10 Tempting Ways to Celebrate the New Year in Seoul
Was 2022 the fastest year on record, or am I just getting old? Wow – this one passed in a literal flash. Fortunately, it was a pretty good flash, and I’m ready to usher in a fresh New Year in Seoul. Are you?
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- where to countdown in Seoul
- where to see fireworks for the new year in Seoul
- the best places to watch the first sunrise of the year
- how to get around on New Year Eve’s in Seoul
- what to wear to be comfortable
- which areas are best to stay after a night of celebrating in Seoul
Jump to what you want.
- 1 Celebrating the New Year in Seoul
- 2 New Year in Seoul | Where to Countdown
- 3 Parties to Ring in the New Year in Seoul
- 4 New Year’s Day in Seoul | Watch the Sunrise
- 5 New Year in Seoul | Essential Info
Celebrating the New Year in Seoul
Ringing in the New Year in Seoul at year’s end doesn’t hold the same cultural significance as Seollal, but that doesn’t mean people don’t head out in force to celebrate the transition from one calendar year to another.
If you should find yourself celebrating New Year’s Eve in Seoul, you’re in luck… because there’s an incredible variety of things to do to usher in a brand new year. From fireworks to sunrise festivals, there’s a ton of different ways to bring in the New Year in Seoul.
So whether your vibe is a quiet night with friends, a huge party, or time spent with the family, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Read on to discover the best parties, performances and events to attend in Seoul to countdown to 2023
*I’ll be updating this article as new events are announced, so check back closer to New Year’s Eve for updated info… Korea tends to post info last minute.
New Year in Seoul | Where to Countdown
As midnight approaches, New Year’s Eve countdowns will be happening all over the city. Here’s some suggestions for where to countdown in Seoul.
Bosingak Bell-Ringing Ceremony | 보신각타종행사
Address: 54, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 종로 54 (관철동)
If you want to ring in the new year (literally), in the most traditional of ways, head over to Jongno and listen to the Bosingak Bell being rung 33 times by 16 different people, including the Mayor of Seoul. It symbolizes prosperity and good luck for everyone.
The ceremony starts at 11PM and ends around 1:30AM. Roughly 100,000 people head to Bosingak for this New Year in Seoul event, so be prepared for some crowds, getting there and back.
If you prefer to avoid the masses, this ceremony is also televised, so you can watch from the comfort of your home or hotel room.
Seoul Light at DDP | 서울라이트
Festival Dates: December 17th, 2022 – January 1st, 2023
Address:281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 중구 을지로 281 (을지로7가)
Seoul Light is a large-scale media light event that takes place multiple times a year at at Dongdaemun Design Plaza. The theme for this year is Universe – appropriately imagining that a spaceship has landed in the centre of Seoul.
On New Year’s Eve in Seoul, a special media art performance and countdown is planned starting from 11:50PM on December 31st.
Regular shows run from 19:00 – 22:00, with special shows to celebrate Christmas in Seoul scheduled from December 22nd – 25th. It’s free to attend Get more details here.
Countdown Fantasy Seoul 2022-2023
Dates: December 30th – 31st, 2022
Venue: Yes24 Live Hall
Celebrate the new year in Seoul at Countdown Fantasy. Performers include the likes of N.Flying, Lucy, Cnema, Lacuna, Silica Gel, Surl, Thornapple, and Soran, over the course of 2 days at Yes24 Live Hall.
Lotte World Tower Fireworks
There’s an incredible display of fireworks off the Lotte World Tower in Jamsil, to mark the coming of the New Year in Seoul. This is the tallest building in Korea, with 123 stories, and it’s truly a sight to behold. Make no mistake about it. This will be dazzling.
Directions: Jamsil subway on Line 2, Exit 1 or 2
Countdown Seoul 2023
In typical years (like when there’s not a global pandemic), there’s a huge K-pop concert and party at Times Square in Yeongdeungpo to countdown the new year in Seoul. I’ll update this if this event goes ahead.
