If you’re planning a journey to Seoul in the future and want to know what you absolutely must see, do, eat, explore, and discover, then this list of the 50 best things to do in Seoul is perfect for you.
Want to know where to get the best Korean street food? Eager to visit the coolest cafes or markets in Seoul? Longing to check out all the best sights or explore Seoul’s hidden gems? You’ll find them all right here, no matter what season you travel in.
Even if this isn’t your first trip to Seoul, you’ll find loads of inspiration for things to do in Seoul that you might not have known before. After all, Korea is a modern, rapidly developing country and there’s always new things to experience.
This list of the most fun and interesting things in Seoul has been built from years of experience of travelling and exploring Seoul’s diverse neighbourhoods, and is updated as the newest, most interesting activities come out.
These things to do in Seoul can all be done at any time of year, so you’ll find places that are perfect no matter what season you visit. Of course, some are even more amazing during cherry blossom season or when the autumn leaves are out. If you want to know the best spots for those, check out these dedicated articles below:
Not sure what the best time to visit Seoul is to make the most of your activities? Want see snow or avoid the typhoons? Then don’t forget to check out this complete season guide for Korea, which also includes month-by-month guides with more activities, festivals, and the best seasonal dishes.
Now, keep reading to discover these amazing 50 things that you’re going to love doing when you’re in Seoul, no matter when you visit. Use the table of contents to jump to where you want, or keep reading to find all the best places.
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What’s In This Guide To The Top 50 Things To Do In Seoul
Before I cover the top 50 things to do in Seoul, I want to quickly tell you about what’s inside this guide.
This guide not only covers 50 great things to see, do, eat, and discover in Seoul, there’s also some really useful tips about where to stay, when to travel, how to get around, and more. These are at the end of the guide and will help you plan your dream journey to Seoul.
Here’s a couple of guides I’d consider essential to travelling to Seoul, especially if you’re a budget traveller like myself. I hope you find them useful, too.
Also, here’s a few itineraries that include several of these activities that I’ve mentioned in this article. You can use them to help plan your time in Seoul, whether you’re travelling for a week or a weekend.
Please note: Some links will take you to tour companies. When I’ve used these, it’s because these companies offer discounts over the regular entry fee. They’re usually easier for organising events and experiences, too, such as learning to cook Korean food or making kimchi.
If you want to know the location of these 50 things to do in Seoul, then scroll down past number 50 and you’ll find a map with all locations included.
The Essential 50 Things To Do In Seoul
Here they are, the 50 best things to do in Seoul. They aren’t in any particular order, but some of the most popular activities in Seoul for tourists are near the top.
Further down you’ll find some of my own recommendations and hidden treasures that many tourists miss out on. Be sure to read them all and add them to your South Korea Bucket List.
Now, let’s discover all there is to do, see, eat, and enjoy in Seoul…
1: Visit Seoul’s Grand Palaces
When you visit Seoul you absolutely must visit the spectacular royal palaces that sprawl across central Seoul. These awe-inspiring buildings give you the perfect opportunity to view traditional Korean architecture, learn about Korean history, and witness the life of royalty during the Joseon Dynasty (1392 – 1897).
The 5 main palaces in Seoul are:
- Gyeongbokgung Palace
- Deoksugung Palace
- Changdeokgung Palace
- Changgyeonggung Palace
- Gyeonghuigung Palance
You can find these palaces in the heart of Seoul in the Jong-no district, which is close to Myeongdong and Insadong. You’ll also find Jongmyo Shrine nearby, which is also worth a visit.
Entrance to the palaces costs 3,000 KRW and you can buy a pass that covers 4 palaces and the nearby Jongmyo Shrine for 10,000 KRW. It’s best to get there early and to wear some Korean hanbok…
2: Dress Up Like A Royal In Korean Hanbok
One of the most fun things to do in Seoul for many tourists is to dress up in traditional Korean hanbok. Hanbok are traditional clothes that were worn by lords and ladies in Korea’s Joseon-era court. You’ll recognise them if you’ve ever watched any K-drama or movies set in this period.
There are loads of places to rent hanbok in Seoul, mostly located around the royal palaces and Bukchon Hanok Village. Be brave, get dressed up like a Korean royal, and make some truly unforgettable Seoul memories.
Rental fees start from under 10,000 KRW, increasing for longer rental times, hairstyling, and extra accessories. Hanbok are available for men and women and there are even children’s hanbok you can rent so everyone in the family can dress up.
3: Spend A Romantic Evening At The N Seoul Tower
Even if you’re not looking for romance, the N Seoul Tower on Namsan Mountain is a great place to see the sights of Seoul at night. If you’re exploring central Seoul, you won’t fail to notice the N Seoul Tower on the hill high above the city.
The N Seoul Tower has turned into a premium destination for all sightseers, with a range of attractions, restaurants, photo zones, and romantic spots to enjoy. Of course, the main draw is still the observatory in the tower itself, which offers 360 degree views of Seoul and the surrounding mountains.
You can reach the N Seoul Tower via the Namsan Cable Car, which is a 10 minute walk from Myeongdong Station. I’d recommend heading up just before sunset to see the sun setting in the West and watching the millions of lights twinkle on across Seoul as it gets dark.
Couples will find lots of romantic spots to take photos and can leave a reminder of their love looking over the city with love locks available.
4: Immerse Yourself In Myeongdong
Travellers to Seoul are drawn to Myeongdong like a magnet. Not only is this a great place to stay in Seoul, it’s also a melting pot of tourists, markets, bargain hunters, street food lovers, and busy Seoulites going about their business.
The centre of Myeongdong is a criss-cross series of streets packed full of shops selling the hottest Korean cosmetics or fashion, discounted goods for savvy shoppers, funky Korean stationery, designer goods, and lots more.
