Seoul With Kids – Things to See & Do In South Korea’s Capital.
Travelling to Seoul with kids? Here you can find all you need to know about travelling to the capital of South Korea and why it is a great family travel destination. There are so many things to do in Seoul with kids and as a family. Here are our top picks!
Seoul, an Underrated Family Travel Destination in Asia
South Korea is an underrated family travel destination. The truth is South Korea offers so much for families travelling with children.
After decades of being overshadowed by its wealthier and more famous neighbour Japan, Korean music and food are now famous worldwide.
Seoul, South Korea’s vibrant capital city, is the ultimate place to try experience Korea’s engaging new cultural scene.
Read more about why South Korea is a fantastic family destination!
Visiting Seoul with kids
A visit to Seoul with kids will give you a great taste of all that South Korea has to offer. I lived near Seoul in my twenties. Taking my two young children back to explore the city recently was a fantastic and eye-opening opportunity.
Older children will love being in the home of K-pop and of course showing off their Gangnam Style. Whilst younger children, like mine, will love the free interactive children’s museums, open spaces and Korean barbeque every night.
When to travel to Seoul with Kids
Although you can find some fantastic things to do in Seoul with kids at anytime of the year, Spring and autumn are the ideal times to visit Seoul. Summers can be hot and sticky and winters bitterly cold and sometimes snowy.
We visited Seoul in May with our kids. The weather was perfect for sightseeing and exploration. Spring is a great time to be outdoors and explore the city’s green spaces.
Springtime, also, welcomes several festivals throughout the city because of the Cherry blossoms, including the Lotus Lantern Festival in May and the annual Yeouido Spring Flower Festival every April.
Getting around Seoul with Kids
Seoul has an amazing transport system that makes getting around a breeze. There are modern and mostly punctual trains, subway lines, buses and even water taxis. Some areas of the city are very walkable too. We were travelling with a stroller and did jump into the odd taxi to make things a little easier.
If you are planning a visit to Seoul with kids, remember that it is a huge city and travel distances can be far. This means that it’ll be difficult to cover everything that you want to do in one short visit.
When you’re planning your trip try to choose museums and activities that are close together. You don’t want to be doing lots of one-hour subway journeys with a restless toddler!
Food in Seoul
A few years ago, parents visiting Seoul with kids might have worried about food for the kids. Korean food can be very spicy and unusual to a Western palate. Nowadays, this isn’t a problem at all as Western-style food is available everywhere to cater for those fussy eaters. But don’t let your kids skip Korean cuisine entirely they would really be missing out!
Bibimbap is a great dish to try with young children. It’s a bowl of rice, veggies and sometimes meat topped with a fried egg. Korean adults add dashings of spicy sauce and mix it all up but kids will appreciate the rice, egg and vegetables served plain. Another great option is Korean barbeque (now famous around the world). Let the kids cook their own meat at the table (with adult supervision). Then serve with lettuce, vegetables and rice and voila it’s a meal most kids will enjoy!
Check out our Korean food guide:
Top 10 Traditional Korean Dishes to try and where to find them in Seoul!
Culture Shock in Seoul
It can be difficult for children to adjust to places where the culture is so different. As Korean popular culture becomes more global, the food and language shouldn’t come as so much of a shock especially to older children. Give younger children plenty of time to soak in their new surroundings and take them to places, like soft plays and chain cafes that are familiar to them as well as sightseeing.
Learning how to read Korean is simple and fun, take the time to learn the alphabet with your children and it will open up new experiences for them. Encourage them to try deciphering pizza menus it’s really easy!
What to see and do in Seoul with Kids
Seoul is a sprawling metropolis and you’d need months to see everything. However, two to three days will give you a great taste of the city and definitely leave you craving more.
Here are 6 family friendly things to see and do in Seoul with kids
1. National Folk Museum of Korea
Right in the heart of the city next to Gyeongbokgung Palace is the National Folk Museum of Korea. The museum is free to enter and much of it is open-air.
You can explore historic buildings from around Korea rebuilt on these grounds. It is a great space for children to explore and run in and out of the buildings.
