Top 32 Things to Do in Seoul

A Comprehensive Guide to the Top Seoul Attractions and Activities

Seoul at a Glance

Located on the Han River, Seoul is a High-tech city brimming with skyscrapers and the capital of South Korea. With a budding pop culture scene, endless street markets and an assortment of Buddhist temples Seoul is considered a modern metropolis well overdue a visit.

The city is considered to be South Korea's ancient heart as its history dates back over two thousand years. It’s also home to five UNESCO World Heritage sites; Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. Aside from its history and culture, Seoul also has a modern shopping scene, a vibrant nightlife and plenty of restaurants serving delicious delicacies including Korean BBQ, kimchi, and noodle dishes. So whether you’re backpacking across Asia, taking a family holiday or on a couple’s adventure, Seoul, the 16th largest city in the world, accommodates for everyone.

How Much Time Do You Need to See Seoul?

Seoul is a dynamic city spread out across a large area, so we recommended a minimum of three days to explore its hidden depths. However, shorter stays are doable and will still enable you to visit the best of Seoul’s museums, shops, and temples.

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Free Things to Do in Seoul

Seoul is a city with a lot to offer even when you’re strapped for cash so whether you’re tactically saving or simply on a low budget there’s plenty of free things to see and do. Below we’ve listed nine sights and attractions that don’t cost a single South Korean Won.

Namsan Park
Namsan park things to do seoul 190 600 270

Namsan Park is a historic site and public park located in the city center that boasts fantastic views of N tower. The park’s vast green areas offer a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and visitors can enjoy walking down tree lined paths amidst flora and fauna.

Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon hanok village things to do seoul 191 600 270

This traditional village sits in a hilly neighborhood and is an insight into Seoul of a time gone by. Situated between Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace the community is full of traditional houses known as ‘hanoks'. Head here early to watch the locals going about their day.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza
Dongdaemun design plaza things to do seoul 192 600 270

Dongdaemun Design Plaza is Seoul’s most notable landmark designed by Zaha Hadid. Inside there are five halls showcasing fascinating art, and some of the exhibitions are free. If you don’t land on a free event, it’s still worth a visit to photograph the exterior of the building alone.

Hongdae
Hongdae things to do seoul 193 600 270

Located near to Hongik University, the region of Hongdae is an urban area brimming with youth culture. This happening district is the place to be if you’re a young couple looking for an exciting night out. Expect an eclectic mix of K-pop Karaoke bars to classy cocktail joints.

Noryangjin Fish Market
Noryangjin fish market things to do seoul 194 600 270

Located south of the Han River, Noryangjin Fish Market is one of Korea’s largest seafood markets. Even if you’re not planning on purchasing any fish, the market is worth a visit to watch the locals haggle over the catch of the day.

Insadong
Insadong things to do seoul 195 600 270

Insadong is a quaint neighborhood boasting local art galleries, quirky tea shops, and artisan craft stalls. Wander around the alleys off of Insadong-gil street to get a taste of the area.

Cheonggyecheon Stream
Cheonggyecheon stream things to do seoul 196 600 270

This 11km stream running through central Seoul is home to a laser light show, stepping stones, and Mojeon Bridge. Take a romantic stroll down the waterway come evening as the city lights up and the fountains bubble.

Ihwa Mural Village
Ihwa mural village things to do seoul 197 600 270

Ihwa Mural Village sits atop Mt. Naksan and is an area decorated with street art. Tourists flock to the district to admire the murals, metal sculptures, and giant paintings. Climb the painted staircase to admire the views back over the city too.

Common Ground

Common Ground is a cargo container unit come hipster hang out. Giant blue cargo containers fill the area and inside said containers are trendy shops run by up-and-coming local designers. It really doesn’t get more hipster than this.

Map of Free Things to Do in Seoul
Map of free things to do in Seoul

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1-Day Itinerary in Seoul

One day in Seoul will allow you to see most of the cities biggest attractions so don't panic if you're just in town for a flying visit. Below we’ve listed eight attractions that you must see on a one-day itinerary.

Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung palace things to do seoul 199 600 270

Gyeongbokgung Palace is a historic palace and the former royal home of the Joseon dynasty. As such, the palace is bursting with history and visitors can enjoy walking the grounds before heading inside on a private guided tour.

N Seoul Tower
N seoul tower things to do seoul 200 600 270

This city landmark also doubles as an observation tower and is located on Namsan Mountain. Visitors can dine, climb and admire the tower by day and, come evening, enjoy a light show as the tower is lit up against the night sky.

Changdeokgung
Changdeokgung things to do seoul 201 600 270

UNESCO site and royal palace, Changdeokgung is an exquisite place of worship located in Jongno-gu park. Explore the palace’s delicate interior décor and expansive rear gardens before brushing up on the local history.

Jogyesa Buddhist Temple
Jogyesa buddhist temple things to do seoul 202 600 270

Jogyesa Buddhist Temple is the center of Buddhism in Seoul and plays a significant role in the countries religious roots. Visit early in the morning to wander amidst the ancient trees around the grounds before heading inside the place of worship to learn about the local rituals.

Namdaemun Market
Namdaemun market things to do seoul 203 600 270

Namdaeumun Market sits to the north west of central Seoul and sells a range of fares including clothing, souvenirs, and freshly cooked food. The market is so popular it even stays open through the night meaning you can pop by at any hour of the day.

Myeong-dong
Myeong dong things to do seoul 204 600 270

Seoul is South Korea’s fashion hub and no-more so than in the Myeong-dong district. This popular neighborhood is a premier shopping destination and is home to boutique stores, designer shops, and countless restaurants.