Sandwiched between, or usually above, these shops are dozens of great Korean restaurants selling Korean BBQ, KFC (Korean fried chicken), galbi, gimbap, sundae, and lots of other yummy traditional Korean dishes.
Real estate is a premium and not to be wasted, which is why even the streets are lined with stalls hawking all kinds of discounted goods (and fakes), as well as the delicious, irresistible Korean street food…
5: Sample Incredible Korean Street Food
Running along several streets in Myeongdong is the Myeongdong Street Food Street. This wide alley (and several attached to it) houses some of the latest and greatest offerings from Seoul’s street food master chefs.
Not only will you find traditional Korean street food treats such as hotteok, tteokbokki, and odeng, this is also the place to find exciting fusion dishes and foreign imports. You can try tornado potato, lobster tails with cheese, strawberry mochi, and rose-petal ice creams.
Myeongdong isn’t the only place you’ll find incredible Korean street food, however, There are lots of places in Seoul to munch on these treats.
Seoul’s traditional markets are definitely the best places, but you’ll also find food stalls by popular tourist attractions such as the royal palaces, Han River, and at festivals and other events.
6: Find Fashion & Fun In Hongdae
Hongdae is the cool student centre of Seoul that draws in locals and tourists alike for the wide range of entertainment, food, shopping, and fun available.
There’s a creative energy in Hongdae that isn’t matched elsewhere in Seoul, drawn from the nearby Hongik University with its cadre of art students. This can be seen in the unique fashion, street murals, live performances, and artwork on display in museums or coffee shop walls.
This area is the Harajuku of Seoul and several designers started out selling clothes in the street markets of Hongdae. Discover the next big names in Korean fashion for yourself when you wander through the long lanes of stalls and shops.
Being a youthful area, there’s loads of entertainment available in Hongdae. Whether you want to show your skills in the arcades, try your hand at an escape room or VR zone (more on those later), or sing your heart out at a Korean karaoke room, Hongdae has something to keep you smiling.
7: See Seoul From The Sky
The Lotte World Tower is a gigantic needle pointing to the heavens in Seoul’s trendy Jamsil neighbourhood. This tower, the world’s 6th largest building, has two great places to see the whole of Seoul and beyond from.
The first is the Seoul Sky Observatory on the 117th – 123rd floors, where you can look out over the city, relax in the cafe, and even dine with incredible views. There’s a small area to go outside and a glass floor looking all the way down to the ground far, far below. Only for the bravest travellers.
An exciting new edition to the Lotte World Tower is the Sky Bridge – a walkway right at the top of the tower that let’s those true thrill-seekers experience a walk outside on a metal bridge between the two highest points of the tower. You’ll be tied to a safety harness whilst you walk along and feel the wind blowing in your face from 500 metres above the ground!
Besides these breathtaking views, the Lotte World Tower is also a great place to go shopping, dine out, and explore the nearby area, including the beautiful Seokchon Lake.
8: Escape The City At The Cheonggyecheon Stream
Seoulites and tourists flock to this 11km path of green goodness that starts from the Cheonggye Plaza in central Seoul. This stream is an oasis of calm and nature in an otherwise concrete jungle, where you can smell the flowers, watch the fish swimming peacefully, and see a lot of special events throughout the year.
There’s often something going on near the start of the stream, such as the Santa Claus Lantern Display in December, or the Seoul Lantern Festival in November. On weekends from late spring to autumn, you’ll also find night markets selling a range of street foods, Korean goods, and hand-crafted artworks.
During the warmer months, colourful foliage creeps out of the rocky walls, or blooms in the shallow stream. This is a great place to spend a bit of time contemplating the rest of your travels, or escaping the heat during summer in Korea.
9: Eat Your Fill Of Korean BBQ
Travellers to Seoul will find plenty of places to sample one of Korea’s most famous dishes – Korean BBQ. Korean BBQ has spread around the world and is enjoyed by many, but for an authentic meal, head to the small, smoky restaurants tucked away in back alleys or sprawling out onto the streets.
The best places are the ones with little round tables and small stools to sit on – this is the place that the locals go and the meat will be fresher and there’ll probably be more banchan (side dishes) that come with your meal.
Grab a lettuce leaf, a slice of samgyeopsal (pork belly), some kimchi and whatever else you want to add for taste, wrap it up, and shove it all in your mouth. It’s not the most glamorous meal, but it’s certainly one of the most fun and delectable and not to be missed.
For those who want to avoid pork, you can find similar dishes in Korea that come with beef or lamb.
10: Indulge In Yummy Desserts In Ikseondong
Ikseondong Hanok Village is a hidden gem in the heart of Seoul that’s very popular with young Koreans and tourists who have done their research. It features lots of tightly packed hanok buildings (old style Korean houses) which have been renovated and converted into a range of gorgeous looking cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and games rooms.
One of the biggest attractions in this area (located outside Jongno 3-ga Station) are the creative and indulgent desserts that are mouthwateringly attractive. There are traditional Korean desserts, such as bingsu (shaved ice), as well as international offerings like soufflé pancakes and waffles.
The prices here aren’t the cheapest in town and if you want to save money in Seoul, then you can also find ‘fatcarons‘ (extra large macarons) available in many popular shopping areas. Be sure to check out the convenience stores, too. They’ve started releasing some really tasty desserts at bargain prices.
The most popular place to indulge in Korean desserts is a cafe. You’ll find many Korean cafes selling scrumptious desserts, such as A Twosome Place and Korean Dessert Cafe.
