12 Top Things to Do in Seoul 

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Heading to the capital of South Korea and looking for the top things to do in Seoul? This guide has all the details you need for the perfect itinerary. 

Whether you are spending one day in Seoul or a few weeks, you might be wondering what to see in Seoul. The city is full of history, culture, and amazing food. It will definitely capture your heart, and you’ll be itching to come back as soon as you get home. 

As you’re planning your trip to Seoul, make sure you use this guide to see all the best things in the city. Since Seoul is a huge city, booking a few tours is also an excellent plan as it makes getting around easier. 

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1. Tour Gyeongbokgung Palace

If you’re interested in the history of Seoul, head to the Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was built in 1395. Seoul has five main palaces, and Gyeongbokgung is the largest. 

The gardens are stunning, and there are more than 100 acres to explore. You can also see a changing of the guard ceremony twice a day at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

Gyeongbokgung Palace is located at 161 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. They’re open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Tuesdays when they are closed. Admission is 3,000 won (about $1.15 USD). 

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2. Explore Bukchon Hanok Village

This is a beautiful little village on top of a hill that shows traditional Korean life. Some of the architecture dates back to 1392. 

You can walk down the tiny alleys, people-watch, and shop in the little stores. It’s a nice way to escape the hustle and bustle of Seoul for a few hours while stepping back in time. 

Here is a map of the village. 

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3. Eat Some Amazing Street Food 

Finding street food in Seoul is super easy. You’ll see street vendors and carts all over the city. Most of the street food in Seoul is clean, but always make sure to check if the vendor is cleaning their hands and dishes properly. A line is a good thing to check for, as you can generally expect it’s good.

Not sure what food to order? Here are the most common dishes that people like to try:

  • Tteokbokki: These are amazing little spicy rice cakes and are one of the best things to eat in Seoul. The cakes are chewy and covered in a spicy red sauce. They are the most popular Korean street food. 
  • Kimchi ppang: Delicious pork steamed buns that you have to try. 
  • Mung bean pancake: In this dish, the mung beans are ground and fried to make a little pancake. 
  • Blood sausage: If you’re feeling brave, try this pig or cow intestine stuffed with pig’s blood and noodles. They then fry it or steam it. 
  • Mandu: Loved by everyone that tries it, these are dumplings stuffed with vegetables or meat. They are pan-fried to make them extra crispy and served with scallions. 
  • Dragon’s Beard: Want to try something fun and enjoy a great little show while they make it? Check out Dragon’s Beard. This semi-sweet confection is good, and the show is even better! And it’s a great item to take home to friends and family.

4. Visit Some of the Markets 

Shopping in the markets is one of the most unique things in Seoul. You can buy anything in the markets, including souvenirs, vegetables, fresh meat, and many other great things. 

Here are some of the best markets to check out:

  • Gwangjang Market: If you want to buy some hanbok (traditional Korean clothing), make sure to come here. Of all the markets in the city, Gwangjang has the best selection of fabrics and colors. 
  • Myeongdong: Many people come here for underground shopping. It’s the best place to buy clothes, purses, accessories, and many other things. 
  • Noryangjin Fish Market: Eating some fresh fish from here while in Seoul is a must. They also sell many other kinds of food you can buy to cook a full meal once back at your apartment. You can also get the fish prepared for you there if you’re not staying in a place where you can cook. 
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5. See the Exhibits at the National Folk Museum of Korea 

This museum is right next to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, so you can visit both on the same day to save time. You can also buy the tickets to both places as a package. 

The museum is small, but there are many interesting things to see, including exhibits and artifacts from many different periods in Korean history. 

The National Folk Museum of Korea is located at 37 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. It’s open Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and every other day from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are free if you already bought tickets to the Gyeongbokgung Palace. 

6. Go Hiking in Bukhansan National Park 

This park is one of the best places to visit in Seoul. It’s definitely a unique place because it’s a national park right in the middle of the city. Hiking is the most common reason locals and tourists come here. 

Climb to the top of Mt. Bukhansan to get an amazing view of Seoul below you. On the way up to the mountain, you’ll also see tons of plants and wildlife if you’re hiking during the spring or summer. 

Bukhansan National Park is located at 262 Bogungmun-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, South Korea. It’s open every day from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry is free. 

7. Head to the Top of N Seoul Tower 

The Seoul Tower is one of the must-visit places in Seoul, South Korea. It was built in 1969 and stands 784 feet above the city. 

You can ride a cable car to the top of the tower for spectacular views of the city. Some trails go to the top of the tower if you prefer to get active and hike instead. Head to Namsan Park if you want to climb to the top. 

N Seoul Tower is located at 105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea. They are open Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight and every other day from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are 16000 won (about $12 USD). 

8. Check Out the DMZ 

If you have some extra time and want to do some Seoul sightseeing by taking a day trip, head to the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ). This is the border between North and South Korea, and it’s about 160 miles long. 

You have to book a tour to come to the DMZ. They only allow visitors to visit with a licensed tour operator. 

At the DMZ, you’ll get to go inside the infiltration tunnel. South Korean soldiers dug these tunnels during the war to get inside North Korea. The tunnels nowadays are blocked once you get close to the North Korean side. 

