See also: Where to stay in Seoul
Culture wraps thick around every street, shop and social interactions; for all of Seoul’s explosive growth in recent decades, its strict traditions and national pride shadows every step. And this all-encompassing Korea-ness isn’t expressed through grand monuments and heritage sites; rather, it seeps through the everyday food markets, trendy spaces and budget entertainments. Approach Seoul through this list of local attractions and characterizing sites for a rounded insight into this evolving city. Here's the best things to do in Seoul:
A refreshing perspective of Seoul
Keep low under the bridges of Seoul for a cooling stroll along Cheonggyecheon stream. Spanning between Cheonggyecheon Museum and Seoul City Hall, this kilometers long walk is outfitted with restored bridges, water fountains and observatory decks. It is also famous for its annual lantern festival and collaborative exhibitions with local artists.
Touring Gyeongbokgung Palace
Step into the airy linen and intricate embroidery of Korea’s traditional hanbok dress and conquer the historical spread of Gyeongbokgung Palace. Wood and stone pillars, pagodas and buildings are well-preserved, retaining the original structure of what was Joseon Dynasty’s main royal palace in late 1300s. To further illustrate life in Joseon Dynasty, replicas of artifacts are exhibited at the National Folk Museum of Korea within Gyeongbokbokgung Palace grounds.
Gather spiritual calm at Bongeunsa Temple
Despite the city grown around it and its largely restored properties, Bongeunsa Temple retains a sensitive grace and peaceful ambiance. Spread out over a forested area, this complex of small temples deliver intricate paint work and wooden detailing. The quiet life it exudes is further supported by the thousands of paper lanterns strung around the property. The show-stealer however, is definitely the circular arena that houses the big Buddha statue and its smaller companions. Bongeunsa Temple also offers a temple stay program for those curious about the daily practices and blessings.
Immerse in culture at a Hanok Village
Namsangol Hanok Village recreates the slanted tiled roofs and low partitions of traditional Korean architecture to perfect the cultural classroom. Try your hand at calligraphy and the careful motions of making hanji (traditional paper) and experience the life of past artisans. A smaller scale Hanok dwelling is located in the neighborhood adjacent to Gyeongbokgung; Bukchon Hanok Village a popular choice for tourists and one of the best things to do in Seoul. But do be quiet and respectful – there are people living behind these walled residences.
Shop until you drop at Dongdaemun
You haven’t seen retail heaven until you’ve spent 24 hours in Dongdaemun. Catering to huge crowds 24/7, this district proffers bountiful retail and wholesale shopping. Between Lotte’s general goods, Doota’s eclectic mix local brands and adjacent shopping malls stacked with budget clothing stalls, you’ll have to cash out for an extra suitcase of trendy purchases. Dongdaemun History & Culture Park sits at the center of it all, exhibiting creative and concept brands and housing a LINE store. It is the venue of Seoul Fashion Week, inviting models, K-stars and designers to the fashion event of the year. See more things to do in Dongdaemum.
Picnic at the Hangang Park
Cutting through the heart of Seoul is Hangang River and its lengthy bankside park space. Friendly gatherings are abundant on the patches of grass, fried chicken takeout and the sharp kick of soju the key to exuberant conversations on a chill day out. You might even spot water-sporting facilities on certain stretches of park, such as kayaks and water-skiing. Skateboarders casually wheel around scattered squares on emptier days, but short-term visitors may prefer the jogging tracks for some early morning activity.
Hunting down street food
From deep fried, potato-heavy eats to soupy fish cakes and tangy pomegranate juice, street food in Korea caters to every taste. Cheap, bite-sized and saliva inducing, throw away diet plans for the stall vendors along Myeongdong’s main shopping street. You can also find these delicious bites at any traditional market.
