Things to do in Seoul

Things to do in  Seoul

Welcome to Seoul

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a thriving metropolis that marches to the beat of millions of busy residents. Dominated by the towering peaks of Mt. Bukhansan and Mt. Namsan, the city boasts an impressive infrastructure that makes getting around the city by public transport easy. However, sightseeing tours provide added value with insightful commentary and off-the-beaten-track attractions. Discover UNESCO World Heritage–listed treasures such as Changdeokgung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and the Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae); take a day trip to the DMZ, the no-man’s-land between North and South Korea; or shop until you drop in the commercial zones of Dongdaemun, Myeongdong, and Gangnam—birthplace of the global hit, “Gangnam Style.” Sample hearty Korean cuisine and local craft beers on a food tour or during a cooking class; peruse the stalls at the markets in Gwangjang, Insadong, and Namdaemun; and watch the city lights dance across the Han River on an evening cruise. Plus, Seoul serves as a convenient launch pad for outdoor adventures. Pull on your hiking boots and join throngs of South Koreans exploring Seoraksan National Park, the UNESCO Biosphere Protected Site home to Mt. Seorak. Or practice your turns at the ski resorts of Elysian Gangchon or Yongpyong. If you’ve got a flexible itinerary and wish to explore more of South Korea, use Seoul as a gateway to Gongju, Buyeo, Suncheon, Yeosu, and Busan.

Top 15 attractions in Seoul


Nowhere is the tension between North and South Korea more palpable than in the no-man's-land known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ. As a divided nation, only 2.5 miles (4 km) separate the North from the South at what is the most heavily armed border on earth. The 150-mile (241-km) zone has served as a buffer since the 1953 cease-fire agreement between the United Nations and North Korea that put the Korean War on hold.More

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Arguably the most beautiful and easily the biggest of Seoul’s five main palaces, Gyeongbokgung (also known as the Northern Palace) is one of South Korea’s must-visit attractions. Built in the 14th century, this is the oldest Joseon Dynasty palace in the nation, and it’s right in the heart of Jongno-Gu, the most culturally happening part of Seoul. Come for 600 years of history—and one brilliant changing of guards ceremony.More

Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower)

Head to the top of Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower) in hilly Namsan Park, the largest in Seoul, for some of the best panoramic views over the South Korean capital. The 777-foot (237-meter) tower offers three observation decks and half a dozen restaurants where you can soak in the views, day or night.More


Insadong is Seoul’s cultural and artistic hub, as well as the place to shop for local crafts, visit a traditional Korean tea shop, or catch an impromptu street performance. The neighborhood, located in the Jongno-gu district, offers one of the largest antiques and craft markets in the country, with many shops and cafés housed in historic buildings.More

Bukchon Hanok Village

Flanked by Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace—two of Seoul’s Joseon Dynasty palaces—Bukchon Hanok Village comprises hundreds of traditionalhanok houses that today are home to restaurants, teahouses, cultural centers, art galleries, and B&Bs. It’s one of the best places to experience a taste of old Seoul.More

Jogyesa Temple

Established in 1910, Jogyesa Temple serves as the center of Zen Buddhism in South Korea. Highlights of the temple complex include Daeungjeon, Seoul’s largest Buddhist shrine, as well as a garden area with a white pine tree that is more than 500 years old.More

Third Tunnel of Aggression

The Third Tunnel of Aggression is one of four known tunnels situated within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North Korea and South Korea. Located more than 70 meters beneath the ground and at 265 meters long, the Third Tunnel of Aggression is a highlight of any DMZ tour.The tunnel was built by North Korea in the 1970s, who initially denied its existence when South Korea discovered it later. The North were then said to have claimed it was a coal mine, before it was revealed that they had dug the tunnel in order to launch a surprise attack on Seoul. The South eventually took control of the tunnel, blocking off the demarcation line with the North via concrete barricades.Although the Third Tunnel is now very much a tourist site (there’s even a gift shop near its entrance), it still remains guarded and taking photography is forbidden once inside. The tunnel passage is dark, long, and narrow, and it’s a steep incline to access it.More

Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market, Seoul’s first and oldest covered market, was originally the place to buy traditional Korean clothing items, such as hanbok. Though the market still specializes in textiles, it’s become one of Seoul’s biggest street food hot spots, where foodies can sample nearly any type of Korean cuisine under the same roof.More

Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae)

Known for the blue tiles that cover its roof, Seoul’s Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae or Cheongwadae) sits at the foot of Mount Bugaksan and is the official residence of South Korea’s president. The house was built in the traditional Korean architectural style within a Joseon Dynasty–era royal garden.More

