Although Seoul is a beautiful and fascinating city during the daylight hours, there’s no denying that it is a night city at heart. When I first heard the saying ‘the city never sleeps’, I didn’t believe it until I visited Seoul. It’s one of the few cities that truly never sleeps.
Even if you’re out exploring the city at 3 am, you will regularly encounter other people out enjoying the atmosphere of Seoul at night. If it’s a Friday or Saturday night, don’t expect the city to calm down until 4 am or later! There’s just so much to do, and no one wants to sleep.
Cities and nightlife are often related to drinking. Seoul is no different. However, there is also a multitude of activities you can do that don’t involve alcohol whatsoever. So even if you’re a family or someone who doesn’t drink, you can make the most of Seoul at night.
As someone who loves to explore, many of the activities on this list will be related to getting out and finding the more unique experiences that Seoul at night offers. With that being said, there’s something on this activity list for everyone.
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Everything to do in Seoul at Night
Seoul at night is an incredible place – although the same city as it is during the day, the feeling is different. If I didn’t know better, I would believe that Seoul is an entirely different city during the dark hours.
Unlike many cities where certain stores and activities aren’t available after 6 pm, Seoul is the opposite. Many activities won’t even open until 5 or 6 pm! This means that at night the city transforms. Not only does it feel different, but you can’t do many unique activities at other times.
So, without further ado, let’s look at the best activities to make the most of Seoul at night!
Sight Seeing Seoul at Night
Whether you’re just visiting Seoul for a few days or living in the city, it’s worth getting out to experience some of the night views in Seoul. Seoul has a range of accessible and more challenging views to discover and I highly recommend that you visit at least some.
Han River Walkways
I wanted to start this list with a mention of the Han River because it’s the city’s heart. While the river is a stunning walk during daylight hours, it’s a very calming and tranquil stroll during hours of darkness.
Although some areas of the river are more popular than others – Ttukseom, Yeouido, and Jamwon, to name a few – some paths follow the entirety of the river on both sides. So as long as you stay within the city limits, there are paths that you can follow.
What makes these walks ideal during the evening and night is that almost all paths alongside the Han River are lit. Further, they are also quite highly trafficked, even after midnight! This means that you don’t need to worry about safety.
Some of the Han River parks will have markets, concerts, and other events after sunset during summer. These are a great way to make the most of the river while also enjoying shopping, music, or otherwise.
If you prefer not to walk, you can always hire a bike! Public bikes are available all over the city, and you can rent them painlessly and affordably through the app. Personally, I love to skateboard along the Han River and will often skate 20km a night.
If you’re looking for a serene activity in Seoul at night, I recommend visiting Ttukseom Resort. You get a nice view of Namsan Tower, and you can see Lotte Tower in the other direction. It’s also one of the best places to view the sunset in Seoul!
Han River Cruise
Sticking with the theme of the Han River, next is an even more unique activity to do in Seoul during the night. If you don’t enjoy walking so much, why not take a cruise?! You can take in the views from a unique perspective, enjoy a meal onboard, and escape the bustle of the city.
You may be thinking that the word ‘cruise’ is typically associated with expensive, but this is not the case for the Han River cruise. These cruises start from as low as $20 per person, including 50-70 minutes onboard.
The two cruises after sunset depart at 7:30 and 9 pm. If you’d prefer to witness the sunset from the boat, there is also a 6 pm option. However, since this post is all about Seoul at night, I recommend the 9 pm option.
Not only is the 9 pm boat typically slightly less busy, but the city tends to calm down a bit after the work rush is over. This means that you can enjoy a calmer atmosphere with fewer vehicle sounds and lights.
Cruises depart from both Jamsil (Jamsil Saenae Station) and Yeouido. While both offer stunning views, I recommend the Yeouido Han River cruise. This cruise takes you through the city’s centre, and you’ll get to see the bustling centre of Seoul at night.
Bridges of Seoul
As a photographer, the bridges of Seoul have always held a unique appeal to me. There is no time when this is more apparent than at night time.
The city of Seoul has a LOT of bridges that pass over the Han River. You may not realise at first glance that all of these bridges have footpaths – even the rail bridges. This makes them fantastic places to enjoy Seoul at night. If you enjoy taking photos, you will love these spots even more!
I recommend Cheonho Bridge, Dongjak Bridge, and Mapo Bridge for fantastic views. Although every bridge has its unique appeal, I find these bridges to offer stunning city views while remaining easily accessible.
If you also want to go on a Han River walk, there’s nothing better than Mapo bridge. This bridge is close to Yeouido and can be enjoyed on the same evening. Although you will be walking for a while (it’s a long walk), the views are well worth it.
On the other hand, for the best views of Seoul’s tallest landmark, Cheonho Bridge is the place to go. This bridge gives views down the river towards the centre of Seoul and also towards Lotte Tower, which is located at one of the ends of the bridge.
Finally, if you want a way to enjoy the bridges in Seoul at night without getting cold (they are windy!) Dongjak Bridge is ideal. There are two buildings on either side of the bridge, and these both house cafes. They used to be convenience stores, but more recently, they appear to have changed hands.
I’ve said this many times, and I will repeat it – although being one of the most popular and common views in Seoul, Namsan Tower is well worth visiting. There’s a reason that it’s so popular, and that’s because it has stunning views of the northern half of the city.
Seoul is gargantuan, and Namsan Tower is one of the few places that put the size of the city into perspective. Although Lotte Tower does a good job of this too, I prefer Namsan Tower as it provides a better view of the city’s scale.
Namsan Tower is an attraction that I recommend visiting at night over daylight hours. Although there’s nothing wrong with the daytime view, the nighttime view is magical. With thousands of twinkling lights below, there’s no feeling quite like seeing Seoul at night.
Unlike many skyscraper viewing platforms, Namsan Tower is very affordable. Tickets to the top cost only 10,000KRW per person, making this an inexpensive activity even for families. However, if you prefer to spend no money, I have a secret to share!
