand and learn more about the culture and lifestyle of the Joseon Dynasty. Do you know that there are more than 40,000 objects from the Joseon rule that is stored here? The highlight of the place is the royal symbols dedicated to the kings and queens, so be sure not to miss this museum when visiting the palace. Oh yes, before you leave, there is a cool map stamping activity that you can do and bring it home as a souvenir.
War Memorial and Museum
This is a place for history and museum lovers, the history is focused on the military and war history of Korea from the BC era to the modern era. The museum is very huge and you will not be able to see everything by just spending 2-3 hours here. All the exhibits have explanations in English and are presented in an easily understandable way. There are many things to see and stories to read, it is so rich in history. The best thing about this museum is that it is free!
Museum Kimchikan is a cute little museum all about the history of Kimchi. The entry fee is around 5,000 won for adults and you get to taste a few different varieties of kimchi. You can also sign up for kimchi making classes in advance if you’re interested in kimchi making. It will be a great activity to do with family or friends. If you have difficulty finding the museum, when you’re in the general area of Insadong there will be a large sign that points you in the right direction and the museum is on the 4th to 6th floor of the building.
Seoul Museum of History
This history museum is specifically about the 600 years of development of Seoul. The entrance is free of charge which you will hardly find in other countries. Navigating the museum is also very easy as you can get a guide service in different languages, you can also use your smartphone and headphones by scanning the codes for the audio guide. You can trace the history from the ancient Joseon Dynasty to the present-day technological metropolis. If you have any issues feel free to check with their friendly and helpful staff. Korean museums are very interactive and you can see exhibits with video, lights and music. If you’re one that keeps souvenirs, you can also take home the free brochures available there. As mentioned, everything is free. You can plan to visit this museum as part of your itinerary to Gyeongbokgung or Gwanghwamun Gate as they are located close to one another.
National Hangeul Museum
The National Hangeul Museum as its name suggest is a museum dedicated to the history of the creation of Hangeul. Hangeul is the only writing system in the world with a known inventor, date, reason, purpose and method of the invention. It helps if you have some background knowledge in regards to reading Korean so you can better appreciate the significance of the installation and history. Similar to the National Museum of Korea, the entrance fee is free of charge. You will likely need to spend around 1 hour to go through the whole museum.
The Sool Gallery
The Sool Gallery specialises in Korean alcohol. The tickets are free but you have to book in advance. You will get to learn about liquor creation and also Korean food information, basically, it’s a place to learn about traditional Korean food and beverages. At the end of the day, you can also purchase different types of drinks and food back to your home country for family and friends. If you’re looking for suggestions on alcohol, there are trained Korean liquor experts that can provide you with suggestions. If you’re interested, you can also participate in a makgeolli-making workshop, something that is more hands-on.
The Sool Gallery is a government initiative to promote traditional liquor to the world. You can register your interest on their Instagram and reserve a guided tour. The guided tour will explain the ingredients and distillation process of 4 types of liquor and after the tour, you get to taste 4 selected liquors for experience.
National Folk Museum of Korea
This is another exhibition about Korean history beside the Gyeongbokgung Palace. You can come here after your visit to the palace. If you’re a fan of Asian buildings you can get to see a huge pagoda while learning about their culture. It is an interactive place to be in where they show the daily life of Koreans in a whole life cycle at different important events. You can definitely learn a lot from it. If you’re with your kids there is an additional exhibition, especially for kids. There are also multiple animal statues which you can take photos with.
Seoul Battleship Park
The Seoul Battleship Park is great for kids and those who love naval hardware. You will get to learn about military ships and vehicles, it is also a fun place for photos. It is not only seeing but there are two interactive battleships that you can walk through and flick the switches in them. You can also dress your kids in sailor costumes for a more immersive experience. You will likely need around 1.5 hours for the whole tour. Most signs are also in English so do not worry about translation. Naval ships that you can see are mini-submarine, destroyer and gunboat. It is a great place to start a family day at. The price is 3,000 won for adults and up to 2,000 won for children.