Myeongdong Shopping Street

Seoul’s answer to Fifth Avenue in New York, Myeongdong Shopping Street teems with affordable brand name shops and department stores selling all varieties of clothing, shoes, and accessories. This retail mecca stretches from Myeongdong Subway Station to the Lotte Department Store and encompasses many of the surrounding streets and alleyways as well. For shoppers who’ve worked up an appetite, the area’s restaurants specialize in Korean pork cutlet (dongaseu) and noodle soup (kalguksu).More

Namdaemun Market

Whether you’re looking for street food, ginseng, jewelry, housewares, clothes, or souvenirs, you’ll find these (and just about everything else under the sun) in the stalls of Namdaemun Market. South Korea’s largest market is busy around the clock as locals and tourists rub elbows in search of the best deals.More

Dae Jang Geum Park (MBC Dramia)

Previously known as MBC Dramia, Yongin MBC Daejanggeum Park is owned by Munhwa Broadcasting Company (MBC) and Yongin Municipal Office. This outdoor historical film set covers a vast area. It opened to tourists and the general public to visit in 2011.Fans of Korean drama are in for a treat, as series such as Jumong, Dong Yi, Queen Seondeok, Goryeo, and many more dramas, documentaries, and films were shot here. The park features permanent sets that consist of ancient buildings and villages, with architecture imitating that from the Korean Three Kingdoms era. In fact, Daejanggeum Park was created based on historical records and so accurately reflects the buildings, villages, and culture of ancient times.There are of course plenty of photo opportunities here, with a number of different sets to explore. There’s also a coffee shop and snack bar on­site.More

Cheonggyecheon Stream

Set 16 feet (5 meters) below street level, the pedestrianized Cheonggyecheon stream runs east-west through the South Korean capital and ranks among the city’s best spots for walking and people watching. The 3.6-mile (5.8-kilometer) route through Seoul passes 22 bridges and several art installations and fountains (illuminated at night) along the way.More

Changdeokgung Palace

The star of Seoul’s five Joseon Dynasty palaces, Changdeokgung Palace was built by King Taejong in 1405 and designed to blend harmoniously with its natural surroundings. Today, the palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous for its ornate royal residence buildings and extensive tree-filled gardens.More

Seoul City Hall

Perched behind Seoul's former—and more traditional—city hall from 1926, the sleek 13‐story Seoul City Hall looks like a wave of glass. Highlights include the 7-story Green Wall vertical garden and quirky Metaseosa Seobeol art installation, as well as the glass elevator which leads to the Sky Plaza Gallery, an art exhibition space.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Seoul

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All about Seoul

When to visit

Spring in Seoul sees thousands of cherry blossoms burst into bloom (late March to mid-April), while the fall months of October and November turn Bukhansan National Park shades of burnt orange and bright red. These shoulder seasons also boast moderate temperatures and lower travel costs.


People Also Ask

What is Seoul famous for?

Royal palaces, ancient temples, and vibrant nightlife are just a few reasons to visit South Korea’s capital. Topping the list of must-see sights are Gyeongbokgung Palace, Jogyesa Temple, and Namsan Tower. Seoul is also famous for the Bukchon Hanok Village and the eclectic shopping street, Myeongdong.

What is the most visited place in Seoul?

It’s only natural that the country’s most popular attractions call Seoul—South Korea’s largest and most-visited city—home. The most visited places in Seoul are the high-octane Lotte World Theme Park; Gyeongbokgung Palace, one of the Five Grand Palaces; and the DMZ on the border of North Korea.

What should I do on my first day of Seoul?

First time in Seoul on your first day? Visit the Five Grand Palaces, which include the UNESCO-listed Changdeokgung and 7,000-room Gyeongbokgung. Go cafe-hopping in Hongdae and sample Gangnam’s food culture. Head to the top of Namsan Tower. And wander the quaint Bukchon Hanok Village.

Does Seoul have a good nightlife?

Residents of South Korea’s capital work hard, but they play hard too. Seoul boasts one of East Asia’s best nightlife scenes, making it ideal for party animals. Sip soju in Hongdae, where students from Seoul’s many universities flock or sing karaoke to K-pop in Itaewon, where you’ll find an international crowd.

Is 3 days enough in Seoul?

Yes. Three days in Seoul give you ample time to see the capital’s major classic and contemporary attractions, including the iconic Gyeongbokgung Palace, Myeongdong shopping district, Jogyesa Temple and Bukchon Hanok Village. You can also take a day trip to the DMZ or Nami Island.

Is Seoul expensive?

Yes. When it comes to the world’s most expensive cities, Seoul is in the top 30%. A trip to Seoul will likely cost more than most Asian capitals. Accommodations are generally expensive, but there are budget food and drinks options and the natural scenery is free to enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions