With so many ways to enjoy Seoul at night, it's easy to see why so many young people pick Seoul as their next vibrant destination. Seoul truly comes alive at night with stunning panoramic views, bustling night markets and epic Korean entertainment.
Climb to the top of N Seoul Tower for a breathtaking view of the city. Explore the bustling night markets, such as Myeong-dong, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun, for a taste of delicious street food. Take a stroll along the Han River and admire the city lights. Discover the historical side of Seoul on a night tour of famous sites like Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Whether you're a culture lover or a night owl, Seoul at night is incredible with plenty of activities and attractions. Let's dive in and explore the best Seoul has to offer at night.
Is Seoul a night city?
Yes, Seoul is considered to be a night city. Seoul is known for its vibrant nightlife and there are many things to do in the city after dark. The streets come alive with street food vendors, night markets, and entertainment.
Is Seoul busy at night?
Yes, Seoul is busy at night. Many of Seoul's popular tourist attractions and nightlife areas, such as Myeong-dong, Gangnam, and Hongdae, are crowded with both locals and tourists in the evening. The city's night markets and street vendors also draw large crowds. The public transportation runs late into the night, making it easy to move around and stay out late.
Does Seoul have nightlife?
Seoul has fantastic nightlife. There are many different areas of the city that offer different nightlife experiences, such as the trendy neighbourhoods of Gangnam and Hongdae, and the traditional Korean atmosphere of Itaewon.
Where can I go out at night in Seoul?
Gangnam is a trendy area known for its high-end clubs, bars, and restaurants. Hongdae is a university neighbourhood with a lively nightlife scene, and a wide variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues. Itaewon is popular with foreigners and offers a mix of international bars, clubs, and restaurants, as well as traditional Korean bars and clubs. Myeong-dong is for foodies with street vendors and night markets.
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See the Views from N Seoul tower
Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower) is a popular spot to visit at night for its panoramic views of the city. The tower stands at 236.7 meters tall and is located on top of Namsan Mountain, in the heart of Seoul.
Book your tickets after dark and head to the observation deck for some of the best views of Seoul at night. There's a revolving restaurant on side with 360-degree view of Seoul too. The view at night is particularly striking, as the city is illuminated with bright lights, creating a colourful and vibrant scene, ideal for photography.
Insider knowledge: At night, the Namsan Tower is illuminated in four different colours. Not only do these lights add to the beauty of the city, but they also serve as an indicator of air pollution levels. On clear days, the lights will be blue, while on days when the air pollution level is high or a microdust warning has been issued, the lights will turn red. When the lights are red, it is important to refrain from outdoor activities and to wear a mask when necessary.
Take a Naksan Park tour
Visit the Naksan Park at night which is located on Naksan Mountain and is known for its historic city wall, which dates back to the Joseon Dynasty. The park is a great place for an evening walk, and the wall offers a great place to walk and take in the views of the city.
Experience the unique opportunity to walk along the Seoul Seonggwak (Fortress Wall) in Naksan Park. The 2 km trail stretches from Hyehwamun to Heunginjimun (the East Gate of Seoul) and is a must-see for visitors to the park. The downhill stretch towards Hyehwamun is particularly famous for its stunning scenery and attracts many photographers.
If you prefer, join a local tour and walk with a local who can show you the best spots in Naksan park at night.
Visit the night food markets
There are 5 main night markets I recommend in Seoul at night. Each has its own unique offerings including Korean clothing, handmade items and delicious food.
- Dongdaemun Night Market has several tall buildings with multiple floors of clothing, shoes, bags and other accessories. It also has a theme park ride called Disco Pang-Pang.
- Namdaemun Night Market is located in the middle of the city and is open both day and night. It offers a variety of items, such as traditional Korean clothing, food, and drinks.
- Gwangjang Market is Seoul's oldest market, established in 1905. It is known for selling traditional Korean clothing, hanbok, and has a street level with fabric shops and a basement level with street food vendors and traditional Korean snacks. Don't miss the mung bean pancakes.