Nature Attractions in Seoul
Gyeongui Line Forest Park
Gyeongui Line Forest Park is a perfect walking route located in the crowded area of Hongdae. Locals would bring their dogs for a walk and there are random street cats around. It is a lovely urban planning success transforming an old train line that goes all the way to North Korea into a usable green space. There are lots of trees and shade so don’t worry too much about the sun.
There are many cafes and restaurants located along the park. Cafes have windowed views for people watching. It is the perfect place to sit down and enjoy the calmness of the area.
Gyeongchun Line Forest Park
This line forest park is similar to Gyeongui Line Forest Park. However, it is located at the east side of Seoul and isn’t as popular. It is also a good place for a walk if you’re staying in the area. You can also treat it as a walking trail and photo-taking session. Bring some food as there are tables and chairs for you to rest and have a picnic. The whole trail starts from the southeast end of Nokcheon Middle School and ends at Damteo Village with a total length of around 6km, if you’re planning to walk the whole length be prepared to spend around 2-3 hours. Alternatively, start from Wolgye Station to Nowon Light Garden.
Korea is great in their urban planning and this is another feat that they have accomplished. They reconverted an old overpass into an elevated walkway right in the middle of Seoul. It allows people to transport from one place to another and also adds greenery to the place. There are many beautiful plants and flowers and when it is the season, roses bloom and occupy the whole area. It is a beautiful sight.
If you’re looking for somewhere that you can hike and be rewarded with the views this is the place to go to. This small mountain is right smack in the middle of downtown Seoul with Namsan Tower as the main attraction. Namsan Tower is probably the most iconic part of the Seoul skyline.
You can actually pay to take a cable car up the mountain but we would recommend that you take a walk through this beautiful park. Climbing up the mountain will give you a different perspective. Climbing up is also free of charge. The whole area is very well-maintained with restrooms and fountain water. You can take the easiest trail up which takes about 2 hours and then take a bus down. Enjoy the view first before taking the bus down!
Bukhansan National Park
If you’re pondering whether to hike up this mountain, you should definitely give it a try. It is known to be the best place to hike in Seoul. If you’re willing to climb, you get to burn some calories and stunning views awaits you at the end. It is also very accessible by bus or subway.
There are trails ranging from intermediate to advanced hiking. The trails are well-marked and the scenery is beautiful. It is wise to take breaks on the way up so as to not tire yourself out. It is best not to wear normal sneakers as there are a lot of rocks and you need shoes with a good grip. The average time needed to hike to the top is around 2 hours. There and then you will be rewarded with a wonderful view of the city and the scenery around the mountain.
Cheonggyecheon Stream is a walking spot that can lead you all the way to Gwanghwamun Square while being immersed in nature. You will be walking beside a flowing river where you can get to see fishes, cranes, ducks and tortoises. You can even dip your feet into the stream if you want, to interact with nature. It is equally beautiful in the day and night and is great for photo taking too. Plan this stream as a walk-through spot to your next location, you will not regret it.
Seoul Olympic Park
This is one underrated attraction in Seoul. There are mainly locals exercising and relaxing around the area. However, it is not restricted to only locals, tourist can equally enjoy the space. It is really well-maintained with plenty of recreational areas. You can take a walk, cycle or picnic. There are many grand structures and exhibits including the former stadiums and buildings of the 1988 Olympics. You can reach this park from either Mongchontoseong or Olympic Park station.
Nami Island is a top attraction if you would like to head outside of Seoul city. This island gains its popularity due to its scenic beauty and the Korean drama Winter Sonata. Tourist flock to this island at all times of the year to be immersed in nature. You should consider renting a bike to ride around the island or you might need 3-4 hours by foot to cover the whole island. There are options to stay on the island if you like to. It isn’t really a huge island so half a day is more than enough time you need there. Remember to get your camera ready as there are many great photo-taking spots available.
Yongma Land Abandoned Theme Park
If you’re looking for something really unique this is the place to visit. You can get really unique photoshoot opportunities here. There is an entrance fee of 10,000 won which is used to maintain the place. It might be slightly out of the way from the city centre but it is worth checking it out if you’re in the area. It is a strange place to be in as though you’re in some kind of Apocalyptic Movies.
