Seoul Things to Do
Seoul is rich with history, but also an extremely modern and urban city. Here are five things you must see while in Seoul.
1. Gyeongbokgung Palace
Among the four main palaces in Seoul, the Gyeongbokgung Palace was the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty, and the most popular palace for tourists to visit today. It was built in 1395, but most of the buildings were destroyed during the Japanese occupation in 1910. It has since been refurbished and stands as a historical landmark for Korean history.
2. Namsan (South Mountain) and Seoul Tower
To get to the Seoul Tower, you can take the cable car up the mountain or hike up a steep path. The top of the Seoul Tower offers a 360-degree view of the city. The tower is situated at the top of Namsan Park, which has miles of hiking trails, memorials, museums, and a library. There are also plenty of cafes and shops at the top of the mountain. The mountain is also surrounded by fortress walls that were built in 1396 to protect the city.
Known as the Arts District, Insa-dong is home to antique shops, calligraphy shops, tea houses, and art galleries. It also boasts a number of souvenir shops where tourists can find fake American goods like Hard Rock T-shirts and Louis Vuitton bags. There are several places in Insa-dong where you can find traditional or classical live music performances. Plan on spending some time walking through the narrow streets and enjoying the traditional goods that you will find in the shops.
4. DMZ – DeMilitarized Zone – Tours
Only an hour and a half away from the cosmopolitan city of Seoul is the DeMilitarization Zone and North Korea’s border just beyond it. Visitors can take a tour inside the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission buildings at the center of the Joint Security Area and next to the Military Demarcation Line. While in this building, you can step across the line into the North for a few minutes. You can also visit the Third Tunnel of Northern Aggression, one of three tunnels that were dug by the North Korean military during a planned attack on South Korea. The tunnels were discovered and the North’s plan foiled in 1978.
5. Lotte World
You can learn more about Korean culture at Lotte World, which consists of the largest indoor amusement park in the world, an outdoor amusement park, a Folk Museum, ice-skating rink, and mall. While the outside feels more like Disneyland, the inside is 82,650 square meters of rides, restaurants, shops, and more.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Seoul Travel Guide
- Living Like a Local in Seoul, South Korea
- Seoul Shopping – Shops, Stores, Best Buys & Inside Tips
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Seoul.