16 Satisfying Things to Do in Seoul
Whether you're putting together a Seoul itinerary for 5 days or 15 days, you will never run out of things to do in Korea's fascinating capital.
- If you're planning to visit Korea anytime soon, you're most likely thinking about where to go and the things to do in Seoul.
- You may already have figured out some parts of your Seoul itinerary, but you're probably still looking for a couple of recommendations to complete it.
- In this South Korea travel guide, we list some of the places to visit in Seoul, as well as the experiences you may want to gain.
- We hope you fulfill your heart's desires in your upcoming South Korea trip!
Things to do in Seoul
If you’ve come to this post, you must be planning to visit Korea in the next few weeks. You probably have some plans made already, such as visiting your friends, making your way into the palaces, or buying make-up in Myeongdong, and perhaps you'd need some more recommendations to make the most out of your Seoul travel.
There are many experiences that you can have in Korea. It can be as grand as visiting Nami Island or as laidback as hanging out in a quaint Korean café. Below, let us look at some of the things you may want to try when you visit Seoul, Korea:
1. Have some juk or porridge for breakfast at Migabon
Get the jumpstart that you need for your Seoul travel by ordering juk or Korean porridge. This rice dish is popular for its soft taste and the warm sensation that it gives. Having a bowl of juk is most perfect if you want to perk up your senses in the morning, cure a hangover, keep warm during Korea's harsh winter, or lower your body temp when feeling feverish. Of course, if it's simply your craving or curiosity that compels you to order juk, you are very most welcome to do so anytime.
The best place to get porridge in Seoul is in this no-frills restaurant called Migabon. It's become very popular to both local and tourists alike, thanks to its wide selection of flavors. They have all sorts of exciting variants, like the mushroom and beef, mushroom and oyster, abalone, king crab, ginseng and chicken, vegetable, red beans, pine nuts, and pumpkin. Migabon also has a nice array of side dishes, which complement any type of juk very well.
Image credit: DanielFoodDiary.com
A set meal in Migabon would cost you anywhere around ₩7,000-20,000 (around ₱335-957 or $6.2-17.8), but most of the items in Migabon's menu don't actually sell for more than ₩10,000 (around ₱478 or $8.9).
If you're planning a visit, make sure to allot at least 30 minutes of waiting time since queues can get quite long.
Migabon is located in 2/F, 2-2, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Business hours is 8am-9pm, Monday-Sunday. Click here to view Migabon in Google Maps.
2. Try the soondae or blood sausage at Gwangjang Market
Gwangjang market in Seoul is more than a century old, but its appeal to both local and foreign travelers just never fades. During peak hours, Gwangjang looks like chaos, with people passing you by and eagerly looking around, seeking a place to eat or an item to buy. This is what makes it beautiful.
People mostly go to Gwangjang market to buy silk, satin, and linen sheets as it is the 'largest and most famous' place in Seoul where you can get such items, according to KTO. However, those looking to satisfy their craving for Korean food will not find the Gwangjang market disappointing. Here, your eyes will feast with all sorts of Korean street food and dishes, which are offered by small stall-owners who look as though they have been around for quite some time. (I mean, the aunties or ahjumma's sure look like they know how to make their food!)
Blood sausage, before and after. Image credit: Grey Suitcase
What exactly is a blood sausage and why should it make your list of things-to-do in Seoul? Well, blood sausage is a famous streetfood in Korea that's made out of pork or beef intestines, pig's blood, vermicelli, and/or sticky rice. It's something almost all Koreans grew up to love, but soondae has also become a polarizing matter for tourists. On the one hand, some travelers find it very weird and odd-smelling, but some would also say that they find it delicious on the first bite and definitely not as bad as other people say it is. Whatever the case may be, you definitely should try one at Gwangjang Market and judge for yourself. (We think it's great so long as you have it with the dipping sauce!)
Streetfood in Gwangjang Market are usually sold for ₩4,000-8,000 (around ₱191-382 or $3.6-7.2). Prices are cheap, and you'll definitely feel that you've had your money's worth as you leave the market.