Our children loved the indoor children’s exhibitions. There were fun hands-on activities about Korean food and culture. A great place to explore in Seuol for kids, enough to keep our children entertained for over an hour!
2. Gyeongbokgung Palace
Right next door to the National Folk Museum of Korea is Gyeongbokgung Palace. Once one of the most important palaces in Seoul, it is home to beautiful ornate buildings, a lake and attractive gardens. Admission is 3000 won for adults and 1500 won for children.
In the same location is the National Palace Museum of Korea (free to enter) where you can admire royal artefacts. The displays include elegant traditional hanboks (Korean dresses) and jewellery worn by kings and queens.
3. The War Memorial of Korea
This engaging and informative museum covers the turbulent side of South Korean history. It focuses on warfare, particularly the Korean War.
The main museum contains exhibits more suitable for adults and older children. But, the extensive grounds are a treasure trove of activities for young children.
This war museum is a great place to visit in Seoul with kids. Children can run around and explore the old military vehicles that have been preserved including tanks, warships and helicopters. Our children loved clambering through the army trucks.
The war museum has a fun children’s play area shaped like an aeroplane and a great children’s museum. The children’s museum is full of child-friendly interactive activities. An added bonus is the soft play area at the end. It is free to enter but you will need to go to the entrance beforehand to get a timed ticket.
4. N Seoul Tower on Namsan Hill
High on Namsan hill overlooking the city is the iconic N Seoul Tower. The complex at the base of the tower houses various tourist attractions and souvenir shops.
We skipped the expensive attractions and went straight up the 236 metre tower for the views. The panoramic views from the observation deck give a great perspective of how colossal Seoul really is and views of the hills that surround it.
We took a bus up to the top of Namsan Hill to enter the tower and rode the Namsan Cable Car back down the hill after our visit. Children will enjoy the short cable car ride. If you visit at night, the tower is beautifully lit up.
5. Children’s Grand Park
As the name suggests, the Children’s Grand Park is the ultimate child-friendly place to visit in Seoul. The park is absolutely enormous and inside children can explore the zoo botanical gardens and a wetland eco area. The huge musical fountain and its dancing water shows will captivate young children.
Other great outdoor spaces in Seoul are: Seoul Forest Park where you can hire bicycles or inline skates in a wonderful forest setting and Olympic Park which was built for the 1988 Olympics and contains the ruins of an old fortress, a small free museum and a play area. The perfect way to spend some time in Seoul with kids.
If you’re spending more than a few days in Seoul, hop on a train to the end of Line 1 and visit Suwon. Nowadays Suwon is a suburb of Seoul but in the late 16th century it had its moment of glory when King Jeongjo decided to move the capital there. The king died before the move was completed.
Suwon never became the capital but the fortifications that he commissioned are now UNESCO World Heritage listed and Hwaseong Palace is beautifully restored. The small electric train is an easy way to explore the expansive city walls with kids.
There’s also an interesting Korean Folk Village in Suwon where you can explore old Korean buildings and learn about traditional crafts. Yet unsurprisingly, our kids absolute favourite activity in Suwon was a visit to Mr Toilet House. This hilarious but educational museum tells the history of toilets through absurd and often crude sculpture sets in a garden setting. Opposite is a building dedicated to toilets containing a well-curated hands-on exhibitions for children about the digestive system and all things related to poo.
South Korea with Kids
These are just a few ideas of the many amazing child-friendly activities that you can do in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. There are engaging children’s exhibits at almost every museum as well as wonderful parks and great restaurants. It is a fabulous city to visit with young children, even energetic toddlers.
If you do travel to Seoul during the Spring, make sure to check out our guide: Where to see the Cherry Blossoms in Seoul which also includes around South Korea.
With so much to do in Seoul with kids, it is an unforgettable city to visit and an absolute must-see destination for families exploring East Asia.
BIO: Kirsty is a British family travel blogger currently living in sunny Malaysia. She has travelled to over 100 countries including 30 with her young children and blogs about family travel with a dash of feminism at World for a Girl. Her goal is to inspire girls to be fearless global adventurers. Follow her on Facebook, or Pinterest.