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Jogyesa | © Wikimedia
Jogyesa | © Wikimedia
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A Traveling Family's Guide to Seoul

Picture of Linda Dunsmore
Updated: 26 April 2017
While Korea’s capital city is a pulsating metropolis with modern architecture and young neighborhoods, it is also a very child-friendly place. We have put together this traveling family’s guide to the city. Don’t be afraid to explore!

Neighborhood Guide

Gangnam

This is probably the most famous district of Seoul due to Psy’s famous Gangnam Style. However, it’s not all glitz and glamour. Gangnam has a beautiful temple, Bongeunsa, that is a great culture experience. It is also home to many recurring trade fairs at COEX, such as the Korea Food Fair, Baby Fair or Toy Fair.

© Linda Dunsmore
Bongeunsa Temple | © Linda Dunsmore

Insadong

Insadong is one of Seoul’s largest and most artist districts. It is filled with great opportunities for little ones to get creative. You can paint your own Korean fan, make traditional puppets or check out a variety of galleries and exhibitions. On top of that, you should grab some tea at a local teahouse.

Myeongdong

While Myeongdong is one of the most crowded areas of Seoul, it’s also home to its many themed cafes. Visit the Hello Kitty Cafe, a cat cafe, a dog cafe and many more with your little ones and create unforgettable travel memories in Seoul. If you enjoy shopping, head over to Lotte Department store and enjoy duty-free items.

Itaewon

If spicy Korean food does not please your kids, head to Itaewon, Seoul’s international district. Here, you will find the best selection of delicious multicultural cuisine and you are sure to find something that will make your kids happy. Whether you are looking for a good old burger and fries, Brazilian steakhouse or a pizzeria, Itaewon has got it all.

Jongno

The cultural and historic heart of Seoul, Jongno, is a must when visiting the city. It is extremely easy to navigate, with or without children. The famous Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces are located in this area separated by the historic Bukchon Hanok Village. What could be more memorable than strolling through the narrow alleyways between old Korean houses wearing a traditional Korean dress? Rent them for a few hours at a nearby shop and take adorable travel photos!

Where to Stay

The Shilla

Expensive

If you are looking for the utmost comfort in Seoul, choose The Shilla. It was one of the top 500 hotels in the world on Travel&Leisure’s 2008 list and combines modernism and tradition in timeless designs. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and the wellness area is one of the best in town.

249, Dongho-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul

© Pixabay
Luxury accommodation | © Pixabay

SR Hotel

Moderate

Many families visit Seoul on a stopover to their next destination. If you are one of them, consider SR Hotel, which is only a short drive away from Gimpo International Airport. Each room was carefully designed with wood and cotton features. Room service is exquisite and features international and Korean dishes that please every hungry stomach.

678-11 Deungchon-dong, Gangseo-gu, Seoul

Hotel Maui

Budget

If you are traveling on a budget but are looking for comfort and a great location, Hotel Maui is your best bet. The hotel is located in the Dongdaemun area, very close to major attractions, markets, shopping and entertainment. Moreover, the hotel is in a very quiet area and the staff are very helpful and multilingual.

14 Jong-ro 66ga-gil, Sungin 2(i)-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Where to eat & drink

Korean food is flavorful, spicy and varies depending on what region you find yourself in. The good thing is, in Seoul, you can have it all. Whether you are a meat lover, vegetarian or have a sweet tooth, Seoul fulfills your foodie dreams.

Korean Food © Wikimedia
Korean Food | © Wikimedia

Tavolo 24

Open all day long, this upscale restaurant offers flavorful international and Korean dishes in a warm, inviting ambiance. Children especially love watching the vibrant live cooking stations while their meals are being cooked. On top of that, the restaurant faces the beautiful Dongdaemun Gate.

279, Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Pororo Kids Cafe

South Korea has established a large scene of kids cafes in the recent years. Pororo Land is one of the largest and most notable in the city and is the perfect place for moms and dads to have a drink and relax while the children play. The cafe has a ball pit, building blocks, activity rooms, a large jumping mattress, and even a train ride. If you are looking for a cool cafe where you can sit down and relax while your kids have fun in a safe environment, head right here!

662 Gyeongin-ro, Sindorim-dong, Guro-gu, Seoul

Hello Kitty Cafe

It’s almost every girl’s dream to visit a Hello Kitty Cafe. The dream in pink offers delicious drinks and snacks in the shape of the lovely kitty. Located in Seoul’s Myeongdong district, it’s the perfect place to relax after some sightseeing or shopping in the city.

28 Myeongdong 4-gil, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul

Hello Kitty Cafe | © librarianidol / flickr
Hello Kitty Cafe | © librarianidol / flickr

What to do

Visit Lotte World

It’s no wonder that a city as big as Seoul is home to various exciting amusement parks. Lotte World is one of the most popular as it is also the world largest indoor amusement park. Moreover, it features an outdoor amusement park called “Magic Island” with an artificial island inside a lake. Parents will also enjoy the countless shopping malls, Korean folk museum, sports facilities, and movie theaters here.

240 Olympic-ro, Jamsil 3(sam)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul

Day trip to Bukhansan

Bukhansan is the closest national park to Seoul and offers spectacular views. The park is also child-friendly and the paths are well managed and taken care off. Children love being able to run around and get away from the crowded city.

262 Bogukmun-ro, Jeongneung 3(sam)-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace

When in Seoul, you have to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace. The largest of the Five Grand Palaces of South Korea is located in the heart of Seoul and easy to get to. Children are enter for free and if you dress up in traditional Korean wear, the whole family gains free admission!

161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Cherry blossom at Gyeongbokgung_Palace | © Wikimedia© Wikimedia
Cherry blossom at Gyeongbokgung_Palace | © Wikimedia

Spend a day at Everland

Korea’s largest theme park and receives 7.3 million visitors every year. Everland was also ranked sixteenth in the world for amusement park attendance in 2014. The park is massive and features attractions and rides for every taste and preference. There are five zones: Global Fair, Zoo-Topia, European Adventure, Magic Land and American Adventure.

199 Everland-ro, Pogog-eup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do

Get wet at Caribbean Bay

The largest water park in the world is located right next to Everland. Caribbean Bay’s indoor area is open throughout the entire year, whereas its outdoors is only open during the summer months. The water park features attractions for all ages from a wave pool, a wading pool and a sandy pool to the world’s Longest Lazy River Ride, exciting water slides and a relaxing salt sauna.

199 Everland-ro, Pogog-eup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do

Waterpark | © mrkt / pixabay
Water park | © mrkt / pixabay

Practical tips

Getting around

Whether you are traveling alone, as a couple or with little ones, it’s pretty easy to get around the city. Seoul has a vast network of subway trains and public buses. On top of that, it’s very affordable to take a taxi, but your are likely to spend more time on the road due to heavy traffic during peak times. We recommend getting a prepaid subway card to save you time at the ticket booth each time you board the train.

Health & safety

South Korea is a very trusting society and it is not uncommon to see young children take the subway alone to meet friends or head to school and home. Crime rates are very low and people look out for one another. Moreover, South Korea has a vibrant street food culture, which means it is generally safe to sample your way through various food stalls at markets. However, it is not recommended to drink tap water unless boiled.