Gwangjang Market is located at 88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul. It's open from 9am-6pm. Other food and shopping markets in Seoul that you may want to check out are Myeongdong, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun.
3. Stroll Gyeongui Line Forest Park at night
Image credit: @manilaxseoul
There's a revitalizing energy that surrounds Gyeongui Line Forest Park at night. Perhaps it's the happy faces of college students taking a break from studying, the clanking of wine glasses as yuppies end their day together in a picnic, the kind applause of the crowd as a street performer ends his song, or the view of couples sitting on benches looking like K-drama leads. But the reason why we fell in love with this park is its ability to give a traveler a nice snapshot of what Seoul is all about: a nice, open place that easily endears and easy to fall in love with.
If you're adding Gyeongui Line Forest Park in your Seoul itinerary, you can choose to have dinner at any of the restaurants lining the stretch or have a nice and cozy picnic.
Gyeongui Line Forest Park is located at 147-89 Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea and looks beautiful in the day as it is in the night. On weekends, pop-up stalls selling books, charms, etc. may also be found, so plan your trip accordingly. (This is definitely something you must add on your list of things to do in Seoul!)
4. Visit the Instagammable underground campus in Ehwa Woman's University
While Ehwa Women's University is known for its classic-looking campus buildings, it is also becoming prominent for its ultra-modern architecture that easily captures attention. Take for instance the 'underground campus' photographed above and below, which is a scenic walkway lined with glass and steel.
Aside from snapping this underground part of Ehwa's complex, you can also add the following to your Seoul itinerary: check out the beautifully landscaped gardens of Ehwa Women's University, shop at Ehwa Women's University Fashion Street (perfect if you're on the lookout for the best priced pair of shoes, bags, and accessories!), and grab some relatively cheaper snacks (student-friendly!) in and around the area.
Ehwa Women's University is said to be Korea's first educational institution for women. It is located in 52 Ewhayeodae-gil, Bukahyeon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea.
5. Appreciate art in Sinchon Graffiti Tunnel
With the government of Seoul allowing its citizens to express themselves through graffiti art, those who will visit Korea will spot several amusing displays of street art. If you'd like to be amazed, drop by Sinchon Graffiti Tunnel, which will give you a glimpse of Korea's feelings, advocacies, and culture in a different light.
Sinchon Graffiti Tunnel was used as a filming location for Goblin, While You Were Sleeping, Manhole, and The Best Hit. You will find Sinchon Graffiti Tunnel in 92-18 Sinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea.
6. Get up close with your favorite Kakao Friend
If you're a user of this ever-evolving platform, why not visit a Kakao Friends flagship store in Hongdae or Gangnam to get an official merchandise? Each flagship store is heaven for those who are fans of Ryan, Tube, Apeach, Muzi, Con, Frodo, Neo, and Jay-G, whom you can spot in various forms, be it a bag, keychain, phone case, pillow, and so much more. (If you're not a KaTalk user, well, still check out this place for your Seoul travel itinerary; you will surely have a good time inside their unique-themed café!)
Image credit: inexology
Kakao Friends Flagship Store in Hongdae is located at 162 Yanghwa-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea. The one in Gangnam, which highlights Ryan, the latest Kakao Friend, is found in 429 Gangnam-daero, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Kakao stores open at 10:30am and close at 10pm everyday.
7. Get traditional at Namsangol Hanok Village
As soon as you land in Incheon International Airport, you will instantly realize how progressive a country South Korea is. With its impeccable facilities and efficient transportation system, there's no denying that Korea is a frontliner when it comes to having a modern Asian society.
But behind its successes in leading the way in this contemporary time, Seoul keeps its humble and traditional memories in tact in a place called Namsangol Hanok Village. Namsangol is an expansive attraction in Korea that can make you feel snatched out of the bustling capital, made possible by the spectacular backdrop of Namsan mountain.