11: Take A Night Time River Cruise From Yeouido Island
Another romantic spot in Seoul is the Han River. This vast, slowly moving body of water cuts through the heart of Seoul and divides Myeongdong and Hongdae in the north with Gangnam and Yeongdeungpo in the south. There are loads of great parks to visit along the grassy banks on both sides of the river.
The best way to see the river and the many bridges that connect north & south Seoul is with a Han river cruise from the ferry terminal outside Yeouinaru Station (Line 5 – Purple) on Yeouido Island. The cruises run all day, but the best ones are at night when you can see the lights of the city and the colourful bridges in all their glory. You might see fireworks, too.
Yeouido Island is a great spot at any time. There are often street musicians, food trucks, night markets, long-boarders, and a whole load of Seoulites enjoying the cool river and a relaxing beer and bowl of ramyeon. Visit during the day to see the natural beauty of the area or visit at night for the entertainment and city views.
12: Enjoy Family Fun At Lotte World Adventure
Seoul has a lot of family fun places to visit and one of the best of them is definitely the Lotte World Adventure theme park. Located next to the Lotte World Tower, this unique theme park has dozens of attractions for visitors young and old.
There are thrilling rollercoasters and other rides, an aquarium, games to play, attractions, an ice rink, and lots more. Whilst most of the park is inside (great for when it’s raining in Seoul), there’s also an outdoor section called the Magic Island that is very Disney-esque.
Joel’s Tip: This is a premium attraction and worth the money. However, if you want to see a lot of expensive places, including the COEX aquarium, Trick Eye Museum, royal palaces, etc., then you can save a lot of money by getting the Discover Seoul Pass which offers all of these attractions for one price.
13: Take A Stroll Around Seokchon Lake
From the Magic Island at Lotte World Adventure, or the top of the Seoul Sky Observatory, you’ll be able to see the picturesque beauty of Seokchon Lake. This lake, shaped like the figure 8, gives you the perfect chance to stretch your legs and get away from the city.
This lake is famous for its bright cherry blossom displays, which you can see above. This is definitely one of my favourite places to see cherry blossoms in Seoul and if you’re visiting Seoul in early April, be sure to visit Seokchon Lake.
Of course, any time is a good time to visit, with lots of nearby attractions, gently rippling water, pretty flower displays, and the chance of food trucks and cultural performances on display during the weekends and on public holidays.
14: Get Spritual At A Korean Buddhist Temple
An often overlooked part of Korean culture are the Buddhist temples that are dotted around Seoul. These are lovely spots to learn about traditional Korean Buddhism, gaze at some of the best-preserved architecture and design from Korea’s past, and see something you probably won’t see at home.
You can walk around the grounds, look at the gigantic golden statues, peek closely at the intricate woodwork patterns, and pay your respects.
Some people have told me that they’re not sure whether they are allowed to go into the temple grounds or not because they’re not Buddhist. Not to worry, most of the temples in Seoul are open to tourists and locals alike, even those who don’t follow Buddhism.
The only exception would be the main hall where people are bowing and worshipping (unless otherwise stated, observe respectfully from outside).
Check out Bongeunsa Temple in Gangnam, Jogyesa Temple in Insadong, or Bongwonsa Temple near Bukhansan National Park for great examples of traditional Korean Buddhist temples.
Joel’s Tip: If you want to learn more about Korean Buddhism or spend some time at a temple, I’d highly recommend taking part in a one or two day Temple Stay Experience while you’re in Korea.
15: Join A Traditional Korean Tea Ceremony
Korea’s history of tea drinking goes back over 1,500 years and during this time ceremonies celebrating and organising the way you should prepare and drink your tea have sprung up. You can try a wide range of Korean teas in traditional style tea houses in old hanok houses in areas such as Insadong and Bukchon Hanok Village.
For those interested in learning more about traditional Korean culture, you can take part in a traditional Korean tea ceremony when you visit Seoul. This fascinating ceremony will introduce you to the methods to brew the perfect cuppa, as well as explain why things are done, what is used, and the various types of tea.
Korean green tea is a very healthy and refreshing drink and you’ll not only find it in tea shops, it’s also used in ice cream, pizza dough, beauty products and many other surprising places. Be sure to try some.
16: Stay In A Traditional Hanok House
What could be a more authentic experience in Seoul than staying in an actual Korean hanok house itself? Try living a traditional life for a night, which includes sleeping on a futon on the floor, being surrounded by wooden panels and sliding doors, as well as beautifully decorated fabrics and walls.
If it’s winter in Korea, or even a bit cold, you’ll get to experience the magic of ondol – Korea’s unique underfloor heating system. This is really nice and you’ll find it in many buildings in Korea.
The floor is heated with hot water pipes and when you’re sleeping on a futon in a hanok house, it’s really cosy. Perfect for a good night’s sleep.
You can experience a hanok guesthouse experience in traditional areas, such as the Bukchon Hanok Village. They can range from basic economy rooms up to luxurious experiences fit for a Korean king or queen.
17: Hike To The Top Of Bukhansan Mountain
Did you know Seoul has its own national park? You can see Bukhansan National Park from Gyeongbokgung Palace and most places in the northern half of Seoul, with its towering peaks looming over the city and keeping it safe.
This is one of the best outdoor things to do in Seoul for those who want a full day of being active and immersed in nature without having to travel far from their hotel. Grab a bus or subway and head to one of the many entrances to enjoy various treks through the mountains.
You can see incredible views of Seoul from the top, as well as out into Gyeonggi Province and beyond. Along the way you’ll pass by aged Buddhist temples, many other hikers (hiking is extremely popular in Korea), and maybe even a few wild animals.
18: Sample Korean Craft Beer In Mullae-Dong
Many tourists have probably never heard of Mullae-dong, which is part of the reason it should be on your list of things to do in Seoul. This area was (and still is) an old factory area that has now become a home to artists, creative workers, and lovers of things unique.
