Once described as a pearl of a city awash in a sea of mountains, Seoul still is as illustrious as ever. Especially at night!

Many metropolitan areas are called “cities that do not sleep” but surely if there was a city that matched this description it would be Seoul.

From all-night saunas and PC bangs (internet cafés and gaming centers) to other events both mysterious and exotic, Seoul will keep you awake for all the best reasons.

So in this Seoul travel blog post, we share the best things to do in Seoul at night. 

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Gangnam by night Seoul South Korea

Gangnam (Seoul) at night

What to do in Seoul at night

Seoul travel essentials

Don’t lose time upon arrival at the airport and order your Korea travel sim or portable wifi device in advance so that it’s ready and waiting for you at the airport when you arrive.

Here you will find more info on what to do in Seoul. If you are looking for a complete 2 to 5 Seoul itinerary, click here. Here you will find a 4 day Seoul itinerary. Here you will find the best day and weekend trips from Seoul.

We prefer to stay in hotels while we are traveling. Here you will find a complete list of the best places to stay in Seoul. However, Seoul has a lot of nice Airbnb’s too. If this is the first time you will be staying in an Airbnb, you can enjoy a great discount by signing up through this link.

If you are looking for a Korea itinerary, click here. Here you will find a list of organized Korean tours.

Most signs and items are in Korean, English and one or two other languages. But certainly, try to brush up on some Korean! People really appreciate the effort and are accommodating and helpful, always willing to lend a hand to foreign travelers. Many Koreans also speak some English and will do their best to help you, but a little bit of Korean goes a long way!

Tipping is not part of Korean culture, though some bars may have tip jars.  Feel free to leave some change in a tip jar but don’t take extra cash out of your wallet unless somebody stated that it is fine to do so as in all other cases it can be seen as rude.

Since foreign credit and debit cards don’t always work, we advise you to always carry some spare cash.

Check out our South Korea travel guide here. 

 

Last but not least, make sure you have travel insurance.

 

Go see a performance

        If you are wondering where to go in Seoul at night for a fun night out, take a look at the below-mentioned performances.

        All of them are non-verbal, meaning there isn’t much dialogue in the show. That makes them easy to follow even for foreigners who don’t speak Korean.

        All the below shows are a lot of fun and are suitable for the whole family. 

        The shows can be crowded so we advise you to book your tickets well in advance.

         

        Watch a Nanta performance

        Nanta is Korea’s longest-running theater show. The show is a high energy performance big on personality and huge on laughs.

        It’s one of the best Seoul night activities suitable for the whole family. 

        The performance is based on traditional Korean music, with percussion and other melodies coinciding with a story about chefs that try to prepare a wedding banquet, while continuously being thwarted by the incompetent nephew of their manager.

        It also involves acrobatics and martial arts and even at times invites spectators from the audience up on stage.  So be prepared to be part of the show!

        Nanta is performed at the Myeongdong Theater in Seoul and in the Hongdae Theater center. 

        Myeongdong Theater

        Address: Unesco Building 3rd floor, 50-14, Myeongdong 2 Ga, Jung-gu, Seoul

        How to get there

        Bus iconGo to Euljiro 1-ga station on Subway Line 2, take exit 6 and walk 200 meters. The theater can be found on the third floor of the same building featuring an Innisfree at the ground level.

        Bus iconTake Subway Line 4 to Myeongdong Station. Take exit 6 and walk straight for 200 meters following Myeongdong Jungang street. Take a left when you see the “Teenieweenie” clothing store and walk straight about 50 meters, once you find the Innisfree at the first floor, head up to the 3rd floor to find the theater!

        Hongdae Theater

        Address: B2F, 357-4, Seokyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul.

        How to get there

        Bus iconTake subway Line 2 to Hong-ik University station and leave from exit 9. Go straight about 120 meters and walk pass both McDonalds and SPAO. Keep following straight and take a left at the Beaknyeon Tojong Samgyetang restaurant. Keep going straight until you see a GS25 convenience store and take a left.