My ‘secret’ view of Seoul at night.
Although the views from the top of Namsan Mountain (not the tower) are stunning, the best view is down the road. Simply follow the road from the car park down the mountain, and after about 10-15 minutes, you will reach a viewing platform on the side of the road.
This platform is significantly lower than the mountain’s peak, but it offers breathtaking views toward the Han River. Since you’re a bit lower, the sense of scale is enhanced, and you can feel more ‘among’ the city. If you’re looking for photos, this is the place to go.
I always favour Namsan Tower’s views over Lotte Tower’s because Lotte Tower is almost too tall. When you’re at the top of the building, everything below is minuscule – it’s hard to get a sense of scale.
However, I know that many people prefer the view offered by Lotte Tower. This is fair enough! If you want to view almost the entire city, you can’t beat Lotte Tower… Or maybe you can, but more on that in the ‘hiking’ section!
Seeing Seoul at night from Lotte Tower is simply mind-blowing. The city below is a marvel, a magnificent feat of humans. Whether you appreciate the beauty of cities, I don’t think anyone will dispute that this view is impressive.
Tickets to Seoul Sky (Lotte Tower’s observation platform) cost more than Namsan Tower. Adult prices start at 27,000KRW, and children cost 24,000KRW. However, considering the unique view of the tower, the price is often justifiable.
If you are visiting Seoul Sky to take in the night view of Korea’s capital, I recommend visiting at sunset. This will (hopefully) net you some stunning views of the colourful sunset while also allowing you to see Seoul at night.
Before concluding this section, a quick word of advice: check the fine dust levels before visiting Seoul Sky. Since the tower is so tall, even minor increases in fine dust concentrations can drastically impact the view. If possible, visit on a day with an AQI < 50.
Now, you may be thinking, ‘this is a mountain! Shouldn’t it be under the ‘hiking’ section?’. Well, you’re right. It is a mountain! However, there’s no hiking involved with Eungbongsan. This mountain is merely a mountain by name as it’s a super short 15-minute walk along wooden paths (or a road) to the top.
Despite being a short walk, the views offered by Eungbongsan are beautiful, and this is an activity well worth doing in Seoul at night. Although Eungbongsan is quite popular these days, it’s not well-known among travellers and tourists. As such, this is quite a unique view to share on social media!
Since Eungbongsan is so central and relatively small, the paths are well lit, and there’s no need to worry about finding your way down. However, although the mountain is central, it’s out of the way and can be found at Eungbong Station near Seoul Forest.
Since this view is so accessible, I highly recommend visiting it during the hours of darkness. On one side, you’ll get a great view of the Han River. On another side, you can see Namsan Tower standing tall atop Namsan Mountain. On yet another side, you can see Lotte Tower dominating Seoul’s night sky!
Another mountain that’s not really a mountain, Naksan provides views of northern Seoul. The most notable views are looking over Dongdaemun and Hyehwa. The best part is that Naksan is very accessible – you can either walk from Dongdaemun Station or take a short bus ride to the peak.
Naksan is a built-up mountain, and there are buildings all the way to the top. The Seoul Wall also climbs the mountain, and you’ll be able to follow the wall to the top. Along the way, you will pass cafes, bars, and restaurants.
The top of the mountain is trendy, and you will likely encounter many people out for a night stroll. Although it’s a popular spot, I have never found it overcrowded, and there’s always space to take in the night views.
The mountain is very well lit along the road and most footpaths. This means that it’s exceptionally accessible, even during the darkest hours. However, if you want to take the bus either up or down the mountain, visit before 11 pm.
Since Naksan is adjacent to Dongdaemun, it’s easy to add to a day trip to the district. Why not spend the day shopping and then go for a stroll in the evening? Since Dongdaemun is also a popular neighbourhood to stay in, Naksan is even more accessible for many visitors.
Hiking in Seoul at Night
Whether you’re searching for some beautiful Seoul city views or are looking to get some exercise, hiking in Seoul at night is a great option. Mountains in the capital are generally well maintained, and the tracks are well signposted.
If you do one hike in Seoul, it should be this one. The views offered by Namhansanseong are the best in the city, there are plentiful walks, and you can learn a lot about Korean history along the way. If you only visit one mountain during your trip, this is the one!
Namhansanseong itself is a fortress located on top of Namhansan, a mountain in south-eastern Seoul. This mountain is not actually in Seoul but rather Gyeonggi-Do, the neighbouring province. It makes this list because it offers the best views of Seoul at night.
Some buses can take you to the top of the mountain, and these take about an hour depending on where you leave from. At the top of the mountain, you will find cafes, accommodation, restaurants, and more.
However, the most significant attractions here are the views and the history. Being a fortress from the Joseon Dynasty, there is a lot to learn about the fortress itself and the era in which it was created.
Perhaps more interestingly (at least for me) are the views that the fortress affords of Seoul at night. They are stunning! I’ll let the photos do the talking. Let’s just say I don’t think there’s a better city view around.
If you plan to see Seoul’s night skyline, keep in mind that there are no lights on many of the paths. As such, you will need to bring either a phone with lots of battery or good torches headlamps.
Although buses keep going until quite late (around 10 pm last time I checked), staying a night up the mountain is ideal for anyone wanting to take their time at Namhansanseong. This is an even better option considering returning from the fortress can take a couple of hours.
Achasan is one of the more common mountains in Seoul to hike at night. One of the benefits of being walked by more people is that it’s better lit – although only on some paths. However, if you want to hike Achasan in the evening, it’s still worth bringing a torch or battery pack for your phone as some areas remain unlit.
Most hikers of Achasan will hike to the pavilion. This pavilion is located about a 30-45 minute walk up the mountain, and it provides lovely views of Lotte Tower and the Jamsil area. Although the view isn’t as stunning as Namhansanseong, the mountain is far more accessible and a great mountain to hike in Seoul at night.