Experience the university student life
Ever wonder what it’s like to live in Korea? The university trinity of Yonsei, Hongik and Ehwa Women’s University reveal a tantalizing glimpse of young adult life in Korea – late-night barbecue, cheap partying and some of the best boutique fashion you’ll find across Seoul. In particular, the streets surrounding Sinchon and Ehwa Station are rife with budget bites and cafés, providing fuel between your shopping frenzies. The campuses of Yonsei University and Ehwa Women’s University also demands attention, decorated with unusual architecture (such as Ehwa’s sunken plaza) and European-styled buildings.
Wander in Seoul Forest
Royal hunting grounds turned a multi-faceted recreational area; Seoul Forest is a welcome swathe of outdoor classrooms inclusive of the Experiential Learning Park and Marsh Plant Garden. A collection of botanical gardens and bird observatory, these two quadrants offer a calm and settled atmosphere. The Ecological Forest is home to common wildlife such as elks, chipmunks, ducks and moorhens with an observatory for closer viewing. The Cultural Art Park in contrast presents smooth pavement and curated landscaping for skateboards and water play, inviting families out under the ever-changing foliage.
Delve into Changdeokgung Palace’s Secret Gardens
Just a few blocks away is the exquisitely designed Changdeokgung Palace, built ten years after Gyeongbokgung. One of the “Five Grand Palaces” of Joseon Dynasty, it is arguably one of the most beautiful heritage sites in Seoul. While Changdeokgung shares the same red pillars, elaborated roof edging and paved grounds of its counterparts, its Secret Garden emulates an earthy beauty and hidden serenity. One of Seoul’s less-explored gems, it is a highly recommended to-visit spot for those who want to step away from conventional attractions.
Reach the skies at Haneul Park
Surveying the massive World Cup Stadium like a paradise on clouds is Haneul ‘Sky’ Park. With lush fields of soft, sweeping grass that bleed from silver to a burnished red in autumn, it is one of Seoul’s most beautiful and peaceful nature retreats. For more diversity, check out its sibling parks within the overarching World Cup Park. Sunset Park, Nanji Stream Park, Nanji Han River Park and Peace Park offer up bicycle paths, streams and short hikes as alternatives to Haneul Park’s maze-like grasslands.
Up high at Lotte World Tower
Standing at 555-meters and a total of 123 floors, Lotte World Tower is among the tallest buildings in the world and first on Seoul’s list. A solid base shoots up to a narrowed top, presenting a modern architecture. Visitors can traverse through Lotte World Mall for an enjoyable duty free spree, or enjoy an astounding stay at its luxury Signiel Seoul hotel. The highlight of the tower however, is the Seoul Sky observation deck. Positing at 500 meters, it grants clear visuals over the city.
Eat up at a traditional food market
Gwangjang market located within Dongdaemun is one of the oldest and largest eateries in Korea. Up and running since 1905, it is packed with over 5000 stalls! Traditionally a textiles market, majority of its second floor vendors is fabric sellers. Still, interspersed are food stalls tempting passerby with classic comfort foods like sundae (Korean sausage), bibimbap (mixed rice) and mung bean pancakes. If you’re raring for a smaller food-centric experience, Tonging Market’s narrow streak of stalls will do.
Connecting with nature at Bukhansan National Park
Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for a breaking 5 million visitors per year, Bukhansan National Park is surprisingly accessible. Its multiple entrances are short commutes from Seoul and neighboring cities; plot your trail depending on convenience. Characterized by its plentiful gorges and clear streams, the national park sets motivating targets such as shelters, temples, old fortresses and peaks that reach 865 meters. Popular courses include Bukhansanseong Course and Bogukum Course, both featuring waterfalls and shady oak clusters. Open all year for a multitude of seasonal delights, visitors can enjoy comfortable hikes from dawn to right after sunset.
Seek thrills at an amusement park
The Big Three of Seoul’s amusement parks come in at Lotte World, Everland Park and Seoul Land. Lotte World are for those who prefer short commutes as it is located inside of Seoul, whereas Everland Park is a drive out towards Gyeonggi-do. It is worth a day trip! Thrill-seekers can catch their adrenaline spikes on world-spinning rides or stay grounded for performances. You can also make waves at trending Caribbean Bay to offset summer heat. Since Everland Park and Caribbean Bay are adjacent to each other, why not make it a full-day excursion for a two-in-one?