        The theater is located in a striking building with a yellow and white glass facade,  you can’t miss it!

        Check reviews and book: Nanta show tickets 
        Nanta Performance Seoul South Korea

        Many tourists go to a Nanta performance in Seoul. It’s one of the best things to do in Seoul at night.

        Jump show

        Jump is a martial arts show in a comic setting.

        The story is about a Korean family that needs to defend themselves from a band of thieves that are breaking into their house. Unfortunately for the thieves, the family members are trained, kungfu masters…

        This Jump show is a great combination of comedy, gymnastics and acrobatic skills. It’s a show for all ages and an easy to follow storyline, even if you don’t speak Korean. 

        Address: 3F Myungbo Art Hall, 47 Mareunnae-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul

        How to get there

        Bus iconFrom Euljiro3-ga Station (Subway Line 2, 3) Exit 8: Go straight for 1 min to arrive at Myungbo Art Hall 

        Bus iconFrom Chungmuro Station (Subway Line 3, 4) Exit 7: Go straight for 5 mins. Myungbo Art Hall is at the next 4-way intersection

         

        Check reviews and book: Jump Show Tickets 

         

        The Painters Show

        As you would come to expect,  the Painters show is all about painting.   

        The show combines visual effects, comedy, and dance. During this funny and interactive show, the 4 artists create around 10 art pieces using different techniques while dancing…

        The Painters show is suitable for young and old and is performed at the Jongno Theater and Seodaemun Theater. 

        Jongno Theater

        Address:Seoul Theater 5F, 13 Donhwamun-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea.

        How to get there

        Bus iconExit from Subway line 1, line 3 or line 5  at Jongno 3-ga Station. Proceed to exit 14 then turn right in front of Shinhan Bank and go straight for 67m

        Seodaemun Theater

        Address:58-1 Chungjeongno 3(sam)-ga, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

        How to get there

        Bus iconTake subway line 5 to Chungjeongno station and find Exit 7.  The theater can be seen as soon as you exit the station. 

        Check reviews and book: WORLD NOMADS 

         

        If you aren’t convinced of these shows, you will find a lot of other shows in Seoul on Klook: Shows and Performances Tickets 

         

        Han River Seoul South Korea

        Discover Seoul at night by making a Han river cruise.

        Take a cruise on the Han River

        The Han River is a wide, vast, majestic and beautiful body of water that runs through the capital.

        Cruising the Han river is a great way to discover Seoul in a comfortable way.

        Han river cruises provide authentic and delicious Korean food, views on the fabulous skyline and several of the city’s sights.  There’re are several different themed cruises.

        Although you can take day cruises we recommend you making the cruise at night since you will have an amazing view on the illuminated skyline. 

        One of the highlights of the evening cruises is also the rainbow fountain of the Banpo bridge. 

        On Saturdays, there’re additional cruises with live music and fireworks. 

        Address: Yeouido Dock, 290 Yeouidong-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul.

        How to get there

        Bus iconExiting Seoul Station (Line 5) from exit 3 continue towards Yeouido dock and walk for 10-15 minutes until you see the fabulous E-land Cruise ticket office.

        Read reviews and book: Han River Cruise Tickets 
        Bongeunsa temple Seoul

        Where to go in Seoul at night? Go watching the sun go down at the Bongeunsa Temple.

        Watch the sun go down at the Bongeunsa Temple

        With all of Seoul’s modern and material hustle and bustle, one may be surprised to learn of the many historic and wondrous Buddhist temples Seoul has.

        For those seeking a sunset that is a one-of-a-kind experience, check out the Bongeunsa Temple, known for its famous statue of the Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of the future who is yet to arrive.

        At night, as the sun drops, the temple’s many lanterns come alight.

        During Buddha’s Birthday, the lanterns and lights are even more impressive, featuring characters and images from Korean and Buddhist myth and lore.

