25 Awesome Free Things To Do In Seoul, Korea

Travelling can be an expensive passion and seeing the sights of any city can quickly become pricey. That’s why I want to share this list of free things to do in Seoul with you. After more than 5 years of walking, exploring, shopping, and enjoying all that Seoul has to offer, I’ve found there are a lot of ways you can enjoy Seoul without spending any money.

Did you know you can rent hanbok in Seoul free? And even visit the royal palaces without paying the entry fee? Want to know where to find lots of amazing sights and activities that will show you Seoul’s culture, history, nature, lifestyle, and more… all for free?

Whenever you plan to visit Korea, you can find some amazing things to do and see that won’t cost you a single Korean won. Read more about all ways to get the most out your money on a trip to Korea’s incredible capital right here.

These activities are free year round and can be a great way to experience the culture and sights of Seoul without spending your precious travel budget. You might find some great things to do in Seoul that you weren’t even aware of and want to add them to your travel itinerary for Korea.

I’ve included information about where to find these items with a colour-coded map at the end, as well as information about my favourite day of the month – Culture Day. Read more about how you can get discounted and free entry on this special day later in the article.

For those who love to save money when they travel, then I think you’d also be interested in my other article about cutting costs when travelling in Seoul. Check out this article for more money saving tips:

How To Save Money In Seoul

Although this list originally started as 25 free things to do in Seoul, I couldn’t resist adding more! Keep on scrolling all the way to see extra ideas that I’ll keep adding.

P.S. if you have any other free things to do in Seoul you’d like suggest, please feel free to add a comment or share them in the Korea Travel Advice & Planning Facebook group.

Cherry blossoms at Seokchon Lake, one of the great free things to do in Seoul

Quick Tips For Free Things To Do In Seoul

This guide is broken down into a four types of activities that you can do for free in Seoul. I’ve kept them in order so you can see similar ideas together. For a breakdown of their locations, be sure to check the map at the end of this article.

Sightseeing (1 – 8)

Cultural & Historic Activities (9 – 14)

Nature-Based Activities (15 – 21)

Museums & Galleries (22 – 25)

There are lots more free things to do in Seoul than just this. I’ll keep adding to this list as I find more awesome free activities in Seoul to share with you. Again, if you have any tips, please feel free to share and I’ll add them to the list.

Don’t forget to keep on reading to the end as I’ve included lots of tips about how to save money when travelling in Seoul, what time of year is best to visit Seoul, where to find these places, and info all about Culture Day in Korea. If you want to find out how to get into Seoul’s incredible royal palaces for free, then make sure to scroll down to the end to find out.

Now, here is my list of 25 awesome free thing to do in Seoul. I hope you enjoy them.

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn commission if you book after clicking. This won’t cost you anything extra, but helps me to keep on writing content for you. Thanks for your support.

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Sightseeing Activities In Seoul You Can Do For Free

Here are 8 of the best spots in Seoul where you can see the sights for free. Seoul is a beautiful city in places and you can spend a lot of time wandering around enjoying it without having to pay entrance fees.

One of my favourite ways to explore any city is on foot. However, if you don’t have time to waste, then these free sights in Seoul will help you figure out where to go directly. The first 3 are close to each other, so you can walk between them and save money on transportation, too.

Walking around Bukchon Hanok Village is free in Seoul

1: Bukchon Hanok Village

Top of my list of free things to do in Seoul has to be Bukchon Hanok Village. This special area in Seoul has been preserved to show the traditional hanok buildings and culture of Korea.

Hanok is a traditional Korean house and there are said to be 860 of them in Bukchon Hanok Village, making this a wonderful glimpse into Seoul’s past.

Definitely one of the top activities for tourists to do when they visit Korea, the Bukchon Hanok Village is definitely not to be missed. Get dressed up in traditional Korean hanbok (not free most of the time), and stroll along the historic streets like a Joseon-era noble. It’s like you’re the star of a Korean period drama or movie.

You can walk around this neighbourhood, visit art galleries, and take lots of great pics, all for free. There are so many things to see and do, including lots of free activities.

For more information about what to do in Bukchon Hanok Village, check out my guide to this incredible district.

What To Do In Bukchon Hanok Village

Cheonggyecheon Stream should be on your South Korea Bucket List

2: Cheonggyecheon Stream & Cheonggye Plaza

The Cheonggyecheon area has a lot to offer and costs nothing at all.

