Photo: Nightscape of Dongdaemun
Seoul is a city more exciting by night. When the sun goes down, the city really comes to life in a way that will make spending your nights asleep feel like a waste of time. As the seasons change and the hours of darkness become longer with each passing day, now is the perfect time to experience the nightlife of Seoul, the real "city that never sleeps."
For visitors who have a limited amount of time in Korea, or frequent visitors wanting a new experience, try filling up the late-night hours of your schedule! You'd be surprised at how many fun things you can do at night, from eating a late dinner to taking in the city lights and even shopping!
Photo: Itaewon is a great location to enjoy dinner
The district of Itaewon has the largest concentration of international residents in the entire city of Seoul. Even the streets seem to shake off their Korean image in exchange for the exotic aura of a foreign country, making it one of Seoul's hottest attractions. The area is constantly changing and expanding with at least one or two new shops opening each month. With all this renewal, every visit will feel like the first time.
Photo: Itaewon's Gyeongnidan-gil Road (left) / Fusion food available in Itaewon (right)
Each street of Itaewon has its own make-up of shops and diners that make it stand out but the most popular is by far Gyeongnidan-gil Road. This stretch of road is lined with individualized restaurants and cafés with unique ambiances, serving meals from all over the world for a truly international experience. The best cafés are found hidden deep within the alleys, so take some time to explore their secrets.
Photo: Looking up the outside of N Seoul Tower
As Hong Kong has Victoria Peak, Seoul has N Seoul Tower! An attraction that never fails to draw in visitors, the tower is a landmark of Seoul. It has become extremely popular to visit at night thanks to the panoramic vista of city lights seen from the observatory. After it appeared in the popular drama "My Love from the Star (2013)," the tower has become a must-visit spot among hallyu fans.
Photo: Café inside N Seoul Tower (left) / View of Seoul at night from the observatory (right)
A cylindrical-shaped tower, the top of N Seoul Tower holds not only an observation deck but also a café and restaurant, and museums. The tower is a great place for friends and couples to take in the night view and snap photos over a cup of warm tea or while enjoying a fulfilling meal.
Photo: Hangang River Ferry Cruise
For couples touring Seoul together, we recommend riding on the Hangang River Ferry Cruise for a romantic experience. The cruise has been introduced in many Korean dramas and variety programs as a lovely way to see the city at night.
Photo: Aboard the cruise boat (left) / Banpodaegyo Bridge (right)
Seoul takes on a new appearance when seen at night from the Hangang River Ferry Cruise. The many city lights of buildings and bridges reflect off the water for a stunning panorama. Your spirit will soar with the cool river breeze! The cruises have different themes for each trip, with each cruise being an experience in and of itself. Depending on which cruise you take, you can enjoy the view with music or over a cocktail with friends.
Photo: Street in Hongdae
Hongdae is the hangout of Korea's youth, more exciting at night than any other area. Every evening, the streets and parks fill with performers busking and people gathering around to take it all in. The street performances are entertaining, but eating dinner and then hitting up one of the many cafés or bars is a great way to spend the night.
Photo: Interior of clubs in Hongdae (Credit: Club Vera)
If you enjoy dancing, check out one of Hongdae's many clubs. The center of Korea's clubbing culture, Hongdae has clubs of every type, from hip-hop to trance music, welcoming everyone to enjoy their own style of dancing. For visitors interested in partying the night, join the Hongdae Club Tour, running the last Saturday of every month where you can enter a total of 12 participating clubs without any additional charge.
Photo: View of shops in Dongdaemun
Dongdaemun is synonymous with fashion and shopping! One of Korea's best locations for shopping, the area was designated Dongdaemun Fashion Town Special Tourist Zone in 2002. The major roads are lined with large shopping malls, but it's the smaller fashion malls on the side streets, mix the traditional market aspect with modern shopping malls, that create the special ambience that can only be found in Dongdaemun. The largest attraction of the area is the operating hours; most shops stay open through the night, finally closing their doors when the sun begins to rise.
Photo: Famous nightscene of Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) (left) / Shopping mall in Dongdaemun (right)
If you enjoy shopping, we recommend visiting in the evening over visiting during the daytime. Less people in the malls means you can enjoy a more comfortable shopping experience, taking your time to compare shops and products, while the colorful lights all around keep the dark evening at bay.
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* This column was last updated in September 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.