        The green surroundings of the temple are in sharp contrast with the modern urban high rises of the capital.

        Address: 531, Bongeunsa-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

        How to get there

        Bus iconTake Subway Line 9 to Bongeunsa, and take exit 1 where you will find the entrance gate. It is across from COEX in Gangnam!

        Get an overview of the city from some skyscrapers

        From atop North Seoul Tower and Seoul Sky Observatory, you can take in the city and see for yourself, the beauty of this vast city.

        Seoul, Seoul Tower Love locks, South Korea

        The view over the city from Namsan mountain at the bottom of N Seoul tower

        N Seoul Tower

        N Seoul Tower is located on Namsan mountain.  You can either hike to the top of the mountain or take the cable car.  Once there you can ride an elevator to the observation deck at the top of the tower.

        Although the views from the N Seoul tower are already worth the hike up during the day, they definitely become spectacular when the sun has set and the city lights are illuminated.

        The views from the mountaintop are really good but from the viewing platform of the N Seoul Tower, they’re truly breathtaking. 

        The observatory is free for those who have advanced restaurant reservations at the N Grill. 

        To make the most of your visit to the observation platform pick a day with clear skies.  On foggy days the views from the tower are limited. 

        Keep in mind that a lot of people come here to watch the sunset, so it can be busy around this time.

         

        Address: 105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan 2(i)ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.

        How to get there

        Car traffic has been restricted to the summit. You can hike, take a shuttle bus or, as we did, take the subway and the cable car to get to the tower.

        Bus iconOne can grab the Namsan Sunhwan shuttle bus number 02, 03 and 05 from a few different locations depending on where you are. Shuttle bus No. 02 stops at Chungmuro station exit 2 and Dongguk University station exit 6. Bus 03 can be found at Seoul Sation exit 9, Itaweon Station exit 4 and Hangangjin Station exit 2. Finally, bus 05 can be caught at Myeongdong Station exit 3 and Chungmuro Station exit 2 in front of Daehan Cinema.

        The price to ride is 1,200 won in cash or 1,100 won for those with a transportation card (which you can grab at convenience stores and charge with cash there too!).

        Bus iconNearest subway station: Myeongdong Station, Exit #3. When leaving the station head South. 

        What to do in Seoul at night? Go watch the spectacular night views at the Seoul Sky Observatory at Lotte World.

        The Seoul Sky Observatory at Lotte World

        The Seoul Sky Observatory is the world’s highest glass-floored observation deck located in the famous Lotte tower. To reach the observation platform you will have to take one of the fastest elevators in the world.

        The observation platform has floor to ceiling windows all-around so you get a breathtaking 360-degree view of Seoul.  The views are impressive during the day and truly spectacular at night. 

        Read reviews and book: Seoul Sky Observatory Tickets 

        Address: Lotte World Tower B1F-B2F, 300 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul.

        How to get there

        You can take two different metro routes right to the tower to view this magnificent building and the city below.

        Bus iconTake Line 2 and stop at Jamsil Station, leave the station using exit 1 or 2.

         

        Bus iconTake subway line 8 to Jamsil and leave through exit 10 or 11.

         

        Take a guided night tour

        Seoul, being a city that truly never sleeps, offers a whole host of different guided night-time tours.

        Each one is unique and caters to particular interests and tastes.

        Let’s take a look at a few fun night tours!

        DongDaemun Design Plaza Seoul South Korea

        The futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul

        City Night Tour

        The City Night Tour is an English speaking guided tour that takes you to 4 places where Seoul is at its best at night. 

        You will stop at Namsangol Hanok Village, which showcases traditional Korean culture, the N Seoul Tower, the Seoul Skygarden and the futuristic building of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza.

        From the N Seoul Tower, you will see, amongst other things, the wonderful skyline. The Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the last stop of the tour, is a futuristic landmark in the center of the city. It’s beautifully illuminated at night and guarantees many beautiful photos.

        A pick-up and drop-off at your hotel is included in this tour.

