Is your family headed to Seoul, South Korea? Wondering about the best places to visit with kids? We’re here to make your travel planning experience easier. Read on for the most engaging and fun places to visit in Seoul as a family. Seoul is a fabulous mash-up of history, nature, and cutting edge technology. Our list will help you tap into all those experiences.
Places to Visit in Seoul with Kids
Five Grand Palaces of Seoul
Seoul has five historic Joseon dynasty palaces open to the public: Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, and Gyeonghuigung. Many people tour multiple palaces, but with kids, we recommend just one. Our pick for the best palace to visit with kids is Gyeongbokgung.
Tuesday closure! Gyeongbokgung is closed on Tuesdays. If that’s your day to visit palaces, we recommend nearby Changdeokgung instead.
A 20-minute Changing of the Royal Guard (Sumunjang) ceremony takes place at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm every day (except Tuesdays) outside the main gate and in the main courtyard. For more information, see the official Sumunjang (Royal Guard) website. If you miss that, you can watch the 10-minute Gwanghwamun Gate Guard Duty performance at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm or a 15-minute Sumungun (Gatekeeper) Military Training just inside Hyeopsaengmun Gate at 9:35 am and 1:35 pm. All guard performances are FREE.
Don’t miss the child-height statues of the 12 zodiac animal signs on the eastern side of the palace grounds near the National Folk Museum of Korea. The stones are arranged in a circle to show the direction and time of day each animal represents. Have fun finding your personal animal sign.
Gyeonbokgung palace’s opening hours vary depending on the season, see the official website for current times.
Hanbok Traditional Costume
At the Seoul palaces, you will see stacks of people, Koreans and foreigners alike, dressed in traditional Korean clothing called hanbok. In addition to brightening up your photos, wearing a hanbok grants you FREE entrance to four of the Five Grand Palaces (not Gyeonghuigung Palace).
We did not rent hanbok so cannot recommend a particular shop. However, you will find many rental shops in the streets around Gyeongbokchung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village or you can search online for more information
Bukchon Hanok Village
Nestled between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokung palaces, the streets of the Bukchon Hanok Village are a pleasant way to see traditional Korean homes at a child-led pace. The “village” encompasses hundreds of traditional Korean houses called hanok. During the Joseon dynasty, the neighborhood was home to nobles and important government officials. Some people visit to photograph the eight major viewpoints. With kids, we had more fun exploring the alleyways, popping into workshops, and indulging in ice cream.
You can find information on Bukchon Hanok Village and Seoul’s other hanok areas on the official website.
How to get to Bukchon Hanok Village
Seoul tourist maps never seem to mark Bukchon Hanok Village. Follow these directions and you won’t have any trouble finding your way.
Subway: Take Seoul Subway Line 3 (Orange) to Anguk Station. Take exit 2 and head straight ahead on Bukchon-ro street. After 200 meters happy, waving volunteers will provide you a free map and answer any questions.
From Gyeongbokgung Palace: Exit east from the National Folk Museum of Korea and follow the hanboks! Seriously, the easiest way is to follow all the people dressed in hanbok headed to Bukchon or Changdeokung palaces. If there aren’t any hanbok-clad people, then cross the road and walk to Bukchon-ro street where happy, waving volunteers will provide you a free map and answer any questions.
The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating South Korea and North Korea is an immersive way to learn about current Korean relations and the Korean War. With children, we recommend a half-day tour to the DMZ. Make sure to find a “NO SHOPPING” tour! Otherwise, you will end up at a ginseng factory or similar. Your tour will include stops at Imjingak Park, Dorasan Station, 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, and Dora Observatory.
Seoul has more places to visit with children than historical and cultural sites. South Korea is a hotbed of technological innovation. The upper floors of Samsung’s flagship store houses Samsung d’light. Samsung describes the experience as “…a journey in experiencing the fun and enriching future lifestyle.” The main floor experience is a digital personality test. You move from station to station designing avatars, building digital cities, and more to determine your role in the world – Relationship Magician, Thought Tailor, or more. Upstairs is a model home of the future featuring (surprise!) Samsung technology. My favorite was the modernized kitchen, which was unexpected since I try to avoid them. The kids loved the classroom of the future.
For those with elementary-age children and teenagers, a visit to a virtual reality cafe is a futuristic virtual amusement park! Paraglide in the Amazon, ride rocket-powered rickshaws across the Great Wall, or test your ping pong skills against a cyborg! The unique characteristic of this cafe is they have custom equipment to make the experiences as real as possible, all the senses are activated. With lots of different choices, there should be something to catch your family’s interest.
Seoul has several VR cafes. Our recommendation is Fanta VR on the 7th floor of the Hello apM in Dongdaemun. One of the largest VR cafes in Korea, Fanta VR has more than 30 virtual reality experiences in 7 different zones: Fantasy Adventure, Extreme Games, Extreme Rides, Family Sports, Horror, Arcade, and Promotion. Some experiences are limited by age or height, but any age can find plenty of games to enjoy.
I’ll be honest…we didn’t actually visit Lotte World. We visited Disneyland Shanghai a few days before and were theme park-ed out. However, Lotte World gets rave reviews from our Korean friends. If you have been there and would recommend it, let us know in the comments.
Kids & Keys
OK, admittedly Kids & Keys is not a “top” Seoul attraction, but it’s a fun one for younger kids and a great rainy day plan. We had one afternoon with torrential rain and the kids begged for a visit to Kids & Keys in Times Square shopping center. Voila! A fun (and dry) afternoon spent at Kids & Keys. I would say maximum age for Kids & Keys is 9 years old.
Kids & Keys is a mini theme park for kids to try out a variety of professions. Each room focuses on a different career – doctor, police officer, baseball player, etc. All activities are conducted in Korean, but our non-Korean speaking kids followed along just fine. Just skip professions such as news anchor that require reading and writing.
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