51 Things to do in Seoul
If you are in Seoul for a week or a month or a year, there are so many things to do in Seoul that it will always keep you on the move. And because of its highly efficient public transportation all the places listed below are easily accessible by Subway Trains, Buses and Taxis, making it very convenient even for the first time visitors of Seoul. Flights to Seoul are easily found using Air Canada. So here are the 51 things you can add to your to-do list when you plan to visit Seoul.
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2. Take the walking tour across Seoul and explore various palaces and parks.
3. Visit Samcheon-dong, which is one of the most romantic places in Seoul lined by beautiful cafes, shops, art galleries and museums. This is the place that is frequently visited by couples. The place where you can take your date out for a walk.
4. Experience the Musical Moonlight Rainbow Fountain at the Banpo Bridge. The musical fountain plays across the width of the Banpo bridge for around 20 mins, almost 6 times a day on a weekend. The fountain is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest bridge fountain.
5. Visit Cheonggyecheon Stream for a leisurely stroll, mostly in the evenings. The stream starts at the Cheonggye Square where you can experience the grand fountain. And during the perfect weather, if you keep walking for 5-6 minutes down the stream you can witness live performances by various Korean Artists around the stream, musical laser light show (the best) and photography exhibitions under the bridge. Just in case you miss the light show, do not worry they have put a time table which you can check and schedule your light show accordingly.
6. Visit Garosu Gil at Sinsa (line 3, exit 8). Garosu Gil is the one of the most trendiest streets in Seoul lined by fusion shops, studios, ateliers, upscale restaurants, bars and European style chic cafes. It gets its name from the Garosu (ginkgo) trees that lines up the 1 km stretch of Garosu Gil. Spring and fall are the best places to visit Garuso Gil, but in my personal experience I found this place to be the most dazzling during winters, when the entire stretch was covered with snow and the shops had this celebratory Christmas lighting.
7. Take a Ferry Cruise ride on Hangang River and explore Seoul.
8. Or, if you need a more private experience then you can take a Water Taxi ride on the Hangang River with just your family and friends and do the sightseeing along the Hangang River.
9. Go hiking at The Seoul Fortress Wall which was built in 1397. It was initially forbidden, but opened only in 2006 for public. Visitors are required to make reservations a week in advance on their website.
10. Go late night clubbing around Hongdae (Honggik University) and make sure that you don’t miss the Club Day on the last Friday of each month. On a Club Day you can dance the whole night by hopping across 11 Clubs, with one drink on the house.
11. Go cycling along Hangang River – a perfect way to stay fit and explore Seoul on bike.
12. Visit Seoul Race Course Park on line 4 by Seoul Metropolitan Subway and bet on horses.
13. Visit Apgujeong Rodeo Street, the mecca of shopping, the favorite haunt of Korean Celebrities.
14. Visit 63 City building and explore the wax museum, sea world, IMAX theatre, sky deck all under one roof. One of the best places to capture panoramic and aerial views of Seoul City.
15. Visit Jabollae Observatory near Ttoekseom Resort.
16. The best way to visit N Seoul Tower is to go hike the Mt Namsan. People flock here mostly during Spring to watch cherry blossom. But spring is not the only season to visit the Namsan Tower. You can visit N Seoul Tower any time of the year and experience the panoramic view of the Seoul City from the tower, visit the teddy bear museum, visit the analogue and digital observatory, do some gift shopping or just have a good time out there. It has now become a custom for newly hooked couples to visit N Seoul Tower, lock their love forever and throw the key back in the valley of Mt. Namsan.
Cultural Tours in Seoul
17. Visit Jongmyo Shrine, which is dedicated to the spirits of Korea’s royal ancestors. It was a primary place of worship for kings throughout the Joseon Dynasty and has been registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site for its well-preserved ancient customs such as memorial services and traditional music.
18. Visit Seodaemun Prison History Hall that was built to salute Korean patriots who were tortured and later executed by Japanese soldiers.
19. The War Memorial of Korea, is just a 3 minute walk from Samgakji Subway station, line 6, exit 12. This is the place where visitors can remember what was once described as the “forgotten war”. The place exhibits various aircrafts, radars, submarines, helicopters, missiles, guns and tanks. Words cannot describe the years of pain and suffering endured by the people affected due to the war. You need to visit and feel it for yourself by re-visiting the history at the war memorial where you can not only view and read about these equipment but also touch them.
20. Visit The Korean Memorial Cemetery, which is reserved for Korean veterans of Korean War, Vietnam War and Korean Independence Movement.
21. Explore the unique museums at Bukchon Hanok Maul (Bukchon Village). You can visit this place with Seoul Mate - who are a bunch of young college students that regularly host foreigners on weekends and educate them in a friendly manner about Korean Culture and history.
Historical Palaces in Seoul
22. Visit Gyeongbokgung palace, where you can experience the Royal Guard Changing ceremony, take pictures with the guards, explore the palace, take your picture dressed as guards, click photos of the cascading palace roofs and at the same time learn about Korean history from the Joseon Dynasty.
23. Visit Deoksogung Palace. Do not forget to get the Integrated Ticket of Palaces where you can visit Jongmyo Shrine and 4 palaces in Seoul under one ticket.
24. Visit Changdeokgung Palace and make sure you explore the secret garden in the vicinity of the palace.
Markets, Malls and Shopping in Seoul
25. Insa Dong Traditional Market is the most liveliest and buzzing streets of Seoul, frequently visited by tourists from across the world. People normally visit Insadong for shopping Korean gifts and souvenir, traditional Korean antiques, green tea, hanbok, expensive ceramics, and accessories. It is lined by ateliers, restaurants, art galleries and beautiful cafes where you can sit, relax, take a sip of tea and gaze at shoppers passing by. Various artists and bands from across the world perform regularly in the alleys of Insa Dong.