This area is where you’ll find Beer Vana, one of Seoul’s best craft beer brewers (and winners of several beer awards). Not only do they have an expansive bar and rooftop, where you can sit and look out over the other rooftops of this compact district, this is also where they make the beer you’ll want to drink.
There are many other bars and cafes in the area, so if a craft beer isn’t your thing, then take a walk and see what else catches your eye. Bring a camera to take pics of the creative street art and funky shop designs.
You can access Mullae-dong from Mullae Station or Sindorim Station (Line 2 – Green)
19: Learn About Korea’s Past At The War Memorial
A lot of people probably only know about the war between North and South Korea from what they see in the media these days. There’s a lot more to learn than just the sabre-rattling antics of Kim Jong-Un, however.
Why not educate yourself by visiting the impressive War Memorial of Korea – a museum in Yongsan that is dedicated to the entirety of Korea’s military past. This not only includes the ongoing war with the North, but also famous military battles with Korea’s neighbours, China & Japan.
This place is not just for military enthusiasts. The interesting displays and models can be enjoyed by anyone and there are plenty of sights to see, such as old castles, historic weapons, and the famous Turtle Ship. Outside the museum there are also dozens of planes, tanks, and other military vehicles you can take photos with.
20: Take A Picture With The I Seoul U Sign
Since 2015, Seoul has adopted the now-ubiquitous slogan that is I Seoul U. These signs have now spread throughout the city, often in the most photo-worthy spots, such as Seoul City Hall, the Han River, and in many parks and public places.
There are many I Seoul U locations that are included in the things to do in Seoul mentioned in this list. Be sure to take a picture with this sign as a memory of your time visiting Seoul.
What creative poses can you adopt? As you can see from the picture above, it doesn’t matter what the weather’s like, you can still enjoy seeing the I Seoul U signs.
21: Discover The Beautiful Secret Garden In Changdeokgung Palace
Tucked away at the back of the sprawling Changdeokgung Palace is the beautiful ‘Secret Garden’ that was originally a special place reserved for the royal family and women of the palace. These days, it’s a tranquil oasis in the heart of Seoul that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Inside the Secret Garden you’ll find calm lotus ponds, grand pavilions, sculptured lawns, and hundreds of different trees, plants, and bushes to stroll past. This area has been created to look as natural as possible, and has been carefully tended during its existence.
To keep the Secret Garden beautifully preserved, access is limited and only a small number of people can enter each day. You’ll need to book a guided tour through the gardens and there is a separate entrance fee that is included in the tour price.
Tours are limited, so get there early for the best chance of getting a ticket.
22: Read The World At The Starfield Library
Deep in the bowels of the massive COEX Mall in Gangnam is the futuristic looking Starfield Library, a place where book lovers and shoppers alike can find a seat and enjoy the view of wall to wall bookshelves and curving libraries that will take your breath away.
This is a popular spot to take a break between all the other attractions in the COEX Mall. It’s also a sight worth visiting to take in the unique views of row upon row of Korean and international books.
Of course, the books aren’t just for looking at. You can also take them out and read them, with a plethora of topics, genres, and formats available, from travel guides to Korean textbooks and fashion magazines to the classics.
There are also regular events here, such as author meets, book signings, poetry readings, and more.
23: Get Fishy At The COEX Aquarium
There’s lots to see and do at the COEX Mall in Gangnam. One of my favourite attractions there is the COEX Aquarium, a fun indoor aquarium in the heart of the mall with lots to see and enjoy. This is also Seoul’s largest aquarium.
The COEX Aquarium is a great attraction for families, or anyone who enjoys learning and playing with sea creatures. Follow the path through the aquarium to see an incredible array of fish from areas as far away as the Amazonian rainforest or the Andean mountains.
You can find sharks, stingrays, eels, octopus, penguins, jellyfish, and many more colourful and unique aquatic animals. There are also feeding shows and other performances to enjoy throughout the day.
Joel’s Tip: As with the Lotte World Adventure (number 12), I’d recommend getting a Discover Seoul Pass if you plan to visit here and other premium Seoul attractions. It can save you a considerable amount of money.
24: Follow The K Star Road In Apgujeong
Fans of K-Pop will need to add this to their list of things to do in Seoul. The K Star Road is not only a pleasant walk through one of Seoul’s richest neighbourhoods (it’s in Gangnam), it’s a chance for K-pop fans to take loads of pics with these cute Gangnamdols.
There are dozens of these life-sized statues based on some of the biggest names in Korean pop music, including PSY (pictured above), BTS, Girl’s Generation, and many more. Not only can you see these statues, you might even bump into some real-life stars in this exclusive neighbourhood.
The start of the K Star Road is Exit 2 at Apgujeong Rodeo Station (Bundang Line) and finishes near Cheongdam Station (Line 7 – Dark Green).
25: Find K-Pop Stars In Gangnam
After you’ve seen all the Gangnamdols along the K Star Road, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the headquarters of some of the biggest Korean entertainment companies in Seoul.
In this area you’ll find offices for JYP Entertainment, SM Entertainment, CUBE, and FNC. If you have no idea who these companies are, you’ll probably recognise the artists they manage – BTS, EXO, Red Velvet, TWICE, and many more.
Although you can’t go into these buildings, there’s always a chance that you might spot some of the biggest stars of Korean entertainment coming out of the offices. You can also visit many famous restaurants & cafes owned by the idols themselves. Again, if you’re lucky, you may see them inside!
26: Walk The Green Streets Of Seoullo 7017
Seoul is a city that is always improving and looking towards the future whilst still embracing the past. You can see this in many areas, such as the new and old City Hall buildings, the Cheonggyecheon Stream, renovated districts that embrace their history, such as Mullae-dong, and also Seoullo 7017.