The Chonggyecheon Stream is the perfect place to relax for free in Seoul. This is where you’ll find the lantern festival in Seoul Christmas Festival, which features dozens of lanterns floating peacefully on the stream, including several giant Santa Clauses. There are often light displays and decorations along the stream during big holidays and in the winter.

Follow the long stream through the heart of Seoul towards the Cheonggye Plaza. The Cheonggye Plaza usually has lots of free events for tourists, including hands-on activities to learn about Korean culture and history. There are markets to explore, games on the street, and the odd magic show or cultural performance on weekends.

This area is also one of the best to take photos with the river and fountains, including one of a giant multi-coloured shell towering over the start of the stream.

Insadong has many free things to do in Seoul

3: Insadong’s Art Galleries & Unique Shops

I love exploring the main street of Insadong, as well as the many cosy shops, tea rooms, and galleries along the many side streets.

Check out the Ssamziegil Art Centre with lots of wonderfully unique art shops and cafes, including the Poop Cafe. There are many independent designers here and you can see what Korea’s top creative minds are producing.

There’s also newer malls such as Anyoung Insadong – which has loads of great cafes, restaurants, ‘retro’ art shops, and cute characters for you to take your picture with

Stick your nose into the many free art galleries and shops to experience some of Korea’s modern and traditional art, including painting, pottery, statues, woodwork, and lots more.

4: Free Walking Tours Around Seoul

One of the best free things to do in Seoul for those who enjoy walking and exploring is Seoul’s free walking tour.

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.

Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain

5: Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain

Head down to the Han River to see the world’s longest bridge fountain – the Banpo Moonlight Rainbow Fountain Bridge.

The best views are at night when you can see the 380 jets shooting out long streams of water in all the colours of the rainbow.

Not only that, there is also a show that runs throughout the day, moving the jets of water in time with music and changing lights, creating an awesome light and sound show for you.

The Moonlight Rainbow Fountain operates daily from April to October. Each performances lasts 15 – 20 minutes. Be sure to check the website for performance times.

From May to October, the Banpo Hangang Park hosts the “Moonlight Square Cultural Weekend” on Saturdays.

This features a variety of musical styles, including classical music with commentary, a cappella, jazz, brass bands and orchestras.

6: Jeongdong Observatory Near Seoul City Hall

The Jeongdong Observatory is still a bit of a hidden gem, which makes it an even better free thing to do in Seoul.

Located in the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Seosomun Building 1 (13th floor), you can get great views over the heart of Seoul.

You can see the nearby Deoksugung Palace and the City Hall area, which often hosts a lot of festivals and parades throughout the year.

You can also find Cafe Darak here, a cosy cafe where you can watch everyone rush around the city centre while you relax with a delicious coffee.

This makes the Jeongdong Observatory a great place to escape the busy streets for a quick breather between sights.

Open on weekdays, weekends, and public holidays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

One of the best free things to do in Seoul is taking time out at Myeongdong Cathedral

7: Myeongdong Cathedral

A peaceful retreat in the heart of Myeongdong’s bustling market area, the Myeongdong Cathedral is a nice contrast and free to enter.

Standing in Seoul for over 100 years, this imposing building is actually very tranquil inside. Walk around the inside of the cathedral, see the stained glass windows, and learn a bit about Korea’s other major religion.

Visiting the cathedral is free and open to anyone. However, please visit respectfully as there are still people worshipping inside and silence is requested.

Free transit tours to Seoul from Incheon Airport

8: Free Transit Tours From Incheon Airport

Did you know you can get a free transit tour into Seoul when you have a stopover at Incheon Airport?Whilst technically not a free thing to do in Seoul if you’re staying in the city, this is a great way to see Seoul for free.

The tours are open to anyone who is eligible to enter Korea but is leaving on a connecting flight within 24 hours.

You can book the tour when you arrive (30 minutes prior), and there are a number of different course available. For example, there are tours focusing on history, temples, markets, modern culture, and lots more.

I think this is an amazing idea and I wish every major airport offered free transit tours.

If you’re staying at Incheon Airport for a layover, or you have a lot of extra time to kill there, then you can find lots of inspiration for things to do at the airport in this article:

14 Activities To Make Your Incheon Airport Layover Fly By

Cultural Performance are great free things to do in Seoul

Cultural & Historical Free Things In Seoul

Here are the best cultural and historical activities in Seoul that you can do for absolutely no money at all. You might be surprised to know that you can rent hanbok for free in certain places.

