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Your 24-hour itinerary in Seoul: The culture vulture

Plenty to explore and be inspired with—from 6am until 6am the next morning.

Written by
Chuljunsung Chuljunsung

Here's an 11-course itinerary for all you culture-mongers seeking to learn and explore wherever you set foot. It'll make sure you get plenty of art, history, music, fashion, nature and even alcohol, for whole 24 hours in Seoul.

6am-10am: Into the woods, at Seoul Forest
  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Seongsu-dong

If New York has Central Park, Seoul has Seoul Forest. The forest boasts facilities such as a botanic garden, a library and a gallery, but most of the picnic spots surround the Arts & Culture Park. Here, you’ll find the Seoul Forest square, a statue park and a garden for the families. If you need a grab to bite or something to drink, check out CU – it’s known to have a great open view of the park. This morning tour is for those who truly want to connect with nature in a peaceful and solemn way, as during the day the park can get easily packed with jolly children and parents trying to keep them in order.

10am-11:30am: Enjoy a free tour of the Baek In-je House
  • Attractions
  • Jongno-gu

At 10am, the first free tours of the glam filled Baek In-je House take off. These tours are recommended as visitors not on a guided tour may only tour the grounds. Korean tours must be reserved in advance while tours in Japanese (Wednesdays at 10am), Chinese (Thursdays at 10am) and English (Fridays at 10am) can be both reserved in advance and on-site on the day of the tour.

11:30am-2pm: Louis Vuitton exhibition + DDP + shopping at Seoul's fashion district
  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Eulji-ro

Designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, DDP is a futuristic landmark that shines silver during the day. It is the location of the bi-annual Seoul Fashion Week and has been host to 2015/16 Chanel Cruise Collection. Currently, the DDP is exhibiting Louis Vuitton’s Volez, Voguez, Voyagez for free of charge. It is without doubt that this exhibition will bring a huge number of visitors, so taking a tour in the morning is something you might want to consider. As Dongdaemun is Seoul’s fashion district, head over to Doota to get yourself for an affordable wardrobe update.

2pm-4pm: Rejuvenate with traditional tea
  • Restaurants
  • Tea rooms
  • Jongno-gu

Your feet need some therapy after a whole day of walking and touring this culturally rich city. The best place to go? Sogahun. It’s a hanbang (traditional pharmacy) healing café inside a Hanok that sells both traditional and professional tea (they will serve you the right tea according to your physical state). Outside is the extremely popular warm foot baths infused with traditional medicine. Heal yourself both inside and out.

4pm-6pm: Visit the MMCA and Daelim Museum
  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Jongno-gu

Bukchon and Seochon, which surround the Gyeonbokgung Palace, are the most trending neighborhoods in Seoul as of now. The area allows Seoulites’ to soak up on heritage and tradition and satisfy their nostalgia. It is also the site of two great museums that are known to host some fantastic art colletions. On the right of side of Gyeongbokgung is MMCA while on the left side is Daelim Museum.

6pm-10pm: Check out Korean architectures as the sun sets
  • Things to do

You've been to all the palaces, you say? Well, perhaps, you haven't seen 'em all yet—on top of their one-of-a-kind atmosphere and scenery, these hanok establishments offer some of the city's best food, drinks and shopping. You can also enjoy some of Korea's oldest, most extravagant and well-preserved hanok housings without spending a dime. In this beautiful weather, immerse yourself in the charm and the glam of the many faces of hanok.

10pm-11pm: Once in a blue moon, head to a jazz bar
  • Music
  • Jongno-gu

It might not seem like much from the outside, but Chunnyundongando is one of Seoul’s well-established jazz bars that began its story in 1996. Originally located in the theater district of Daehangno, the venue moved to its new location in Ikson-dong, fitting right in with the moody atmosphere of the neighborhood. Feast on the live jazz music split in 2 sections with the first starting at around 7pm and the second at around 9pm. The entrance fee during the weekdays is 6,000 won and 8,000 won for the weekends. But if you get a set menu (ranging from 59,000 won to 74,000 won), you won’t have to bother with the entrance fee at all. They’re known to have some pretty decent food, so get yourself a nice cup of wine, something to munch on and ready your ears for a night of jazz.

11pm-1am: Sipping wine and watching old movies
  • Bars
  • Yongsan-gu

Now that your ears have been satisfied, it’s time for your eyes. For those who love art, artistry, and old movies, Hephzibah will be like love at first sight. Founded by two sisters who studied performance art and acting, they actualized their college dream of creating a secret space filled with dramatic intensity. The space includes a small screening section for visitors to get tipsy on a retro-film along and some wine. The last screening time is at 11pm and the venue officially closes at 2am.

1am-3am: Books and alcohol, it's a beautiful pairing
  • Things to do

Books and alcohol, it’s a beautiful pairing – especially when you get to drink the cocktails and drinks the characters in your favorite books are sipping on. At Chaeg Bar you can tell the bartender what you're looking for and what kind of mood you're in. He will notify you of the name of the cocktail, the ingredients that go in, and which scene it appears in a book. Whether you bring your own book or read one that’s available, the quiet and quaint space along with some alcohol will have you feeling pretty scholarly.

3am-4am: 24-hour movie theater (and snacks, of course)!
  • Movies
  • Jung-gu

Ever felt like going to watch a movie really late at night, just because you feel like it, or you can’t sleep or there is nothing better to do? Well, since one of Seoul’s amazing traits is 24 hour convenience all around, you’ll be able to satisfy that late night craving. At Megabox Dongdaemun, 8 theaters with a total of 1744 seats are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Almost all the movies will have at least one late showing to choose from, with last showings as late as 4am! The snack bar, providing a variety of snacks and flavored popcorns to crunch on, you might even be tempted to go movie hopping at night.

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