Seek a bird’s eye view at N Seoul Tower
Recognizable by its pointy peak and wrap-around observatory tower, N Seoul Tower has gained further acclaim as a place for romantics. Not only will you fall in love with the Seoul at your feet, couples can leave behind tangible proof of their love round the tower’s base. Aptly named Locks of Love, this dedicated area witnesses couples and friendship groups with hopes of lasting relationships. Visitors can then cozy up at Palgakjeong Pavilion for more stunning views. Marking one of the highest points in Seoul, it is the perfect spot for sunset views.
Explore the slopes of Itaewon
Home to majority of Seoul’s expats thanks to its proximity to an American military base, Itaewon is the hub for foodies. Among the traditional Korean roasts is a throng of international cuisine. Running from nuttier Mediterranean tastes to the lime and avocado heavy Mexican, the delightful diversity also shares in meatier South African fare and fusion restaurants. Mixed into the restaurant-dominated slopes are also vintage spoils and crafty trinkets ready to be bought home. See more things to do in Itaewon.
Scale up at fashionable Apgujeong
Toting large department shores, top-tier hair salons and in close proximity to upper-class Gangnam, this district is best described as ‘luxurious’. Rodeo Street and Garosugil Street are familiar names for the fashion-forward, populated by creative concept brands and edgy designers. More infamously, Apgujeong is recognized as the epicenter of plastic surgery. But with big entertainment names like SM Entertainment based around the area, you’re more likely to join in the fan-crowd for potential idol sightings. Hang long enough around Apgujeong and you’re guaranteed to meet a K-entertainer or two.
A taste of nostalgia at Insadong
Insadong’s charm lay in its blend of time stamps; the myriad of wooden shop fronts offset against the looping walkway of Ssamzigil complex. Based in Ssamzigil complex alongside boutique shops and homeware are local jewelry artists, and a small rooftop garden. Out on the streets are restaurants serving traditional foods like stone pot bibimbap and pig trotters. Minimized skincare and cosmetic stores are featured in the far end, although it is Korea’s beloved pat-bingsu shaved ice dessert and hand-made trinkets that gift Insadong a distinctive local flare.
Experience Seoul’s luxurious Gangnam district
The central business district of Seoul, Gangnam is populated by grand chrome office blocks and residences of the upper class. Modern and upscale, you can expect skyscrapers and designer brands teaming up for sleek aesthetics. It is also home to Starfield COEX Mall, conjoined with a gigantic convention and exhibition center which hosts international expos and conferences. Daytime entertainment also leads underground to Gangnam Underground Shopping Street, a budget parallel to the luxury shops up top. Come night time, the stylish and proper district transforms into one of VIP nightclubs featuring the country’s best DJs. See more things to do in Gangnam.
Learn about Korea’s modern history at the DMZ
The DMZ, or formally the demilitarized zone, is a significant marker of South Korea independence. A divisive buffer between North Korea and South Korea that remains a constant reminder of post-war sentiments, it bisects the Korean Peninsula in a fairly even split. Military presence is guaranteed to guard against border squabbles; it is safe for visitors as long as you keep to sanctioned zones and pay attention to your guide. There are several tours to choose from, the most popular being the Panmunjeom area. Recently opened hiking trails now reveal previously forbidden areas. Visiting the DMZ requires guided tours and fixed itineraries, and there are strict nationality restrictions. Do some research beforehand to ensure your access.
Finding uncommon designs at Common Ground
If you’re on constant look out for hipster hang out spaces and cool urban projects, Common Ground is worth a visit. Comprised of around 200 popping blue containers stacked to form a recreational complex, Common Ground quickly gained popularity with nearby Konkuk University students. Food trucks are parked in the central square market, but there are restaurants on the third floor terrace for proper meals. Exhibitions and performances are frequent fixtures, although the main draw lies with the quirky and young brands inhabiting the interior. If creative market spaces are your jam, you’re going to love it.