         

        More information and booking:Seoul city night tour 

        Seoul Ghost walking Tour

        The Seoul Ghost walking Tour is not for the faint of heart!

        Korean culture is full of stories of vengeful ghosts and unjust crimes that have gone unpunished. This tour is a collection of the strange, the macabre and the bizarre!

        It takes you along several places where these stories still live.  You come across haunted places and will visit sites of real historical crimes and ghastly locations. Don’t chicken out!

        The standard tour is w42,400 and true daredevils can opt for the extended tour which costs w48,100! Tours that run Tuesday through Friday meet at Seodaemun Station Line 5 exit 4 and the weekend tours meet at Anguk Station Line 3 at exit 2.

        More information and booking:Seoul city night tour

        Seoul Pub Crawl Tour

        The Seoul Pub Crawl Tour is a bit of a different experience compared to the ghost tour!

        This night tour is a fun and vivacious way to explore Korean party and club culture by checking out 3 bars and 1 trendy club right in Hongdae and Itaewon, both big party areas for expats, students, travelers, and anyone and everyone!

        No need to worry about snapping phone pictures either, a professional photographer will be on the scene to snag all the best pictures from the night (that you may not remember!).

        This tour is great for those who want to make new friends and those who want to party in an unfamiliar city in a safe manner.  Your English speaking guide will only take you to the coolest places!

        More information and booking: Seoul Pub Crawl Tour 
        Korean Food South Korea

        A taste of Korea’s kitchen

        Korean Night Dining Tour

        The Korean Night Dining Tour is for night-owls with big appetites!  Prepare to eat, drink and be merry.

        Korean culture has many traditions, games, phrases, stories, and etiquette for eating and drinking and a dining tour is the perfect way to experience all of the above. Your experienced guide will take you to several places famous among Korean locals.

        During your Korean Night Dining Tour, you will taste a score of different delicious Korean dishes such as Korean barbecue to kimchi-jeon. There’re are culinary delights from spicy to sweet to umami, this tour is a real treat for your taste buds.

        This tour can either be booked with alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks.

        Highly recommended to people who want to experience Korean restaurants you may not find on your own.

        More information and booking: Korean Night Dining Tour 

        Go Night Shopping

        Seoul is alive day and night so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that shops are open till late. 

        Here we share the best places to go night shopping in Seoul.

        COEX Mall

        Do you want to grab some extra souvenirs or luxury goods?

        COEX Mall is the largest shopping mall in Asia, and you certainly won’t have a problem being entertained here!

        If you’re tired of shopping you can relax in the many restaurants or the spa, spend some time in the library or visit the COEX Aquarium, one of the largest of South Korea.  It houses more than 650 different species. 

        This mall is the largest underground shopping mall and is a great place to find both domestic and foreign luxury goods.

         

        Address: COEX Mall 06164 513 Yeongdeung-daero, Gangnam-gu.

        How to get there

        Bus iconTake Subway Line 2 to Samseong Station and leave via exit 6.

         

        If you’re looking for modern and chic fashion then COEX is your place.

        Those who are looking for a more traditional and authentic shopping experience are better to avoid the slick mall and head to one of Seoul’s night markets.

        Those markets are heavenly places to hunt for souvenirs and to taste the local street food.

        These are a few different night markets for you to peruse! 

        Be sure to bring some cash. Street food vendors often only accept cash and you don’t want to miss the delicious Tteokbokki and all the other fried goodies!

        Myeongdong Catholic Cathedral Seoul South Korea

        Myeongdong Cathedral at night

        Myeongdong night market

        Myeongdong offers all sorts of affordable and cool souvenirs and keepsakes as well as a whole range of fried, steamed and boiled snacks.

        Oh and don’t forget to peruse the cosmetics shops all around, too! There’s a reason K-beauty is world-renowned for their cosmetics!

        How to get there

        Bus iconTake Subway Line 4 to Myeong-dong station and head on out exits 6 or 7 to be greeted by sounds and smells that are out of this world.

