Seoul is the capital of South Korea and its largest metropolis. It has a history that dates back nearly two thousand years and was founded by one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea way back in 18 B.C. Much of its history can still be seen today with a total of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites composed of ancient fortresses, palaces, shrines and tombs. Although its past is impressive enough, Seoul also boasts modern landmarks and futuristic interests making it a world leading technology hub. With all of these attractions, both old and new, Seoul has become one of the most traveled cities in the world.
With bustling areas like Hongdae for entertainment and Myeongdong for shopping, you'll find plenty to do here. For outdoor enthusiasts, Seoul has much to offer. Surrounding this vibrant and colorful city are lush mountains that provide a stunning natural landscape. When living in a city, especially one that is so technologically advanced like this one, it's important to step back and spend time around nature every now and then. Check out the beautiful parks in Seoul we've listed below the next time you're looking to get fresh air.
Arriving via train at Seoul Station? Don't carry your bags around the entire park with you, instead, find somewhere safe to store your luggage in Seoul. Here at Bounce, we've plenty of places to stow your stuff after fun activities like museum hopping and dining out, perfect things to do before a stroll in the park.
Yongsan Family Park
Yongsan Family Park was previously used as a logistics base in 1592 during the Imjin War, and in 1882 the Qing army occupied the land. Later on, it was also used as a Japanese military facility until eventually it was turned into a public park, although much of its war-related past can still be seen around the grounds today. You can contemplate the history of the park as you explore the walking trails and stroll through the on site garden.
The green space is beautiful, with tranquil ponds and fountains that provide a cool and calm place to sit down and relax. It's the ideal spot for the whole family to go and has playgrounds that are loved by all children who visit. On top of that, the park features exercise equipment that guests of the park can use to workout. Once you work up an appetite, claim your choice of the park's picnic chairs and tables to enjoy a snack in the park, and there's ample space to set down a blanket in the grass as well. Grab food from one of the convenience stores located inside the park if you didn't pack a lunch.
Connected to Yongsan Family Park is the National Museum of Korea, definitely worth visiting while you're in the area. To the right of the museum, you'll spot the Bosingak Bell which is used to celebrate the New Year. If you visit at the right time you might get to witness the annual bell-ringing ceremony.
Yeouido Hangang Park
As you explore the wonderful parks in Seoul, make sure that Yeouido Park is on your list. This gorgeous green space can be found in the Yeouido part of the city which is where you'll find most of Seoul's media, finance and political establishments. The park provides a nice place for office workers, citizens and travelers to take a break from busy city life and explore nature.
The biking and walking paths are perfect for going running, cycling or taking a peaceful stroll. Winding through the grounds you'll find the Hangang River, sometimes shortened to the Han River, which offers various water sports and activities including boating and yachting. Many people visiting or living in Seoul like to set up mats and tents to enjoy the fresh air and cozy green spaces for the entire day. Some say that the views of the sunset from here are incredible; try to time your visit for the end of the day if you want to see it for yourself.
Aside from being a good spot to relax, the park also plays host to several cultural performances on weekends as well as fun festivals and celebrations. Some of the most popular include the Cherry Blossom Festival and the World Fireworks Festival, adored by locals and visitors alike. When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, it's quite an incredible sight.
As indicated in its name, you'll find Namsan Park located around Namsan Mountain, making it an ideal day trip. The public park is situated 262 meters high and the most scenic way to reach it is to use the cable car, although it's also accessible by public transportation or by walking. Namsan Park is a very popular park because it's home to the famous Seoul Tower. You can reach the tower, which is situated right on the summit of the mountain, by following the walking trails. The trek can take close to an hour but is not challenging and it's a beautiful spot to take a walk. Along the way, you'll find viewing decks where you can rest.
We recommend checking out the Eight Provinces Pine Tree Complex while you're inside the park as it houses pine trees that have originated from all over South Korea. The observatory is another must see and offers unbeatable views stretching all the way to the sea. Once you view the area from above it's easy to see why this is one of the city's most scenic parks.
One of the park's most iconic landmarks is the Locks of Love, a spot where lovers attach a heart bearing their initials or a message to a lock and leave it fastened to an area on the fence, symbolizing their unbreakable love for one another. Namsan Park provides a gorgeous spot to relax and there are plenty of hiking trails going around the mountain for those who want to be active as well. As the largest park in the city, you'll easily be able to spend all day here.