- Myeong-dong Night Market is a popular spot for shopping and street food. It is known for its trendy fashion and beauty products, as well as its street food vendors. It was our favourite of the lot because the street food here was fantastic. Highly recommend the cheesy lobster tails here.
- Hongdae Free Market is a weekly market that takes place in the Hongdae area on Saturdays. It features handmade goods, art, and live music performances. It is known for being a popular spot for young people and students.
Take a guided Seoul night tour
To really enjoy all the highlights of Seoul at night, I highly recommend booking a guided tour with a local. A guide will have a wealth of knowledge about the city and its history, culture, and customs. They will be able to provide you with insights and stories that you might not find in a guidebook. You will get to see, feel, taste and experience the city like a local.
While Seoul at night is generally safe, having a tour guide means that they will be able to advise you on how to stay safe in unfamiliar areas.
Experience the Korean nightlife in Itaewon or Hongdae
If you love to party, you will definitely want to hit Itaewon or Hongdae at night. Itaewon and Hongdae are both known for their lively nightlife, with many bars, clubs, and pubs to choose from. Itaewon is known for its international atmosphere and diverse nightlife options. Hongdae, on the other hand, is known for its vibrant and youthful atmosphere, with a focus on indie music and arts.
For a more cultural night out, Itaewon and Hongdae are also wonderful places to experience traditional Korean culture and entertainment, such as traditional music and dance performances.
Go to a karaoke bar to sing your heart out
After dark, you have got to take your travel party to a Korean karaoke and party your hearts out. Korean karaoke, also known as "noraebang," is a popular pastime in South Korea and is deeply ingrained in the culture. It is a private room where you can sing and dance with friends and family, rather than singing on a stage in front of strangers.
Karaoke bars can be found all over the country, and are particularly popular in areas near universities or popular hubs. They are typically paid for by the hour, and can also include the option to order drinks and food. In recent years, "coin noraebang" has also become popular, which are small karaoke rooms that are paid for by the number of songs sung.
The hourly rate for some solo singing rooms can vary between 2,000won and 6,000won. In contrast, a coin noraebang typically charges 500won per song. But, when you buy more songs at once, the cost per song decreases.
Go up the Seoul Sky Observatory At Lotte World Tower
Since the Seoul Sky at Lotte World Tower closes as late as 10pm, I truly recommend that you book after dark tickets to admire Seoul at night, from the tallest building in the city.
In fact, the Lotte World Tower is the fifth-tallest building in the world, so you can imagine the stunning panoramic views you'll get to enjoy from the observatory. The observation deck, located on the 123rd floor, features a glass floor, a sky terrace, and a variety of exhibits and interactive displays.
Take a cruise on Han River
See the beauty of Seoul from a different perspective with a night cruise on the Han River. You have three different cruises to pick from, a sunset cruise, a moonlight cruise or a stunning starlight cruise. All three are ideal to enjoy how Seoul shines at night with its bright city lights.
The Sunset Cruise is a 40-minute romantic boat ride on the Han River, allowing you to enjoy the sunset with your loved ones. The route is from Yeouido to Seogang bridge or Dongjak bridge and back to Yeouido, and may change depending on the sunset. The cruise operates from April to October at 18:00 and from November to March at 17:00.
The Moonlight Cruise is a 70-minute romantic boat ride, featuring views of the Banpo bridge, the night view of Dalbit nodel and live performance. The route is from Yeouido to Banpo bridge and back to Yeouido, with recommended viewing spots including Sebit Doongdoong Island, Dalbit Nodeul, and Banpo bridge. The cruise operates at 19:30.
The Starlight Cruise is a 50-minute starlight boat ride that offers a fancier view of the night in Seoul. The route is from Yeouido to Seogang bridge and back to Yeouido, with recommended viewing spots including National Assembly and night view of Yeouido. The cruise operates at 21:00.
Take a Seoul Ghost walking tour
I bet you didn't know that Seoul has its own fair share of ghost stories. And you can take a ghost story tour and chase the supernatural with a local guide.