        Seoul Bamdokkaebi night market

        This international cultural market, sponsored by the city of Seoul, occurs on Fridays and Saturdays running from the month of March through October.  The market is organized against the beautiful backdrop of the Hangang River. 

        Handmade accessories from all over the world, unique performances, souvenirs, and exotic food are yours to experience.

        The admission to the market is free and all the performances are free as well.

        Address: Bamdokkaebi market can be found at 330, Yeouidong-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu.

        How to get there

        Bus iconTake Seoul Subway Line 5 to Gwanghwamun Station.

         

        Namdaemun market

        From kitchenware to hiking gear to clothing,  toys and even traditional Korean art. You can find all of this and much more at the traditional Namdaemun market.  The shops are usually grouped. Some of the specialized streets are camera street, kids street, souvenir street and there is, of course, the foodie alley with all kinds of finger-licking good street food.

        The market counts over 10,000 shops and is alive day and night.  Some shops are even open 24/7.

        We visited Namdaemun both at day and at night and found that the atmosphere after dark was much more pleasant.

        Address: You can find Namdaemun at 21, Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Jung-gu.

        How to get there

        Bus iconTake Subway Line 4 to Heoyeon Station and leave using exits 4, 5 or 6 to reach this fabulous and timeless marketplace.

        Seoul, Gwangjang market, South Korea

        Gwangjang market

        Gwangjang Market

        The late Anthony Bourdain visited Gwangjang market multiple times for several of his award-winning food shows. 

        This market has an impressive range of food stalls.

        You may be reluctant to try the food due to the crowds and the heat but once you taste some of the food you won’t regret and you will understand why Anthony Bourdain features this market in his shows.

        The market also houses some other non-food-related shops, notably shops specializing in mother-of-pearl handicrafts, a Korean specialty.

        But for those who want to taste true local delicacies, do not, we repeat, do not pass up on visiting Gwangjang!

        Address: Gwangjang is found at 88, Changgyeongggung-ro, Jongno-gu.

        How to get there

        Bus iconOne can arrive at this food paradise by taking the subway to Jognno-5 station. From here head out exit 8 or exit 9. Follow the steam and the heavenly aromas.

        Hit the spa

        There’s nothing wrong with a little rest and relaxation, especially in a city so busy and energetic as Seoul!

        Jjimjilbang or saunas are pretty plentiful all around Korea, but if you want to experience a sauna like you have never experienced one before, you need to head to the Dragon Hill Spa in Seoul. 

        It attracts both locals as well as foreigners.

        The spa is open 24/7, some Koreans even spend the night in this Jjimjilbang.

        The Dragon Hill Spa has hot pools, cold pools, whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas, and relaxation rooms.  Some of the facilities are gender-segregated and others are in unisex areas.

        The spa also offers several treatments.  Traditional deep scrub massages are said to hurt, but you’re sure to feel much more relaxed afterward.

        Upon your arrival in the spa you will receive sweat-clothes that you will need to wear in the unisex zones such as the restaurant. 

        Make sure to taste some of the delicious typical refreshments like sikye, a type of chilled rice beverage and hard-boiled eggs.

        The entry fee is w13,000, after 8 PM it increases to w16,000.

        Address: 40-712-dong, Jongno-gu

        How to get there

        Bus iconTake the Line 1 subway to Yongsan Station and use Exit 1 to find the spa!

         

        Read reviews and book your tickets in advance: Dragon Hill Spa Tickets 
        Seoul Cheonggyecheon river walk, South Korea

        The river walk along the Cheonggyecheon stream

        Walk along the Cheonggyecheon Stream

        Beautiful day or night, but with a special mystique at night when the lights of the surrounding skyline reflect off the meandering waters, the Cheonggyecheon stream is a romantic and serene place to take a stroll.