Gangseo Marsh Ecological Park
Gangseo Marsh Ecological Park is not a popular spot so you will not expect to see many people around. It is good for biking as many cyclists pass through it. When you’re there, if you’re lucky, you can get to see migratory birds and also racoons. The park is not really convenient to reach by public transportation so we wouldn’t recommend you to come as there are other parks which you can go to instead.
It is recommended to visit Sajik Park at least once, it is the place where rituals are held for the god of land and grain. The ritual is held by the state since the Three Kingdom period to the Joseon Dynasty. If you are a Korean drama fan you might have watched the historical drama “Your Highness! You must protect Jongmyo and Sajik.” This is where the sacrifices were done to Sawa the god of earth and Jik the god of grain.
Oil Tank Culture Park
The Oil Tank Culture Park is a great reuse of unwanted space, rather than demolishing the oil tanks, they transform it into something of a great concept with great visuals. This park was actually deserted and was used as a car park for some time before being transformed into a usable space. There are five tanks which have been transformed into different uses and one tank is kept at its original condition. You can check their website for any events taking place, occasionally they might use the space for filming of shows too. There are plenty of things to do there such as taking a stroll, heading to a cafe and taking photos. It is also located close to Haneul Park so you can consider visiting them both when you’re in the area.
Seonyudo Park was actually first used as a water treatment plant, when heading over you have a chance to see and read about the history of it. However, right now it has been transformed into a calm and peaceful park with stunning views. The park’s size is huge with many open spaces where you can have a picnic or nap. There are ample amounts of willow trees for you to take a short rest under it. It is very accessible by public transport too.
Hike up Eungbongsan Mountain for a great view of the Han River and the city. Do you know that Eungbongsan Palgakjeong Pavillion is one of the three best night view spots in Seoul? It is relatively unknown to tourists although it is located in the city. As the mountain is also not very high, it only takes you a short hike to get this gorgeous night view. There aren’t many parking spaces nearby so we would recommend you take public transportation instead.
Yeouido Hangang Park
This park is a great place to spend your evening time with your family. There are plenty of eateries nearby which you can be found across the road before you enter the park. You will also likely be swarmed with ahjummas giving out flyers for these eateries. You can bring your picnic equipment or rent it there, simply grab some food such as fried chicken and beer from the nearby BHC fried chicken stall. There are actually tables for you to sit but you have to head down earlier before it is taken up. It is a beautiful park where you can see the sunset. If you do not want to picnic, you can also take a stroll or rent a bike. Remember to bring insect repellent if you’re those who attract insects. A similar park would be Banpo Hangang Park, depending on your location you can choose from either of these parks.
Visit Sokchon Lake if you would like to take a nature stroll with your family or friends. The lake is surrounded by an eight-shaped park and separated by east and west. One section is quiet and peaceful just like an ordinary park and the other section is part of Lotte World outdoor rides, so you can hear screaming from the roller coasters. If you come during the cherry blossom season or autumn season it will be a great sight. The lake is large, clean and full of greenery, there are ample amounts of benches for resting, so head over to Sokchon Lake and have a nice relaxing walk around the lake and park today!
Seoul Forest Park
Seoul forest might not entirely be a forest, it is closer to being a park instead. The park is really huge which made it like a forest. There are many scenic spots around with ample amount of spots to sit to enjoy the park. It would be perfect if you bring some finger food and drinks to this park to enjoy with your family and friends.
If you’re looking to exercise you can walk, run or even bike. There are water fountains available if you’re thirsty. Public exercise equipment is also available for use if you’re looking to build some muscles.
Gwanaksan Mountain is a Stone Mountain that you can hike up. As it is a Stone Mountain it is best to wear proper hiking boots that have good grip. The mountain is very accessible by public transport so if you want to hike outside of Seoul this is a good place. However, the views are not really that spectacular as compared to other mountains like Bukhansan and the peak views are blocked by antennas. The total hike will take around 2 hours, putting the negatives aside, it is worth visiting if you’re into hiking.