It’s pretty cramped and rugged in the tunnels. Definitely wear comfortable shoes, and don’t go if you’re claustrophobic.

Also, make sure to pay attention to the signs and guidance to visit. Don’t wear bright clothing or shirts with writing. You don’t want to call attention to yourself here!

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9. Get Souvenirs at Insadong 

While Seoul has some of the best shopping in the world, you should head to Insadong if you only have time to go shopping in one place. 

They have traditional Korean items like hanbok dolls, traditional tea sets, incense burners, and sculptures. It’s a great area to buy souvenirs for yourself and your loved ones to remember Seoul.

Here is a map of Insadong. 

10. Drink Teas at a Teahouse 

Teahouses are amazing places to go in Seoul. They are super relaxing, especially after a long day of walking around and shopping. 

Along with tea, most teahouses also serve desserts or traditional Korean sweets. Teahouses can be found all over the city, so you can pop into one. 

Tteuran Teahouse is one of the best places because not only do they have amazing tea, but they also serve yumilgwa. It’s fried sesame with honey which is a traditional dessert in Seoul. 

Dawon is the best place to come for traditional Omija tea. It’s a sweet berry tea with many different health properties. South Koreans drink it when they want to lower their blood pressure. 

11. Stroll Around Yeouido Park 

If you’re looking for one of the most romantic places in Seoul, head to Yeouido Park. It’s a wonderful place to have a picnic. There are also several small walking trails where you can stroll under the trees. 

It’s really beautiful in the spring as the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. 

Yeouido Park is located at 68 Yeouigongwon-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea. It’s open 24 hours. 

12. Be a Kid Again at Lotte World 

If you’re traveling to Seoul, Lotte World is one of the top things to do in Seoul with kids. It’s a theme park with indoor and outdoor areas. 

For older children, they can ride the many rollercoasters in the park. Younger children can ride the smaller rides or play in the water areas. There’s also an indoor ice skating rink.  

Lotte World is located at 240 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea. They’re open Friday through Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Tickets are 62,000 won (about $46 USD). 

How to Get to Seoul

The best way for international travelers to Seoul is to fly to Incheon International Airport (ICN). You can find daily flights worldwide, so it’s pretty easy to get here. 

Once at the airport, you can easily get to the city center with the Airport Railroad Express (AREX). The train leaves every 10 minutes, and you can get to the city center in about an hour. 

How to Get Around Seoul

Seoul has a super-efficient subway system. There are over 22 different lines with more than 300 stops all over the city. The most popular routes have metros every 5 minutes, so it’s very easy to get where you need to go. 

If you have more room in your budget, you can take taxis from one place to the next. However, the metro is my suggestion because it’s quick and convenient. 

seoul subway station, how to get around seoul, things to do in seoul at night

When to Visit Seoul

Seoul has two major peak tourist seasons when most people come to visit. March to May and September to November are the best times to come. The weather is also mild so you’ll find it comfortable walking around. 

To avoid crowds at major attractions, I recommend coming in the morning hours before everyone arrives. If you plan to shop, I recommend coming in the morning. 

If you have a tour guide that is doing your itinerary or taking you to many places, you can also pay then extra to do souvenir or market shopping for you. I’ve done this a few times when I don’t want to venture into the local markets because of the heat and crowds. 

Best Places to Stay in Seoul

Budget—Daol Guesthouse: This is the perfect place for budget travelers in Seoul. They have all the amenities you need, including free Wi-Fi, a rooftop terrace, and a shared kitchen where you can cook for yourself. 

Mid-range—Hotel Gracery Seoul: You can walk to many tourist destinations from here, including Myeongdong shopping street. They have a fantastic restaurant where you can find local food and Western options. They also have a free breakfast buffet. 

Luxury—Novotel Ambassador: This is the place to come in the city if you want tons of amenities, including an indoor heated pool and a golf course. The hotel has some fantastic dining choices with Korean and Japanese restaurants. They also have a chic bar downstairs, perfect for relaxing and having a few drinks. 

Best Restaurants in Seoul

  • Han Chu Fried Chicken & Beer: Just as the name describes, the restaurant is known for fried chicken and beer. They also have deep-fried green peppers, which are very tasty. 
  • Yeontabal BBQ: Korean BBQ is famous all over the world, but Yeontabal is one of the best places in the city to try the famous tenderloin and short ribs. 
  • Imun Seolnongtang: This place has been open since 1904, making it one of the oldest restaurants in Seoul. It’s famous for its ox bone soup. Beef and brisket are added to the broth, rice, and noodles. 
  • Jungsik Seoul: This place is said to have modern Korean food rather than serving some of the more traditional dishes. The food literally looks like small pieces of art. They have a few different tasting menus, so you can try many different dishes. 
kimchi cooking in pots,

The Top Things to Do in Seoul Are Waiting For You!

Ready to do all the top things to do in Seoul? I hope this guide inspires you to explore all the city’s best areas! 

Seoul is one of the best cities for people of all ages as it has many museums, amusement parks, museums, and markets. Make sure to spend as much time as possible in this incredible city!

Are you heading to Seoul? Which of these places are you going to first? 

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