COEX Mall Fireworks
*For 2022, there will be a drone show using 600 different drones. Show starts at 11:57PM on December 31st, 2021 outside Coex Mall.
2021 ends with a bang at Coex Mall, with a countdown to 2022 and fireworks to mark the New Year in Seoul. Head there earlier in the day to enjoy the Coex Winter Festival. Events begin at noon and include the “Eat the Seoul” food truck market, daily musical performances on the DaOn Stage, and an ice skating rink at K-Pop Square.
Directions: Samseong Station on Line 2, Exit 6 OR Bongeunsa Station on Line 9, Exit 7
Parties to Ring in the New Year in Seoul
Seoul is known for having an incredible nightlife, so New Year’s Eve in Seoul promises to be truly extraordinary. If your idea of celebrating equals DJs, dancing, parties and music, check out these events happening for the new year in Seoul.
2023 Gatsby New Year’s Eve Countdown Party
When: December 31st, 2022 – January 1st, 2023, 21:00 – 3:00
Where: Some Sevit | 세빛섬 – 2085-14, Olympic-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 서초구 올림픽대로 2085-14
Put on your best Gatsby themed clothing and bring in the new year in Seoul at one of the city’s most stunning and iconic venues. After a 3 year pandemic hiatus, the Gatsby Party is FINALLY back for New Year’s Eve in Seoul 2023!
Prepare for an excellent night of performances, dancing, and prize giveaways, before counting down to the new year.
I don’t know about you, but personally, I can’t think of a more beautiful place to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Seoul than the Some Sevit Floating Islands at Banpo Hangang Park.
DISCOUNTED EARLY BIRD II TICKETS ON SALE NOW | Tickets to the Gatsby New Year’s Eve Countdown at Some Sevit Island are available at a discounted early bird price now. Tickets include entrance, unlimited happy hour drinks, and finger food. Check full details here.
New Year’s Day in Seoul | Watch the Sunrise
From December 31st to January 1st, thousands of people are standing on high mountains or lined up on a coast in the bitter cold waiting for the sun to rise. Welcoming a new year this way, is one of the most popular things to do for the New Year in Seoul because Koreans believe that wishes made while witnessing the first sunrise of the year, are more powerful.
Achasan Sunrise Festival (아차산 해맞이축제)
The Achasan Sunrise Festival is a good one to visit if you don’t want to travel too far out of Seoul. It’s easy to access using public transportation, and it takes just 15 minutes to hike up to the viewing spot.
Be warned though – this is one of the more popular places to visit for the New Year in Seoul. Last year, 40,000 visitors attended.
If Achasan is too far from you, you can check out Haneul Park or Maebongsan Mountain to make a wish for the New Year in Seoul.
Gyeongpo Sunrise Festival (경포해맞이축제)
Gyeongpo Beach on Korea’s East Coast is one of the top places to watch the first, most powerful sunrise of the year. At the festival, you can watch fireworks, visit Gyeongpodae Pavilion, and participate in various cultural festivities, before the break of dawn.
Directions: Take the KTX or a long distance bus to Gangneung, then transfer to bus #202 to Gyeongpodae.
Sky Kingdom 2020 Countdown Party at Dragon City
This New Year in Seoul Countdown Party is taking place at the King’s Vacation, on the 31st floor of Sky Kingdom in Dragon City in Yongsan. Dress to impress, and enjoy some of the best views of Seoul from the Skywalk and floor to ceiling windows.
Tickets are 50,000 won, and the party runs from 10PM – 3AM. Open bar and free valet parking are INCLUDED with your ticket purchase. There will be live performances from hip-hop rappers, Vandal & Absin, dance performances from MAV Entertainment, and a special performance from Sue Son. DJ line-up includes: DJs Choi, Emess, Daisy, Caleb and Ara. Check tickets and more details here.
