Seoul at Night | 21 Awesome Things for Insomniacs to do After Dark [UPDATED 2022]
Seoul is a city that wakes up late. She’s groggy, confused and wearing last night’s make-up. She gets up grudgingly, desperate for an iced americano fix – slave to the monotonous schedule of a city full of workaholics that lays before her.
Why? Because Seoul at night is a pulsing, breathing, living thing of beauty full of sparkly lights, noisy restaurants and crowds of people. She literally never goes to sleep, and the options are endless.
Jump to what you want.
- 1 Awesome Things to do in Seoul at Night
- 1.1 Go hiking in Seoul at night
- 1.2 Korea Travel Essentials
- 1.3 Seoul at Night | Traditional Night Markets
- 1.4 Seoul at Night | Hangang Parks
- 1.5 Seoul at Night | Best Night Tours
- 1.6 Seoul at Night | Sunsets from Above
- 1.7 Seoul at Night | Korean palaces
- 1.8 Seoul at Night | Explore Dongdaemun
- 1.9 Seoul Nightlife | Party the Night Away at a Seoul Club
- 1.10 Seoul at Night | Low-key Seoul Nightlife
- 1.11 Seoul at Night: Essential Info and FAQs
Awesome Things to do in Seoul at Night
Seoul’s nightlife is legendary because it’s one of the world’s only true 24 hour cities. From buzzing night markets, to massive clubs, to late night nature jaunts, you’ll have an absolute blast discovering just how much there is to do in Seoul at night.
To get you started, here are 21 places to go in Seoul after dark – from insomniac travel bloggers who love the city, and night owl expats that call her home.
Go hiking in Seoul at night
If you visit Korea, and fail to go hiking, you’d be missing out on a passionate national past time. A full 70 percent of the country is mountainous, and the hikes around Seoul, not surprisingly, are the busiest.
Hikes on the city’s most popular mountains and trails are notoriously crowded, but go hiking in Seoul at night instead, and you’ll find the solitude nature intended.
For all hikes in Seoul at night, there are a few things to keep in mind. Gates for national parks, like Bukhansan, close around 4PM, so hiking there after dark is at your own peril. Also, the Seoul subway stops running around midnight. Taxis in Seoul are super cheap though, and there are some 24 hour bus routes.
Here are a few popular places to go hiking in Seoul at night, but do a little research, and you’ll find a ton more.
Hanyangdoseong (Seoul Fortress Wall) | 서울 한양도성
Seoul is hurtling so quickly into the future, sometimes it’s hard to believe it actually has a long and ancient past. Walking next to the remnants of Hanyangdoseong – a 14th Century, 18-km long Seoul fortress wall at night is a captivating reminder.
There are several different starting points and routes for a hike in Seoul at night along the Fortress Wall. Most will give you stunning views of traditional gates and modern Seoul ablaze with lights along the way. Check out all the options here.
TIP | The night views from Naksan Park, Palgakjeong on Eunbongsan Mountain, and Yongyangbong Peak are some of the best in Seoul. Explore them on this professionally guided tour that includes transport between locations. Sign up for a tour to see 3 of the best night views in Seoul here.
Gwanaksan | 관악산
632-metre tall Gwanaksan sits on the southern boundary of Seoul. It has a few gorgeous temples and marvellous views of the cityscape below. It’s also incredibly convenient to get to using public transport, so it’s one of the busiest mountains in Korea.
There are multiple routes up and down the mountain, but for a hike in Seoul at night, stick to easier paths, rather than scrambling dangerously up rocks. Start near Seoul National University subway station on the west side of Gwanaksan, and descend near Gwacheon Station in the east (or vice versa).
More info here.
Korea Travel Essentials
Wifi and SIM Cards
Money-Saving Transit and Transport Passes
Incheon Airport Transfers
City and Attraction Passes
Seoul at Night | Traditional Night Markets
Want to know where to go in Seoul at night for Korean street food, local colour and some of the best shopping in the city? Get a window into a traditional way that Seoulites spend the night by visiting one of the markets that can be found all over the city. Many of them are open into the wee hours of the morning.