These cultural and historical free things to do in Seoul range from K-Pop walks of fame, to vintage markets, bustling modern artistic zones, and charming traditional temples and shrines.

Korea has a rich and varied culture, both traditional and modern. You might be surprised by just how deep Korea’s cultural roots go. If you want to learn more, be sure not to miss the free museums and galleries later on in this guide.

Hanbok rental in Seoul should be in your Korean travel budget

9: Free Hanbok Rental

Whilst there are many great hanbok rental places in Seoul, there’s also the chance to wear hanbok in Seoul for free!

Hanbok are Korean traditional clothes and if you’re a fan of K-dramas, then you’re sure to recognise them.

This is perhaps one of the best free things to do in Seoul for fans of Korean culture. Dress up in the beautiful hanbok and take some fun photos to remember the experience forever.

You can find free hanbok rental in Seoul in these three places:

1: Seoul Global Cultural Centre in Myeongdong

2: Myeongdong Tourist Information Center in Myeongdong

3: K Style Hub near Cheonggye Plaza

Joel’s Tip: I’ve dressed up in Hanbok on occasion and it’s definitely one of the most popular things for tourists to do in Korea. You don’t need to be embarrassed as everyone else is doing it. Walk around Gyeongbokgung Palace or Bukchon Hanok Village and you’ll see armies of tourists bedecked in Korea’s traditional dress. Be brave and have fun!

K Star Road in Apgujeong, Gangnam

10: K Star Road In Gangnam For K-Pop Fans

Fans of modern Korean culture, and even those who aren’t, have probably heard of Gangnam.

As the spiritual home to K-pop, there are several free things to see in Gangnam related to Korea’s music scene.

First, K-pop fans can check out the K Star Road, where you’ll see the cute GangnamDols (above) of famous K-pop stars, including BTS, EXO, Girl’s Generation, and more.

The head offices to the biggest entertainment companies are located towards the end of the K Star Road, close to Cheongdang Station. You can find the headquarters of JYP, FNC, SM Entertainment, and others in this area.

You can also see some of the favourite locations of the K-pop stars, and possibly even bump into some of them!

Secondly, there is the Gangnam Style statue outside Gangnam Station. Based on PSY’s unique dancing style in Gangnam Style, this giant golden statue is a great place for some memorable pictures. Be sure to pose when taking a snap for that real Gangnam feeling.

Jogyesa Temple in Seoul

11: Beautiful Buddhist Temples In Central Seoul

There are wonderful Buddhist temples throughout Korea and each one has its own charm and beauty. Best of all, though, is that they are all free to enter.

Two of the best Buddhist temples in Seoul are Jogyesa Temple (above) near Insadong. This temple has some awesome flower displays from time to time (seriously impressive), as well as several beautifully decorated buildings that you can peek inside. It’s located between Insadong Art Street and Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Secondly, Bongeunsa Temple in Gangnam is a real breath of fresh air in this modern, decadent area and helps you reconnect after a busy afternoon shopping and spending lots. Head north from the COEX shopping mall and you’ll see the temple. It’s on a small hill, looking out over Gangnam’s magnificent high-rise buildings.

There are often many festivals at the temples, including big celebrations for Buddha’s birthday in the spring. The biggest one is Yeon Deung Hoe Lotus Lantern Festival and is a very colourful and interesting festival.

Whilst entering the temple area is permitted, there are some areas that are restricted. Please follow the rules and try to respect those worshipping inside.

Explore these colourful buildings and learn a bit about Korean Buddhism. If you want to see more of these temples, then why not book a temple stay experience in Korea? You can find out all about doing a temple stay, and my experiences of doing them in Korea, in this guide below:

Guide To The Temple Stay Experience In Korea

Night view of Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea

12: Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is an excellent way to spend an afternoon wandering around without spending a penny. Well, you may be tempted in some of the delicious restaurants and in the creative art stores, but the place itself is completely free to enter and explore.

The Dongdaemun Design Plaza looks like a set of gigantic alien spaceships and has lots of appropriately curious attractions inside. Featuring exhibitions and galleries, a long sloping grassy rooftop, fun and interesting shops (including Kakao Friends), open air pianos to play, and lots more, there’s plenty to see here for free.