Haneul Park is a relatively chill park where you can have a picnic, take a stroll or relax around. You can choose to climb 291 steps of stairs to the top or take a shuttle bus which costs a few thousand won. If you would like some exercise, climb the stairs and be rewarded with amazing views. There are many informative signs around as well as spots dedicated for taking photos. If you’re heading there in the afternoon, remember to bring an umbrella as there isn’t much shade there.
Theme Parks to Visit in Seoul
Lotte World is a very nice amusement park to visit as a group, especially for families with kids. You can practically spend your whole day there or for some, even two days. The place will be really crowded nearing the afternoon so be prepared to queue for the rides. However, we would suggest that you can consider getting an express Magic Pass which would allow you to enjoy more rides.
There are indoor and outdoor rides so you won’t have to worry about the rain. You won’t be bored of what to do there as there are multiple roller coasters, games, arcades, 4D experiences, live theatres and more. Food is readily available inside with affordable pricing. Overall, the park will be one of the most exciting ones you can visit in Seoul.
Everland Theme Park
Everland is often compared to Disneyland but it is actually a unique Korean theme park. It’s perfectly located in the middle of a beautiful mountain scenery and you will be surprised by the views you can get. There are lots to explore there and lots of walking is required. There is even a small zoo inside where you can see tigers, birds, lions and bears. Just like other theme parks, there are rides and shows. Don’t worry about food as there are several options inside. Make sure to portion out the full day here as you wouldn’t want to miss the daily night parade and fireworks show at the end.
Seoul Land is a Korean amusement park that is geared towards younger kids, although there are some activities that older kids and adults can partake in. It is great for a family group with kids. If you’re visiting during summer, you can enjoy the water festival available. You can also get to see fireworks in the evening. There are many food available for purchase in the park so don’t worry about getting food. If you’re driving, park in the lots dedicated to Seoul Land Guest for free instead of parking at the Seoul Grand Park parking lots which come with a parking fee.
Seoul Children’s Grand Park
This is another free place that you can visit, it is great that many attractions are either low cost or free for visitors. The Seoul Children’s Grand Park is located across from Sejeong University. It consists of a large park where you can have a picnic at. A free theme park that children or adults can have fun in, although some rides cost money. A surprising attraction here is a Zoo with many animals. It is a great place for families with little kids.
Seoul Grand Park
Seoul Grand Park is a really huge attraction that consists of a theme park, a zoo, a rose garden and a museum. It is one of the largest zoos in South Korea with nearly 3,000 animals kept. You will require a whole full day to explore everything slowly. The whole place is well built with facilities catered to kids, newborns, adults and seniors. It is like an all-in-one family outing location to spend your day at. As there is a lot of things to do here, try arriving when it opens at 10 am. One trick is to take the cable car up to the top and go downhill to different attractions. The admission fee is really affordable at only 5,000 won for adult entrance to the zoo and 2,000 won for adult entrance to the themed garden.
National Children’s Science Center
Are you finding an educational attraction that your kid can play and learn at? Then head over to Seoul’s National Children’s Science Center. The science centre might not be very big but is very well organised. There are lots of hands-on experiments, that your kid can try and learn from. Some of the concepts that are hard to visualise are broken down into an easily understandable way that children can understand. Some examples are proof of the surface area of a triangle and Pythagoras’ theorem. This place will likely exceed your expectations that you have. The ticket cost is also very cheap at only 2,000 won for adults and free of charge for children.
Seoul Alive Illusion Museum
Alive Museum if you have been before is a fun experience with many photo opportunities. It is like an illusion effect that will make you look like you’re in another location or in danger. There are helpful suggestions on how to pose for the best effect. Be sure to get your camera ready and bring an extra battery as you will be taking lots of photos. Kids also can play with their fun little maze which is not only safe but clean too. If you’re looking for a fun activity that will allow you to snap home memories then the Seoul Alive Illusion Museum is it.
Unique Things to Do in Seoul
Korean Demilitarized Zone DMZ
DMZ stands for demilitarized zone, it is the border that demarcates North from South Korea. It is the closest point to North Korea from the South Korean border. Both countries have been in a deadlock for the longest time, they eventually stop fighting and are currently in an unofficial ceasefire. It is undoubtedly the most famous border in the world, so if you have time, be sure to take a tour there. The whole tour is well planned from learning about the Korean War to seeing the border to having a hands-on in a real-life infiltration tunnel. Do not be worried about doing anything wrong as you will be briefed on what you can or should not do. It is an incredible experience.