Namdaemun Market | 남대문시장
Address: 21, Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 중구 남대문시장4길 21
If you’re exploring Seoul at night, no visit is complete until you’ve entered the bedlam of Namdaemun Market. It’s the oldest and largest traditional market in Korea, and it’s open around the clock.
There are thousands of places to explore in the market’s many buildings, but I’d say the real charm of Namdaemun, lies in wandering the endless array of street stalls staffed by vendors pitching their wares at the top of their lungs.
Shop for clothes, accessories, housewares, plants, glasses, or pretty much anything else your heart desires. You can try your hand at bartering with skilled vendors, before taking a break at a much needed Korean food stall.
Prepare to get lost and jostled around though – this Seoul night market is huge and seriously crowded.
Gwangjang Market | 광장시장
Address: 88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 창경궁로 88
Gwangjang traditional market is considered by many to be one of the very best markets in Seoul. And its feature on Netflix’s South Korea episode of Street Food, has only made it busier. It’s open from 8:30 in the morning, but if you truly want to experience all the chaos of a Korean market, visit in Seoul at night.
If you’re hungry and need a fun place for dinner, check out Gwangjang Traditional Market in Seoul. It’s one of the oldest and largest markets in South Korea.
Walking through the area is sensory overload, as there’s Korean street food everywhere. There are rows and rows of vendors selling similar types of foods and lots of people eating and browsing. All you need to do is follow your nose to decide where to eat, sit down at the counter, and enjoy.
Since there are many food options, you can consider visiting more than one vendor for dinner. Gwangjang market food stalls serve common Korean street foods like gimbap (seaweed and rice roll), sundae (blood sausage), Korean tteokbokki (rice cake with spicy sauce), and bindaetteok (mung bean cake).
Besides eating, you can also shop in the market for household goods, bedding, furniture, clothing, and groceries.
Read more from Jackie Szeto and Justin Huynh at Life Of Doing.
TIP | Get insight into Seoul’s local culture and street food with a guided walking tour of Gwangjang Market, Chenggyecheon stream, Heunginjimun Gate, Seoul Fortress Wall, and Ihwa Mural Village. Join the walking tour here.
Bamdokkaebi Night Market | 밤도깨비 야시장
The Bamdokkabi Night Market started in 2015 with just1 location and 200,000 visitors, but quickly grew into one of the most popular things to do in Seoul at night. It’s regularly ranked as one of the top 10 attractions in Seoul, with millions of people visiting every year.
At Bamdokkaebi, you can shop for unique and handcrafted items from independent sellers, and fill your belly at one of the many food trucks at the festival. There are 6 locations across the city, with the most popular being at Banpo Hangang Park and Yeouido Hangang Park. For more details, check here.
Seoul at Night | Hangang Parks
There are 12 separate (but connected) Hangang Parks lining the Han River in Seoul. Your best bets for an incredible view of Seoul at night are at Banpo Hangang Park, and Yeouido Hangang Park.
For a unique experience, I recommend cycling between the Hangang Parks, checking out Seoul’s night views along the way.
Yeouido Hangang Park
Yeouido Hangang Park is one of the best places in Seoul to get an epic night view of the city’s skyscrapers. The 63 Building and IFC Seoul Complex form a magnificent skyline that looks even better after the sun has set.
This is a great place to feel the vibrancy of Seoul at night, with locals and tourists converging on the area for picnics and the Bamdokkaebi Night Market.
Be sure to get a photo of the city’s tourism slogan sculpture, “I Seoul U,” before you leave Yeouido Hangang Park.
RECOMMENDED TOUR | Get panoramic views of Seoul on a Han River Cruise, then explore the traditional and modern parts of Gangnam with visits to Bongeunsa Temple and COEX Aquarium. Hotel pick-up and drop-off included. Check availability of the Gangnam Tour + Hangang River Cruise here.