What is Seoullo 7017? It’s a long walkway that was formerly the Seoul Station overpass but now houses hundreds of plants, trees, and green displays to bring a breath of fresh air to this busy part of the concrete jungle.
The overpass was constructed in 1970 and reopened as a green pathway in 2017, hence the name 7017.
If you’re travelling between Seoul Station and Myeongdong, then I’d recommend taking the Seoullo 7017 walkway instead of the subway. You’ll get to see a lot more of the city’s sights, as well as pop into some of the nice cafes along the way, including a yummy Godiva ice cream shop. The walk only takes about 20 minutes and ends at Hoehyeong Station, a short walk from central Myeongdong.
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27: Learn How To Make Traditional Korean Dishes
There’s a wide variety of delicious traditional Korean dishes for you to enjoy when you visit Seoul, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to try as many as you can. However, an even better souvenir of your time in Korea’s capital would be to learn how to make some of those dishes yourself to share with friends or to devour by yourself.
You can learn to make a wide range of dishes, such as bibimbap, bulgogi, and pajeon, with a Korean cooking class in Seoul. This is a way to not only learn how to make those dishes you’ve enjoyed on your trip, but also to learn a bit more about the history and influence of Korean cuisine.
These classes often include more than simply cooking, too. For example, this Korean cooking class takes you through every step of the process – from buying the ingredients at a traditional market, being guided by a professional chef, through to dining on your own dish. Why not give it a go when you visit Seoul?
28: Experience Seoul’s Best Foreign Foods In Itaewon
Whilst I’d definitely encourage you to sample Korea’s traditional dishes, I understand that people want to sample food from around the world when they travel. I know I certainly do. Eating out is one of the best things to do in Seoul, no matter what you want to eat.
The best places to do this in Seoul have to be Itaewon – Seoul’s ‘foreigner district’ that used to be home to lots of American soldiers but now houses people from around the world, and with them a diverse culture of food. From pizza to tacos, kebabs, tapas, and more, you’ll find all sorts to munch on in Itaewon. Even good old English fish and chips.
Other great areas in Seoul for foreign foods include Hongdae and Gangnam. The area around between Hapjeon Station and Sangsu Station has loads of highly-rated restaurants in Hongdae. In Gangnam, head to Apgujeong Station or Sinsa Station and explore these areas for a wide variety of dining options.
29: Get Colourful At The Color Pool Museum
For those who want to find insta-worthy things to do in Seoul, you should definitely check out the Color Pool Museum in Insadong. Located on the 6th floor of the Anyoung Insadong art-mall, this is a bright and bewildering place that will give you loads of opportunity to get some fun pictures.
Despite the name, this isn’t anything like a museum and much more like a playground for the Instagram generation. The Color Pool Museum, as the name suggests, is dedicated to colours and has 9 areas, each with their own theme and ‘scent’. The Meon Pink area is said to inspire love and romance, whilst the Electric Blue area is a pool party that inspires ‘feelings of refreshment and pleasure’.
Explore all the rooms, taking creative and colourful pictures as you go. Don’t forget to dress up in something bright to match the interiors and to make your pics even more Instagrammable. Once you’ve finished, pop by the gift shop to brighten up your time in Seoul.
30: Eat A Cup Of Beondegi If You’re Brave Enough
Okay, this one might not be on your dream list of things to do in Seoul, and many people will probably squirm at the thought of doing this. This is not something I enjoy doing, but it’s a unique experience and one you can find easily in Seoul.
For those who don’t know about this strange Korean food, beondegi are silkworm larvae and they’re a popular street food in Korea. Personally, I can’t stand the smell of them and try to avoid the big pots of them, which send up a steaming stench to tempt (or scare away) passers by.
Some people love them though, and they’re very healthy and full of protein. You can find them for sale in traditional markets and outside some tourists sights, such as Gyeongbokgung Palace. Buy a cup and try them out if you’re brave enough.
31: Learn About Kimchi At The Kimchi Museum
A much more easily digested Korean food, one that is quintessentially Korean, is kimchi. It’s the cornerstone of Korean cuisine, a healthy dish that’s said to prevent sickness and lead to a long life.
Did you know that there’s actually over 200 types of kimchi, made from an assortment of vegetables and with different seasonings and spices? It’s one of the interesting facts about Korea that you can learn from the Kimchikan Museum in Insadong.
You might wonder what there is to see at a museum dedicated to a simple side dish that’s served with most Korean meals, but this museum actually has quite a lot to see and experience, including some interactive classes you can book.
Alternatively, you can try making your own kimchi in Myeongdong. Spice up your time in Seoul with this messy, fun activity that will teach you even more about Korea’s national food.
32: Drink A Coffee With A Woolly Friend
When you think of things to do in Seoul, you probably wouldn’t think about sitting down to drink a coffee with an animal. Well, you should. Seoul is a fun city with lots of really interesting cafes, including some unique animal cafes.
These two cafes offer up the chance to see and interact with two very different animals in a safe environment, whilst also enjoying some freshly brewed coffee and yummy desserts.
Please note: The animals in these cafes have feelings, too. Please treat them with respect when you visit and be kind to them.
33: Sing Your Heart Out At A Noraebang (Karaoke)
Did you know that one of the most popular nighttime activities in Seoul is singing your heart out at a noraebang (karaoke room)? Koreans have a passion for singing together (or alone) to songs from all decades and there are thousands of places to sing in Seoul.
Noraebang (literally: singing room) can be found in any bar or entertainment district. When you see a sign with 노래방 written on it, you’ve found a noraebang. You won’t have to go far to find one in Seoul. Inside you’ll find rooms that can hold up to 10 or even 20 people inside. They’re the perfect place to share a song, some snacks, and a beer, together.
