Family Seoul
January 24, 2011 4:35 AM   Subscribe

What are unique and fun activities for a family visiting Seoul?

Our family will be visiting Seoul later this winter and want to make the most of this opportunity. What are the best places to go to on a short visit? We would especially like to hear about unusual and/or unique activities, attractions, shows, parks, shops, cafes, etc that we couldn't experience in North America, but also the best of the typical tourist fare as well.

A recommendation for the best traditional spa (jimjibang) would also be welcome (we loved the Disneylandesque Ooedo Onsen Monogatari in Tokyo).
posted by fairmettle to Travel & Transportation around Seoul, South Korea (5 answers total)
Like videogames? See a professional Starcraft II tournament.

Certainly a unique attraction, and it's free!
posted by j03 at 5:58 AM on January 24, 2011

If your kids are older you might want to go to the DMZ. A co-worker of mine went last year and he said is was pretty amazing. You can actually go into a building that is in both countries and cross over into North Korea. You also can see the fake towns (and soldiers) in the North.

I think visiting the DMZ does require a bit of planning and is not without risk, but what a story for Social Studies class.
posted by JohntheContrarian at 7:19 AM on January 24, 2011

The DMZ is an excellent idea and totally safe. However, it will take up pretty much your entire day.

As for bigger spas, there is one just north of Seoul called Fantasium (this is the best link I could find for it.)

The COEX mall tends to have random exhibitions for children going on. It's at Samseong Stn on the Green Line.
posted by fso at 8:35 AM on January 24, 2011

Seoul has a lot of strange, tiny museums. I don't know how old your kids are but they might like the ToyKino Museum or Toto's Nostalgia Museum.

Insadong is a pretty fun place to hang out in. It's a mix of trendy and traditional, leaning towards the traditional. You can see people making old-style Korean candy and visit cute tea shops and cafes.

And depending on your kids, it might be fun to wander around the Myeongdong or Hongdae neighbourhoods. If you've never been to Asia before, Myeongdong definitely has a big 'whoa' factor too it. Tons of people, tons of shops, tons of restaurants. Lots of great street food here too! (Tip: Buy some bundaegi (roasted silkworm larvae) and freak your kids out.)
posted by Rora at 5:52 PM on January 24, 2011

If you want to go to the DMZ be sure to read up on the tour company's requirements beforehand, You'll need your passports, and they also have strict regulations on what kinds of clothes you can wear (they don't want us Americans coming off looking like slobs).

Seoul Tower is fun. Last time I was there you could buy a fairly cheap tickets (like $12 maybe) for hop-on-hop-off buses that have English recordings explaining the history and significance of certain attractions. This is a great way to see a lot of things at one.

In the vicinity of the Seoul Tower is the Seoul Animation Center, which should be fun for kids. Nearby is the neighborhood of Myeongdong which is fun to walk around in. Lots of teenagers, street fashion, street food, kids playing music, arcades, etc.

If it's nice outside you might be able to see a taekwondo demonstration.

Insadong is pretty cool but more adult-oriented, and it's pretty touristy. But nearby is another "historic" district, Bukcheon, where you can take historical tours of villages, meander through tiny galleries and shops. This is one of my two favorite parts of Seoul.

Not sure when you'll be there but winter can be rather cold. But if you want to do something outdoorsy, my other favorite part of Seoul is Inwangsan, and ancient mountain covered in Shaman temples right in the middle of the city. It's really amazing.

Korea is really, really kid friendly, so I'm sure you'll have no matter what you do. And Seoul is the kind of place where just walking the streets is an adventure.
posted by Brittanie at 6:27 PM on January 24, 2011

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