Chart your Seoul summer to-do list to kick off the season.

Let your summer in Seoul be the hottest and the coolest one this year.
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Seoul summer's brutally humid, which makes staying in an air-conditioned room sound more tempting than anything. But there are better things to cool yourself off than sitting and sleeping through the summer: getting soaked at an intense water gun fight with 2,000 people, rocking out at a music festival and getting cooled down with pints of beer, enjoying an artsy film with a glass of Merlot in your hand at an outdoor cinema, cruising on a yacht and picnicking 'on' the river, chilling on the rooftop or a swanky hotel lounge for a an unlimited booze deal.

Things to do

1. Summer water festivals galore!

Life underneath an air conditioner isn't all that amusing. Going out in Seoul while it's harshly humid isn't fun either, and that's where these water events come in handy. You'll be able to let out your summer stress while getting soaked—you might even feel a little younger after these festivities as they'll surely bring back some childhood memories.

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Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

4. Reading at Jibokjae, one of the oldest and most visually stunning public libraries in Seoul

Hidden inside Gyeongbokgung Palace, Jibokjae is one of the oldest and, possibly, the most visually stunning public libraries in Seoul. Built in 1891 in the most “modern” architectural style in the era, the hall used to belong to King Gojong and served as his private study and meeting room. Dozens of decades later, in April 2016, Jibokjae reopened as a public library containing more than 1,000 books on history and figures of Joseon Dynasty. Official documents exchanged with foreign governments, facsimile editions of historical materials and translated versions of Korean literature (English, Chinese and Japanese) can also be found in the room. Adorned with delicate wood carvings of lotus flowers on the ceiling, the entire hall offers an aesthetically intriguing space for readers. Wind blows in and out through the open doors during warmer seasons and the carpeted floors provide a cozy feel. Right by the Jibokjae hall stands Palwoojeong, a majestic and elaborate structure which used to house King Gojong’s rest space back in the day. Now a book café, the two-story pavilion offers traditional teas, desserts as well as coffee (according to historical records, King Gojong was a coffee enthusiast at the time).

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Things to do

5. Spend your summer in a virtual world of your choice!

One pair of goggles, it’s the main ingredient that will transport you into a whole new world, one that you may not have imagined before. You might be fighting evil spirits inside of an alien spaceship or swinging like Spider Man through a grand canyon-like environment or even making burgers and fries to feed hungry zombies slowly making their way to your food truck. Whatever the situation may be, the best part is, it just feels so real. The scare that you feel when aliens attack, the butterflies in your stomach when you’re swinging, and even the panic that you feel when the zombies get closer and closer, all of those feelings are part of what makes the experience so delightful. The editors at Time Out Seoul can confidently say that VR gaming is an extremely convincing experience.

Things to do

6. Cruise for the summer: affordable yacht rides and water sports

There are certain marinas along the Han River where you can rent out a yacht at an affordable priceall you have to do is make a reservation in advance. 700 Yacht Club located around Banpo offers sunset tours and Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain tours. Catering services are available upon request, so if you’re looking for a private and romantic spot in Seoul, you might want to consider making a reservation. If you’re looking for something a bit more social, Airbnb’s ‘Han River Sailboat Ride and Picnic’ tour would be a better option. You'll enjoy a ride with locals and expats alike on the yatcht and have some food or drinks at a restaurant by the river. The whole experience is hosted by a travel writer who will be personally operating the yacht. Until October, the trip will be hosted twice a month. The meetup point is at the Seoul Marina Club & Yacht.

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Things to do

7. A picnic above the river, on Tubester

Just when you thought you’ve done everything you can by the Han River, Tubester is here to give you an opportunity to do something on the Han River. A large tube-boat fully capable of seating 6 and equipped with a parasol to protect you from the sun, riding the Tubester is one of the most trending things to do in Seoul right now. You can bring your own food to picnic on the river during the day or a few drinks for a quiet party surrounded by the Seoul’s beautiful nightline. Give them a call and make a reservation in advance for the weekday or bear the lines during the weekend. 

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Restaurants

8. Seoul rooftop venues you want to spend time at this summer

Some swankier, others pretty chill; some with "interesting" features and others with surprisingly yummy selections of things; some will make you feel as if you're far out of the city, while the other ones will let you appreciate the touristy vibes in their own way. Either way, you might never want to leave once you're on these rooftop spots.

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Hotels

10. Haute bingsu? Hotel bingsu!

A national dessert obsession, the bingsu (shaved ice) season is here. This summer, premium versions of the usual red bean and milk syrup bingsu are available at select Seoul hotels while a variety of rather outrageously decadent selections are also being showcased. Sure, spending several man-wons is crazy extravagant, but hey, YOLO, right?

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