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Ultimate Family Guide to Seoul: A 10-Day Itinerary Exploring Palaces, Markets, and Modern Marvels

안녕하세요 (Annyeonghaseyo), adventurous families! Just back from a whirlwind tour of South Korea, and wow, what an epic journey it was! But of all the places we visited, there’s one jewel in the crown of Korea that deserves its own dedicated tale—Seoul. This time, we zeroed in on this vibrant city for a full 10 days, diving deep into its heart where dizzying modernity and deep-rooted traditions weave seamlessly together.

Why Seoul? As a family that loves diving into diverse cultures, feasting on new cuisines, and navigating the delightful chaos of bustling cities, Seoul proved to be the ultimate playground. From palatial splendors resonating with centuries of history to neon-lit streets showcasing futuristic storefronts, Seoul delivered a breathtaking array of experiences that captivated each one of us, big and small.

Join us as we share our itinerary, packed with family-friendly gems that might just inspire your next adventure. So grab your travel hats (and maybe a snack or two), and let’s embark on this Seoul-ful journey together!

Day 1-3: Seoul - The Heartbeat of Korea

Day 1: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Blue House and Bukchon Hanok Village

@ Gyeongbokgung Palace

  • Start your Seoul adventure with a visit to Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of the Five Grand Palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty. Constructed in 1395 by King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeongbokgung stands as a monumental testament to the architectural achievements and cultural heritage of its era. The Joseon Dynasty, which lasted from 1392 to 1910, spanned over 500 years and was ruled by 27 kings. This period is a favorite backdrop for numerous popular K-drama series, such as "Jewel in the Palace" and "The Moon Embracing the Sun," which explore the intricate and dramatic tales of palace intrigue and romance. These dramas not only captivate audiences with their compelling narratives but also play a significant role in promoting and preserving Korean culture, making the history of the Joseon Dynasty both popular and relevant to contemporary South Korea.

Royal Guard changing ceremony

  • Kid’s Corner: Time your visit to catch the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony at 10:00 AM or 2:00 PM. It’s a spectacular display of historical pageantry that is sure to dazzle the kids.

  • Explore the National Folk Museum of Korea, located within the palace grounds, to learn about traditional Korean life.

  • Blue House Visit: You can view Cheong Wa Dae from outside its gates. The area is picturesque, with the beautifully designed Korean presidential residence set against the backdrop of Bukhansan Mountain.

Lunch: Enjoy a traditional Korean lunch at Tosokchon Samgyetang near the palace, famous for its ginseng chicken soup—a wholesome and kid-friendly choice.

@ Bukchon Hanok Village

  • After lunch, take a leisurely walk to Bukchon Hanok Village. Here, you can explore beautifully preserved traditional Korean houses (hanoks) and discover quaint tea houses and artisan shops.

  • Fun Activity: Dress up in traditional Hanbok and snap some memorable family photos against the picturesque backdrop of old Seoul.

Travel Tip: Rent a Hanbok from one of the many shops around the palace for free entrance to Gyeongbokgung!

Day 2: N Seoul Tower and Surrounding Areas

@ N Seoul Tower

Morning: N Seoul Tower

  • Head to N Seoul Tower early to beat the crowds. Located on Namsan Mountain, the tower offers panoramic views of the entire city."Namsan" translates to "South Mountain" and is a central landmark in Seoul, both geographically and historically. The tower was completed in 1971 and officially opened to the public in 1980.

  • Take a leisurely hike or the cable car up to the tower. The Namsan Seoul Tower Plaza houses various attractions including the Hello Kitty Island for younger kids.

Lunch: Grab a bite at the N Grill, a revolving restaurant in the tower, or enjoy a picnic with pre-packed snacks in Namsan Park.

Afternoon: Namsan Park

  • Spend your afternoon exploring Namsan Park. It's a great place for kids to run around and enjoy the playgrounds.

  • Visit the Namsan Hanok Village within the park to see more traditional Korean structures and occasionally, folk performances.

Evening: Return to your hotel in the early evening, rest up, and perhaps explore nearby dining options at your leisure.

Day 3: Insadong Street – Art and Culture Hub

Morning and Afternoon: Insadong Street

@ Insadong

  • Devote your day to exploring Insadong, a neighborhood famous for its traditional aesthetic mixed with modern flair.

  • Kid’s Exploration: Visit Ssamziegil, an open-air shopping complex with an artfully spiraled architecture, offering plenty of craft shops and places to snack.

  • Check out traditional tea houses where the family can experience a Korean tea ceremony.

Lunch: Eat at one of the family-friendly restaurants in Insadong, such as Bukchon Son Mandu, known for their delicious dumplings.

Travel Tip: Insadong is a great place to buy souvenirs like handmade crafts, traditional Korean hats, and colorful fans.

Evening: Consider catching a performance at the nearby Jeongdong Theater, where traditional meets contemporary Korean theatrical arts.

Travel Tips Across Days:

  • Subway Savvy: Seoul’s subway system is efficient and stroller-friendly. Utilize the wide gates at subway stations for easy access with a stroller.

  • Stay Connected: Rent a portable Wi-Fi device or a Korean SIM card for easy navigation and to keep the kids entertained during transit times.