Get shocked by the stories told about Seodaemun Prison. It is an interesting place to learn about the Japanese occupation of Korea and the resistance of the local freedom fighters. The place is maintained well and there is a very eerie atmosphere to it. Not everything is translated to English but it is still understandable. If you’re afraid of gruesome history this might not be for you. The stories are educational but shocking so it is not for the faint-hearted. It can be one of the most unforgettable places you can visit as it will leave a lasting impression of the acts that were done here. You would likely spend around 2 hours for the whole tour.
Korean Wine Train Tour
This tour is something unique that you can embark on if you’re interested in wine. You will be taking this special wine-themed train from Seoul Station to Yeongdong in Chungcheonbuk-do. When you get up the train, you will be served with wine and wine snacks. When you reach the destination, you can tour the winery and participate in different cultural activities. This wine train tour is a partnership between Wine Korea and KORAIL. Wine Korea is the only winery in Korea that produces its wine with ingredients from its vineyard. It expanded its facilities in 2001 to welcome visitors to tour the wine gallery, taste-test various wines or enjoy a footbath. There are many other programmes available to choose from too.
Ghost Walking Tour
Do you wish to see the side of Seoul that you will never see on tourism brochures? Are you looking for something unique to do? Do you think that through these 600 years of history, there was never once a bad thing that happened? Was there a bloody massacre that happened? In this Ghost walking tour, you will be brought to the sites where these horrific events happened, you will be told the story that will bring a shiver down your spine. You will be brought to Seoul’s most haunted places and be told of the tales and legends that are kept a secret from tourists. If you are brave enough then gather your family or friends and book this tour today.
Traditional Villages to Visit in Seoul
Ihwa Mural Village
Ihwa Mural Village is a place where you can find street art/graffiti to take photos with. When travelling there, you will need to climb a steep road, so be prepared and watch out for traffic. It is a rather old area that gives you a feel for old Seoul, the old artefacts are what gives the area its authenticity and perspective. Take note to be considerate by not raising your voice as people do live here.
Bukchon Hanok Village
Get ready to be immersed in the old architecture of Korea in Bukchon Hanok Village. You can consider wearing your hanbok here to take pictures. The streets are really small with lots of little pathways that will lead you to small stores and different views on different sides. Be prepared to hike as the village is on a steep hill. However, these steep hills and traditional houses make for a beautiful backdrop. Be sure to visit some of the really quaint shops there, it will definitely make your day. Remember to also be silent as it is a residential area and you are not allowed to be loud there. Two to three hours is more than enough to spend your time there.
Korean Folk Village
The Korean Folk Village is a whole new experience to explore the traditional customs, lifestyle and habits of the people in the olden days of Korea. There are so many activities here, you have traditional villages, cultural presentations, amusement parks, and food and snacks stalls. The place is really huge with a nice environment and greenery. If you have not rented your Hanbok you can also do it here at an affordable price. Plan your trip well and don’t stay too late as there are lesser buses available at night, so make sure you have some arrangements to go back.
Eunpyeong Hanok Village
Eunpyeong Hanok village is an off-beaten path that is not a regular area to visit in Seoul. This neighbourhood is very special as you can see many traditional Korean houses. It is slightly similar to other Hanok Villages in Seoul. If you decide to come here you can also visit the museum in the village to learn about the original excavations done. At the same time, visit the Jingwansa temple which is just right next to the village. Be sure to keep your volume down as it is a residential area. After walking around, find a cafe to sit in and take in the traditional atmosphere.
Namsangol Hanok Village
Namsangol Hanok Village is a hidden gem in the middle of Seoul, it is different from other Hanok Villages as it is situated within a small park. When you’re there you can get to enjoy traditional local culture and nature in urban Seoul. It is a great photo spot especially if you’re wearing a Hanbok. You can rent these traditional attire at stores before you enter the area.