Since the mountain is more accessible, expect to find many hikers – even as late as 10 pm. I’ve hiked this mountain many times at night for photos, and I’m always surprised by how many people are out enjoying the mountain air.
Achasan is not a strenuous hike, and it’s easily doable in the dark (with some torches). The paths are well maintained, and you won’t find yourself scrambling over any rocks or other obstacles!
Inwangsan is one of the most popular hikes in Seoul at night. Despite not being a long walk, don’t expect this one to be easy. While only a 30-45 minute walk to the peak, the mountain is very steep, and you will be exerting yourself a lot to reach the top.
In many ways, climbing Inwangsan is a high-intensity workout. It’s pretty short, but it’s an intense walk due to the steepness of the ascent. So if you’re looking for a leisurely walk, it’s probably worth avoiding Inwangsan. With that being said, most people will be fine with some breaks along the way.
Although Inwangsan is very central (located just behind Gyeongbokgung Palace), the path is not lit. Around the mountain’s peak, you will find lamps, but the path up is not covered in the same lighting. As such, you will want to come equipped with a torch – although a smartphone will do.
At the top of Inwangsan, you will get a breathtaking view of Seoul from the north (looking south). This view includes Gyeongbokgung Palace, Namsan Tower, and even the Han River. Overall, this is one of the best overviews you can witness of Seoul at night.
Yongmasan is one of the hidden gems of Seoul at night. Unfortunately, although the mountain has a fantastic view and many great hikes, it’s also relatively unknown. In fact, I don’t know anybody who has climbed Yongmasan other than myself!
Anyway, first things first. If you want to climb Yongmasan in the dark, bring a torch. Preferably a headlamp, as you may need to use your hands for climbing in some spots. The first half of the walk is well-maintained, but the second half to the lookout is far less maintained.
However, the walk is still worth it as the view is fantastic. Since it’s a relatively unknown mountain, the view is also unique and one that you won’t often encounter on social media. This means it’s the perfect place in Seoul to take Instagram photos!
To my knowledge, none of the paths on Yongmasan are lit. This is another reason why bringing a torch or headlamp is essential. When I got to the viewing platform, even that was dark, and I needed a torch to operate my camera.
If you are hiking to the top of the mountain, expect it to take about an hour to reach the top. Coming down takes equally as long as the climb is quite steep, and you will want to be careful on the descent.
Walks in Seoul at Night
If you’re not into vertical walks, or if you’d simply prefer to experience an urban walk, these are for you. Seoul has a lot of magnificent places to walk, whether walkways, parks, or just cool neighbourhoods. If you’re wanting to explore Seoul at night, I highly recommend walking – there’s just so much to see and walking gives you the freedom to stop anywhere interesting you find.
Cheonggyecheon is a stream that runs through many important areas of Seoul, including Dongdaemun, Gwangwhamun and Jongak. Despite being a small stream, it’s extremely famous and well-known. Perhaps this is because it’s often featured in Kdramas or because the stream hosts the Cheonggyecheon Lantern Festival every year.
Whatever the reason why Cheonggyecheon became so famous, it’s a place in Seoul that everyone should visit. However, this is one of the attractions that you should visit in Seoul at night. After 6 pm, Cheonggyecheon becomes alive and begins to bustle.
Flanked by many restaurants and bars, the stream itself is a blissful walk through one of Seoul’s CBDs. Walking down the stream, you will notice many couples on dates, the elderly out to enjoy the night air, and workers out for exercise.
Although the stream is worth visiting year-round, November is the year’s highlight as Cheonggyecheon hosts its annual lantern festival. So if you are visiting Korea in autumn, make sure to visit the Cheonggyecheon Lantern Festival one night!
Photos from Seoul.go.kr.
Ikseondong is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Seoul. This traditional hanok village is only traditional in aesthetics – it’s a very trendy area with many hip stores, cafes and restaurants.
Ikseondong truly comes alive at night, and for that reason, it’s one of the best activities to do in Seoul at night. You’ll find a multitude of bars, cafes, and restaurants to experience. Although the area is a bit more expensive, it’s well worth experiencing one evening.
The neighbourhood is relatively small – you can easily walk around it in ten minutes. However, if you take your time to visit some of the stores and cafes, you can easily spend hours in the village.
There is also a wide range of foreign cuisine and drinks in the area, so you might want to check the food on offer if you’re missing home. Some beer breweries are also based in the area, meaning that you can find some quality drinks here too!
On top of the menus, Ikseondong is worth visiting just to explore and take photos. Not only is the area exceptionally Instagram worthy, but it feels totally unique from the rest of Seoul. Once you’ve set foot in Ikseondong, it feels like Seoul no longer!
Once a highway, Seoullo 7017 was deemed unsafe to be used for vehicles. Instead of destroying the structure and having a large amount of waste, the government decided to turn the highway into a walkway between Namdaemun Market and Seoul Station.
Seoullo 7017 is relatively short – you can cover the whole area in 30 minutes. However, although short, the walk is very unique and fantastic at night. Similar to Cheonggyecheon, I recommend that you visit Seoullo 7017 at night time as it’s so much better than during the day.
The highway has been converted into a walking path with a wide range of potted plants. These plants give the road a zen feel, despite being an overpass for another highway located below. Many of the pots light up and make a unique walk through the city’s heart at night time.
Since Seoullo 7017 is located close to Namdaemun Market and Namdaemun Gate, it’s a great walk to do after you’ve enjoyed some time at the market. On top of this, you can even find cafes open along the highway during summer.
Ah, the palaces of Seoul. They had to make this list somewhere! Although most people visit the palaces during the day (and I encourage you to visit then too), they also make great walks after the sun goes down.
Now, I need to mention that you can’t enter the palaces after 4:30-6:30 (depending on the day, season, and palace in question). However, although you can’t enter the palaces, you can explore the outer walls and gates. These allow for some uniquely Korean photos and it’s a calming walk.
If you’re in Seoul at the correct time, there are some night tours available. However, these are infrequent and you’ll need to check the times and dates beforehand. If you can join one of these night tours, they are the perfect opportunity to explore the palaces at night!