I love walking through the art and cultural shops and seeing what new things have been added. During the summer months there are night markets to visit, too. During the winter there was a sound and light show broadcast across the DDP called the DDP Light and Winter Festa.

Similar events and attractions might occur when you’re in Seoul, so be sure to pop by the DDP when you’re shopping in the nearby Dongdaemun Markets.

Head to the Dongdaemun Culture and History Park Station to find the DDP.

Hongdae at night, Seoul, Korea

13: Hongdae’s Youth Culture Scene

Hongdae is another of my favourite districts in Seoul. Not only is it a fun, active place, it’s also packed full of free things to do. Be careful though, there are so many cool shops, arcades, cafes, and more that will tempt you to spend, spend, spend. But, after saving so much with these free things to do in Seoul, why not spend a bit here.

Soak up the culture in Seoul’s answer to Harajuku in Tokyo by exploring the area between Hongik University Station down to Hapjeong and Sangsu stations. The area is home to Korea’s leading art university and you can definitely tell that by all the street murals, creative shops, and unique designs on offer in the markets and shops.

There are often street performances in the small park outside Hongik University Station. The best time to catch them are in the evenings or on the weekend. Walk around and soak up the lively atmosphere. Just being in the area is enjoyable.

Head down to Hongik Univeristy itself to find colourful street art in Graffiti Street. There are lots of galleries in this area, too. Immerse yourself in the creative culture on show and take lots of great pictures.

Antiques for sale at the Seoul Folk Flea Market in Seoul, South Korea

14: Seoul’s Traditional Markets

Seoul’s traditional markets are a great way to spend time in Seoul for free. Although you may be tempted to spend some money (or lots), they’re all available for free.

Besides the famous tourist sites like Myeongdong Market and Namdaemun Market, there are lesser-known gems like Noryangjin Market and the Seoul Folk Flea Market (pictured above).

Head to Noryangjin Market before the sun rises and see the fish auctions held live, then grab some fresh seafood breakfast (sadly not free!).

The Seoul Folk Flea Market is a very interesting market packed full of antiques and vintage items, all squashed onto cramped shelves. It’s a fun place to spend a day exploring Seoul’s retro goods and reminiscing in how things used to be.

Seoul's beautiful nature is free and fun

Natural Beauty In Seoul To Explore For Free

Korea is a country blessed with an abundance of varied and beautiful nature. With rolling mountains and hills, lined with rice fields, cherry blossoms, and an array of colourful flowers and blossoms, you could spend your whole trip in nature and not run out of things to see.

Nature is the ultimate provider of free things to do and Seoul is also graced with many incredible areas of natural beauty, from the gentle slopes of Namsan Mountain, to nearby national parks, the majestic Han River, forests, parks, and man-made natural wonders you can all explore for free.

Find out the best places to immerse yourself in natural wonder in Korea’s capital. For tips about when to visit for the best sites, including when to see cherry blossoms in Seoul, then be sure to check out my tips at the end of this article.

Seokchon Lake spring cherry blossom festival

15: Seokchon Lake

This shimmering lake right outside Lotte World Tower in Jamsil is best seen during in early April to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

However, any time is a good time to visit the Seokchon Lake and take a peaceful stroll along the tree-lined paths.

Throughout the year you can find food trucks, cultural performances, and incredible views around the Seokchon Lake.

It makes for a great free break, especially if you’ve been spending lots of money in the department stores in Lotte World Tower. You can get great views of the lake from the Seoul Sky Observatory in the same building.

You certainly can’t miss the Lotte World Magic Island that hangs over into the lake, too.

Gyeongui Line Forest Park

16: Gyeongui Line Forest Park

Dating back over 100 years, the Gyeongui Line once ran from Seoul to Pyeongyang over the border in North Korea. Now, however, the line has long been abandoned and instead turned into a beautiful walkway through the heart of Seoul.

The Gyeongui Line Forest Park Trail now provides a very different place to travel, with peaceful walkways through various neighbourhoods, such as Hongdae and Yeonnam-dong.

This urban green area that now covers the old Gyeongui Line is a wonderful place for locals and tourists alike. Walk along the straight pathway and visit the small cafes and restaurants along the way.

The area around Hongdae – starting at Hongik University Subway Station – is an especially lovely part of the Gyeongui Line Forest Park Trail and a good place for a picnic in the warmer weather.