You can get immersed in Korea Culture by participating in traditional games and watching performances which are available. There is also a pagoda here and the view of Namsan Tower is really beautiful. We recommend you come for a serene and memorable experience!
Sightseeing Places in Seoul
N Seoul Tower
Do you want to know where you can get the best views of the city? There is none other than N Seoul Tower. You can visit at any time of the day but we would recommend going closer to sunset. This is so that you can get to see the difference of the city during the day and night. The view is simply breathtaking.
It is a great place to spend with your family or loved ones. Couples often head up the mountain to lock a lock there to symbolise their love. There are also many souvenir shops, coffee places, and restaurants to spend your time at.
You can consider heading up the tower which cost around 21,000 won. However, there is no need to pay for that as the views from the base of the tower is already very good.
The way to go up to the observation tower is by hiking, bus or cable car. Hiking is not a simple stroll so remember to wear proper shoes. If you’re those who want to get up by the easier way, take the local bus or cable car.
Common Ground is a shopping mall that is made out of shipping container boxes. It is a great place for photo taking as there are many Instagram worthy spots available. It mainly sells vintage 2nd hand clothes and also consists of popular brands like Nike.
There are many comments that this place has changed much after Covid as many shops have moved out. Items there are also on the pricier side. You can aim to spend around 1 hour of your time there if you decide to visit Common Ground.
Suyeonsanbang Tea House
Head to Suyeonsanbang Tea House for a tranquil break from the bustling city of Seoul. The only downside is the travel time needed from Seoul city centre. If it’s your first time to Korea, try their Bingsu, you will definitely love it. It is a type of shaved ice dessert, the pairing of beans and pumpkin topping makes the dessert well-balanced and refreshing. Apart from the bingsu, as its name suggests, you can also order their wide variety of teas. This is a place where you can relax and clear your mind. The tea house architecture is also phenomenal and carries lots of history.
Beautiful Tea Museum
Tea lovers will absolutely adore this place, this tea house contains a great selection of tea. When you order a tea the servers will prepare the first pour and the methods are different depending on the tea you choose. For example, some tea will require a ritual cleaning the tea and warming the pot. Some teas that you can try are the 100 flower tea, date plum tea, Hwang Cha and aged puer. Although the price is not very cheap, the ambience, quantity and quality of the teas can make up for it. You also get to enjoy your tea with really nice tea wares, another chance for photo taking!
Lotte World Tower
Lotte World Tower is a marvel of Korean engineering. The views from the top are amazing. During the night it has a lighting system that allows the building to be seen across the city. You can consider visiting this tower during the night as well to see the night views of Seoul. At 555 meters tall, it is the tallest building in Seoul, head to the observation deck at 495 meters tall and if the weather is good the views are amazing.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza
This place is amazing, the design of the building coupled with the outdoor sculptures and greenery makes it a great spot for relaxation. The whole place is set up for people to chill, and enjoy a cup of coffee while reading a book. The main attraction is actually the museum inside, so you can consider visiting the museum first before heading outside to take photos. Be sure to check out what is on exhibit as it changes from time to time. If you’re those with a lower budget you can see if there are any free exhibits or skip the exhibits. You can easily access the Dongdaemun Design Plaza by metro, and you can cover most areas in 1 hour. If you’re visiting the exhibits give yourself slightly more time.
Han River Cruise
Just like all cities that have a river flowing through it, there is bound to be a river cruise available. Hop on the Han River Cruise, to get a gorgeous view of the scenery along the river. It is a very relaxing cruise and one of the highlights is to feed seagulls. If you want to feed the seagulls come prepared with food. However, sometimes if you’re taking the late timing cruises, the seagulls might already be well fed. You can also opt to take the sunset cruise to watch the sunset, a truly magical experience. The staffs are really friendly and they will answer any questions that you have.
Starfield Coex Mall
Head to Asia’s largest underground shopping mall, which has an area of 154,000 square meters. You can get to see a wide array of shops that is suitable for different age groups. The famous Starfield library is located within the mall where you can go to take Instagrammable photos. There is also an aquarium, movie theatre, casino and convention centre in the mall where more than 20 international trade shows are held each year, one of them being Intercharm Korea. There is a large variety of offerings in the mall from clothing, accessories and dining options. Even outside the mall, there are public art displays all over, one of the more well-known structures is the Gangnam-style hands sculpture. Simply take Line 2 of the Seoul Metro and get off at Samseong Subway station to reach the mall.