There are four major palaces in Seoul, and each of them offers a unique appeal. Of course, most people will visit Gyeongbokgung, but Changdeokgung is also fantastic. With that being said, Changdeokgung and the smaller palaces aren’t ideal for visiting at night as they are smaller and don’t have the iconic main gates that Gyeongbokgung has.
For the best photos during darkness, visit Gyeongbokgung’s front gate. The gate is massive, and you can get some very cool photos in front of it. Alternatively, you can go in the Insadong direction, following the wall. This will take you to some side gates that allow for beautiful photos.
Shopping & Eating in Seoul at Night
In Seoul, nighttime is the best time to experience both shopping and eating. While the markets and shopping districts will be busier than during the day, you’ll find all stores and restaurants open once the sun goes down. Some restaurants in Seoul won’t even open until 6 or 7 pm! Further, most shops won’t close until after 8 pm, making night the ideal shopping time!
Namdaemun Night Market
Namdaemun Market is Seoul’s most famous market and the most popular among visitors to the capital. Although the market sells a massive variety of goods, it’s primarily famous for souvenirs, cameras, clothing, and food. In fact, I previously put together a post discussing why Namdaemun Market is a must-visit.
Namdaemun Night Market is an even more exciting market. Nearly all of the stalls and stores will remain open until 8 pm, and many will stay open until 4 am. Although the market stays open almost 24 hours, the best time to visit is between 8 pm and midnight, when most stores will be open.
Namdaemun Night Market is a must-visit in Seoul at night because it’s a great place to buy Korean souvenirs and gifts. If you’re looking for specific items such as cameras, teas, or clothing, you will find them here.
While Namdaemun Night Market is great to visit, it is tourist-focused. If it’s the only market, you visit while in Korea, you won’t notice. However, if you see some of the smaller markets during your stay, you will quickly realise that Namdaemun is very focused on tourists.
This has both upsides and downsides. On the good side, most vendors will speak English, and that help is readily available from guides. On the downside, vendors can inflate prices here compared to other areas.
Gwangjang Market is a market located in Jongno. Where Namdaemun Night Market focuses heavily on products, Gwangjang is a more food-orientated market. While there are backstreets with jewellery stores, electronic stores, and more, the front of the market is all about food.
This makes it a fantastic place to visit in Seoul at night as you can eat to your heart’s delight. Whether you are looking for traditional Korean foods such as Kimbap, Bibimbap, Sundae, or sweet treats such as Korean doughnuts, Gwangjang has them!
The food street at Gwangjang is fully covered, meaning that you can enjoy the food at the night market even in wet weather. The indoor area will even be heated during winter, meaning that Gwangjang is a year-round market.
Gwangjang Market will be pretty busy at night, so if there is a restaurant you particularly want to try, it might be worth visiting early or calling ahead. With that being said, the stalls and stores encourage fast eating, so you can generally get into restaurants quite quickly.
Myeongdong is one of the most famous areas in Seoul. Renowned for its highrise buildings, ample stores and luxury brands, Myeongdong is a shopping street that comes alive during the night in Seoul.
Before COVID, Myeongdong was always bustling, and the streets were packed with shoppers and street vendors. Although COVID has dramatically changed the atmosphere of Myeongdong (it’s now a lot quieter as many stores shut down), it’s still a fun place to explore during the hours of darkness.
If you plan to shop, you’ll be right at home in Myeongdong. The main street houses luxury brands from all over the world, and you see some amazing storefronts. Fantastic restaurants and cafes also line the streets, often located above the stores.
However, even if you don’t plan to go on a shopping spree, Myeondong is still fun to explore at night. The streets are filled with vendors, neon signs, and bustling nightlife. Towards the end of Myeongdong, you can explore the Myeongdong Cathedral, which is often lit up.
Myeongdong is one of my favourite places to take photos in the evening due to how diverse and fast-paced it is. The night brings out the beauty of the streets, and it’s somewhere I recommend visiting in Seoul at night.
Another very popular and famous suburb of Seoul, Hongdae is known for its nightlife for students. However, while bars and clubs make Hongdae very lively at night, there is also a lot of shopping to be done!
Hongdae is one of the trendiest areas in Seoul, and you’ll find it packed with students at all hours (except in the early morning!). Anyone under 25 will likely love Hongdae – there is so much shopping, eating, drinking, and fun to be had.
When it comes to shopping, Hongdae is most well-known for hip clothing. So if you’re looking to find the latest Korean fashion trends, there’s no better place to find them than here. Also, since many stores won’t open until noon and often close after 10 pm, visiting Hongdae at night is the perfect time for shopping.
When you’re finished with shopping, why not make the most of the other nightlife aspects in Hongdae? If you like partying, there are a ton of clubs in Hongdae. On the other hand, if you prefer secluded spots, there are many cute and wonderful cafes.
Overall, Hongdae is one of the most lively spots in Seoul at night. Even if you aren’t in Hongdae’s main demographic, it’s a spot worth visiting due to how much is going on there.
Itaewon is one of the most interesting areas within Seoul. Despite being located near the city’s centre, Itaewon is a very international area with lots of diverse cultures present. So if you want a taste of home (or anywhere else), Itaewon is the place to visit.
Similarly to Hongdae, Itaewon comes alive at night due to many bars and clubs that call the area home. However, there is also a lot of shopping, dining, and other activities to be experienced.
Itaewon is very quiet during the mornings and only becomes lively after 6 pm. This makes it a great place to explore in Seoul at night – there’s always something happening. If you like to drink and party, it’s easy to stay in Itaewon until the sun rises.
Most of the shopping in Itaewon is located along the main street and the streets branching off the main street. Going any further back will take you into more dining-focused areas with less shopping.
Perhaps Itaewons top attraction in regards to shopping is vintage goods. You’ll find a lot of pre-loved clothing in the stores located here. Since it’s an international area, you’ll be able to find a range of different brands and styles.