There are Korean songs, as well as international hits going back for decades. You’ll find as many Koreans singing along to BTS as you will to the Beatles or Queen. It’s a cheap place to have a fun couple of hours of drinking, singing, and bonding with friends.
34: Join A Free Walking Tour Around Seoul
One of my favourite free things to do in Seoul is walking around and exploring the city. As a tourist, you might want to do that but not get lost on the way. Therefore, I’d recommend joining one of the awesome free walking tours.
There are 29 different free walking tours that focus on various themes, including markets, history, culture, modern life, etc. Some of them do require payment to some attractions, but the tour itself is absolutely free.
You’ll be shown around the city by an experienced ‘Seoul Cultural Tourism Volunteer Guide’, who will tell you lots of interesting facts that you probably wouldn’t know if you were exploring by yourself.
Book free walking tours in advance to make sure that you can join as they are very popular. Tours are held in Korean, English, Chinese, or Japanese.
35: Get Locked Up At The Seodaemun Prison Museum
You might be surprised to learn that Seoul and Korea in general has had quite a shocking recent past. The 20th Century witnessed some of the darkest periods of Korea’s already troubled past, from Japanese colonisation, to war with North Korea and a dictatorship that ran until the 1980’s.
The Seodaemun Prison, which is now a fascinating museum, witnessed all of these and was central in perpetrating some of the most notorious acts against Korean independence fighters and activists who wanted to free Korea.
Not only were people whisked away from their homes and locked up here, they were also tortured in a number of gruesome ways and kept in appalling conditions.
The Seodaemum Prison Museum is a poignant reminder why Koreans (or anyone) can’t take freedom for granted. See it for yourself and witness the cramped cells, torture devices, and learn more about Korea’s road to freedom and democracy through the 20th Century. A dark but rewarding activity in Seoul.
36: Eat Outside In A Pojang-macha
Whatever the weather, a great nighttime activity in Seoul is dining outside in a pojang-macha. A pojang-macha is a small, tented restaurant that you’ll find on busy streets in Seoul, usually by busy subway stations such as Jongno 3-Ga Station.
Inside you’ll find a hard-working Korean chef preparing a limited menu of dishes to hungry passers-by who want a warming bowl of noodles or fried meats after a busy day of work. The menu and setting are simple – but that’s part of the joy of visiting these places. Simple food, simple pleasures.
If you’re a fan of Korean drama, you’ll probably recognise these places and know that there are plenty of boisterous dinner discussions and drinking parties. Make sure to pop in and sample it for yourself when you’re in Seoul.
37: Eat Some Poop Bread At The Poop Cafe
Located on the top floor of Insadong’s Ssasmziegil Art Mall, the Poop Cafe (ddong cafe) is one of Seoul’s weirdest cafes (there’s a lot to choose from!). One of their specialities is freshly pressed poop bread, which you can see me about to devour in the picture above.
No, this isn’t as disgusting as it sounds! It’s actually a really tasty sweet treat that has you licking your lips as you eat it. The poop bread is made from crispy poop-shaped bread filled with a gooey chocolate sauce.
If you can stomach this, I’d also recommend the rose latte, which comes in a toilet-shaped cup, or the curry, served in a Korean-style squat toilet. There’s some poop hats to wear and other poop-themed decorations to enjoy, too.
38: Try Bindaetteok At Gwangjang Market
If you’ve watched Netflix’s Street Food series, then you might be familiar with Gwangjang Market – the location of the Korean episode. Gwangjang has a great selection of traditional snacks and dishes available and is one of the best places in Seoul to get bindaetteok.
Bindaetteok is a mung bean pancake that is thick and crispy and goes really well with a glass of meokgolli (Korean rice wine). Thousands are created and devoured daily in this bustling traditional market.
You can get one to go or queue up to squeeze into one of the small restaurants. I’d recommend the latter so you can experience the real market experience that Seoul’s traditional markets provide. You can order one bindaetteok at a time, or a set which includes various other fillings. Don’t forget the meokgolli.
39: Relax & Unwind In A Korean Sauna
After a long day’s walking and enjoying all these things to do in Seoul, there’s nothing better than an evening in a Korean sauna. Known as jjimjjilbangs, these saunas are great place to witness Korean culture up close.
There are two main parts to a jjimjjilbang – the sauna area and the rest area. In the sauna area, everyone is naked and sitting in hot or cold pools, steam rooms, or just lying down in the heat. No clothes allowed and it’s split by gender.
The rest area is a communal area where everyone can meet and ‘rest’ together. This is like a lounge where everyone is in their pyjamas and chilling together. There are little rooms which are heated up, mats to lie down and sleep on, and TV rooms, refreshments, and anything else you need to relax and unwind.
A lot of Korean saunas double up as an emergency / cheap place to spend the night. You can sleep here for as little as 10,000 KRW and enjoy both the sauna and rest areas for 12 hours.
40: Reconnect With Nature At Seoul Forest
Feeling trapped by all the skyscrapers, concrete walls, and paved roads and streets? Then take a minute to reconnect with nature at Seoul Forest – one of Seoul’s many green spaces.
Seoul Forest is one of my favourite things to do in Seoul when I want to see autumn leaves or when I want to get out and see tall reeds, small animals, and beautiful river views.
This is one of the most family friendly green spaces in Seoul, with several different playgrounds, a petting zoo, deer that you can watch and feed, walkways in the tree tops, gigantic sycamore leaves, and tall silver grass swaying in the wind.
You can access Seoul Forest from the Seoul Forest Station (Bundang Line). Be sure to visit the Under Stand Avenue nearby, too. This area is very pleasant and you’ll find leafy suburban streets with good cafes and restaurants.