Starfield Library is an impressive sight, with books stacked from floor to ceiling height. It is a popular place to visit even for locals as a hangout spot, therefore, it is advisable not to visit during the weekends as it can get really crowded. Photo taking is the main reason why people visit this attraction. If you would like to have a cup of coffee and enjoy the view, try heading to Starbucks but sit at the decking area which can give you a better view of the library. This library is situated in the middle of COEX mall so be sure to visit the mall when you’re here too.
Gwanghwamun Square is a huge open space where you can see statues and learn about the history of Admiral Yi and King Sejong. It leads to all sorts of places as it is located in the city centre. It is one of the prime photography spots with a beautiful palace as its backdrop. It is a great space to pass through with plenty of sitting areas, shade, plants and monuments. If you love people-watching, this is a great place to do so. There is also a free museum dedicated to King Sejong that you can visit too.
Ewha Womans University
Ewha Womans University might be South Korea’s prettiest university campus. Even if you’re not a student here you can enjoy this place as a tourist. It is open to the public and there are many shops, restaurants and cafes around. It is also a very good photo spot as the architecture of the buildings and stairs is what you would see in Korean dramas. If you’re there in the autumn you can see the beautiful ginkgo trees with their orange colour leaves. Consider leaving before 5 pm as that is when their classes end, so you might need to squeeze in with them if you’re taking public transportation.
Banpo Bridge is a normal bridge in the morning but get’s transformed into a special bridge at night with water fountain and lights show. At night, the bridge lights up with different colours and fountains shoot water in different directions according to the background music. There are no fees and the experience is entirely free. You can walk on the bridge or enjoy the musical show from the side.
You should head over before 7 pm to secure a good spot and at the same time buy your takeaways to eat while watching the show. This is an activity that is enjoyed by locals, it will be as though you’re watching a scene out of Kdrama. It’s a nice view of the Korean Culture.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress
Hwaseong Fortress is probably the main attraction for tourists to visit Suwon. It should take less than 2 hours from Seoul to reach. The whole fortress wall is really long and you can portion around 2 hours of your time here. Many of the walls are still standing in perfect shape which is astounding. Take a leisurely walk along the walls and take a look from the high ground at how the modern world is slowly encroaching on the past. It must have been really incredible when the fortress was first built!
Seoul City Wall Trail Fortress
Start your day with this trail from Hyehwamun Gate all the way to Ihwa Mural Village. Stop along the way for some great views and cute cafes. You can also visit the Seoul Wall Museum if you like to. If you’re there during springtime, you get to smell the scent of blooming flowers. It isn’t usually crowded so if you’re those who do not like the crowd this is for you. Two hours there is more than sufficient. Use this trail as a pass-through to your visit to Ihwa Mural Village.
Korea Blue House
The Blue House is Korea’s White House where the president stays. It is a good trip to take a look at what is inside the presidential house, although what you are viewing is actually on the outside area only. The area is very well maintained with old and new architecture blending in together. There are also rare 800+ year tree that you can get to see. If you wish to enter you have to book a slot online. When your booking is confirmed you will receive a barcode to your email address. Use the barcode to enter. The security is really tight and your bags will be thoroughly checked. If you have time, just pay a visit while it is still open to the public. In the end, you will also receive a souvenir to bring back.
Culture Station Seoul 284
The old Seoul Train Station is a beautiful modern architectural sight to see. The interior has been transformed into exhibits that visitors can participate in. You can participate in programs such as weaving, hanji making and ceramics crafting. It is a great place to visit as it is free and also located in the middle of Seoul. It is suitable for both adults and kids.
Seoul City Hall
Take a tour of the Seoul City Hall to get a glimpse of the inner workings of the city administration. The whole atmosphere is very architecturally interesting, with modern structures wrapping the older office buildings. A very interesting building, with a modern structure wrapping the old offices. There are also many events that is held so do check out their website for the events happening. You may stop by for some photos on your way to other attractions in the city.