No shopping list would be complete without Gangnam! Despite many people enjoying the district at all hours, Gangnam is similar to Hongdae and Itaewon in that it doesn’t fully come alive until after sunset.
Shopping in Gangnam is all about luxury goods, and the prices you’ll find here reflect that. However, mixed in among the luxury stores are some interesting finds, such as the Kakao Friends store. If you’re looking for a non-traditional souvenir, you can’t beat Kakao Friends!
Gangnam also offers a large underground shopping centre if the weather is poor. This underground area features a range of generally cheaper stores than those above the surface and with a greater selection.
Due to the multitude of restaurants, cafes and bars also located in Gangnam, there’s always a way to spend your time at Gangnam during the night. It’s worth mentioning that although Gangnam has many luxury stores, it tends to be a bit cheaper than Myeongdong overall.
Hyewha is one of the hidden gems in Seoul at night. I’ve written on this area in the past, and although many people don’t know about it, I believe it deserves a place on this list.
Located near Dongdaemun, Hyewha is similar to Hongdae, albeit on a smaller scale. It’s a trendy spot that attracts many younger people by providing fantastic shopping, diverse restaurants, and beautiful cafes. However, it doesn’t make it on the radar for many travellers as it’s a local spot that many travellers don’t know.
What makes Hyehwa unique is the artistic feel of the area. The suburb is defined by murals (as seen in Iwha Mural Village), markets (Hyehwa’s Sunday Market) and youthfulness. This means that there is always something to do in the area.
However, being a student suburb, it’s nighttime when Hyehwa becomes genuinely alive. The bustling crowds come out, students flock to bars, and Hyewha feels alive. On top of this, there are also many cafes and restaurants worth checking out. That’s not to mention the exhibits and public art on display!
Sungshin Women’s University
Sungshin Women’s University was my neighbourhood for over five years. Despite being relatively unknown due to its lack of tourist attractions, I believe it’s a great place to explore in Seoul at night.
Being a university area, Sungshin Women’s University is relatively quiet during the daytime. However, once the sun goes down, the area becomes alive. Not only will there be more people, but all of the stores, cafes, bars, and restaurants will open for business.
If you’re a woman, there is a lot of shopping in this area. Although you will find some clothes for males, the stores are relatively few, and their stock is limited. Due to the proximity to a women’s university, this is expected.
Sungshin does not have clubs (or even large bars), but there are a lot of really cool small bars located around the area. You’ll find bars stocking a range of western beers and traditional places stocking Korean alcohols such as Makgeolli!
Tours in Seoul at Night
Want a bit more guidance while exploring Seoul at night? Then a guided tour is the perfect way to explore the city. With the number of tours available, it’s possible to find tours that match everyone’s interests. Want to explore the food and drinking culture? Done! Want to explore the best sights in the capital? Easy! Want to explore the spooky side of Seoul? No problem! Here are some of the best night tours in Seoul.
Seoul at Night: Special city Tour
The Seoul at night tour is a tour from Trazy that takes travellers to four of Seoul’s most iconic nighttime attractions. The tour lasts for four hours and can be for up to six people. During this time, you will have a private van for your group.
First, you will begin by visiting Namsangol Hanok Village. This traditional village in Seoul is one of a kind, with a unique feel that you can’t find elsewhere. You will find tons of photo opportunities, traditional tea houses, museums, and more within the village.
After some time at the hanok village, your English-speaking tour guide will take you to Namsan Tower for spectacular views. Namsan Tower already made it on this list for being one of the best night activities in Seoul, so there’s not much more I can mention!
After Namsan Tower, your guide will drive you to Seoullo 7017, another fantastic spot to visit during the night. This abandoned highway was turned into a walkway and has rejuvenated the area around Seoul Station.
The tour’s last stop will be Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). Here you can see the fields of stunning LED flowers under cover of darkness.
Overall, the Seoul at Night Tour is a fantastic itinerary. Although some of the stops may be a bit rushed (I would’ve only spent 30 minutes at DDP and added 30 minutes more to another visit), this is an excellent list of stops that all made my list of the best night activities in Seoul!
Seoul Ghost Tour
Looking to experience everything that Seoul offers at night? Well, then the Seoul Ghost Tour might be up your alley. This spooky tour takes a look at the dark side of Seoul, the side that most people never see.
There are two tour options – one that is an hour and a half, and one that is two and a half hours. Both tours cover some of the same areas, but the extended tour adds a few more stops over the basic tour.
You will experience tales of ghosts, massacres, scandals, secrets, and more, whichever tour you decide to take. Keep in mind that children under 18 cannot join this tour as it involves some violent stories.
If you’re looking for a truly unique tour of the city, this is for you. You’ll learn tales that only a few have heard, and you’ll undoubtedly have a memorable evening.
Seoul Nightlife Tour: Pub Crawl
If you want to see what Seoul’s nightlife offers but don’t want to go alone, this tour might be just what you are looking for. But, even if you do have people to explore with, you might be in the mood for a guide to some of Seoul’s best bars and pubs.
Seoul Nightlife Tour: Pub Crawl will take you to three different bars in either Hongdae or Itaewon. The tour price also includes free shots and wristbands for entrance into a range of clubs after you’ve finished the crawl.
As you may expect, this tour requires everyone to be over 19 years old. Since a lot of drinking will be involved, younger members cannot join.
The groups can be quite large, so there will be an assortment of people to get to know. I joined this tour once a few years ago and had a great time. I got to meet some cool people, but I also got to know some of the best bars in Hongdae!
Seoul City Tour Bus Night View Course
As a photographer and nightscape viewer, this tour by Klook is one of my personal favourites. The Seoul City Tour Bus Night View Course will take you to four different bridges across the Han River as well as Namsan Tower.
The tour takes part on a double-decker bus, and you will cross the Han River multiple times to get a range of different river views. Although the bus won’t stop near the bridges, you will get a chance to take in some of Seoul’s most stunning views.