STAY OVERNIGHT ON NYE
Seoul Dragon City is the largest hotel multiplex in Asia, with 1700 rooms, incredible facilities and top notch service. If you’d like to stay overnight (always a good idea on NYE), these are the hotels that make up Dragon City Seoul.
> Grand Mercure Ambassador Hotel and Residences is the first luxury serviced residence in Korea. These rooms and suites have full kitchen facilities, incredible views, and access to an indoor golf course, sauna, restaurants, lounge, and fitness centre Dog-friendly!
> Novotel Suites Ambassador Seoul offers 286 modern, upscale rooms, an executive lounge with panoramic Han River views, swimming pool, and an ideal location near Yongsan Station.
> Novotel Ambassador Seoul has a 924 square metre health facility, including pool, fitness centre, and saunas. Rooms have wonderful views of Namsan and the Han River.
> Ibis Styles Ambassador is the most affordable hotel in Dragon City, but you still have access to a Wellness Centre, the incredible Sky Kingdom Entertainment complex, and rooms that are decorated around 4 different game themes, including chess, puzzles, arcade, and billiards.
Clubs to Dance Till 2023 for New Year in Seoul
If you’re more of a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person, you could check out any of the big clubs, lounges, or hotels in Seoul. All will be having special festivities to mark the dawn of the new decade.
*2022 is a crapshoot AGAIN. I’ll update as soon as more info becomes available.
Clubs to Celebrate New Years Eve in Seoul
- Byebye 2019, Hello 2020! at Cakeshop Seoul
- Pocket Seoul
- 2020 All Stars at Faust
- Happy New Year, 1980 at Glam Lounge and Prost
- Playground Rooftop Cafe and Bar
- NYE Masquerade Party at Hustle
- Club A.O.R Crazy Last Night
- 2019 New Year’s Eve Rock N Roll Countdown Party at Club FF
Hotels to Countdown to 2023 in Seoul
- Seoul 2020 Countdown Party at JW Marriot Hotel Seoul and the Margeaux Grill
- 2020 New Years Eve Party at Dragon Hill Lodge
- Luxury hotels like the Intercontinental Seoul COEX, Grand Hyatt Seoul, Conrad Seoul and Walkerhill are sure to have some kind of event happening for New Year Eve in Seoul. Check for rooms on Booking.com.
DON’T WANT TO STRESS ABOUT TRAVEL ON NYE?
Watch the fireworks and countdown to 2020 at COEX Mall, then head to Korea’s East Coast and make a wish on the first sunrise of the year at Gyeongpo Beach. Make it stress-free with this tour that includes all transport to and from COEX and the beach.
New Year in Seoul | Essential Info
Getting around on New Year’s Eve
Seoul Metro and most bus routes end just around midnight, so figuring out how to get around on New Year Eve in Seoul is one of the biggest concerns people have… especially if you plan to celebrate right into 2020.
Fortunately, there are a few options, that don’t involve desperately chasing down high-demand taxis, in the freezing cold.
You can take the Seoul Subway until 2AM. While there hasn’t been a formal announcement about this yet, Seoul subway hours have typically been extended until around 2AM on New Years Eve.
Take an “Owl” Bus
Owl bus routes run after midnight. Fares are typically double what they are during the daytime. During New Year Eve in Seoul, 4 additional Owl routes are being added. They’ll run until 3:30AM and connect with other typical night bus routes. Find more info here.
What to wear on New Year’s Eve in Seoul
If you plan to be outside for any length of time, be sure to bundle up. Seoul’s weather has a way of sneaking up on you. It feels okay at first, but once it seeps into your bones, getting warm is pretty much impossible. It’s intensely cold in Korea during winter, especially after the sun goes down.
I recommend thermals or heattechs, hot packs in your pockets, warm gloves, thick socks, hat or earmuffs, and a parka of some kind. If it’s a windy evening, you can also consider a scarf or mask to cover your face. (You can pick facemasks up in any convenience store or pharmacy). Essentially, you should try to cover as much of your exposed skin as possible, when you’re outside.
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