Seoul is increasingly becoming a popular destination for family holidays. Here’s a one week Seoul Itinerary for families who are visiting Seoul for the first time.
Day 1: Exploring the City Center
Gyeongbokgung Palace was the heart and center of South Korea during the Joseon Dynasty and is definitely a place that any first-time visitor should not miss! Children will have a fun time exploring the huge palace grounds while parents can feast your eyes on the traditional Korean architecture of the palace.
One fun activity you and your family can try in Gyeongbokgung is to rent a hanbok and have a ‘royal family’ photoshoot. Besides getting nice family photos, your entrances to the palace will be free when you wear a hanbok! If you are interested in getting your photos taken by professionals, contact Rufus or Jonathan, two of my friends who are amazing professional photographers and I am sure they will be able to help~
If you are interested in Korean history, you can also join Gyeongbokgung’s free English guided tour which starts at 11am, 1.30pm and 5.30pm. Simply head on to the Information Center which will be on your right immediately after you validate your entrance ticket, and register before start time of the tour. The tour lasts for 1 to 1.5 hours.
Tip: Gyeongbokgung can be very windy and cold especially during end of fall season and winter. Be sure to prepare enough warm clothes for you and your children when going there.
How to get to Gyeongbokgung: Take Seoul Subway Line 3 to Anguk Station and exit at Exit 1 or go to Gyeongbokgung Station on the same line and take Exit 5.
Closed every Tuesday
Insadong is a cultural area near Gyeongbokgung Palace. It’s main street is filled with shops selling Korean souvenirs, hanboks, traditional snacks and tea houses.
You can bring your children to this stamp making activity to create your own personalised Korean souvenir or if you want to challenge yourself, learn how to write your names in Korean calligraphy in Insadong.
A cute place to go to in Insadong is Ssamziegil (쌈지길). It is a 4-story outdoor shopping mall designed in a spiral way such that all floors are connected. Here you can try the iconic ‘Poo Bread’ (똥빵) and walk up to the sky garden in the top-most floor for the cutest photos in Insadong.
How to get to Insadong: Take Seoul Subway Line 3 to Anguk Station and exit at Exit 6. Walk straight for around 100m and when you see a Visitor Information Center, Insadong will be on your left.
Teseum, Seoul’s Teddy Bear Museum
If you have young kids who are not afraid of teddy bears, you should definitely take them to Teseum! Get discounted entrance tickets here (10USD per pax, free for children under 24 months).
In Teseum, you will meet various teddy bears dressed and placed in various settings. It used to be available only in Jeju Island but now you can visit the museum in Seoul!
How to get to Teseum: Take Seoul Subway Line 1 or 6 to Dongmyo Station and exit at Exit 6. The museum entrance will be on your left.
After pleasing the kids, spend the night where Moms are most happy: Dongdaemun – Seoul’s major shopping district, just one stop away from Teseum. You can literally shop all night here since the shopping malls open until 5am.
Find the best deals on all sorts of Korean apparel and souvenirs in the retail malls like Hello apM, Good Morning City and Migliore. Perhaps it will be a good idea for Dads to go back to the hotel with the kids first 😉
How to get to Dongdaemun shopping area: Take Seoul Subway Line 1 or Line 4 to Dongdaemun Station and exit at Exit 8 or take Line 2 or 4 to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station and exit at Exit 14.
Day 2: Exploring the City Center (Part 2)
Continue spending your second day in Seoul’s city center.
Myeongdong the place to buy Korean cosmetics and you will be able to find all Korean cosmetic brands here. Some brands even have multiple stores in this area alone.
Have your brunch or lunch at Myeongdong Kyoja, the best noodle store in Seoul (at least in my opinion). They only serve 4 main dishes but the queue can be quite insane during lunch hour. Don’t be discouraged though, the queue moves pretty quickly!
Tip: One bowl of noodle and one portion of dumpling (mandu) for two was perfect for me. One bowl of noodle was a bit too much. When I was there, we could ask for free additional serving of noodle and soup but I heard they do not practice this anymore. You can try to ask and let me know?
How to get to Myeongdong shopping area: Take Seoul Subway Line 4 to Myeongdong Station and exit at Exit 5, 6, 7 or 8.
How to get to Kyoja Noodles: Take Seoul Subway Line 4 to Myeongdong Station and exit at Exit 8. Then turn left to Myeongdong 10-gil Road and walk straight about 150 meters. Myeongdong Kyoja (명동교자) will be on your right.
Seoul Tower, located on Namsan Mountain, is Seoul’s city icon. You can either go up the mountain to the tower via cable car (recommended for families with younger children) or a short half to one hour hike.