Cycle between both Hangang Parks
If you’re really ambitious, and fancy a little exercise, consider renting a bike and cycling from Banpo Hangang Park to Yeouido Hangang Park or vice versa. Cycling between Seoul’s Hangang Parks, is one of my absolute favourite night time activities in Seoul.
Bike paths are quieter, the whole city is brilliantly lit up, and there’s a certain solitude about those twilight hours that are perfect for the introvert visiting Seoul.
The bike rental outlets in the Hangang Parks demand that bicycles are returned by around 7:30PM, so borrow one at any of the Seoul Bike locations around the city instead. As an added bonus, you can return these bikes to ANY location, so if you’re tired, you don’t necessarily have to make a return trip.
BIKE TOUR | Seeing a city from the back of a bike is the one of best ways to truly experience it. Follow an english speaking guide around the streets of Seoul learning about the local culture and visiting popular sights on the unique tour. Sign up for a half day or whole day cycling tour here. Don’t want to pedal? Join an e-Bike tour instead.
Seoul at Night | Best Night Tours
My preferred travel style is to wander the streets of a new city independently, but there are a few tours that I try to take in every city I visit: a hop-on, hop-off bus tour and a local food tour.
Seoul City Night Bus Tour
Crossing the bridges over the Hangang River is always a thrill, but doing it from the top of an open-air double decker bus is exhilarating. This hop-on hop-off bus tour starts at Gwanghwamun Plaza and passes by top sights like the N Seoul Tower, Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain, Mapo Bridge, Seongsu Bridge, and more!
This is a great, affordable activity for families to enjoy together, but maybe only do it if you’re visiting in spring, summer or autumn. It’s COLD in Korea in winter.
Korean Night Dining Tour
In my opinion, a food tour is undoubtedly one of the best ways to get insight into local culture, meet new friends, and discover places you wouldn’t otherwise know about about.
In Seoul, this is doubly true. The city has a huge and overwhelming food scene, with many of the best places down small streets you’d never find yourself. Never mind the language barrier, deciphering the menu and how to order!
Join a night time food tour though and it’ll all be taken care of for you – plus you’ll get to enjoy some really mouthwatering food.
KOREAN NIGHT FOOD TOUR | Get in ma belly! On this food tour, you’ll visit 4 different restaurants, with a local guide who will introduce you to delicious dishes, dining customs, and a drinking game or two. Join a guided food and drink tour in Seoul here.
Dark Side of Seoul Ghost Walking Tour
The Dark Side of Seoul Ghost Tour is one of the most unique activities to join in Seoul at night. It’s perfect for those interested in the macabre side of things, true crime enthusiasts, or anyone wanting to get a little freaked out… in a good way.
On this tour, you’ll wander the creepy side streets and hidden alleyways of Seoul, with an experienced guide who will fill you in on the gory details of Seoul’s 600 year old history. These ghoulish tales are all historically accurate, which only makes things even more haunting if you ask me!
SEOUL AT NIGHT GHOST TOUR | Eerie backalley streets, ghoulish stories, and paranormal places await you on this spooky walking tour of Seoul at night. Hear creepy tales of bloody massacres and true crime from Seoul’s 600 year old history, as you wander hidden alleys in the dark. Get spooked on a walking tour of Seoul’s haunted streets here.
Seoul at Night | Sunsets from Above
During the day, Seoul can look like a mass of concrete blocks, but as the sun sets, it transforms into a neon spectacle of lights. From a perch high above the city, you’ll get a real sense of just how big this mega-city is.
Seoul Sky Observatory at Lotte World Tower
Address: 300, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 송파구 올림픽로 300
Seoul Sky Observatory takes up the top 7 floors of the Lotte World Tower – Korea’s tallest skyscraper. From its lofty 555-metre height, you’ll see panoramic views of the entire city laid out before you in every single direction. Head there around sunset on a clear day, and watch the magical lights of Seoul at night, illuminate the city.
DISCOUNTED SEOUL SKY ADMISSION TICKETS | Lotte World Tower is the tallest building in Korea, with incredible views from the Seoul Sky Observatory on floors 117 to 123. Grab discounted admission tickets for Seoul Sky Observatory here.
