Annyeonghaseyo! Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a city that never sleeps. You'll be surprised to see that stores stay open until late at night, reflecting the frenetic pace of work in this metropolis. Safety is also a priority here. You'll find surveillance cameras on almost every street corner, so you can feel safe at all times when you're out and about in Seoul at night.
If you're a night owl or partygoer, you'll be delighted to know that certain areas of the city, such as Hongdae, Itaewon and Gangnamare particularly lively at night. These areas are famous for their nightlife, with a multitude of nightclubs, bars and restaurants that stay open until the early hours of the morning.
Unmissable night-time activities
Visit NSEOUL Tower is a must for anyone visiting Seoul. Perched on Namsan Mountain, the tower offers a 360-degree panorama of the entire city. At night, the tower is illuminated, making it a sight not to be missed. You can even buy a love lock and hang it on the fence for a lasting souvenir.
The Lotte Tower, South Korea's tallest skyscraper, also offers breathtaking views of the city. Located in the heart of Seoul, this tower is an excellent place to see the city come alive at night. The top floor is equipped with a glass floor, for those with a strong heart.
The Han River is the beating heart of Seoul. At night, the bridges over the river are illuminated, creating a magical spectacle. Numerous parks along the river offer space for a nocturnal picnic. The park Banpo in particular has a bridge that lights up at night and offers a spectacle of fountains.
If you're in a lively district like Hongdae, don't miss the arcades. The stuffed animal machines are particularly popular, and for a few won you can try your luck at catching a cute little stuffed animal.
Karaoke is another popular night-time activity. Known locally as "Noraebang", these karaoke rooms are often open until late and offer a wide variety of songs, from K-pop hits to rock classics. What's more, karaoke is multi-lingual, so you won't be stuck if you can't read Korean.
24/7 photo studios
This is the favorite activity of Koreans in 2023, so for a unique souvenir, head to one of the many photo studios that are open 24 hours a day (포토시그초), there are literally every 20m in Hongdae. These studios let you take fun photos with costumes and sets (which vary from studio to studio), and you leave with an unforgettable souvenir of your night in Seoul.
Myongdong's delicious street food
The Myongdong night market is a gourmet's paradise. Here you'll find a wide variety of streetfood, from spicy chicken skewers to Korean pancakes filled with honey and nuts. Prices are surprisingly affordable, with most dishes costing less than 10,000 won.
Strolling the streets of Seoul at night
But above all, what I recommend most is simply strolling the streets of Seoul at night. The atmosphere is so special, the neon lights on the signs, the quietness of certain districts contrasting with the sound of crickets in summer, it's an indescribable experience. The Cheonggyecheon, a river in the heart of the city, is particularly pretty at night, with its illuminations and little bridges.
What time is it in Seoul?
Seoul follows Korean standard time, which is UTC +9.
Is it safe to walk around Seoul at night?
Yes, thanks to a strong police presence and numerous surveillance cameras, walking around Seoul at night is generally very safe.