At the end of the tour, the bus will take passengers to Namsan Tower, where you can have some time exploring the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, the time restrictions are too restrictive to allow for time to go up the tower, but you can certainly enjoy the view from the mountaintop.
The tour is relatively fast and affordable, making it an excellent option for anyone looking to fill a couple of hours in the evening. If you find any views that you particularly enjoy, you can always come back by yourself soon after!
Korean Night Dining Tour
If you’re looking to experience the food culture of Seoul at night, this is the perfect tour for you. A local guide will show you the local secrets – restaurants that only locals know of. Then, throughout the evening, you will get to visit four different places with authentic and traditional Korean food.
Although alcohol is offered, the tour is open for all ages. Adults can choose to purchase the tour, including alcohol or without alcohol. Regardless of what option you choose, you will be able to eat a range of delectable foods.
Groups will experience quintessential Korean food such as Korean barbecue, jeon (savoury pancakes), bibimbap, and more. Alongside the food, traditional rice wine and soju will be served for your enjoyment!
Drinking & Clubbing
Let’s be honest – half of the readers are probably here because they want to know where you can party in Seoul. Luckily, since Seoul is such a massive city you have an almost limitless choice as to where you want to go drinking. While clubbing has a bit less choice, there are still four or five main areas where you can dance to your heart’s content.
Hongdae, along with Itaewon and Gangnam, is one of the key nightlife areas in Seoul. Typically, Hongdae is frequented by university students and younger individuals, whereas Gangnam is a bit more pricey and usually houses a slightly older crowd.
In Hongdae, you can find virtually any nightlife you can dream of. There is a selection of clubs, tons of mingling bars, secluded bars, and traditional Korean soju houses. If you want to have some food alongside your drinks, many options are also available.
Hongdae will be very packed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. As such, you may want to arrive a bit early to ensure a spot at the bar you want to visit (if you have one in mind). Once it’s past 8 pm, the area will be packed, and it can sometimes be hard to find a place to sit.
The prices in Hongdae are generally quite affordable. While some less famous areas have lower prices, Hongdae is far more reasonably priced than the other renowned nightlife districts.
If you do party in Hongdae, make sure to visit the mainstays of Seoul nightlife, which are Thursday Party and Playground. Both bars are popular among ex-pats and travellers, and they’re a great place to mingle.
Haebangchon, one of the best streets in Seoul for nightlife.
The international hub of Seoul, Itaewon is another of Seoul’s trifecta of nightlife districts. Generally attracting a more mature crowd than Hongdae, Itaewon is unique because it offers bars with a more western feel.
Although I encourage everyone to drink ‘Korean style’ at least once during their visit, it is nice to have the feeling of home sometimes. Wherever you’re from, you’ll probably be able to find a bar similar to what you’d find back home in Itaewon.
Itaewon also has some clubs, but not as many as Hongdae. The clubs are generally a bit more pricey to enter, but they also tend to be nicer. So while you won’t get the student experience you can find in Hongdae, you will have a pleasanter time here.
Once you’re done drinking, you can enjoy the fantastic variety of international cuisine. Whether you want Brazilian barbecue, Turkish kebabs, or American pancakes, you’ll find them all on sale in Itaewon. Since it’s a party district, you’ll also find that these restaurants are open quite late.
The final district of Seoul’s nightlife trifecta, Gangnam, is one of the best places to party in Seoul at night. One of the most expensive areas of Seoul, the nightlife in Gangnam generally has a more mature crowd than Hongdae.
If you’re looking for bars stocking spirits such as whiskey, Gangnam is the nightlife district you’ll want to consider. Drinks here are generally more ‘sophisticated’, and you’ll find most bars and clubs offering higher quality drinks.
With that being said, you can find some more traditional soju houses around the area. I recommend these because they offer excellent food alongside soju (you can’t drink without eating in Korea!).
Gangnam is typically packed every day of the week. However, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights are significantly busier. If you’re planning to experience Gangnam’s nightlife on one of these evenings, you may want to reserve a bar or restaurant.
Since Gangnam is located on Line 2, it’s easy to get trains home or back to your accommodation at night’s end. Of course, it depends on where you are staying, but often you can take the last train as late as 11:30. Any later than this, and you’ll need to take a taxi.
If you want to experience the nightlife in Gangnam, I recommend the area outside Exit 11. Walk straight, and take the first right. This will take you one street back from the main road. In this area, you will find most of the bars that the area has to offer.
Unfortunately, I have no images of Cheongdamdong. Here is an image of the the area from across the Han River.
Although not within Seoul’s most famous nightlife areas, Cheongdamdong has recently been forging a reputation. Even more upper-class than Gangnam, Cheongdamdong is a swanky area in Seoul that offers a selection of exclusive bars and the famous Ellui Club.
Catering to a more wealthy clientele, Cheongdamdong is populated with cocktail and spirits bars. While you can find a few traditional pubs and soju houses here, they are far from the area’s highlight. Considering the higher prices, it’s best to go elsewhere if you want just to drink beer or soju.
Cheongdamdong has plentiful underground cocktail bars that feel straight out of a movie. Mixology, Alice and Le Chamber are just three of these bars. Each is pricy, but they offer some of the most sophisticated nightlife in Seoul.
Although I wouldn’t recommend Cheongdamdong as a nightlife district for most individuals, it’s fun to experience once or twice. If you’re willing to spend a lot of partying, you can visit as often as you want!
If you’re not one for the lavish lifestyle, Konkuk University (Kondae) is your area. In many ways, Kondae offers an experience very similar to Hongdae. There are affordable bars and clubs, and students from the surrounding universities frequent the area.
Although Hongdae gets the limelight, I prefer Kondae. It’s a bit more calm and relaxed – although not by much. It’s also one of the few areas in northern Seoul that offer fantastic nightlife.
Kondae has an ‘eat street’ that is filled with restaurants and bars. So, if you’re planning to have a night out, head to this street to grab dinner. Once finished with dinner, you will have a wide selection of bars that you can head to.
