Things to see and do in Seoul

As a huge 600 year old city, and the largest capital in South Korea it’s no surprise that Seoul is home to a vast array of historical, architectural and natural sites. 

Popular attractions in Seoul

Gyeongbok Palace

See the twice-daily Changing of the Royal Guards ceremony.

Good for
  • Sightseeing
  • History museums
  • Museums
View on map

Gyeongbok Palace, also called Geongbokgung Palace, is the largest of the 5 palaces built during the Joseon dynasty, and is a popular spot to learn about Korea's rich history. Apart from visiting extensive displays of artefacts and period costumes, you can enjoy free guided tours and watch re-enactments of royal rituals, like the Changing of the Royal Guard ceremony, and the Guard-on-Duty performance at Gwanghwamun Gate.

The palace grounds also house the National Folk Museum and National Palace Museum, both of which will give you insights into traditional Korean culture. If you're wearing a traditional Korean costume when visiting Gyeongbok Palace, you're allowed in for free.

Hotel prices near Gyeongbok Palace

3 stars
from
$56
4 stars
from
$101
5 stars
from
$151
Search hotels

N Seoul Tower

Enjoy sweeping views of Seoul from the revolving restaurant

Good for
  • Sightseeing
View on map

N Seoul Tower is where you can enjoy striking views of Seoul and beyond. Some of its main features include a digital observatory, a roof terrace, and a cultural space. The 237-meter-tall tower is surrounded by Namsan Park, where visitors can explore other attractions like Baekbeom Square and Namsan Botanical Garden.

The revolving restaurant, n.Grill, takes over the highest floor of the tower, offering haute French cuisine and expansive views of the city. There's also a digital observatory explaining more about the history of Korea, and a spacious wooden viewing deck with thousands of padlocks attached by love-struck couples.

Hotel prices near N Seoul Tower

3 stars
from
$57
4 stars
from
$84
5 stars
from
$234
Search hotels

Changdeokgung Palace

Join the 90-minute tour of Huwon Secret Garden

Good for
  • Sightseeing
  • Palace
  • Unesco world heritage
View on map

Changdeokgung Palace is South Korea's most well-preserved royal palace, set at the foot of Ungbong Peak of Mount Baegaksan in northern Seoul. Here, you can find a public palace area, a paved courtyard, and the royal family residence. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of royals during the Joseon Dynasty.

A must visit here is the Huwon Secret Garden, which takes up over half of the palace grounds. It's filled with elegant pavilions, various flowers in bloom, and stone carvings weathered over time. Guided tours are available if you want to learn more about the history of Changdeokgung Palace.

Hotel prices near Changdeokgung Palace

2 stars
from
$55
3 stars
from
$44
4 stars
from
$89
Search hotels

Lotte World

Freefall 70 meters on the Gyro Drop rollercoaster

Good for
  • Activities
  • Kid friendly
  • Amusement parks
View on map

Lotte World is Seoul's answer to Disneyland, featuring a wide range of attractions, shopping, and dining. This mostly indoor theme park includes roller coasters, carousels, a giant pirate ship, and an indoor ice skating rink. There's also a Korean folk museum in Lotte World, where you'll learn about Korea's history and culture at the miniature village.

The outdoor theme park, called Magic Island, is built on a manmade island in Seokchon Lake. Popular high-altitude rides include Gyro Drop, a 70-metre-high freefall ride, and Gyro Swing, which mimics the sensation of a tornado.

Hotel prices near Lotte World

3 stars
from
$66
4 stars
from
$90
5 stars
from
$211
Search hotels

Jongmyo Shrine

Watch the reenactment of the Jongmyo Jerye ancestral ritual

Good for
  • Sightseeing
  • Sight
  • Unesco world heritage
View on map

Jongmyo Shrine, located in Jongno-gu, houses the memorial tablets of 19 kings and 30 queens of the Joseon dynasty. Notable buildings within the grounds include the Main Hall and the Hall of Eternal Peace, where you can marvel at traditional Korean architecture from the 16th century.

Cultural heritage festivals such as the Korean Royal Palace Culture Festival are held in Jongmyo Shrine every year. Taking place annually on the first Sunday of May, visitors can witness the reenactment of Jongmyo Jerye, a 600-year-old royal Confucian ritual that's been listed by the UN as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage practice.

