Spring has fully arrived, with warm sunlight and cool breezes! What could be better than having a picnic in the park? Seoul and cities in the metropolitan area are dotted with pretty parks, perfect for spending a day out. Some of these parks have even been used as filming sites for Korean dramas and movies, a big draw for Hallyu fans. However, the most charming aspect of a picnic at the park is that you can have a full day of fun on a limited budget. In addition, each park has its own unique atmosphere and attractions, making every trip a new experience.
The Hangang River runs through the heart of Seoul and serves as a resting place and perfect weekend outing location for the local citizens. There are a total of 11 citizens’ parks spread out along the banks of this beloved river, but the most popular among tourists and locals alike is Yeouido Hangang Park. It is especially popular in April, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
The park’s most charming feature may be that it is easily accessible by both subway and bus. There are various events and fun activities happening throughout the year. Enjoy the skyline of Seoul from the large grassy field, or rent a bicycle and follow the paths along the river for a day unlike any other.
It wouldn’t be far-fetched to call Ilsan Lake Park a flower park. The park is populated by over 1,800 cherry blossom trees, in addition to numerous weeping willows and forsythia shrubs. The over-abundance of flowers can give photos the illusion of having been straight out of a fairy tale. The park is also the venue of the annual International Horticulture Goyang Korea, a global flower exposition.
Ilsan Lake Park is the largest man-made lake in Asia, but it feels as natural as the trees that circle the lake. The perfect example of an urban oasis, the park features bicycle paths as well as pedestrian paths dotted with benches to enjoy the view. The large grassy areas are open to picnickers; be sure to go early if you want a spot in the shade of the trees! The nearby shopping centers Western Dom and La Festa are great spots to check out before leaving.
Located in Songpa-gu, Seoul, Olympic park is grand in both size and name, having served as the venue of both the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Summer Olympics. The park takes up a vast 1.4 million square meters and would take roughly 3 hours to walk through the entire park. To make your wandering easier, we recommend stopping at the information center by the World Peace Gate for a map of the park’s many pathways. Among the park’s top nine highlights, we highly recommend the musical fountain at Mongchon Trench!
There are many ways to enjoy this vast park. Options include taking pictures with outdoor sculptures and skating in the skate park at Peace Plaza. Benches are also installed along the walking trails, so you can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
When visiting Olympic Park, be sure to stop by One Tree Hill, another of the park’s top nine highlights. The singular tree in the middle of a vast field creates a landscape not unlike a painting and is a great spot for photos. It’s extremely popular as a venue for wedding photos, although you’ll see many families and couples taking photos here as well.
The northern-most park in Gyeonggi-do, Pyeonghoa-nuri Park within Imjingak Resort was created in 2005 as part of the World Peace Festival. Although the war and subsequent separation are painful moments in Korea’s history, the park serves to promote peace and reconciliation. The park’s key points are Hill of Music, a large grassy outdoor concert venue; and the Hill of Wind, featuring a photo zone of over 3000 pinwheels spinning freely.
The atmosphere of a simple picnic on a blanket here is better than in the fanciest of restaurants. The colorful pinwheels spinning in the breeze create a wonderful background to the sounds of people enjoying their time. Visitors with children are recommended to visit Peaceland, an amusement park with the popular Viking Ride, a merry-go-round and other exciting attractions.
Yanghwadaegyo Bridge, connecting Hapjeong-dong and Dangsan-dong, passes over Seonyudo Park, an island in the middle of the Hangang River. The island was originally called Seonyubong Peak, carrying the meaning of being a small hill where godly spirits played. Also referred to as “Park of Water,” this ecological park was formed by renovating an old water filtration plant.
The park is divided into various themed gardens, such as the Garden of Time, Garden of Green Pillars, a greenhouse and more. There are benches and quiet places to sit all over the park. More than anything, the park is perfect for families and couples to create memories and take photos with a unique setting.
The most famous place to watch the sunset in Seoul is Noeul Park, a part of the greater World Cup Park. Another big draw of the park is the large grassy fields and camping sites. The park site was originally a landfill, along with Haneul Park, but was turned into a beautiful attraction in time for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan.
The greatest charm of Noeul Park is of course the ability to enjoy a picnic in a tranquil environment. Enjoy a walk along the park’s trails, stopping along the way to take some photos with the various sculptures throughout the park. As the park is known for its sunset views, with the park name even meaning “sunset” in Korean, we recommend starting your visit here around 4 or 5 in the afternoon so you can end your picnic with the vibrant red sky.
The closest to the sky of World Cup Park’s five parks, this park was rightly named Haneul Park, as “haneul” means sky in Korean. Previously a landfill, the park has been decorated beautifully to overcome its shameful past. The park aims to remain natural, harnessing the natural energy of the wind through the use of five large wind-turbines, and featuring very few man-made structures. As there are no shops at the park, it’s a good idea to prepare some snacks and drinks before visiting.
Haneul Park is most beautiful in October, when golden waves of eulalia grass fill the fields and cosmos flowers in varying shades of pink dot the walking paths. However, spring is not lacking in charm; the park has many great photo zones where one can take snapshots of their time here beneath the grand blue sky. Be sure to take in the view of Seoul spread out beneath you from one of the benches surrounding the edge of the park!
* This column was last updated in March 2019, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.