N Seoul Tower on Namsan Mountain
Address: 105, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 용산구 남산공원길 105
Aim to reach the top of Namsan Mountain by sunset, so you can watch the N Seoul Tower come to life. You’ll know how good the air quality is in Seoul by what colour the tower is. Blue means that all is well in the city, green signals that you should be cautious and probably wear an air pollution mask, and red is just plain bad.
Be sure to check out the thousands upon thousands of love locks that have been placed all around Namsan and the N Seoul Tower by couples declaring their eternal love for each other.
It’s a relatively easy trek up to the top, but if you’d prefer, you can take the N Seoul Tower cable car, or an electric bus to the peak.
DISCOUNTED N SEOUL TOWER ADMISSION TICKETS | The N Seoul Tower is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Seoul, and it’s very affordable. You don’t have to head up to the N Seoul Tower to enjoy the views, but if you want to, be sure to get discounted admission tickets for N Seoul Observatory in advance here.
Seoul at Night | Korean palaces
Seoul has five main palaces and the most popular to see are Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung. Gorgeous during the day, there is something more intimate and beautiful about them if you see them in Seoul at night.
Throughout the year, the palaces are opened at various times for night viewing. The main halls are lit from within and to make the ambiance even more special, traditional performances are staged throughout the complexes.
From spring to autumn, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the lights in the crisp spring air, warm summer nights or in the autumn breezes. If dressed in a traditional Korean Hanbok, attendees can also enter for free.
It’s a fabulous way to experience Seoul at night in a more historical and traditional manner. Read more about visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace at night here.
Seoul at Night | Explore Dongdaemun
Seoul’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza is iconic at any time of the day, but at night, it really comes alive. Here’s what to do around the DDP after the sun goes down.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza | Seoul Light and Garden of Light
Address: 281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 중구 을지로 281 (을지로7가)
The selfie hotspot at the DDP LED Rose Garden may have permanently closed in 2019, but it’s been replaced by something equally as riveting to see in Seoul at night.
Seoul Light is a massive media facade festival that projects images onto the surface of the DDP’s curvy architecture. Designed by both Korean and international artists, it began in 2019, and has already welcomed over a million visitors. I’ve personally gone to Seoul Light a few times, and it is completely stunning.
If you miss the event itself, you can still head around to the back of DDP to check out 100 2-metre tall LED trees in the “Garden of Light.” This is a permanent exhibition, so you can see it anytime.
Shop all night at Dongdaemun Shopping Complex
Address: 266, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 종로 266
When you travel to Seoul, it’s easy to hit 10,000 steps on your pedometer every day. But this sleepless city offers an exciting nightlife that makes it too tempting for all you night owls to rest in your hotel room at night. For a serious shopaholic like me, late-night shopping in Dongdaemun is one of my favourite ways to enjoy Seoul at night.
Dongdaemun is a huge shopping district with 26 shopping malls and 30,000 shops. Even if you’re not a shopper, visiting Dongdaemun is quite the experience to feel Seoul’s restless energy at night. This shopping town operates day and night. Although overnight shopping is geared towards wholesale, you can still shop for clothing and accessories at a reasonable price (slightly higher than the wholesale price) at the Dongdaemun wholesale market.
Keep in mind that some malls require you to purchase at least three pieces, so consider bringing your girlfriends and sisters. Not all parts are open overnight; make sure to do your research before heading out.
Read more of Chloe Koh at Chloe’s Travelogue.
Seoul Nightlife | Party the Night Away at a Seoul Club
In a city that never sleeps, you really can party till dawn. Check out Seoul nightlife in Hongdae for a youthful vibe, Itaewon for international flavour, or Gangnam for a luxe experience.
Sure, Gangnam was made famous by Psy, but there’s much more to the area than Gangnam Style. There’s so many things to do in Gangnam at night, you’ll get frazzled just trying. Shop amid giant skyscrapers, hang out in a swanky lounge or wine bar, karaoke it up, or dance the night away in a Seoul club.