More shopping at Myeongdong
An unmissable tourist district, Myeongdong is the place to go if you get homesick in a matter of days. Communication has never been easier, shopkeepers chat you up in any combination of Chinese, English and Japanese. Providing the best exchange rates in the area, you are no doubt set for a day of commercial fun! Skincare and clothing brands range between super local to international names, and you can pick up dorky hats and accessories at street stalls. But the best has yet to come. As evening hits and the bright signage come to life, so do the street food vendors along the main shopping avenue. Indulge in spicy rice cakes and greasy cheese-baked goods to fuel a second wind of shopping, or hydrate with fresh pomegranate juice. See more things to do in Myeongdong.
Blending nostalgia and chic at Samcheongdong
Located off-side Gyeongbokgung Palace is the charming neighborhood of Samcheongdong. The main street is lengthy and lined with baby gingko, setting up a beautiful autumn walkway. Boutique shops, cafés and restaurants develop from street level up the gentle slopes on two sides, building a layered texture of quaint food-and-shop stop. Cultural influences focus on the culinary, with traditional Korean cuisine being majority. Afternoon tea option are more relaxed, offering both traditional Korean desserts like red bean topped shaved ice as well as western styled treats such as soufflé pancakes. Shops however are juxtaposed, older-styled exteriors in direct contrast to cute designs and modern concepts within.
Watch live performances at Hongik University
The streets surrounding Hongik University Station are flooded with trendy youths seeking fast fashion and cheap bargains. A hub for the hip and cool, edgier fashion pieces spill out onto the streets on metal racks and mannequins. Restaurants and cafés slide neatly into storied buildings and in-between slots to keep the energy high. But it is the young talent that people flock here for. Dancers and musicians alike battle it out for the biggest crowds every night, transforming the area into a pseudo performance arena. Cheer them on by singing along and loud applause, and leave a tip or two to show your appreciation. See more things to do in Hongdae.
Visit the Sungnyemun Gate
Sungnyemun Gate – alternatively known as Namdaemun Gate – is one of the Seoul’s four ancient Great Gates, declared as National Treasure no. 1 by Korea in the year 1962. The gate’s apparent construction started in the 14th century, in 1395, taking three years to complete. It is the largest gate of the four, providing a beautiful stony arched entrance to the city. The name of the gate means ‘fire’, which is exactly what the writing on the tablet symbolizes since it’s believed that the Chinese character ‘fire’ if written vertically, provides protection. Sungnyemun Gate, in 2008, was destroyed by a vicious fire but is now stands proudly, having reconstructed to its earlier glory.
Grab a bargain at Namdaemun Market
Namdaemun Market is the largest traditional Korean market in Seoul, successfully established since 1964. There are around 10,000 vendors and retailers, who sell all kinds of products and items, available in good quality and quite affordable. Namdaemun market is quite expansive and a pleasant labyrinth of shops, stalls and small restaurants. Since the Namdaemun gate is nearby, the market was christened with the same title. The market has almost every type of fashion product, jewelry, clothing, carpets as well as luggage, stationery, electronics and whatnot. In addition to this, it also provides some delicious street foods which you can try at a cheaper rate.
Go shopping at COEX Mall
COEX Mall is an underground mall and also happens to be the largest underground shopping area in Korea and even Asia. The mall is considered to be the shopping mecca for the people, what with all the fashion stores COEX has to offer. International brands, food court, cafés and restaurants, retail stores and a movie theatre fill-up the floors of the mall, along with an aquarium, arcade, a concert hall, a massive library and the popular kimchi museum. The Kimchi Museum is one of the must-visit places, as it gives wholesome, educational information on one of the popular Korean dishes, along with conducting fun activities.