Temples and Churches in Seoul
Jogyesa Temple is a very beautiful Buddhist temple built in 1910. The design of the building and its colours is a spectacular sight. You will be surprised to find this majestic temple with a calm atmosphere in the middle of the hectic city. The temple is not only for show, it is a fully operating temple where local people go to pray so be respectful when entering the temple. The entrance fee is free of charge and it is open 24/7.
Other than the temple, be sure to see the rare 500-year-old Bawksong Lacebark Pine tree and a 450-year-old Chinese scholar tree. If you’re looking to buy Buddhist-related items you can do so at shops around the temple.
Bongeunsa Buddhist temple
When you’re in Gangnam, this is a must-visit spot. Bongeunsa Buddhist Temple is located right across from COEX Mall and Starfield Library. The serene and zen atmosphere of the temple grounds is a stark contrast with the bustling streets and modern buildings surrounding it. It is believed to be a temple to pray for wishes related to marriage and studies, so if you’re single or a student give it a try and let us know if it works! Even if you do not pray, head over for a relaxing stroll and look out for an adorable dog that occasionally appears in the temple too.
Jongmyo Shrine is an attraction that tourists pay less attention to, but it is rather spectacular and interesting. It cost only 1000 Won to enter with a guided tour. The shrine holds the spirit tablets of the kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty. Get immersed by walking down the paths travelled by kings and crown princes as they head to their ceremonial rituals.
It seems to be under renovation at the moment until September 2024 so you might want to postpone it to another day!
This temple is really special because it’s gold in colour. The temple’s outer walls are painted gold and when the sun shines it becomes really majestic. This temple was built by the 7th of Joseon, King Sejo for his eldest son Prince Uigyeong who died at the young age of 20. The temple is located in a quieter part of Seoul and is easily accessible. Visit this temple if you’re in the vicinity.
Seoul Anglican Cathedral
Seoul Anglican Cathedral is a beautiful Romanesque-style cathedral built and designed by British Dix in 1922 and supervised by Bishop Trollope. The whole structure is built in 26 years. You are free to enter and people are very welcoming. Do take note that the Bibles and Hymn Books are in Korean. They often have classical performance during lunch timings but check out their websites to confirm about it. If you’re in the area, pop in to see the beautiful decorations and a special pipe organ.
Exhibits and Performances to Go in Seoul
The team at Nanta Theatre is really talented and versatile. The show is like a mix of a circus act, martial arts, dance and humour. The whole storyline is about cooking but it is super entertaining with lots of drumming, acrobatics, juggling and more, 1.5 hours of show time just flies by. Although there is some language barrier, the show mainly works through actions and miming so it’s suitable for everyone even if you do not know the Korean language. The show is very interactive so get seats closer to the stage. No matter what age you are, it is suitable for you to get some laughter from our mundane lives!
Seoul Arts Center
Seoul Arts Center is a place for you to enjoy performances and exhibits. The concert hall in this arts centre is of the best quality acoustically, famous pianists have played in this concert hall such as Rachmaninov. Apart from the concert hall, there are also art, history and other cultural experiences for you. Check out their websites for more information on the current exhibits and performances. The Seoul Arts Center is located very close to the metro station with lots of restaurants and shopping which you can do before or after your visit here.
Gana Art Center
Gana Art Center is not exactly a museum. It is founded in 1983 as one of the first major art galleries in Korea. For the past 30 years, it has evolved into Korea’s most prestigious art institution, training amazing Korean artists. They will often have different exhibitions in place so check their website before heading over.
Sejong Center for the Performing Arts
Located very close to major attractions like Gyeongbok Palace, it is a theatre to visit if you’re interested in performances. Sejong Center is one of the oldest theatres in Korea with many interesting performances, one of them being a concert for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Check out their website for available concerts that you can book.
There you have it, the list of best attractions and things to do to plan for your itinerary in Seoul. We are excited for you to enjoy Seoul the same way that we have enjoyed it. How is the article ‘Seoul’ Far? Do leave a comment below if you feel that this article is helpful to you.