While you won’t find many traditional Korean drinking houses, you can find tons of cheap beer, cocktail and spirits bars. Further, there are also Japanese restaurants where you can enjoy too much sake!
If you want to party, Hongdae, Itaewon and Gangnam are better. However, if you’re looking to drink and have fun, Kondae is a fantastic place. Just keep in mind that this area is famous for bars, not clubs.
Activities in Seoul at Night
These activities don’t fit under any other category but they are all fantastic at night. Although some of them can be done during daylight hours too, I recommend them all at night. If you feel like I’ve missed something on my list, please let me know! I’m always happy to add to it.
Korean noraebang. Image credit SnackFever.
There’s nothing more quintessentially Korean that visiting the Noraebang. Korean karaoke is one of a kind because rather than taking place publicly, you can sing to your heart’s content in private booths or rooms.
If you’ve stayed in Korea for any time, you’ll quickly realise that visiting noraebangs is a key part of the nightlife in Seoul. So whether you’re waiting for a friend or singing amongst some drinks, visiting a noraebang is a key part of Seoul at night.
Korean karaoke is so appealing because it’s both private and highly affordable. In most locations in Seoul, you will be able to sing three or four songs for a dollar – this makes the whole event extremely cost-effective and a great way to spend your evenings in the capital.
Although it can be hard to understand the karaoke remotes at first, there are many great guides detailing navigating the system. Although it seems very complicated at first glance, navigating the system is something that you can quickly pick up.
Image from Yonhap News.
If you’re in Korea, why not participate in one of the unique aspects of the modern culture? PC Bangs (PC rooms/cafes) are one of the most exciting parts of Korean culture, especially if you like video games!
For a bit of background, PC gaming in Korea is massive. Starcraft rose to fame in South Korea, and it was the first country to give a similar status to Esports athletes as typical athletes. So if you’re a video game aficionado, there’s no better country to be.
Since gamers are people of the night, there’s no better activity to do in Seoul at night. Whether you love LoL, DotA, Volorant, Starcraft, or otherwise, Seoul is the city to be in. Not only can you view live tournaments, but you can take part in the culture by visiting PC bangs.
These ‘cafes’ are located all over the capital, and there are almost always free seats available. While you might need some assistance to get started, staff are always happy to help. Once you’ve started, you can play whatever you want in the PC cafes of South Korea.
Even if you have a better experience playing video games at home, visiting a PC cafe provides a unique and fun atmosphere. Further, the PCs at PC bangs are no slouches either! Often you will find the PCs equipped with the latest generation GPUs and high-end monitors.
You can find these rooms all over Seoul, and they are essentially private entertainment rooms. While the exact activities will vary by room, you can expect to find video game consoles, board games, TVs, karaoke, and more in these rooms.
In many ways, Multi-rooms are very similar to noraebangs. However, they offer a far more universal entertainment system – often offering the latest gaming platforms (such as Playstation 5s or Xbox Series S) alongside movies, karaoke, and more!
In these rooms, you will typically pay per hour and be able to book sessions for as long as you want. So if you’re looking to fill an hour or two between activities, or if you want a fun-filled evening, Multi-bangs can be a good choice!
Also, many of these rooms will have free snacks and drinks on offer. This essentially turns the room into a gamer’s den or small cinema. So if you’re looking for a unique activity in Seoul at night, make sure to check out multi-bangs!
Kaldi Kaffa in Seoul
Cafes in Korea are an integral part of the culture. In many countries, cafes serve as a place to relax and enjoy coffee. However, in Korea, they are so much more. Cafes are places to work, meet friends, have fun, and more. If you’re interested in learning about Korea’s coffee culture, I recently wrote an article on the topic.
Cafes in Seoul are open for extended hours – often, they will not close until 11 pm or later. This means that they are a great place to chill during the night, and they make a great alternative to bars for anyone not wanting to drink alcohol.
There is a massive range of cafes in Seoul. You will find everything from traditional cafes, to virtual reality cafes, to cat and dog cafes. There is also a range of very instagrammable cafes that have become popular due to their quirky and cute designs.
Cafe Seoulism has a stunning view in the evening!
Although many of these locations appear to serve drinks as an afterthought, coffee and tea in Korea is generally decent. Even better, cafes usually have a vast range of drinks to appeal to a wide range of customers. For example, you’ll find everything from americanos to vanilla and hazelnut lattes in most cafes.
If you want somewhere to sit for a few hours during the evening, cafes are also ideal. You’re more than welcome to stay for hours, and it’s common to see others doing the same.
A unique experience that you can’t get elsewhere is visiting a jjimjilbang (Korean sauna). These saunas are typically found in big buildings with various rooms and activities to do. You’ll even find that some people sleep in saunas overnight!
Most jjimjilbangs will have a range of different spa pools (usually of varying sizes and temperatures), sauna rooms, general rooms (for relaxing), and shower rooms. Some saunas will even have extra spaces such as restaurants, TV rooms, or otherwise.
Jjimjilbangs are often open 24 hours, making them a great activity to do in Seoul at night. Further, they tend to be very cheap with only an entry fee. There’s no added fee for staying for an extended period!
The first room you enter will be the changing room. Here, you can put on the clothes supplied by the sauna. Once through the changing rooms, you will usually find shared rooms where everyone can enjoy the atmosphere.
When entering spas and pools, you will be naked, and so will other users. If you’re not used to this, it can be a bit of a shock the first time you partake. However, it’s a great experience and part of Korean culture. Men and women are usually separated in these rooms.
Visit Lotte World
Lotte World is the world’s largest indoor theme park, and it has a genuinely unique feel – it’s almost like a portal to a fantasy realm. Inside the theme park, you will be surrounded by fantasy buildings, parades of characters, tons of rides and rollercoasters, and more.