Learn about history at the The National Folk Museum of Korea
Korea boasts a long list of museums, thanks to its rich and expansive history. One of them is the National Folk Museum of Korea, which rests inside the Gyeongbokgung Palace. The museum is a beautiful preserver of not only the native cultural beliefs but also showcases the Korean domestic and agricultural lifestyles. The count of the artifacts in the museum is over 4,000, all of them giving a detailed overview of Korean history. Regular exhibits are conducted in this place, with three permanent exhibitions and two exhibitions displaying special items around the year. Along with it, the museum is also equipped with a little library, a souvenir shop and other important facilities.
Relax at Seonyudo Park
Seonyudo Park is a peaceful park on Seonyudo island, one of the beautiful islands on Hangang river. The name is absolutely suitable to the park, as the meaning of ‘Seonyu’ is, quite literally, ‘a place of scenic beauty’. It was a filtration plant, before being transformed into an ecological park. There are four parks, filled with a lot of pleasant walking trails. The park also provides other facilities, including a wholesome botanical garden and a Seoul Design Gallery, to name a few. One of the hidden gems of Seoul, Seonyudo Park is where you can genuinely relax amidst the calming natural atmosphere.
War Memorial of Korea
The War Memorial of Korea stands tall in Yongsan-gu, Seoul and as the name suggests, exhibits artifacts and materials that were actually used in the Korean War. Established in 1994 by the War Memorial Service Korea Society, it has become a national educational venue now. There are more than 10,000 artifacts distributed among six spacious indoor halls and the outdoor exhibition hall. The indoor halls include Expeditionary Forces Room, Patriotic Memorial Room, Development Hall, Large Machinery Room, War History Room and 6-25 Korean War Room, whereas the outdoor hall has life-sized weapons on display. A beautiful garden surrounds the sprawling structure, complete with a lake and an artificial waterfall.
Check out the view at the 63 Building
63 building, situated on Yeouido island, spans an unbelievable height of 264 metres. It is, in fact, recognized as the tallest landmark skyscraper of Korea. One can gaze down at the picturesque views of Hangang river as well as the mountains Bugaksan Namsan and Gwanaksan. The building offers an Aqua Planet, a Wax Museum, a Sky Art Gallery, an aquarium and a number of restaurants, including the famous ‘Buffet Pavilion’. The Sky Art Gallery offers art exhibitions, along with a 360-degree view of the entire Seoul area. Couples usually make use of the ‘love elevator’, where they get a min ride in the evening. You can recognize the building from ‘The Legend of the Blue Sea’, a popular Korean drama.
Seoul Grand Park
Seoul Grand Park is the largest theme and amusement park in Korea, complete with a quaint botanical garden and a zoo. Located at the foot of the Cheonggye Mountain, it was first opened in the year 1984 when the animals from the Changgyeong Palace were moved here. There are a lot of neat sections in the grand park, quite literally, namely Seoul Zoo, Botanical Garden, Healing Place, Healing Forest Walkway, Theme Garden and a Campsite. The Seoul Zoo adoringly take care of the animals and is a certified member of both ISIS and IUSZG. Honestly, Seoul Grand Park is a Korean paradise for locals and foreigners alike.
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
The Leeum Samsung Museum of Art is the place where the Korean and international art co-exists comfortably. Many of the artworks displayed are provided by the late Lee Byeong-Cheol, one of the former presidents of the Samsung Group and the founder of this museum. In fact, the name ‘Leeum’ is an acronym for ‘Lee’, the founder’s family name and ‘um’ taken from ‘museum’. The structure consists of three separate buildings, forming a complex. Museum 1, displays traditional Korean arts and crafts masterpieces, whereas Museum 2 showcases contemporary and modern art by local and global artists. The museum in the basement has an artistically rich sunken garden and Gabion wall.
Take a walk through Seoullo 7017
Seoullo 7017 is one of the places where Korea has shown its abundant creativity. It was formerly ‘Seoul Station Overpass’, constructed as a flyover for cards; however, in 2006, because of the safety issue, it was closed. Now it serves as a mesmerizing sky garden above the cars-filled streets below. The road stretches for 983-metres, housing around 228 species and sub-species of plants, trees, flowers and shrubs. There are, in total, 17 different pathways to walk on this former-highway. Try to get this amazing walkway experience after the sunset, when the entire sky garden lights up in pretty neon-blue lights.