26. People who find Insa Dong to be expensive, visit Namdaemun Market. You can do your shopping for everything from cosmetics, perfumes, clothes, caps, jackets, tees, antiques, gift items, souvenir, cameras, glasses, accessories to ginseng at Namdaemun Market.
27. At Dongdaemun Market, one can shop on streets as well as department stores. The market is lined up with big department stores like Doota, Migliore, Hello APM. Dongdaemun is also famous for its night market. People who cannot afford branded items, but want to keep up with the latest trends and designs, normally shop at Dongdaemun where the fashion fits into their budget. Dongdaemun is a popular destination for Shopping in Seoul and Korea.
28. Nakwon Akki Sang ga- literally translates to Nakwon Musical Paradise Mall. It is spread over the 2nd and 3rd floors, having a dazzling maze of shops selling local and imported musical instruments and equipment of all kinds. It is accessible by Jongno Sam ga (3-ga) subway station – exit 5. One the 1st floor you have the Vintage market where one can buy used clothes. I got an opportunity to visit this place along with Seoul Mate.
29. You can also visit Gwangchang Sijang, the oldest market in Seoul for fabrics, sea food and other day to day household items. Episodes of the Korean version of project Runway was shot here. I got an opportunity to visit this market along with Seoul Mate.
30. Visit the underground clothing market at the Guson Express Bus Terminal subway station, Line 3 & 7. Come to level one, look for directions and walk towards Banpo Bridge. This place is also popularly known as Gangnam Underground Shopping Arcade. In my personal experience it is the best place to do Shopping in Seoul.
31. Visit COEX Mall where you can explore the Kimchi Museum, aquarium, watch movies and do shopping.
Temples in Seoul
32. Visit Bongensa Temple, close to COEX building. Do not miss the Giant Buddha Statue at this temple. There is a bunny hill behind the Budhha Statue that you can hike and see how the traditional temple and the tall building of the modern city co-exist in the middle of Seoul.
33. Visit Hwagyesa Temple at the Mt. Bukhan National Park. You can practice meditation here and discover your true self here.
34. Visit Jogyesa Temple, located in the Seoul Metropolitan area. The lotus lantern festival parade held on Buddhas Birthday, starts from Dongdaemun and ends at the Jogyesa Temple.
Theatres & Entertainment in Seoul
35. Experience Nanta at select Nanta theatres. It is a comedic Korean non-verbal stage which demonstrates percussion using kitchen utensils. Its an 100 min show suitable for all age types and is highly recommended by Korean Tourism organization.
36. Experience JUMP, a comic action story of a family who fight the burglars that break into their house using Korean Martial Art – Taekwando. It is a non verbal performance suitable for all age types.
37. Experience B-boy performances at the B-boy Theatre near Hongik University.
38. At The Korea House you can experience Korean Traditional Music, traditional Korean Wedding, play traditional Korean Games and witness Korean Folk performances at the Folk Theatre.
39. Chongdong Theatre in Seoul showcases various Korean traditional performances like Samulnori (Korean Percussion), Buchaechum (Korean Traditional Fan Dance), Salpuri, Ogomu, Modeumbuk, Gyeonggochum, Sogochum and Sarangchum (dance of love).
40. Seoul Nori Madang, is an open air theatre, which offers Korean traditional performances, Korean Folk plays and organizes various seminars on folk plays and Korean culture.
Museums in Seoul
41. Visit National Museum of Korea at Ichon (near Yongsan, Seobingo (line 1) is the largest museum in Korea that houses precious Korean cultural assets, Sculptures, Modern Art, Calligraphy and Paintings from the historic era.
42. National Folk Museum of Korea, inside Gyeongbokgung palace, has around 4000 artifacts that were used by ordinary people in their day to day lives.
43. Visit the King Sejongs Memorial Hall beneath the statue of Sejong the Great, at Ganghwamun Square. You will learn about the king’s most astounding contributions to the development of Korea as a nation.
44. Teddy Bear Museum at the N Seoul Tower, Namsan is an ideal way of educating kids (of all ages) about Korean History with the help of teddy bears. The museum aims to educate visitors about history of Seoul, using teddy bears.
Parks in Seoul
45. Children’s Grand Park, offer a zoo, amusement park, botanical garden and hosts various live performances for kids.
46. Seoul Grand Park, is the biggest zoo in Seoul. The highlight of the zoo includes the Dolphin show and the rare species found in its garden. People visit this place during Spring to celebrate the Royal Cherry Blossom festival, in mansoons to enjoy the Rose Festivals and during Fall to enjoy the Autumn Leaves festival.
47. Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon is visited mostly during monsoon when the entire landscape is covered with lush green making it the most picturesque location in Seoul. You can either walk the entire stretch or take mini trains to explore the fortress. Martial arts performances are demonstrated at 11.00 am and Royal Guards Ceremony at 2.00 pm everyday from March to November. You can also learn Archery at the fortress.
48. Visit the Seoul Forest on Ttukseom Island.
49. Visit Everland Theme Park which offers around 40 rides and also houses Safari world, Everland Speedway for racing, Glen Ross Golf Club, Spooky’s Fun House and Carribean Bay water park.
50. Tapgol Pagoda Park.
51. Ilsan Lake Park, the largest man made lake park near Seoul. It is ideal for a serene outing and picnic with family and friends.
Seoul Photography by Sungjin Kim
Sungjin Kim is an IT professional by day. But in his free time he is passionate about Photography. He has been taking pictures and building his online gallery over the past couple of years. You will have to keep everything aside, if you have to explore his gallery and experience Korea through his eyes.
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