If you'd like to add a historical and cultural experience in your Seoul itinerary, visit Korea's Namsangol Hanok Village, which houses five traditional Korean houses. Visitors can find interesting displays of antiques, furniture, and historical paraphernalia, as well as see free taekwondo performances and attend various workshops or classes.
Namsangol Hanok Village is a perfect leisure spot that should be part of anyone's bucket list of things-to-do in Seoul.
Namsangol Hanok Village's address is 28, Toegye-ro 34-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul. It opens at 9am and closes at 9pm (April-October) and 8pm (November-March).
8. Spend a night at a guesthouse inside the Bukchon Hanok Village
Instead of just having a day tour at the Bukchon Hanok Village, which is known for its cute and affordable souvenir items, hanbok rental stalls, and cafés, you may also opt to spend a night or two in one of their guesthouses to experience the way of life inspired partly by the Joseon Dynasty Era. (There's actually television sets inside some hanok's.)
Guesthouses in Bukchon Hanok Village may look old and less equipped, but most will have everything you'd require. By staying inside a traditional Korean abode, you'll be able to experience sitting on the heated floor for meals, have a traditional Korean breakfast, as well as interact with a Korean family.
For reservations, head on over to Hanok Homestay Information Center at 20-27, Bukchon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea. For more information, visit there website here.
9. Enter the vast Starfield Library inside the Starfield COEX Mall
Starfield Library in Starfield COEX Mall boasts of an impressive collection of 50,000+ books, magazines, and other reading materials. The two-storey library features three 13-meter tall bookshelves, which simply look magnificent.
Considered a cultural attraction, Koreans and foreigners come to Starfield Library to pick up a book, pop open their laptops, and spend quality time working or studying. Hot-desking is highly possible in this place, and there's no fee to get in so feel free to spend a couple of hours here.
Starfield Library is open everyday from 10am-10pm and is located at 955-9 Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea.
10. Meditate inside the Myeongdong Cathedral
Myeongdong Cathedral is the birthplace of the Catholic community in South Korea. Known as the Archdiocese of Seoul, it houses the remains of Bishop Laurent Joseph Marie Imbert, priests Peter Simon, Jacques Honor Chastan, Pourthie Jean Antoine Charles, and four martyrs.
Myeongdong Cathedral's warm tones make for a great wedding venue for Koreans, and also a nice place to do meditation.
Myeongdong Cathedral is located in 74, Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul. For more information, you can visit their website here.
11. Have authentic Korean BBQ at Cha Iyagi in Insadong
If eating out appears multiple times in your Seoul itinerary, then make sure to have a decent and authentic Korean barbecue experience when you visit Korea. We'd recommend going to Cha Iyagi in Insadong, which is a humble-looking store that will treat you to a traditional Korean meal experience.
We love the fact that rice is cooked and presented in hollow bamboo sticks. It definitely adds on to the gastronomic experience. This, and the fact that when you've finished your rice, they'd actually pour tea into the bamboo sticks to complete the meal.
Of course, the highlight of your Cha Iyagi experience would be the meat and the banchan or side dishes, which come in in very generous portions. If you're looking to order the basics, you can go for the marinated galbi (ribs) and the saeng galbisal, which shouldn't cost more than ₩15,000 (around ₱715 or $13.3) per a 100g serving.
When you're done with your Korean BBQ and want some more tea, you can also go to Shin Old Tea House, which is just as charming as Cha Iyagi.
Cha Iyagi is situated inside a small home in Insadong. You'll find it at Insadong 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Make sure to dine on the floor.
12. Explore Hangang Park on wheels
Come to Hangang Park on a bright, sunny weekend and you'll surely want to go back to being a kid again. Hangang is the perfect spot to camp out, have a picnic, eat streetfood, and clear your head, which are all the things to do in Seoul for those seeking a nice getaway. The amazing view of the river and the city skyline enhance the experience, and you could even amp it up by renting a bike to get a sweeping full view of the park.