Starfield Library is one of the main things you see after entering the COEX mall. It extends two storeys, spread over 2800 square-metres of expanse. There are more than 50,000 books from a variety of genres, including humanities, fiction, economics, romance, non-fiction, to name a few. Books and magazines are available in physical as well as digital formats. The library provides a cosy seating space as well as is seen conducting different book-related events, from poetry reading, book concerts and book talks to authors’ meet and other cultural events and performances.
Naksan Park also called as Nakta Park, got its name from its camel-hump-shaped expanse. Since ‘nakta’ means camel in Korean and ‘san’ means mountain, the name stuck around for the park. The park, located at a 5 mins walk from Dongdaemun, has lent its beautiful setting as a backdrop to many Korean TV dramas. The Joseon royal clan owned the park, enjoying the spectacular view and overall calming vibes of the place. However, the clumsy urban planning tore down most parts of the mountain, with some green patches intact. To save them, it was only a decade ago that Naksan was declared as a Park for the people. People can stroll along the Seoul City Wall and continue towards the artistic Ihwa Mural Village.
Go Shopping in Hongdae
Hongdae Shopping area is located near Hongik University. This area offers everything - from fashion shops, cafés and restaurants, but also clubs, art book shops and art galleries. Since it is close to the University, the shopping area primarily sees young visitors. The street is an ultimate shopping paradise, with the rarely experienced blend of romance, youthfulness, nightlife and freedom. The shopping area has special streets, including the Ateliers’ street, Picasso’s Street and Club Street and the Hongdae Walking Street with an outdoor stage, where visitors can enjoy indie band performances. Cultural and fun activities take place here frequently, proving that it’s something more than just some random shopping area.
Eat Korean BBQ
Korean Barbecue is a big deal – in fact, it is an internationally popular dish and people from all over the world crowd in Seoul to taste this special BBQ. While this has resulted in a variety of BBQ restaurants being established, some of them provide the tastiest and most versatile Korean BBQ experience. First is Wangbijib, where not only do they provide perfect ventilation systems, but also that kind of the meat which is guaranteed to melt in your mouth as soon as you put it in. Next is Palsaik Samgyupsal, perfect for large groups, is known to provide its visitors with the thickest, fattiest and juiciest slices of meat, coated with eight types of sauces. Other equally amazing restaurants include Mapo Sutbul Galbi, Seocho Myeonok and Baetjang.
It seems that Hangang River is blessed with a lot of parks in its vicinity. This one right here – Yeouido Park – is a vast public park, frequented for sporting or leisure purposes. The park is divided into four neat sections, including a traditional Korean forest, a cultural square, an ecological forest and a nifty grassland. There are cute cherry blossom trees lining up the walkways, where one can walk on, as well as bicycling pathways for excited bicyclers. Few bicycle rental kiosks are situated near the park, where you can rent bicycles with your loved ones and go on quite an eco-friendly tour of this beautiful place.
Deoksugung Palace, one of Seoul’s five important palaces, is located in the busiest downtown area of Seoul. It was possessed by Grand Prince Wolsan, who was the older brother of King Seongjong of the Joseon dynasty. Deoksugung earned its place in palaces when Gwanghaegun sat on the throne and declared it as his palace. It is different from other palaces because of the modern seal engraving and a western-style fountain and garden. Visitors usually come around when the Changing of the Royal Guard is conducted in front of Daehanmun Gate. The Geumcheongyo Bridge, Hamnyeongjeon Hall, Jeonggwanheon Pavilion are only some of the many attractions of the Palace.
Banpo Bridge, the two-tiered bridge over the Han River, is a man-made architectural masterpiece. The bridge is well known for its Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, a dazzling show of colours, accomplished by 380 water jets and multicoloured lights. Since the water jets are dynamic, the water moves in sync with the music. Banpo Bridge’s fountain is so spectacular that it is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s longest bridge fountain. A cluster of parks lines up the banks of the river, providing additional attractions and fun activities.
