Millions of tourists visit South Korea each year. As the capital city, everyone is going to want to see the sights in Seoul first! And every famous place like Lotte Tower or the Olympic Park will be on every tourist’s list.
But what if we told you that there’s more to Seoul than these famous places? The hidden gems in this list will help you witness the one-of-a-kind beauty of Seoul, without the crowds!
Keep reading to see some of the best kept travel spots in Seoul!
The 15 Best Hidden Gems In Seoul
Want to get off the beaten track and explore Seoul’s best kept secret spots? Add these places to your Seoul itinerary.
- Hwarangdae Railroad Park
- Mapo Oil Tank Culture Park
- Sanmotoonge Cafe
- Yongma Land
- Jeongdong Observatory
- Yangjaecheon Stream
- Bongeunsa Temple
- Jamsil Railway Bridge Walk
- Yangpyeong Dumulmeori
- Changgyeonggung Palace
- Korean Stone Art Museum
- Cheonggyesan Mountain
- Suseong-dong Valley
You will find these 15 places in the map below so you can easily organise your visits.
1. Hwarangdae Railroad Park
Ever wanted to experience a walkable light show? Look no further! This railroad-turned-park is a “light park” with different themed courses and gleaming sculptures.
Once a former stop of the Seoul rail line, it’s became a glowing, nighttime attraction. The park features a secret flower garden and a light tunnel. Prepare to stare in awe at all the colors and unique photo spots here!
2. Mapo Oil Tank Culture Park
Mapo Oil Tank Park is definitely one of the most artsy and original attractions to visit in Seoul.
This unique park houses five tanks that developed as cultural spaces! More recently, instead of oil, wonder and excitement fill these tanks. Here, visitors can enjoy different activities, exhibits, and performances.
3. Sanmotoonge Cafe
This mountainside cafe was one of the filming sites for the drama, “Coffee Prince”! It’s one of Seoul’s best kept secrets, with its quaint exterior and cozy atmosphere. In the neighborhood, there are also a lot of great cafes, restaurants and art galleries to check out.
Sanmotoonge has one of the best views in the city! From the windows, you can see the urban scenery of Northern Seoul. The place is even more beautiful in the autumn, with yellow and orange leaves all around.
4. Yongma Land
After years of abandonment, the park evolved to become a special attraction in Seoul. Worn-down rides and faded backdrops give the place a unique aesthetic. The edgy and vintage vibe of the park attracts visitors and even K-Pop idols!
Yongma Land served as the setting of different K-Pop music videos and photoshoots. The most well-known spot in the park is the big, antique carousel. It can even be lit up by request, giving the park a more mystical vibe.
5. Jeongdong Observatory
You can find this hidden observatory on the 13th floor of Seoul City Hall Seosomun building. The observatory has a cafe inside where visitors can enjoy a good cup of coffee.
But the best thing about the place is the magnificent view of Deoksugung Palace from above. In autumn, the observatory becomes a serene spot to watch Seoul’s scenery transform!
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6. Yangjaecheon Stream
Yangjaecheon stream is one of the tributaries of the Han River. Legends say that the stream is actually a fallen dragon. Today, locals say that the water brings people wealth and happiness. A walk along the stream helps you appreciate nature right at the heart of the city.
Metasequoia and flowering cherry blossom trees line this secluded stream in Seoul. In autumn, you can admire the glorious brown and gold leaves of the trees blowing in the wind. In spring, the prettiest cherry blossom trees paint the banks in pink!
7. Seoul Bongeunsa Temple
This temple went through a lot of changes, from its name and even to its location! Bongeunsa Temple houses thousands of scriptures. It is also the site for meaningful Buddhist rites.
The sacred buildings in the temple stand out in the middle of Seoul’s skyscrapers and highways. At night, the temple lights up with a lanterns and golden lights, making for a picturesque sight!
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8. Jamsil Railway Bridge Walk
Looking for a scenic spot to see the infamous Han River and observe the bustling city life in Seoul? A walk along the Jamsil bridge may help you find what you’re searching for!
One of the best things to look out for here are the trains zipping past right next to you. From the bridge, you can also see the Lotte Tower, the tallest building in South Korea. The bridge also offers a great view of the attractions and greenery in Hangang Park.
9. Yangpyeong Dumulmeori
When you visit this dock, you’d feel like you traveled to another world! The dreamy landscape serves as a dock for an ancient-style ferry that comes at certain hours of the day. Weeping willows and 400-year-old- Zelkova trees add to the beauty of the area.
The dock is also a perfect spot for watching the sun set and rise. In the summer, lotus flowers bloom along the rivers’ edge. The dock also connects to a trail where you can see more of Dumulmeori’s attractions, such as the Semiwon Garden.
This is definitely one of our favourite hidden gems in Seoul!
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If you’re familiar with Hongdae, then you have to know Yeonnam-dong. Once a normal neighborhood, the area is now a hotspot for live music, bars, and a local busking scene! Aesthetic cafes, must-try restaurants, and cool murals line the streets of this area.
Here, you can also find the Gyeongui Line Forest Park. Locals dubbed it as Yeontral Park, based on New York’s Central Park. Yeonnam-dong is the place to explore if you want to see the hidden indie and hip scene of Seoul!
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Hidden in the popular Myeong-dong, over 70 cartoonists designed this one-of-a-kind street! This unique street has a lot of eye-catching and diverse attractions. In every corner, you’d see different artworks and statues of Korean cartoon characters.
Jaemi means “fun” in Korean. The lively and energetic mood of the place will definitely catch your attention! You can also visit Jaemirang and the Seoul Animation Center nearby.
12. Changgyeonggung Palace
Changgyeonggung is one of the five palaces in Seoul. While smaller and less popular than Gyeongbokgung, this palace is definitely underrated! It has the same incredible architecture plus its own unique greenhouse!
During the Japanese colonization, the palace was even used as a zoo and a botanical garden. Now, while the zoo is long gone, the gardens remain as beautiful as ever. At present, the palace’s old grace remains in the preserved buildings and landscape.
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13. Korean Stone Art Museum
On the hillside of this museum, centuries-old stone sculptures line the roads. Beautifully sculpted gardens and an overlooking view of Seongbuk-dong await museum visitors. Inside the museum gallery, you can find dozens of stone artifacts and modern artworks.
In the Korean Stone Art Museum, the past and present meet and unite. It has a lot of picture worthy spots too! It’s definitely one of the more unique places to see in Seoul.
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14. Cheonggyesan Mountain
Located in Gangnam, the Cheonggyesan Mountain trail is one of the city’s hidden gems! In the spring, you can see pink Azaleas and yellow Forsythias in full bloom. You can also find historic temples along the mountain path.
But the best thing about the mountain is the view! From the peak, you can see nearby valles and a big part of Seoul. You’re guaranteed to have a relaxing time hiking this mountain.
15. Suseong-dong Valley
In Suseong-dong, nature and history come together. The impressive stone formations in the valley offer a charming escape from the city. From the valley, you can see the beautiful landscape of Inwangsan and admire the scenery.
Well-maintained pathways connect the different parts of the valley park. The place is so surrounded by nature that you wouldn’t even believe that you were still in Seoul. A stroll along the valley will lead you to some picturesque spots!
I hope you enjoy this list of the best hidden gems in Seoul!
Seoul has so much more to offer than what you can see on the surface! When visiting this incredible city, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for some special views.
Which one of these hidden gems are you most excited to see? Do you know other secret travel spots in Seoul? Let us know in the comments below!
If you also want to explore areas around Seoul, we recommend you to read our article about the best things to do in Nami island.
Make sure you also read our blog post about the best hidden gems in South Korea!