This plan covers the first three days in Seoul, immersing your family in the city's rich history and vibrant culture. Up next, we'll explore more modern attractions and hidden gems in Seoul for days 4 to 7, including a visit to Myeongdong for shopping and street food adventures! Stay tuned for more details.

Fantastic! Let's keep the adventure rolling with more exciting activities and unique experiences for your family in Seoul. Here’s what the next four days could look like:

Day 4-7: Exploring Modern Marvels and Hidden Gems

Day 4: Myeongdong Shopping and Street Food Galore

@Myeongdong Cathedral

Morning to Afternoon: Myeongdong

  • Start your day at Myeongdong, one of Seoul's primary shopping districts. It's a paradise for fashion lovers and also offers a variety of kid-friendly shops, like the LINE Friends Store and the Hello Kitty Cafe.

  • Kid’s Highlight: Check out the M Plaza, which often hosts free performances and has a rooftop garden that offers a great view of the bustling street below.

Lunch: Dive into the street food scene in Myeongdong. Treat the kids to sweet-and-sticky hotteok (filled pancakes), tornado potatoes, and fresh fruit juices.

Afternoon: NANTA Theatre

  • After a bustling morning, enjoy a performance at the NANTA Theatre located in Myeongdong. This non-verbal comedy show that incorporates traditional Korean samul nori rhythm is entertaining for all ages and languages.

Evening: Wind down with a casual dinner at one of Myeongdong’s family-friendly restaurants, or try some Korean BBQ, which is always a hit with kids who love to grill their own meat at the table.

Day 5: Lotte World Adventure

@songpagu district with Lotte world tower in the middle

All Day: Lotte World

  • Dedicate your day to Lotte World, the world's largest indoor theme park, which also has an outdoor amusement park called "Magic Island."

  • For the Kids: The park is filled with rides, games, and attractions suitable for all ages. Don’t miss the parades and the evening laser show!

  • Dining Tip: Lotte World offers various dining options inside, from fast food to traditional Korean meals, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

Evening: Return to your hotel for a restful evening or explore the nearby Lotte World Mall for more dining and shopping options.

Day 6: Nature and Science Day

Morning: Seoul Forest

  • Visit Seoul Forest in the morning for a refreshing start to the day. It's a large green space that houses deer, insects, and a butterfly conservatory, which are big hits with children.

Lunch: Have a picnic in the forest or dine at a nearby cafe.

  • Head to the Gwacheon National Science Museum in the afternoon. This museum is interactive and educational, with exhibits on science, nature, and technology that engage children of all ages.

Evening: Relax back at your accommodation, or if you’re up for it, explore a local night market for dinner.

Day 7: Han River ,Hongdae District, BTS

@ songdo central park

Morning to Afternoon: Han River

  • Rent bikes and explore the Han River. You can also rent picnic mats, tents, and even inline skates at various rental spots along the river. This is a perfect way to enjoy Seoul’s scenic outdoors.

  • Kid’s Fun: Visit one of the many playgrounds and water parks along the river during the summer.

For BTS fans in your family, consider swapping the Han River outing for a morning dedicated to exploring BTS hotspots!

Morning: HYBE Insight (formerly BigHit Entertainment)

  • Start your day by visiting the HYBE Insight museum, which offers an immersive experience into the music and artistry of HYBE artists, including BTS. This museum is located within the HYBE headquarters in Yongsan District.

  • Tip: Tickets for HYBE Insight are usually in high demand. It’s advisable to book your tickets well in advance to ensure your visit

Lunch: Enjoy a relaxed lunch at one of the riverside cafes or pack a picnic if you are exploring Han river or for BTS fan, simply go to Yoojung Sikdang.

  • Enjoy lunch at Yoojung Sikdang, a restaurant frequented by BTS during their trainee days. It’s located near the old BigHit Entertainment building in Nonhyeon-dong, making it a meaningful spot for fans to connect with the early days of BTS.

  • Tip: Try the dishes that BTS members have ordered in the past. The restaurant has become a popular spot for fans, so consider visiting earlier or later than typical lunch hours to avoid a long wait.

Afternoon and Evening: Hongdae

  • Spend your final afternoon and evening in the vibrant Hongdae district, known for its youthful ambience and artistic street performances.

  • Explore the Hongdae Free Market on weekends where local artists sell handmade crafts and offer portrait painting—a fun way to capture memories.

  • Dining: Hongdae is filled with quirky cafes and restaurants that cater to all tastes, including plenty of options for adventurous young eaters.


Afternoon: GangnamDol BTS Figure and K-Star Road

  • Head to Gangnam to see the GangnamDol BTS Figure, part of a series of bear figures representing K-pop groups. It's a great photo opportunity for fans.

  • Stroll along K-Star Road, where you can see art pieces and other references to famous K-pop stars, including BTS.

  • Tip: K-Star Road is perfect for leisurely walks and offers plenty of spots for fans to enjoy K-pop culture. Enjoy your day as a true ARMY!

@cheonggyecheon river :) we enjoyed this area of Seoul

Travel Tips for Easy Family Travel:

  • Stay Flexible: Always have a backup plan as weather and children’s moods can change quickly.