        Visit the Cheonggyecheeon Museum to learn about the painful and tumultuous history that Cheonggyecheon bared witness to, from the Korean War to the struggle to rebuild post-war Korea.

        This is a sight not to miss and an experience you can share with many other young Korean couples that come to celebrate their love at the boardwalk.

        Every Saturday Starting at 5 PM food trucks will try to seduce you with their tasty snacks. (on Sunday the markets open at 4 PM) 

        Address: 03187, 37 Mugyo-ro, Jongno-gu.

        How to get there

        Bus iconTake Subway Line 1 and leave via exit 4. The stream is 5 minutes away on foot.

         

        Bus iconYou can also go to Euljiro Station on subway line 2 and take exits 2 or 3, as well as Dongdaemun Station on subway Line 4 where you would take exits 5, 6 or 8.

        Visit a Noraebang or PCbang 

        No trip to Korea is complete until one has visited a noraebang, also sometimes called a Karaoke Box, or PCbang.

        “Bang” in Korean means “room” and “norae” is song while PC just refers to computers!

        Both establishments are found quite numerous but two big ones to keep an eye on in Seoul are the Luxury Su Noraebang located at 367-4 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu in Hongdae and the Peak PC located at Nunhyeon-dong, 86-4 1F in Gangnam.

        Both these areas are vibrant places to check out the nightlife and finish the night singing songs in a room awash with retro-decor while your friends back you up on tambourine or with a massive state of the art headset. 

        Oh! And the food to enjoy? At a Noraebang the singing is usually accompanied by fruit platters, beer and soju ( a sort of Korean liquor). At PCrooms the bars are usually filled to the brim with energy drinks like Hotsix and cup ramen are the culinary treats of choice.

        Enjoy the Seoul nightlife

        Koreans work hard and they play just as hard, too.

        There is no limit to the clubs, bars, pubs and hot spots you can visit while you are in this futuristic city.

        Hongdae is the place to go for underground and indie music and performances. Located at a crossroads of universities this is the place where many students gather to drink and congregate.

        Itaewon is the place where you can mingle with foreign expats and American military (it is right by a big American army base).

        Recently Itaewon has been demonstrating a culinary renaissance with the arrival of many foreign bars, grills, and restaurants.  This is the place to go for those already missing food from back home or those who want to party with other English speaking people.

        Now as for Gangnam, this is the place to go for those who have a hefty amount of cash to throw around. That doesn’t mean you can’t party or drink on a budget, but in Gangnam or Apgujeong, the glitz and glamour are cranked up to 11, so keep an eye on your bank balance when you hit the trendy bars!

        Seoul NIghtlife South Korea

        Neon-lit streets in Seoul at night

        Night clubs and bars

        Koreans know how to throw a party.  Seoul has an electrifying nightlife and counts many famous clubs. Club Octagon is one, in particular, to aim to get into.

        Located in Gangnam and often times boasted as “the best club in Seoul” Octagon charges an entrance fee of w30,000 which includes a drink. The musical choices range from techno to hip-hop, depending on whether you are on the first or second floor of the club.

        There are VIP tables and seating which will set you back at least w500,000 (+/- 428 USD) so check your bank account before rolling high at this club!

        Address: 645, Nonhyeon-ro, Gangnam-gu, Club Octagon

        How to get there

        Bus iconRide the Line 7 subway to Hakdong Station and use Exit 4.  Continue by walking straight until you reach the New Hilltop Hotel. Club Octagon can be found at the basement level.

        Conclusion

        After a day exploring Seoulyou will undoubtedly need some relaxation in the evening.  You can relax in the spa or treat your taste buds to a delicious meal at the Gwangjang market.

        Be sure to take it a bit easier on 1 day so that you can also discover the vibrant nightlife of the city after dark.  

        Come and discover Seoul and all that Korea has to offer. From shopping in Gangnam to history at Gwanghwamun, Seoul has it all. So, what are you waiting for? Come and discover this dazzling city today and make sure to stay out after dark!

        Categories: South Korea