Hotel prices near Jongmyo Shrine

2 stars
from
$37
3 stars
from
$50
4 stars
from
$89
Search hotels

Bongeunsa Temple

See the tallest Buddha statue in Korea

Good for
  • Sightseeing
  • Temple
View on map

Bongeunsa Temple is home to the tallest Buddha statue in Korea, and has thousands of Buddhist scriptures on display throughout the temple grounds. If you're curious about the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk, its Thursday Temple Stay Program consists of a temple tour, a tea drinking ceremony, meditation classes, and a chance to interact with the local monks.

The temple is also known for hosting the annual Jeongdaebulsa on the ninth day of the ninth month, according to the lunar calendar. You can see local monks marching while carrying Buddhist scriptures on their heads and chanting Buddhist rites and mantras.

Hotel prices near Bongeunsa Temple

3 stars
from
$68
4 stars
from
$92
5 stars
from
$214
Search hotels

Bukchon Hanok Village

Explore neighborhood alleyways for a peek at traditional Seoul

Good for
  • Sightseeing
View on map

Bukchon Hanok Village preserves hundreds of traditional Korean homes, known as hanok, many of which date back to the Joseon dynasty. Most of the narrow, densely packed alleyways and brick houses are personal residences, but you'll find some operating as restaurants, cultural centers, guesthouses, and teahouses.

Exploring Bukchon Hanok Village is free of charge, but you'll need to buy the 'Bukchon Museum Freedom Pass' to visit the onsite Museum of Korean Art, Gahoe Folk Art Museum, and Han Sangsu Embroidery Museum. A popular stop-off is the local brewery that produces Korean alcoholic drinks like makgeolli, yakju, and soju.

Hotel prices near Bukchon Hanok Village

2 stars
from
$52
3 stars
from
$54
4 stars
from
$103
Search hotels

Dongdaemun Market

Eat sizzling Korean street food at Mukja Golmok Alley

Good for
  • Activities
  • Shopping
  • Sightseeing
View on map

Dongdaemun Market is a massive shopping area in Jong-gu, housing plenty of shopping malls, specialty shops, wholesalers, and traditional markets. It's one of the best places in Seoul to purchase fashion, cosmetics, jewelry, and trendy accessories. Check out Doosan Tower, a popular mall, which has over 100 local and international fashion brands.

On the streets around Dongdaemun Market, various music and dance performances take place in the evening. You can also enjoy plenty of authentic Korean street food, particularly at Mukja Golmok food alley, which can be found between Dongdaemun Market and Jongno district.

Hotel prices near Dongdaemun Market

3 stars
from
$58
4 stars
from
$119
5 stars
from
$230
Search hotels

War Memorial of Korea

Climb aboard armored vehicles from the Korean War

Good for
  • Sightseeing
  • Kid friendly
  • Museums
View on map

The War Memorial of Korea was built to commemorate the Korean War, and houses 6 exhibition halls with over 13,000 artefacts and battle records. Here, you can watch black-and-white documentary footage of significant events of the war, and explore exhibits of weapons and armory dating back to Korea's prehistoric age.

Make sure you visit the Outdoor Exhibition, where you can climb aboard full-scale replicas of armored vehicles used in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War, including submarines, aircrafts, and warships. Another prominent feature here is the Memorial Hall, which honors the memory of fallen patriots.

Hotel prices near War Memorial of Korea

3 stars
from
$61
4 stars
from
$89
5 stars
from
$248
Search hotels

Namsan Park

Ride the cable car to the top of Namsan Mountain

Good for
  • Sightseeing
  • Park
  • Relax in a park
View on map

Namsan Park is one of the most popular urban parks in Seoul. You can hike through the park up to N Seoul Tower and Palgakjeong Pavilion in 30 minutes, or catch the cable car up to the top of the mountain. You'll be greeted to sweeping views of Seoul at the peak. Namsan Park is also home to the An Jung-geun Memorial Hall and Maritime Aquarium.

The park gets packed during the Cherry Blossom Festival in April thanks to its avenue of cherry trees. Scheduled events during the festival include street performances and walking tours of the gardens.

Hotel prices near Namsan Park

2 stars
from
$37
3 stars
from
$46
4 stars
from
$69
Search hotels

Not sure where to stay?

Maps