Some of the best Seoul nightlife is located south of the River, and one of the most famous clubs in Seoul is Club Octagon. It’s been ranked one of the top 10 dance clubs in the world on DJ Mag’s Top 100 Clubs list, from 2014 until 2020 (it temporarily closed in 2021 due to the pandemic).
It should be on every serious club goers list of places to check out when out in Seoul at night.
Start your night out in Itaewon with a meal at one of the Seoul restaurants that specializes in foreign food. Many of them are owned by expats and you’re more likely to find authentic versions of your favourite international meals here.
I recommend Morococo Cafe across the street in HBC for delicious and affordable Moroccan cuisine. It’s totally worth the small trek over. Once full of fuel, get your groove on till the wee hours at one of the popular Seoul clubs in Itaewon. Check out B-One, Soap Seoul, or Cakeshop.
PUB CRAWL | This is a great way to meet new people while experiencing Seoul’s incredible nightlife. The Pub Crawl includes entry to 4-5 different bars and clubs + free shots with an expert guide. Sign up for a night out in Seoul that you’ll never forget.
Hongdae is touted as a must visit if you’re interested in Seoul nightlife. Surrounded by a number of universities, you can expect lots of live music, street performers, bars, Seoul clubs and restaurants… along with thousands of people.
That is not an exaggeration. This district has blown up in recent years and it seems like ALL of the young and young at heart are flocking to the area on the western side of Seoul. Check out indie bands, K-pop dancers performing in the streets and then head to a restaurant for dinner, and then another place for drinks, followed by another spot for hangover stew.
Seoul nightlife is famous and there are vendors that never close, so you could stay out in the area from sundown to sun up. If you want to go hard Korean style, try to go all five rounds and last until sunrise. Good luck out there!
Seoul at Night | Low-key Seoul Nightlife
When you’ve completely exhausted yourself and need a rest, but still can’t sleep, head to a PC Room for couch potato entertainment or a jjimjilbang for rejuvenation. Morgan Gibbs from AlienEating has the scoop on where to find low-key nightlife in Seoul.
Live the Korean Bang Life in a PC Room
PC rooms are a fast-internet addict’s dream. It’s the perfect place for lazing around in Seoul at night when you don’t want to be cooped up in your lil’ box anymore. What’s there to complain about when you have a big screen, a luxurious throne-chair, and noise-cancelling headphones for all your computer-related needs?
And get this, you’ll get all that pampering for just a dollar an hour. On that note, there’s not much you can’t do at the PC room. Watch movies? Check. Play computer games? Check. Eat a snack? Check. Plan world domination? Check.
Sure it might come with a side of Korean boys raging over their latest PubG loss, but the ample variety in snacks more than makes up for that. Ramen, fried rice, corn-dogs, ice cream, and sausages galore will fill your belly. So if you’re searching high and low for your next couch-potato-lazy-boy adventure, don’t look too far.
Get naked at a Korean Bathhouse and Jjimjilbang
If you’ve never been to Korea, you’ve probably never heard of a jjimjilbang. But if you’re looking for a comfy, relaxing night out in Seoul, these giant bathhouses are the way to go.
There are cubbies to hold luggage, pyjama sets that match everyone else’s, showers, hot tubs, and basic saunas. It’s basically adult-ergarten. It’s not just a wooden room with half-naked sweaty people. I mean it can be, but there are up to 20 different rooms to sweat out and freeze up those nasty germs.
There’s a salt room to lay in piles of salt and season yourself, or a room full of tiny red balls to swim around in like a ball demon. Rooms range from 20°C to 140°C – there’s ice rooms, jade rooms, dugout rooms, and locker rooms available for your use.
It’s something unique and you can’t leave Korea without at least trying one once. Where else are you going to find a room circulating charcoal air, with old guys snoring for $10 per night back home?
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Seoul at Night: Essential Info and FAQs
Can’t sleep? You’ve got the lowdown on things to do in Seoul at night now! What will you do first?