Explore a lesser-known side of Seoul on this evening ghost tour. Led by a guide, walk through the city's hidden alleyways and hear chilling stories of the most haunted places in South Korea, such as Gyeonghuigung Palace. Discover secrets in Pimatgol Alley, visit Tapgol Park, the birthplace of Korean independence, and more. This tour offers a unique look into the darker side of South Korean history while visiting key landmarks in the city.
Go on a pub crawl
Going on a pub crawl in Seoul is a great way to experience the city's nightlife and socialize with locals and other travellers. The pub crawl will take you to some of the best bars and clubs in the city, where you can sample a variety of drinks and enjoy live music and entertainment.
The pub crawl is also a great way to explore different neighbourhoods and areas of the city that you may not have visited otherwise. Your guide will also share insider tips and show you some of the coolest places and drinks to make the most of your night out.
See Seoul from Bar Kloud
Visit the coolest rooftop bar with an atmosphere that resembles a friend's New York City penthouse apartment, KLOUD is the perfect spot to enjoy the twinkling lights, majestic mountains and colourful sunsets of the city.
The mixology at KLOUD is led by a world champion and features signature cocktails that are playful and unique, including a combination of spirit, sorbet, and melted macaron. KLOUD is located on the 21st floor in the plush Mercure Ambassador hotel in Seoul. Reservations are a must. We emailed the friendly staff, and they sorted out a table for us by the window.
Explore the nightlife scene in Gangnam
There's no cooler place to enjoy Seoul at night than in the trendiest district, Gangnam. Gangnam is home to some of the most famous clubs in Seoul, such as Club Octagon and Arena, which attract top DJs and offer a great party atmosphere. You will find a plethora of bars and pubs, from trendy rooftop bars to cosy speakeasies. You can find anything from craft beer bars to wine bars.
The area is also popular with tons of restaurants and international cuisine. I recommend trying dinner at Papaya Leaf which has one of the best spicy seafood dishes I've ever tried.
Gangnam is also perfect for shopping after dark with streets lined with the coolest and most well known international brands.
Enjoy a traditional night spa
If you are looking to relax and rejuvenate after a long day of sightseeing then you will definitely want to enjoy a night spa in Seoul. One popular option for a night spa experience is a traditional Korean jjimjilbang, which are 24-hour public bathhouses that often include saunas, hot tubs, and sleeping areas.
These bathhouses offer a variety of different saunas, each with a different theme and temperature, such as a salt sauna, a clay sauna, and a charcoal sauna. Some jjimjilbang also offer additional services such as massages, exfoliating scrubs, and hair and nail treatments.
Go on a moonlight Seoul night tour
One of my favourite night tours in Seoul is the moonlight Seoul tour which combines a variety of really great attractions. Start at the Gwangjang Market, a local traditional market over 100 years old. You will enjoy a delicious local street food.
You will then continue towards the Changgyeong Royal Palace, one of the most beautiful palaces in the evening. It is famous for locals with its dazzling night view. Finally, you will be taken to Naksan Park for a Seoul Fortress Wall walk.
Go shopping in 24/7 malls
Fancy some late night shopping? There are lots of options in Seoul as some of the malls in the city are open 24/7! Popular ones include the COEX Mall, Lotte World Mall, and the Times Square Mall. These malls offer a wide variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options and are open all day and night. They also feature a variety of international and local brands, making them popular destinations for both tourists and locals.
These are ideal places if you're still a little jet lagged and are looking to do something fun in Seoul at night. Besides, malls will be much less crowded at night and get a more personalised service.
Eat some evening K-BBQ
Evenings are for epic dinners and nothing beats the taste of a Korean BBQ at a local restaurant right in the heart of Seoul. It's really not too difficult to find a K-BBQ in Seoul, as every neighbourhood and area will have several on every street! BBQ is big business in Korea and for good reason: it tastes fantastic, and it's usually at a very decent price point.
Here are some Korean BBQ recommendations:
- Seorae Korean BBQ: High-quality meat, this restaurant is popular among meat lovers. It's a chain restaurant, with several locations around the city.
- Namsan Korean BBQ: Known for its wide variety of meats, including marbled beef, pork, and chicken. It is also renowned for its friendly service and great value for money.