Head north from here and you’ll enter Yeonnam-dong, described as one of Seoul’s hippest neighbourhoods. In this area you’ll certainly find more artsy stuff to enjoy, including Dongjin Market, where young artists come to sell their work on Saturdays.

Explore the Gyeongui Line Forest Park and see how Seoulites enjoy their free time.

Night markets along the Han River

17: Han River Walkway

The banks of the Han River are wide and full of nature. They are also one of the best natural free things to do in Seoul.

Whether you want to escape the city and walk along the river, or see the crowds relaxing together on a sunny night, the Han River Walkway can offer both.

There are several walking paths that you can spend time walking along, taking in the beautiful Korean nature, including tall silver reeds, cherry blossoms, and cosmos.

Alternatively, head to Yeouinaru Station and you’ll find lots of park-like areas where people relax in the summer on the grass.

You’ll often find impromptu musical performances, street performers, long-boarders and skaters, campers in tents, and even night markets.

This is a great place to spend an evening taking in Seoul’s local culture and see how Seoulites spend their free time.

If you’re visiting at the end of September, you can also see the Seoul Fireworks Festival from here.

Bukhansan National Park in Seoul, Korea

18: Bukhansan National Park

The best thing about Seoul’s natural attractions are that they’re all free. And nothing is more rewarding (in my opinion) than Bukhansan National Park in northern Seoul.

The mountains are like a protective barrier (and historically were one) separating Seoul from the land beyond (which is now North Korea). Of course, Seoul now spreads far and wide, and the views from the top help illustrate just how gigantic this metropolis is.

I love climbing this mountain range because it offers panoramic views over most of Seoul. You can gaze down on the city from up high and try to spot some famous landmarks.

Seoulites are very lucky to have such a stunning national park on their doorstep and this area is easy to get to on the subway. There are a number of different courses and entrances to the park. I’d recommend following this route.

Also, if you’re visiting Seoul in winter, then this is also a great place to see snow in Seoul.

Walk Seoul's City Walls for free

19: Seoul City Fortress Walls

Look carefully and you’ll see Seoul’s old fortress walls all over the place. Seoul’s city walls were built over 600 years ago and are still protecting the city today. However, now it’s more from over-development than foreign invaders.

These city walls offer a great view of Seoul and a good workout – perfect for working off all that Korean BBQ!

You can start walking from many places, but I’d recommend a short walk starting at Naksan Park. This is easily accessed from Hyehwa Station or Ihwa Mural Village by walking up the hill to the east.

There is also the Seoul City Wall Storytelling Tour Course that can be done in 2 hours.

Seoullo 7017 is one of the free things to do in Seoul that involves nature.

20: Seoullo 7017 Nature Walkway

Head out of Seoul Station and you’ll see the Seoullo 7017 Nature Walkway.

This old overpass was turned into a leafy pedestrian walkway spanning the area from Seoul Station all the way to Namdaemun Market.

Take a relaxing walk (there are 17 routes) over the busy streets and check out one of the 8 free information centres along the way.

Smell the roses and other flowers, and watch the sunset in the evening. The view from near Seoul Station, looking west over the low hills of central Seoul, can make for some great pictures.

There are a lot of other new developments going on as part of the Seoullo 7017 project, so expect even more to see in this area in the future.

21: Seoul Forest Park

One of my favourite free things to do in Seoul is see how Seoulites enjoy their free time in nature.

Seoul Forest Park is a perfect place to do this and is very family friendly.

You’ll find lots of different play areas, walking paths, incredible nature, and even deer and a petting zoo. It’s easy to spend a whole afternoon exploring this large gem of nature.

Located nearby is another free attraction, the Under Stand Avenue Container Shopping Street.

This ‘creative public culture space‘ is a buzzing area full of shipping containers that have been converted into shops, galleries, and cafes. You’ll also find one of my favourite cafes there – Blue bottle Coffee.

War Memorial of Korea, Seoul, South Korea

Museums & Galleries That Are Free In Seoul

Want to know more about Korea’s history and culture? Then these fascinating free activities will educate and entertain you during your stay in Seoul. Learning a little about the place you’re visiting really helps you appreciate the culture and understand more about the people who live there.