41: Hike The Seoul City Fortress Walls
Another great night time activity, especially in summer, is to walk the Seoul city fortress walls that surround parts of central Seoul in certain places.
These pathways are well lit and provide a wonderful opportunity to look out over Seoul at night, offering up views of Gyeongbokgung Palace, the N Seoul Tower (see picture above), and all the thousands of buildings, small and large, lit up at night.
Walks range from gentle strolls to more serious night hikes that take a few hours. I’d recommend visiting Naksan Park and fortress walls near Hyehwa Station (Line 4 – Light Blue). Once you’ve walked up the hill, you’ll get incredible views over the city from all sides. There are also several cafes & bars where you can sit and enjoy the night view.
Walk down the walls and you’ll end up in Dongdaemun to see the large wall gate that still stands there.
42: Enjoy The Arts In Hyehwa
Before hiking the fortress walls, it’s worth taking some time to check out the Hyehwa area, an often overlooked part of Seoul by tourists that actually has a lot to see. This is one of those things to do in Seoul that is enjoyed by locals.
Hyehwa used to be Seoul’s cultural and artistic centre (now claimed by Hongdae) and retains a certain artistic style and elegance that can be witnessed by the artwork in the nearby Ihwa Mural Village and the various theatres, markets, shops, cafes and buildings.
There is also the Daehangno Filipino Market that runs every Sunday, where you can find citizens of ‘Little Manila’ selling various wares and foods.
Take some time to wander around the area and breathe in the culture, both traditional, modern, and foreign. This is also a good place to find some foreign food restaurants and has a less touristy vibe.
43: Watch The Live Fish Auctions At Noryangjin Market
Noryangjin Market is Seoul’s biggest fish market and provides 50% of Seoul’s seafood needs each day. Wander down long aisles alive (literally) with fresh squid, octopus, shellfish, urchins, and all other kinds of seafood. Be astounded by all the weird and wonderful sights from under the sea.
You can visit Noryangjin Market at any hour, but the best time is in the early hours of the morning to see the fish auctions. Starting at 3:00 am, the live fish auctions are a spectacle in themselves. Once it’s finished, you can indulge in some fresh fish dishes for breakfast, including cho-bap (Korean sushi).
You can access Noryangjin Market from Noryangjin Station (Line 1 – Dark Blue or Line 9 – Brown). Note that subways won’t be running at 3:00 am and you’ll need to take a taxi to get there at this time. Please check auction opening hours when you want to visit.
44: Take A Picture With King Sejong
The majestic King Sejong is a name and face you’ll see all over Seoul and Korea (there’s even a Sejong City). He was the Korean ruler who invented hangul – the Korean writing system – and was generally a very popular leader who helped the Korean people a lot.
You can find a giant statue of him in the long paved area that runs from the Cheonggye Plaza all the way up to the gates of Gyeongbokgung Palace.
When you visit the royal palaces or stream, be sure to stand under this gigantic monument, smile, and take a picture with King Sejong.
You’ll also find another famous Korean here – Admiral Yi Sun Sin. He’s a bit stern looking, but I’m sure he’d appreciate a selfie with you, too.
45: Dance Under The Gangnam Statue Gangnam Style
Most people had probably never heard of Gangnam, Seoul’s upmarket district that houses some of its biggest entertainment stars, luxury shops, and ridiculously overpriced property, until PSY sang about it.
In honour of this ever exuberant star, there is a large golden statue celebrating the global phenomenon that was Gangnam Style. The statue, not of PSY himself, is from his unique dance and features a pair of crossed hands.
You can find these golden hands, a true symbol of Gangnam’s affluence, outside the East Gate of the COEX Mall. If you’re a fan of K-pop (or not), then be sure to take a picture while dancing ‘Gangnam Style’ under this statue.
46: Pay Your Respects At The National Cemetery
When you think of things to do in Seoul, I doubt many people would have visiting a cemetery as something they’d plan to do. However, an afternoon spent visiting the Seoul National Cemetery certainly wouldn’t be time wasted.
If you have some extra time, or have visited many of the traditional sights in Seoul, then take a trip down to Dongjak Station (Line 4 – Light Blue or Line 9 – Brown) and explore the gorgeous cemetery grounds.
Travellers visiting in spring or autumn should definitely spend some time here as it’s one of the best places to see cherry blossoms and autumn leaves in Seoul. Take a peaceful stroll through the vast, leafy resting ground of Korea’s brave war heroes who died to help make Korea what it is now.
47: Make Your Own Lunch Box At Tongin Market
The problem with Korean food is that it’s just too good and you want to try all of it! Fortunately, the smart people at Tongin Market thought of a good way to help you sample several different tasty treats – by building your own lunch box.
At this market, located west of Gyeongbokgung Palace, you can purchase a meal set. You’ll receive a lunch tray a number of golden coins to pay for items at the various food stalls scattered across the market.
Choose from chicken skewers, fried pancakes, tteokbokki, dumplings, rice cakes, and many more awesome street food choices. Take your time walking around, exploring the market as you go. Then find a seat and enjoy the lunch you’ve prepared along the way.
48: Have A VR Experience In Hongdae
Hongdae is great for those who want to have a good time with lots of attractions. It’s also the heart of modern-tech entertainment in Seoul with lots of arcades and interactive games available.
If you want a truly futuristic experience, however, then head to the VR Square. This is the premier VR location in Seoul and has several floors with over a dozen different kinds of VR attractions.
You can ride a rollercoaster, shoot hordes of zombies, take a tour of far away places, and try to survive in the scary, fully immersive Survival VR, where your movements affect the VR world.