Jongmyo Shrine
Jongmyo shrine things to do seoul 205 600 270

History buffs and culture vultures alike will delight at the worlds oldest complete ceremony and UNESCO heritage site. The shrine is home to the spirit tables of former kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty and a visit has to be on the cards.

Tosokchon
Tosokchon things to do seoul 206 600 270

Ginseng Chicken Soup is a dish native to Seoul and wider South Korea, and a trip to the capital can’t be done without tasting this delicious dish. Head to Tosokchon, a local restaurant located just west of Sejongo Park, to try this mouth-watering delicacy.

Suyeonsanbang

Another traditional gastronomy experience while in South Korea is tea drinking. Head to Suyeonsanbang, one of Seoul’s most visited tea houses to spend the afternoon sipping on hot chai blends.

Map Things to Do in Seoul With 1 Day
Map of things to do for a one-day itinerary in Seoul

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2-Day Itinerary in Seoul

Two days in Seoul gives a little extra time to head further afield, check out a few more market stalls and wander around at a leisurely pace. Below we’ve listed six things to see and do on a two-day itinerary around the city.

Mount Namsan
Mount namsan things to do seoul 208 600 270

Those looking for a little outdoor pursuit with a splash of exercise, hike up to the top of Mount Namsan where you’ll find the N Tower. If you don’t fancy the walk through lush greenery, take a cable car to the top instead for panoramic views.

Cat Café
Cat cafe things to do seoul 209 600 270

Calling all cat lovers, we’ve got a café for you. Cat Cafes are a big thing in Seoul, and the city was a pioneer in the feline-coffee movement. There are around five cat cafes in the city center, and all allow you to sip hot beverages while playing with the adopted cats and kittens.

Bongeunsa Temple
Bongeunsa temple things to do seoul 210 600 270

Learn about Buddhist customs and religious culture on a trip to Bongeunsa Temple. Tea ceremonies run regularly, and visitors can join in while watching monks going about their daily rituals

Seoul Children Park
Seoul children park things to do seoul 211 600 270

With amusement rides, a free zoo and botanical gardens the Seoul Children Park is fun for all. Children and the young-at-heart will have a blast exploring the vast expanses of greenery hopping from attraction to attraction.

Octagon

As one of Seoul’s hottest nightclubs, Octagon is a must visit for any friends and couples looking for a lavish night out. The club is a celebrity hangout too so don your best outfits and take to the dance floor for a classy evening.

Dongdaemun Market
Dongdaemun market things to do seoul 213 600 270

This shopping mecca has been selling wholesale clothing and an array of fares since 1905. The market is ginormous and boasts 20 shopping malls selling all kinds of designer labels. If you’re looking for a bargain, head here early to beat the crowds.

Map Things to Do in Seoul With 2 Day
Map of things to do for a two-day itinerary in Seoul

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3+ Day Itinerary in Seoul

Three or more days in Seoul is an ideal amount of time to explore the city thoroughly. Below we’ve provided a three-day itinerary which see's you hopping from National Park to War Memorial.

Bukhansan National Park
Bukhansan national park things to do seoul 214 600 270

Located just an hour’s train ride north of the city, Bukhansan National Park is a mountainous area flush with green trees and rocky boulders. Spend a day exploring the granite peaks, deep gorges, and clear streams while enjoying a breath of fresh air.

Shinsegae Department Store
Shinsegae department store things to do seoul 215 600 270

Before any trip in city ends a stop at the Shinsegae Department Store is a must. This luxury mall features boutique stores with designer brands. Aside from the shopping, the mall also has an art gallery and a rooftop garden area.

Korea Furniture Museum

Korea Furniture Museum is not your average museum, and advanced bookings are necessary to get in for a one-hour tour. The museum exhibits antique furniture from the ages including chests, chairs, and bookcases.

Lotte World
Lotte world things to do seoul 217 600 270

This indoor amusement park will be a huge hit with the little ones. Akin to Disney Land, the theme park boasts an ice rink, adrenaline fueled rides and ongoing parades. After an exciting afternoon exploring the park, head to one of the many restaurants.

War Memorial of Korea
War memorial of korea things to do seoul 218 600 270

If you want to learn about Korea’s military history and current state, then head straight to the War Memorial of Korea. Located next to Samgakji Station the memorial is more of a museum and exhibits war art, equipment, and memorabilia.

Namhansanseong
Namhansanseong things to do seoul 219 600 270

Namhansanseong is UNESCO Provincial Park in the south of the city. Walk your way around the high stone walls stopping at temples along the way. This walk is the perfect way to blow off the cobwebs while learning about Namhansanseong's history.

Maple Tree House

For some tasty Korean BBQ head to Maple Tree House Restaurant located south of the city in the Itaewon district. Try the aged premium beef or dine on grilled black pork belly to revel in the delights of Korean BBQ.

Hwaseong Fortress
Hwaseong fortress things to do seoul 221 600 270

Another of the cities UNESCO World Heritage Sites is Hwaseong Fortress, located just south of the city. This impressive structure harks back to the Joseon Dynasty and is protected by high stone walls. Culture vultures and history buffs alike will enjoy a morning wandering the fortress walls.

Map Things to Do in Seoul With 3+ Day
Map of things to do for a 3+ day itinerary in Seoul

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Parting Words

With touching war memorials, culture rich temples, and finger-licking sticky BBQ dishes, Seoul is a dynamic and diverse city. The modern skyscrapers and glamorous architecture bring the city into the 21st century, but the UNESCO sites and historical attractions ensure its roots aren’t forgotten. Whether you’re here for a day or two, with family or friends, you’re set to have a real South Korean experience worth writing home about.

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