If you want to know more about Korean culture and history, you can get a good introduction in this guide to etiquette:

Beginner’s Guide To Korean Culture & Etiquette

It’s not just history that is on offer. Seoul has some incredible art galleries of all different kinds, museums on a range of subjects, and a free folk and children’s museum located next to Gyeongbokgung Palace.

22: War Memorial Of Korea

One of my top picks in this part of the list is the War Memorial of Korea. It’s packed full of interesting displays, provides a detailed overview of the Korean War, and also has a load of old military hardware you can look at outside.

Find out about South Korea’s ongoing war with North Korea in the many informative displays and lifelike scenarios. Also learn about Korea’s long history of conflict. There has certainly been a lot of it, mostly with its larger neighbours.

Packed full with interesting displays, as well as dozens of real military vehicles and planes, this will both educate and entertain you for several hours.

And all of it is free. Definitely worth an afternoon and is definitely good if it’s raining in Seoul. That’s why I also have this listed on my list of awesome things to do in Seoul when it’s raining:

25 Awesome Things To Do In Seoul When It’s Raining

Head to Samgakji Subway Station (Line 4 – light blue or Line 6 – brown) to gain access to the War Memorial.

23: National Museum Of Korea

The National Museum Of Korea hosts an impressive collection of Korean historical items, dating all the way back to the Stone Age. It’s the flagship museum of Korean history and art in the country and officially represents Korea. You won’t find any collection of art and artefacts related to Korea anywhere else.

You can spend hours wandering around the many sections and learn about Korean history, culture, and Korea’s impact on the world. From ancient history to modern events, including the Seoul Olympics and World Cup, there’s so many unique items to browse in this extensive museum that could easily take a day to explore fully.

Each area is broken down into separate sections that you can visit if they are interesting to you. If you don’t want to spend the whole day at the museum, you can pick and choose where to go and see what’s good for you.

If you want to know more about Korea, this is definitely worth checking out.

24: Seoul Museum Of History

Experience the traditional culture of Seoul at this really interesting collection of all things Seoul at the Seoul Museum of History.

The main areas are free, but there are some exhibitions you might have to pay for.

Featuring relics from the past few centuries, as well as modern online cyber-displays, you can really immerse yourself in the life of a Seoulite.

There’s also an outdoor exhibition where you can see old tram cars, statues, and other parts of Seoul’s long history.

Visit Gyeonghuigung Palace right outside the museum for another great free attraction.

National Folk Museum of Korea

25: National Folk Museum Of Korea

Last but not least on the list of free things to do in Seoul is one that most people probably never realised was free.

Located at the east entrance to Gyeongbokgung Palace, the National Folk Museum of Korea is actually free to enter.

You can gain access to this interesting museum that gives you a brief introduction to Korea’s folk history, covering the history of Korean hanok houses and Korean hanbok clothes among other things.

Outside you can find a children’s museum and cultural activities to try out, such as traditional Korean games.

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Some More Free Things To Do In Seoul

So it turns out that 25 is never enough when it comes to fun free things to do in Seoul. Therefore, I’ve decided to add more ideas to the list as I discover (or remember) them. Even more for free things for absolutely nothing! I hope you enjoy them and take some time to visit them when you’re in Seoul.

P.S. if you have any other free things to do in Seoul you’d like suggest, please feel free to add a comment or share them in the Korea Travel Advice & Planning Facebook group.

Oil tank culture park in Seoul, Korea

Oil Tank Culture Park

The Oil Tank Culture Park is a curious place formed from the remains of an oil depot that was built to supply oil to Seoul in the time of a global oil crisis in the 1970s. Abandoned due to safety concerns with the World Cup in Korea in 2000, it wasn’t until a few years ago that it was finally revitalised and turned into an interesting public space for cultural and community events, markets, and just generally a cool place to visit.

You can spend a few hours wandering around the parks and checking out the 6 abandoned oil tanks. Each one has been converted into its own unique space, including the large central one as a cosy cafe and library. They each have their own individual theme and style, including a big glass dome to look to the skies, an oil tank auditorium for concerts, and a museum.

Christmas Market at Oil Tank Culture Park, Seoul

If you turn up at the right time, you might find an event going on, especially at the weekends. I visited in December and saw some locals racing around on little wooden carts, people dressed as Santa Claus, as well as some Christmas markets. Exhibitions and installations change regularly, so there is always a reason to go back again.