National Museum of Korea
The National Museum of Korea is where you can learn everything about Korean history, right from the prehistoric period to the Korean Empire period. Spanning up to six storeys, the contemporary building is a proud house of traditional artifacts, which can be counted up to more than 140,000. There’s a Children Museum too, along with beautiful pagodas and stone artworks standing tall in picturesque outdoor grounds. The Museum also conducts a lot of cultural activities, based on the collection, preservation, social training, intercultural exchange programs and a lot more.
Namsan Hanok Village
Namsan Hanok Village, established in 1998, is a collection of five Hanok, which are traditional Korean Houses, preserved from the Joseon Dynasty. Along with the houses, there is a pavilion, performance arts stage, a garden and a time capsule plaza. Admission to this place is free, where you can not only absorb in the rich Korean history but also take part in traditional Korean activities and enjoy traditional performances. You can enjoy some nice lunch in cafés and take something back with you from the Hanok Souvenir Shop.
Wash away your toils and stress at a Korean bath house
Definitely round off your trip with a visit to a jjimjilbang! This Korean bath house is the solution to all your cumulated aches and exhaustion. Slide into the colorful garb and knot up your towels like goat horns before opening up your pores at the sauna room. If you’re drowsy, grab a cold drink at the refreshment corner before settling in for a nap. Dare the full body scrub under the rough but professional hands of the “scrub masters” and shed the dead skin. You’ll emerge feeling fresh and beautiful – and ready to do it all over again.
Relaxing at a café
Coffee and sweets culture run abundant in Seoul; you’ll find at least one café per street. Tom & Toms Coffee, Ediya Coffee, A Twosome Place and Café Benne are just few of the chain coffee that also serves waffles and conventional pastry. Snazzy cafés take over the streets of business districts, whilst cozy, hipster and uniquely themed cafés tend toward university districts. For a well-deserved afternoon tea, Yeonnam-dong is the ultimate café provider. Located just beyond Hongik University’s main street, Instagram worthy shops are right around the corner.
Noraebang the night away
Head bang to the latest indie rock, or show off your groove to your favorite K-pop hits. Noraebang, Korea’s nightly pastime, presents a version of karaoke that’ll have you shimmying until dawn breaks. For the most budget-friendly venues, look toward the university area of Sinchon. If you appeal to the aunties or uncles managing these humble establishments, you may even receive “service” – up to two or three hours of extra singing time.
Meet the mermaids at COEX Aquarium
Dive to the depths of COEX Aquarium’s fourteen discovery zones, all displaying an array of vibrant corals and marine life. The highlight of Gangnam’s mall-and-exhibition-center combined, it brings childhood dreams to life with its daily mermaid shows.
Get cheeky at the Trick-Eye Museum
Scramble around for the perfect angle to capture the cheeky paintings and interactive displays of Seoul’s infamous Trick-Eye Museum. You’ll find yourself hanging above the snapping jaws of a shark, and hanging off a steep cliff-side. Few steps forward; you’re dining on the balcony of a romantic European city. Evoke your camera smarts – it’s important to catch the right angle! Now boasting a VR ride to complement your Indiana Jones backdrops, this Trick-Eye Museum will transport you to other worlds in the blink of an eye.
Visit Seoul Arts Center
Lastly on our list of the best things to do in Seoul is the Seoul Arts Center. Established with the aim of fostering ties between the Korean and international art scene, Seoul Arts Center has become a leading Arts Academy. The complex houses an Opera House, Music Hall, the Hangaram Art Museum, the Hangaram Design Museum and the Seoul Calligraphy Museum. As the museum titles might suggest, emphasis is put on promoting traditional art forms. This dedication to local art and culture is exemplified by the design of the Opera House, shaped in the rounded form of a traditional Korean hat, the gat.