You can play here alone, or with friends and family. There’s a party room where you can all play together.
49: Get Tipsy With Korean Soju
If you’re eating out in Seoul then you’re sure to notice little green glass bottles on many tables, often next to a bottle of Korean beer. This is soju, Korea’s most popular drink and one of the biggest spirits in the world.
Whilst I don’t advocate getting too drunk, trying soju is definitely a popular thing to do in Seoul for adults. Order a bottle and fill up your shot glass and down it ‘one shot’, as Koreans say when drinking it.
If you don’t like the taste of spirits (soju is a bit like vodka), then there are also fruity flavoured versions, such as grapefruit, blueberry, or peach.
Soju is really cheap (usually 4,000 KRW in a restaurant or 1,250 KRW in a convenience store), you can find it everywhere, and it’s a great way to show Koreans that you’re ready to embrace their culture. Why not share a bottle with any local friends you make?
50: Explore The Back Streets To Discover The True Seoul
One of my favourite things to do in Seoul is to walk around and explore as much as I can, especially in the back streets and away from the main tourist areas. I know that in many big cities this would be rather dangerous, but Seoul is not really a dangerous city, even at night.
When you get away from the big streets and into the back streets, you’ll find a different side to Seoul than what most tourists see. There are walls coated with murals (as above), people sitting out on the street eating, drinking, and chatting, and narrow alleys that show that Seoul life isn’t always as glamorous as Korean media makes it out to be.
You might stumble upon some local restaurants with dishes you’ve not tried before, or find a cosy bar where you can sample some Korean soju with locals. You never know until you explore.
Map Locations Of These Things To Do In Seoul
To help you plan and navigate your way around this sprawling metropolis, I’ve added all of these things to do in Seoul into a Google Map. You can access it with the link below:
If you have the Google Map app installed on your phone, you should be able to get directions to that place, too.
Your Guide To Visiting Seoul
Finally, I want to provide some of my best tips to help you plan a trip to Seoul. If this is your first time visiting Korea (or even your 10th), these will help you figure out where to stay, what to eat, when to travel, and how to get around.
Where To Stay In Seoul
Here’s a few hotel recommendations for two of the best areas to stay in Seoul for first time visitors or seasoned regulars. They offer a glimpse into modern Seoul and are conveniently located with subway links to other popular areas.
This is a great location in the heart of Seoul that has many markets, shops, restaurants, and fun places to check out. It’s also close to some of Seoul’s best attractions, including N Seoul Tower and the royal palaces.
Myeongdong K Stay 2
Families & Couples:
L7 Myeongdong by LOTTE
Lotte Hotel Seoul
The luxurious district you probably know thanks to PSY’s Gangnam Style. There’s plenty to see and do in Gangnam, including the COEX Mall & Aquarium, Bongeunsa Temple, K Star Road, and lots of shopping.
Myeongdong Rooftop Hostel
Families & Couples:
Mercure Ambassador Seoul Gangnam Sodowe
Park Hyatt Seoul
For a more detailed breakdown of Seoul’s best neighbourhoods, be sure to check out my detailed guide about accommodation in the city, with loads of travel tips, recommendations, and ideas.
What To Eat In Seoul
There are so many incredible foods to try in Seoul and Korea, including dishes that only appear during certain seasons, mouthwatering street food to eat on the go, and even some unusual foods you might be interested in trying.
Rather than list them all here (there are so many!), why not check out some of the articles I’ve written specifically about Korea’s culinary treasures?
If you’re worried about ordering food in Korean, then this article will help you learn the basics for eating out and ordering food in Korea.
There are a lot more to try than just these foods I’ve listed above. Try as much as you can when you visit Seoul, you might find something you never knew you loved!
How To Travel Around Seoul
Seoul is a massive city with millions of people travelling around it each day. Fortunately, it’s also really well organised, maintained, and cheap. An average ride costs only 1,250 KRW (just over $1 USD) and there is a transportation card you can use to pay for most transport.
This is the T-Money Card and is definitely an essential purchase for travellers to Seoul. You can use it to pay for buses, taxis, and the subway. It’s also accepted at lots of shops and cafes.
If you’re travelling late, or want to avoid complicated public transport options, then a taxi is an affordable option. Taxis in Seoul are relatively cheap (definitely much cheaper than in London & Seoul).
You can usually wave one down if you’re in central Seoul. However, if you want to order one, or you’re worried about being able to give directions, then I’d recommend downloading the Kakao Taxi app (in English). This will allow you to call a taxi to you and you won’t need to tell the taxi driver where you want to go.
There is no Uber or similar service in Korea (the taxi drivers fought back against it).
Also, if you’re arriving in Korea at Incheon Airport, here’s a guide about how to get to Seoul from Incheon Airport.
Best Time To Visit Seoul
The best times to visit Seoul are definitely in the spring and autumn. The weather during these times is warm and mild, much nicer than the extremes you’ll find during winter and summer.
If you want to see Seoul’s glorious cherry blossoms, then you should arrive in the first two weeks of April.
For autumn leaves in Seoul, any time from early October to early November will give you views of the falling foliage. The best time is later in October.
If you want to experience snow in Seoul, the snowiest time of year is January to February, although you can still see snow in December (not guaranteed).
For a complete guide about when to visit Korea, and for more things to to do in Seoul during each month, check out this guide to Korea’s seasons:
There are plenty of things to do in Seoul during any time of year, including many exciting festivals that occur in each month. I’m sure you’ll have a great time whenever you visit.
Other Things To Do In Seoul
I’ve written plenty of other articles about things to do in Seoul (there’s so much!) You might like some of these that focus on specific topics or times.
The article about rainy day activities can be good when it’s too hot, too dusty, or any time you don’t wan to go out.
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