The capital city of the Republic of Korea, has been the center of the country throughout its long history from the prehistoric era to the present day.
Seoul, South Korea is a vibrant and exciting city, one that deftly combines ancient history with ultra-modern design and technology. The city is filled with a wide range of tourist attractions of all types, from outdoor adventures like exploring Mount Namsan and its surrounding park to indoor fun like visiting one of Seoul’s many museums.
Seoul is also a city of palaces, with five huge palace complexes located throughout the city and now restored to their former glory. Of course it’s also known for its food, with a mouthwatering array of street food, Korean specialties like barbecue, and fine-dining options. Discover the best things to do in this exciting city with our list of the top tourist attractions in Seoul.
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Rising almost 500 meters above the city, this communications and observation tower provides dramatic views of the city from its perch on the side of Mount Namsan. A cable car whisks you up the side of the mountain to the base of the tower. From here, you can go up in the tower and visit any one of four observation decks, one of which is a rotating restaurant.
There are two restaurants at the tower and, of course, several gift shops. There’s even a digital observatory, where people with height issues can experience a live, 360-degree view through the use of 32 LED screens and cameras mounted at the tower’s top.
The views from the tower are great, but so are the views of the tower from most parts of the city. Computer-controlled LED lighting on the exterior of the tower provides a digital, visual cultural experience of Seoul with themed lighting presentations.
Address: 105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan 2(i)ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
For a taste of Korean traditional culture and architecture, head over to the Bukchon Hanok Village. This preserved area of several ancient neighborhoods gives you a feel for what it was like to live in Korea 600 years ago. It’s right in central Seoul, in the area between the Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Changdeokgung Palace.
The neighborhoods feature hanoks or traditional Korean houses. It’s a unique place, as it’s a historic area, very popular with tourists, but it’s also a real neighborhood because the houses are all occupied. Some of the hanoks are now guesthouses and bed-and-breakfasts, and a few are museums and can be toured. Others are cultural centers showcasing traditional crafts and other historic aspects of Korean life.
This is a fun place to spend an afternoon and really gives visitors the feeling of being in ancient Korea due to the historic architecture and narrow streets.
This must-see attraction in Seoul showcases the incredible history and artwork of Korea and the Korean people. The museum, one of the largest in Asia, is in the city’s Yongsan District (close to Itaewon). It focuses on archeology, history, and art and includes a vast collection of works and objects going back more than a million years. There are ancient and prehistoric artifacts, sculpture, paintings, and other artwork along with a large collection of objects and antiques.
Before or after your museum visit, head down the street to Yongsan Family Park, a nice outdoor space to relax. Another important museum, The War Memorial of Korea, is also close by.
Address: 137 Seobinggo-ro, Seobinggo-dong, Yongsan-gu
One of the newest attractions in Seoul is the Lotte World Tower skyscraper. It’s 500 meters above the ground and one of the world’s tallest (currently fifth) buildings. There are several indoor and outdoor observation areas (called Seoul Sky) at the top on the 123rd floor. Views are spectacular both during the day and at night, and you can see 360-degrees around the city.
On the 118th floor, there’s the Sky Deck with the world’s highest glass floor. Like magic, the floor changes from opaque to clear, terrifying unsuspecting visitors. Even getting to the top is fun, and the journey is done via super fast, double-decker elevators, with windows on one side and LED screens on the other three and the ceiling.
Inside the tower are offices, luxury residences, and a hotel. There’s also an aquarium and a large shopping mall. The tower is home to a concert hall and a state-of-the-art, 21-screen MoviePlex.
Address: Songpa-gu, Jamsil 6(yuk)-dong, Olympic-ro, 300, Seoul
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