Tips: The cable car ride to the tower can be very crowded and you may have to queue for the ride. When we went on new years eve, we had to wait for 45 minutes just to get on the cable car and we had to squeeze like sardines in it. Try to go on weekdays and avoid going during Korean public holidays!
You will be able to enjoy Seoul city view even from the bottom of the tower if you do not want to pay entrance fees to the observatory. If you do wish to go up the tower, you can get 25% off entrance fees here.
How to get to N-Seoul Tower: Take Seoul Subway Line 4 to Myeongdong station exit at Exit 4 or 3 to get to the cable car station. I would recommend taking exit 4 as there is a lift a the bottom of the hill that takes you up to the station without any effort. If you use exit 3, you will end up climbing the slope up to the station. Directions to walk from both exits are below.
One thing Korea is famous for is their street food. Instead of having them in Myeongdong where they charge tourist prices, head to Namdaemun Market for the best range of Korean street food with local prices.
Some of my favourite Korean street food are odaeng (fish cake on a stick), egg bread (gyeran bbang) and fish bread (custard bread in a fish shape called bungeo bbang). This market is also open in the morning.
Tip: This market is quite large and crowded so be sure to hold on to your kids!
How to get to Namdaemun Market: Take Seoul Subway Line 4 to Hoehyeon Station and exit at Exit 5.
Day 3: Theme Park Day
If you are visiting with children, you should not give Korea’s theme parks a miss. There are 3 theme parks you can visit in Seoul, take your pick!
Tip: Be sure to check the weather before you decide which one to go to as most theme parks are outdoors. Also prepare warm clothes, just in case!
Spend the whole day in Everland taking crazy rides like T-express with your teenage children, exploring Kids Village with the younger ones and seeing cute animals in Zootopia. Everyone in the family has something to do here!
Get the cheapest discounted Everland entrance ticket + shuttle bus ride here. The package provides two-way shuttle bus rides and the entrance fee to the park for just 38.50 USD and 36 USD for adults and children respectively.
Going to Everland can be pretty complicated especially with kids. Since it is located out of Seoul, there are many train and bus changes involved and being picked up by a shuttle bus will definitely be more convenient and highly recommended for families. Also, since Everland is known for its night lights, it is best to stay there until after sunset for the full Everland experience.
Lotte World is the largest theme park in Korea and the only one in Seoul with an indoor area so if you are visiting in winter and am afraid of the cold, consider going to Lotte World.
Get the cheapest discounted Lotte World entrance tickets here for 28.50 USD per person. The ticket allows you to enter both the indoor and the outdoor parks.
You can also visit Seoul’s teamLab World and Seoul Sky, Korea’s newest attraction in Lotte Tower, if you visit Lotte World. teamLab World is a global art collaboration exhibition which is very child friendly. Seoul Sky is an observatory deck that is 500 meters above ground, the third tallest observatory in the world. For Moms, there is also Lotte Department Store and Lotte Duty Free Store in World Tower here.
How to get to Lotte World: Take Seoul Subway Line 2 or 8 to Jamsil Station and exit at Exit 4.
Seoulland is Korea’s first theme park. It is smaller than Everland and Lotte World but it is also cheaper and located within Seoul. It is also the least popular amongst tourist.
They also have a special recommended course for families with younger children, so if you are travelling with especially young kids and do not want to travel too far, Seoulland may be the best option.
Get your day passes for just 18 USD here.
How to get to Seoulland: Take Seoul Subway Line 4 to Grand Park and Seoulland Station and exit at Exit 2. Proceed to take the Elephant train (tickets cost 1,000 KRW for adults and 700 KRW for children) to the entrance of the park.
Day 4: A Day in the Parks
There are many unique parks located all around Seoul. These are the local’s favourite places to go to with their children on the weekends and is less touristy than the places covered so far.
Seoul Children Grand Park
Seoul Children’s Grand Park is the perfect park for families. The attractions that you will find there includes a zoo, botanical garden, rides and diverse performance events. The park was renovated in 2009 and has now become more spacious and pleasant to visit.
The best part about this park? It is free entrance, for the most part! You will only need to pay if you wish to see the animal performances and ride the amusement park rides.
How to get to Seoul Children’s Grand Park: Take Seoul Subway Line 7 to Children’s Grand Park Station and exit at Exit 1.
Ttukseom Han River Park
Once you are done exploring the Children’s Grand Park, you can go on to the nearest Han River Park, Ttukseom Han River Park.
For families with older children, you can also rent a bike and ride along the river in the park or for a educative experience, join the bike tour in Ttukseom Park. You can also order Chicken and Beer (Jimaek) from the sellers in the park for a spontaneous picnic.