  • Keep Hydrated and Snacked: Always carry water and small snacks, as exploring can be tiring especially for the little ones.

Enjoy your trip to Seoul, and remember to take lots of photos and make wonderful memories!

Day 8-10: Historical Riches and Modern Marvels

Day 8: War Memorial and Museum of Korea

@korean war museum

  • Start your day at the War Memorial of Korea. This expansive museum is not only educational but also engaging for all ages, offering insights into Korea's military history through interactive exhibits and real military equipment displays.

  • Kid’s Highlight: The Children’s Museum within the complex offers educational programs and play areas tailored to younger visitors.

Lunch: Enjoy a meal at Noksapyeong Station, an area nearby with various international and Korean dining options, perfect for family palates.

  • After lunch, head to the National Museum of Korea. This museum houses extensive collections of art and historical artifacts that provide a deep dive into Korean culture and history.

  • Family Fun: Don’t miss the museum's Children's Museum, which offers educational activities and exhibits about Korean culture tailored for children.

Evening: Consider a leisurely dinner in the Itaewon district, known for its multicultural cuisine, offering something for every taste.

Day 9: Starfield COEX Mall and Bongeunsa Temple

Morning to Afternoon: Starfield COEX Mall

  • Spend your morning at the Starfield COEX Mall, one of the largest underground shopping malls in Asia. Here, you’ll find the visually stunning Starfield Library. With its towering shelves of books and media walls, it’s a great spot for some family photos.

@Starfield Library

  • Shopping and Entertainment: The mall also features a wide variety of shops, an aquarium, and a cinema to keep the whole family entertained.

Lunch: Eat at one of the many eateries within the mall, ranging from fast food to gourmet dining options.

Afternoon: Bongeunsa Temple

@ Bongeunsa temple

  • After lunch, walk to the nearby Bongeunsa Temple. This serene Buddhist temple offers a contrast to the bustling city and an opportunity for some quiet reflection. They also offer temple stay programs if you're interested in an immersive cultural experience.

Evening: Head back to the area around your hotel and explore local dining options or enjoy a restful evening after a busy day.

Day 10: Seoullo 7017 and Hangang River Cruise

@ Seoul Skyline

Morning: Seoullo 7017

  • Visit Seoullo 7017 in the morning, a sky garden and elevated walkway converted from an old highway overpass. It offers great views of the city and has several cafes and flower shops along the path.

  • Interactive Fun: Look out for playgrounds and trampoline sections along Seoullo, which are perfect for kids.

Lunch: Choose from one of the local cafes or restaurants around Seoul Station or pack a picnic to enjoy along the walkway.

Afternoon to Evening: Hangang River Cruise

  • Cap off your extended stay with a Hangang River Cruise. This is a fantastic way to see the city from a different perspective. The cruise offers both day and night options, with the evening cruise providing a beautiful view of the illuminated city skyline.

  • Tip: Try to catch one of the cruises that feature live music or magic shows for an entertaining end to your journey.

Evening: Enjoy your final dinner in Seoul at a restaurant along the Hangang River, offering both spectacular views and delicious food to reflect on your memorable trip.

Final Travel Tips:

  • Keep It Light: By this point in your trip, consider lighter activities or additional rest periods, especially if traveling with younger children.

  • Last-Minute Shopping: If you have any last-minute gifts or souvenirs to pick up, Myeongdong and Insadong offer a plethora of options.

With 10 days in Seoul, your itinerary now includes a blend of educational, cultural, and leisure activities that cater to both kids and adults, making your 10 days in Seoul truly unforgettable. Enjoy exploring this dynamic city like we did!

@ Gyeonghoeru Pavilion in Gyeongbokgung Palace

As we wrap up our 10-day exploration of Seoul, I find myself reflecting on our entire journey through South Korea, from the northern reaches to the bustling southern cities. Each place had its unique charm and stories, but Seoul—with its vibrant mix of old and new—held a special place in our hearts.

Exploring Seoul felt like walking through a living museum, where skyscrapers tower over ancient palaces and street vendors sell traditional snacks just a stone's throw from futuristic malls. The city not only connected us more deeply to Korean culture but also brought us closer as a family, as we navigated its dynamic streets and shared countless meals of kimchi, bibimbap, and the universally beloved tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), a hit with kids everywhere.

Seoul taught us the importance of resilience and community spirit, qualities that resonate through every bustling market and quiet temple garden. Our days here were filled with laughter, awe, and the kind of learning that only travel can provide. We leave Seoul with a wealth of unforgettable experiences, a deeper understanding of Korea, and a yearning to return.

To families considering their next adventure: South Korea offers a spectacular array of experiences, and Seoul is its shining gem. Whether you're chasing history, culture, food, or technology, you'll find it here, wrapped in the warm embrace of Korean hospitality.

Until our next adventure, 감사합니다 (gamsahamnida—thank you) South Korea 🇰🇷 , for a journey we'll cherish forever!

@ TheTraveler Butterfly in Seoul

Do you have a favorite place to explore in Seoul ? Please share in the comments below and spread the Traveler Butterfly love !


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