- Yongsusan: This restaurant is known for its upscale atmosphere and high-quality meat. It's a great option for those looking for a fine dining experience.
Go for a night hike
To admire Seoul at night, head to the beautiful Namsan mountain which stands at a height of 236 meters. There are several hiking trails for you to explore after dark and it is considered one of the most romantic places in the city. Hike towards the N Seoul tower and go to the tower fence where you can lock your love with a nice padlock.
Another popular area for a hike is the Cheonggyecheon stream in the evening.
Take a Seoul food tour at night
Want to hit the night markets but not too sure how to begin? I know the feeling. Join a local group tour and follow your guide, who will take you to the best foodie spots in Seoul.
Locals know exactly which are the best places for a late night snack. Besides, you will get to experience a lot of cool narrow alleyways, drink with locals, try foods you wouldn't otherwise know about and get to photograph the most epic sides of Seoul at night.
Book tickets to a Nanta show
No experience in Seoul at night is complete without going to a Nanta show. Nanta is a non-verbal performance that combines traditional Korean rhythms with Western-style music and modern performance techniques. The show is set in a kitchen and features four chefs who use traditional Korean drums and kitchen utensils to create a high-energy, percussion-based performance.
The performers use drumming and acrobatics to tell a story about the chefs preparing for a wedding banquet. The show is performed in both Korean and English and is suitable for all ages.
Walk Along The Cheonggyecheon Stream
The Cheonggyecheon Stream is a restored stream that runs through the heart the city. It was originally a natural stream that flowed through the city, but it was covered by concrete during the 1950s and 1960s as part of an urban development project. In 2005, the stream was restored to its natural state and is now a popular spot for locals and tourists to visit.
At night, the Cheonggyecheon Stream is a beautiful spot to visit as it is illuminated with colourful lights. The water sparkles and reflects the light, creating a mesmerizing and peaceful atmosphere. Walk or hike along the stream, take in the sights and sounds of the water, and enjoy the tranquillity of the area.
➡️ Check prices for the Seoul night tour (Cheonggyecheon Stream, night market and Naksan Park)
See the Gyeongbokgung Palace at night
Occasionally, the Cultural Heritage Administration opens the Gyeongbokgung Palace at night. It's usually open for cherry blossoms as well as in the autumn. Around a hundred tickets can be purchased on site. Visitors dressed in hanbok will typically be admitted for free without reservation.
The palace is illuminated at night, highlighting its intricate details and giving the palace a different ambiance.
More Seoul at night tips
Stop at a convenience store to get a T-money card when you get to Seoul. This will help you save money and time when travelling on the public transport.
- Book your accommodation in advance. Myeongdong is where we stayed in Seoul, and we had quick access to the subway to reach other attractions, but were also nearby many restaurants and street food markets. You can read more about where to stay in Seoul if you're after an in-depth guide.
- Read our guide to Hanbok rental in Seoul. You'll learn everything you need to know about wearing and enjoying a Hanbok experience.
- There are plenty of things to do in Seoul, so make sure you read the full list before your arrival.
- We put together a complete guide to 5 days in Seoul. This is the optimum number of days that will allow you to see all the most important highlights in the city, and enjoy a mix of culture, food, and history.
- Preorder your portable wifi device in advance and pick it up from the airport when you arrive in Seoul.
- Get a Discover Seoul pass and enjoy free access to a selection of 65 tourist attractions.
- Stop at a convenience store to get a T-money card when you get to Seoul. This will help you save money and time when travelling on the public transport.
- From the airport, take the AREX train to Seoul main station. It takes less than 45 minutes.
- Note that Google Maps doesn't work very well outside of South Korea. However, once you are in Seoul, you can access the maps and the directions just as you would otherwise in any other country.
As you can tell, there are so many wonderful things to do in Seoul at night. From touring with locals to shopping in a 24/7 mall, you won't be bored in Seoul after dark. Seoul at night is vibrant and colourful and the perfect time for street photography too. I can't wait to hear about your plans for your upcoming time in Seoul, so don't forget to let me know in the comments section below.