Seoul Forest Park
If you've ever been to the famed Central Park in New York, you might recognize similar elements in Seoul Forest Park which was built with inspiration from the popular green space of NYC. There's so much to do in this one space and it's easily one of the most popular settings for locals to spend the weekend. On site you'll find various sports facilities as well as flora and fauna that make it a must visit ecological park. In total, the area is separated into four sections; Eco-Forest, Riverside Park, Culture & Art Park, and Education Park.
Sports enthusiasts will be able to take advantage of the tennis courts and table tennis facilities, plus there are paths where you can ride your bike. Enjoy the skatepark, perfect for rollerblading or using a scooter. If you didn't bring your own bike, rent one in the park. Throughout the property, there are benches where you can stop and rest as needed, as well as an outdoor stage that sometimes hosts performances.
To catch a glimpse of some incredible plants and insects, visit the greenhouses which house butterflies and other bugs, plus a bevy of beautiful plants. There's also a deer enclosure inside the park as it used to be a royal hunting ground. One of the best locations to have a picnic or just to sit down and relax is right by the lake, although the butterfly garden and various shaded spots under the mature trees are lovely as well.
Ttukseom Hangang Park
What was once a famous amusement park located by the river is now one of the nicest and most peaceful green spaces in Seoul City Centre. The water from the river provides a refreshing cool breeze and also allows for a variety of water sports like power boating, windsurfing, kiteboarding, wakeboarding, stand up paddle boarding and water skiing. Rentals and lessons are offered inside the park, too.
Of course, there's lots to do on land as well including basketball courts, badminton and tennis courts, plus soccer fields and rock climbing walls. During the warm summer months when the sun is hottest, you can rent a tent to set up on the grass to provide a cozy shaded area to rest or have a picnic. They also come in handy during the nighttime if it's breezy and you want to be protected from the wind.
Ttukseom Hangang Park is sometimes used as a venue for concerts, so if you're lucky something might be happening while you're here. As you wander around the grounds, stop by the musical fountain area to watch the water dance to different music styles and songs. The public park is proud to be home to the city's biggest skatepark and also has a huge swimming pool that's open during the summer. Throughout the winter season, they set up fake snow you can sled on.
Naksan Park encompasses the entire area between Dongdaemun Gate and Daehak-ro Street. Aside from being a gorgeous space to spend time in the great outdoors, this park can give you an insight into the history and culture of Korea, too.
The pedestrian paths in the park will take you through lush shaded forests and eventually on a path that follows the old fortress walls which served as protection for the city of Seoul. We highly recommend visiting the Ihwa Mural Village with its gorgeous murals along the walls. You can reach the village by following the fortress trail towards Daehak-ro. Remember to bring your camera, you'll definitely want to take photos.
If you make your way to the top of the hill, you'll see one of the park's features that it's most popular for. The panoramic view from the summit is breathtaking, and you can see the entirety of downtown Seoul and Bukhansan Mountain from there. Many say that the night view is incredible, so consider planning your trip in the evening. Then, head out to a restaurant to end the night with a terrific meal.
The appropriately named Olympic Park was built in order to host the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games which means that it's home to various sports facilities and impressive infrastructures. The space was prepared to accommodate tennis, fencing, swimming, gymnastics and weightlifting and is home to several stadiums, although now they serve different uses. The multiple buildings have been transformed into concert halls and today, visitors of the park can enjoy performances from all sorts of artists, whether from nearby or far away.
Olympic Park is on the list of the top 5 sculpture parks with over 210 different works of art found within the grounds. Artists from around the globe have sculptures on display here, and one of the most famous is the World Peace Gate which was created by Kim Joong-up, a leading Korean sculptor. There are many more cultural attractions to be found within the park, including an art museum and a history centre.
You'll have a fair share of historic monuments to see here as well, including the Mongchontoseong. This earthen rampart is very old, in fact, it's said to have been around since the times of the kingdom of Baekje. Another interesting spot to visit is Flag Plaza, which displays the flags of all the countries that were part of the Olympic Games held here.
Get to know the parks in Seoul
Seoul's parks offer somewhere to meet up with friends, learn more about the history and culture of the city, be active with sports and activities, or just simply walk around while admiring the beautiful nature around you. Aside from all of the modern attractions and museums that Seoul has, its parks offer some of the most fun things to do in the city. Try to visit at least a few of them the next time that you have some free time in Seoul.
There are even more parks to discover in the city and many of them have trails and paths that you can spend all day exploring. Many activities in Seoul are free, both indoors and outside. When the weather is warm and you're looking for somewhere to cool off, spend the afternoon at these beaches near Seoul.