How to get to Ttukseom Han River Park: Take Seoul Subway Line 7 to Ttukseom Resort Station and exit at Exit 2 or 3.
If you are a family with younger children, perhaps this next park will be more interesting.
Naksan Park is a park right next to Ihwa Mural Village, a park with unique wall murals, perfect for family photos.
Feast your eyes on the colourful paintings in the small streets of the village while taking a glimpse of Seoul’s past through the fortress walls on Naksan.
How to get to Naksan Park: Take Seoul Subway Line 4 to Hyehwa Station and exit at Exit 2. Walk straight for 200 meters and turn left onto Dongsung-gil Street. Continue going straight for 200 meters and turn left at the Lock Museum. Walk straight for 50m, then turn right onto Naksan Gongwon-gil Street. From there, follow the same street up the hill to arrive at Naksan Park.
Day 5: Nami Island and Its Surroundings
Nami Island is a destination out of Seoul that should definitely be in your itinerary if its your first time to Korea. Located 1.5 hour away from Seoul by train in Gapyeong, the area is famous for three other attractions too: Petite France, Garden of Morning Calm and Gapyeong Rail Bike.
Consider using this full, hassle-free package to Nami Island and its surrounding attractions if you are travelling with younger children. It includes pick-ups from various subway stations in Seoul city center and entrance fees to all the four attractions, plus an English speaking guide!
Read more about Nami Island and how to get there here.
Tip: Nami Island is rather windy too. So if you are visiting during the cold season, prepare hot packs (buy the from Daiso!) and extra clothing, just in case.
Day 6: Gangnam Area
Head on to the south side of Han River in Seoul, also known as Gangnam area, on this day.
COEX Aquarium is a world class aquarium with 130 exhibition tanks and 90 breeding tanks. It is also located in a large shopping mall in Gangnam area, COEX.
Take this opportunity to show and educate your children about marine life and if you plan your visit carefully, you can also catch the feeding session of each tank.
Get discounted tickets to the aquarium here (20 USD per pax instead of 25 USD).
How to get to COEX Aquarium: Take Seoul Subway Line 2 to Samseong Station and exit at Exit 5 or 6. Enter COEX mall and go to B1. The aquarium is located at the end of the Ocean Walk section, next to ASEM Plaza and Megabox cinema.
SMTown is one of the most well-known artist agency in South Korea who opened a K-Pop theme park in Gangnam area. This is the perfect go if your teenage children loves K-Pop!
Catch a hologram musical in SMTown for just 17.50 USD. The hologram musical currently showing is titled ‘School of OZ’ played by various SMTown Korean artists! Another musical in SMTown that is coming soon can be found here. Please note that this show is only open for those aged 8 and above.
How to get to SMTown: Take Seoul Subway Line 2 to Samseong Station and exit at exit 5 or 6. It is located right next to COEX.
Express Bus Terminal Shopping Centre
For the last shopping spot in the itinerary, head on to Seoul’s legendary underground shopping centre in Seoul Express Bus Terminal. The stores are arranged in two, seemingly unending parallel rows. The two rows are so long that even from the center, you can’t view the two ends.
It will be hard to finish going through all the stores so if you do not intend to do some hardcore shopping, turn to your left when you enter the shopping are from the subway station. At the end of the shopping row, you will find this heavenly kkalbi dumpling store (Kim Teacher 김선생) , guaranteed to make your tummies ask for more!
If you want to skip the shopping experience entirely, you can go to Banpo Bridge. Another Han River park 20 minutes away from the same station where you can watch a rainbow fountain performance for free at certain timings of the evening.
How to get to Express Bus Terminal Shopping Centre: Take Seoul Subway Line 3, 7 or 9 to Express Bus Terminal Station and walk towards Exit 8-1.
Day 7: Filling Up The Gaps
Travelling with children can be rather tiring and you may not be able to cover all the places I have mentioned above so use your last day in Seoul to fill up the gaps.
If you manage to, go to all of the mentioned places, awesome! Here are some other suggested places to go to:
- Sokcho City, where Korea’s iconic mountain Seoraksan is located in. You can also visit a sheep farm nearby in Pyeongchang. Find the hassle-free all-inclusive tour package deal from Seoul here.
- Yangpyeong, a small town next to Seoul with beautiful sceneries and cafes. If you happen to visit during strawberry season (December to April), I strongly recommend taking your kids on a trip to the strawberry farm there.
- Incheon, the city where Seoul airport is in. Here you will be able to visit Korea’s Chinatown and a Fairytale Village.
Ready to explore Korea? Check out South Korea apartments before your trip to find the perfect stay for your family. Have fun!