Photo: Night view at Cheonggyecheon Stream
Hundreds of years ago, Jongno was home to Korea's royal families. The area also played a key role in connecting the capital city with other regions. In the present day, Jongno is a place where the ancestral heritage and modern cultures coexist. It is a hub of tourist activities in the daytime, but nighttime is when you’ll discover its special charms. Keep reading to discover all Jongno has to offer when the sun sets.
Changdeokgung Palace, gracefully harmonizing with the surrounding nature, was listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1997 by UNESCO, and is now adored by international visitors.
The palace has gained popularity with its special Moonlight Tour where visitors can enjoy the beauty and history of the treasured Changdeokgung Palace under the glow of the full moon. A stroll around the palace grounds will show off the exquisiteness of the royal architecture. Since visitors are normally not allowed to enter the palace in the evening, this tour is a rare opportunity to experience the palace’s evening atmosphere and quaint beauty. The 2-hour-long tour is offered twice a year.
Running between rows of tall buildings in downtown Seoul, Cheonggyecheon Stream is an urban space that also serves as a cultural and arts venue by providing various recreational areas, including the beautiful promenade alongside the stream. The stream runs with cool, clean water and plants grow along the banks. At night, the fountains throughout the stream, as well as the four-meter-high, two-tiered waterfall at Cheonggye Plaza, create a beautiful symphony of water and light. The Seoul Lantern Festival (held annually in November) and the Lotus Lantern Festival (held annually between April and May), are two of the major must-see nighttime spectacles at Cheonggyecheon Stream.
Bukchon Hanok Village once served as the residential area for the high-ranking officials during the Joseon Dynasty. Located in the neighborhood of Gahoe-dong in Seoul, the village is made up of well-preserved hanoks (traditional Korean houses) where people still reside today. Many of these hanoks operate as cultural centers, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses, providing an opportunity to experience, learn and immerse oneself in traditional culture. 11-gil is especially spectacular at night as it gives one a view of the traditional Korean architecture with the modern buildings and N Seoul Tower in the background.
Photo credit: Top Cloud
Located on the 33rd floor of Jongno Tower, Top Cloud is a restaurant bar and grill with stunning views of the city. The buffet is reasonably priced and the grill serves a deluxe range of dishes and premium wine. In the evening, visitors can enjoy cocktails and live jazz performances while admiring the night view from above.
Photo: Cheongjin-dong Food Street’s popular dishes Guksu (noodles)
/ Bindae-tteok (mung bean pancake)
Cheongjin-dong in downtown Jongno is a typical food street, proud to be one of the representative food alleys in Seoul. It is widely known as pimatgol alley (literally meaning horse avoidance) as it was frequently used by the common people during the Joseon Dynasty to avoid yangban, the traditional ruling class, riding on horses.
The alley is full of restaurants and pubs serving delicious noodles, haejang-guk (hangover soup), stir-fried octopus, and bindae-tteok (mung-bean pancake) at affordable prices.
Jongno Street shines even brighter by night than during the day. In the evening, the delicious smells wafting from the street stalls near Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station lure in people. Most of the stalls serve udon noodles, roasted chicken, green onion pancake and more until the wee hours of the morning. Adventurous tourists can get drinks and food at a much lower price in this very exotic environment.
* This column was last updated in October 2015, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.
<Last updated on October 5, 2015>