Single bikes may be rented for ₩3,000 (around ₱145 or $2.7) per hour. Of course, there is also the Hangang River Cruise if you don't want to sweat it out.
You will find Hangang River Park at Seoul-si Seongdong-gu Seongsu1-ga 1-dong, South Korea.
13. Have an evening walking course at the Digital Media City
The Digital Media City or DMC stands tall with the World Cup Stadium, World Cup Park, and Eco Village, which comprise the new Sangam Millennium City. The DMC is a complex that aims to promote and contribute to Korea's entertainment, IT, and human resources industries. It houses research and innovation centers of globally known organizations such as Samsung, LG, MBC, Lotte, SBS, and KBS.
If you're into sleek-looking business parks, you'll definitely enjoy your visit to the Digital Media City. At night, it's filled with spectacular LED-media installations, media walls, and media facades. There's also a media pole in the plaza that adjusts its visuals depending on the movement of the people passing by.
If you'd like to add the evening DMC walking tour to your list of things to do in Seoul, you can check out Digital Media City's guide here.
14. Get rid of your fatigue at Sealala Water Park's jjimjilbang or Korean sauna
As with other East Asian countries, you can visit a traditional spa to get rid of your body's soreness and reduce your stress level. Known as jjimjilbang in Korea, these spas offer wet and dry sauna, massage, facials, as well as a place for napping or sleeping to help you restore your wellbeing.
You can easily lose track of time when you're inside a jjimjilbang. Once you're inside the communal space, you'll find all sorts of activity areas, such as the DVD room, arcade room, massage chairs, and cafeteria in Sealala. Having a rejuvenating time is definitely a great way to end your Seoul travel.
For full details on Korean spas in Seoul, you can check out our Seoul travel guide on jjimjilbang here: LIST: Best Jjimjilbangs in Seoul
15. Kill time at an arcade or PC bang
Image credit: Modern Seoul
If you're a hardcore gamer and are planning to visit Korea, then this is one of the best things to do in Seoul for you. All over Korea, there are internet cafés or PC bang, which caters to all sorts of gamers. If you're into the likes of PUBG or Starcraft, then this place will surely excite you. Not only are the screens wide enough, the seats are also conducive for extended gaming.
If you ever feel hungry, you also won't have to head out of the PC bang and take a break. You can order a bowl of ramyeun or chips inside one to get your fill. Oh, and if your partner's also into gaming, then why not rent out a couple seat section for some alone time.
If you're not that hardcore, you can also go to the arcades, where you'll find familiar video games like Tekken, and then the fun air hockey tables, shooting hoops, etc.
16. Order Korean fried chicken at Two Two Chicken
To complete the list of satisfying things to do in Seoul, it's only right that we end with something really, really fulfilling: eating Korean fried chicken. Sure, fried chix are anywhere and everywhere in this planet, but when in Seoul, you should really try out their version: uber-greasy, crispy, and well-seasoned. (Though if you ask me, it's really the smell that makes it so appetizing and different!).
Two Two Chicken has been in the KFC business for quite a while, so they sure know what they're doing. They make the original, teriyaki, green onion, and garlic chickens, and then there's also the option to order the half-and-half. As for us, we always order the boneless chicken since we find it a little juicier and crispier than the boned variants. (Don't @ me.)
Beware, though, a box of Korean fried chicken (huge serving!) starts at ₩17,000 (around ₱810 or $15). But we guarantee, it'll surely complete your Seoul travel.
Two Two Chicken in Myeongdong is located at 6-4 Namsandong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea (Myeongdong Station, Seoul Subway Line 4) and is open from 10am to 1:30am daily.
- Want to know the estimate costs for travel and living essentials in South Korea? Read: Count the Cost: Budget Tips for Your South Korea Trip
- Don't have a South Korea tourist visa yet? If you're a Philippine passport holder, check out our guide here: Applying For a Korean Visa Through an Accredited Travel Agency
- Need to apply for or renew your passport? Here's a quick rundown of the process: GUIDE: Philippine Passport Requirements & DFA Online Application
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