The area is between Haneul (sky) Park and the World Cup Stadium near World Cup Station. Haneul Park is another beautiful free place to visit and you can combine the two for an afternoon of industrial and natural beauty.

Read more about Seoul’s Oil Tank Culture Park in this interesting article.

Map Of These Free Things To Do In Seoul

The map below will show you all of the different free things to do in Seoul. They have been broken down as follows:

  • Sights in red
  • Culture & History in blue
  • Nature in green
  • Museums & Galleries in yellow
  • Free on Culture Day in purple

Map of Free Things To Do In Seoul

Please note: you will need to use Google Maps to access this map.

When To Visit Seoul

All of these free things to do in Seoul are available throughout the year, however, some are best in certain seasons. For example, the best time to explore Seoul’s natural beauty is in the spring or autumn. Here’s a quick overview of each season and the best things to do in those times.

During spring you can see the incredible cherry blossoms across Seoul, especially at the Seokchon Lake. There are pretty gardens all over the city, and walking along the Han River is very pleasant in this season.

Summer is a great time to see Seoul at night, especially along the Han River where you can see live music, visit the night markets, and watch Seoul’s locals party the night away. All for free! There are also so many awesome summer activities in Seoul you can do. Don’t miss them.

My favourite time of year certainly has to be autumn. There are so many places to see autumn leaves in Seoul and most of them are completely free. Getting into Bukhansan National Park at this time of year is a great option to see the stunning colour changing leaves.

Whilst winter can be cold, seeing these places covered in snow can completely transform the typical sights you might expect to see. Find out all the best places to see snow in Seoul if you’re travelling in winter.

Korean won, the main currency used in South Korea

Money Saving Tips For Seoul

Here are some of my top tips for saving money when I visit Seoul or anywhere else in Korea. There are always ways to get free things to do, or discounted activities. However, until you’ve been somewhere, you don’t always know how. That’s why I want to share these tips with you to help you out.

1: Get a T-Money or Korea Tour Cardfind out why here.

2: Drink lots of free water in restaurants and top up water bottles while you’re there.

3: Walk as much as possible – many things are quite close and you can walk between a lot of sights.

4: Grab some delicious and cheap food from a convenience store for a bargain (and very Korean) breakfast or lunch.

5: Go drinking at the convenience stores. You can buy 4 beers for 10,000 won and sit outside and enjoy them.

6: Haggle in the markets and don’t buy the first thing you see. There’s always a better price out there!

For the full list of money saving tips in Seoul, check out the full guide below:

How To Save Money In Seoul

How To Visit Seoul’s Palaces For Free On Culture Day

Not many tourists are likely to know this, but the last Wednesday of every month is Culture Day.

What is Culture Day?

It’s a fantastic way that the Korean government have tried to encourage locals, expats, and tourists to embrace Korea’s traditional culture.

How does this help you find free things to do in Seoul? Well, on Culture Day, you can gain free access to Seoul’s 4 main palaces. Yes! Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, and Deoksugung palaces are all free for the day!

You can also get cinema tickets for only 5,000 won on this day. Actually, I got to see Avengers: Endgame on the first day of release for only 5,000 won as it fell on Culture Day! If you’re in Seoul around the end of the month, definitely make use of these savings.

Another way to see the royal palaces for free is to visit during the Seollal (Lunar New Year) holidays (Jan 24th – 27, 2020). The palaces will be open for free during this big Korean holiday.

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Here are some other great articles that you might want to read about travelling in Korea. Remember, if you have any questions about anything, please feel free to post a comment or join the Korea Travel Advice and Planning Facebook Group.

1 thought on “25 Awesome Free Things To Do In Seoul, Korea”

  1. This neighbourhood in Seoul surrounds Hongik University and, being a university-centric area, there are an abundance of bars, cafes, art galleries and music venues here. There’s lots going on day and night – browse a gallery (many of which are free), grab a coffee or drink at one of the many funky cafes, or browse indie boutiques for unique fashion finds. At night, stay for some live music at one of the many bars and clubs offering free shows. This 11-kilometre stream runs through the heart of downtown Seoul, starting at Cheonggye Plaza and passing under 22 bridges before flowing into the Hangang River. A walk along the stream is a good way to take a break from the fast pace of city life and, in addition to a tranquil way to pass a couple of hours, you can see some colourful street art and murals along the way, as well as a fountain and a small waterfall that is lit up at night.


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