Lotte World closes at 10 pm, meaning that it’s a theme park that you can enjoy even after dark. Tickets cost 36,000KRW per adult and 29,000KRW per child. Although these prices are steep compared to other activities in Korea, they are cheaper than many theme parks in other countries.
Lotte World also has an outdoor area, but going on the outside rides during the colder months is not a pleasant experience. Therefore, if you’re visiting in winter, expect to stay indoors. If you’re visiting during the warmer months, however, there are a lot of outdoor rides that you can enjoy.
As with any theme park, expect to find a range of food and drink. Alongside these, you will also be able to shop for all kinds of related souvenirs and apparel.
Rides at Lotte World are diverse, and there are many rollercoasters, both inside and out. Wait times can be pretty long, so expect to be in the queue for an hour or two per ride on busy days. On less busy days, you can find lines as short as 30 minutes.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza is an eye-catching building that flows through the landscape in Dongdaemun. This stunning architectural feat is one of the highlights of Dongdaemun, and it hosts a range of exhibits and events.
Most interestingly, at night time, DDP’s garden lights up. Thousands of LED flowers are placed around the garden, and these all become illuminated once the sun goes down. The field of lit flowers is a sight to behold and worth the trip to DDP!
If you want to spend a few hours at DDP, you can arrive a bit earlier and check out the exhibits within. The building closes at 9 pm, so if you visit a couple of hours earlier, you can view the features within before viewing the LED garden out back!
Underneath DDP (inside Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station), there is a mini shopping mall with lots of clothes, cosmetics, and accessories. Past this, a range of restaurants calls the station home.
Visit the Arcade
Although Korea isn’t known for its arcades, there are very plentiful in Seoul, and you will often encounter them while out exploring. Since many of them are unstaffed, you can find them open 24/7. However, even the staffed arcades will normally close around midnight!
This makes them a great activity to do in Seoul at night. Where else can you go and game to your heart’s content? Well… Actually, PC Bangs are also a great place to game the night away, but more on that soon.
The arcades around Seoul house the usual selection of games you expect to find – shooting, fighting, racing, and puzzle games. On top of this, you’ll find a range of physical arcade games such as hoops, punching bags, kicking bags, and shooting ranges.
Nearly all parts of Seoul have arcades, and they tend to be easy to find. However, they are more concentrated in student and trendy areas such as Hongdae, Sungshin Women’s University, Sinchon, Hyehwa, and the like.
Although most arcades run on a pay per game system, some arcades charge an hourly rate. These are fantastic if you want to enjoy everything that the arcade offers while not breaking the bank.
If you’re looking to test your logic, teamwork, and lateral thinking, why not spend the evening putting your skills to the test? Seoul has a ton of escape rooms, and some of them are incredibly fun and innovative.
Although escape rooms are not unique to Seoul, the capital of South Korea has a more extensive range of escape rooms than I’ve ever seen in any city. This means that there’s something to fit everyone – horror escape rooms, puzzle rooms, challenging escape rooms, etc.
Although you can find escape rooms all over the city, they are more prevalent in student areas such as Hongdae. In Hongdae, you can find an escape room on almost every block. This means that there’s always a new theme to try!
Some of the escape rooms even have stories. You can start on the first level in these rooms and gradually work your way through the story. If you’re staying in Korea for a more extended period of time (and plan to visit escape rooms often), why not start the story?
Typically escape rooms last for an hour per room and cost about 20,000KRW per person. Some rooms may last 90 minutes, however.
Watch Street Performances
If you want to chill and enjoy the atmosphere, there’s no better way to do this than to browse the street performances taking part in Seoul during the evening.
Street performances in Seoul usually fall into three categories – singing, dancing, or playing an instrument. However, you will also find magicians and other forms of performers if you visit at the right times.
Seoul’s hotspot for these performances is Hongdae – especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Generally, you will find singers, dancers, and other performers out on the streets until midnight.
If you plan to visit Hongdae to view street performers, bring some cash. While it’s perfectly fine just to join the crowds and appreciate the show, it’s great to have some money that you can donate to your favourite performers.
Explore Night Museums
Buddha Statue from the National Museum of Korea
Being a city of the night, many things in Seoul are open later than elsewhere. The same goes for museums, many of which close at 9 – 11 pm. Even better, many museums have ‘late nights’ where they open a couple of hours more than they otherwise would.
Some of the museums and galleries that currently have weekly late nights are The National Museum of Korea, Trick Eye Museum, MMCA and Dongdaemun Design Plaza (when exhibitions are on).
If any of these museums strike your interest, check out their websites for further details. Often the late-night openings will be on a Wednesday or Thursday, but it’s always worth checking as each museum will differ in opening hours.
During these late-night openings, you can expect the museums and galleries to stay open until 10 or 11 pm. Considering that relatively few people know about these late openings, you’re likely to have a far more empty museum. If you’re lucky, you might even get it all to yourself!
Seoul at Night FAQ
Is Much Open in Seoul at Night?
Yes! Seoul is a city where many activities are open at night. Even cafes will typically only close at 9 or 10 pm but many will remain open all night! It’s easy to find activities to do until about 10 pm. After 10 pm, you can still go shopping, eating, and partying in some areas.
What’s Nightlife in Seoul Like?
Nightlife in Seoul is diverse, exciting, and loud! However, the exact feel changes from area to area. Hongdae is bustling and exciting, Itaewon is diverse, and Gangnam is more sophsticated.
Where Are the Best Nightlife Areas in Seoul?
Hongdae, Gangnam, Itaewon, Kondae and Cheongdamdong. However, many smaller areas also have unique nightlife appeals.
What Night Activities Are There in Seoul?
There are a ton! For example, you can go night shopping at Namdaemun Market, eating at Gwangjang, singing at a noraebang, or drinking in a nightlife district.
Can I Explore Seoul at Night?
Definitely! In fact, night is my favourite time to explore Seoul. There are always people out and about, and nighttime brings out a different side of the city.
Is Seoul Safe at Night?
Yes. Seoul is one of the safest cities in the world and this continues to be true at night.