30 Best Free Things To Do In Seoul: Cheap Fun In Seoul 2024

Overflowing with culture, cuisine, history and natural beauty, Korea’s capital, Seoul, is a mega-city that offers endless options for travellers on any budget. The good news is, you don’t have to break the bank to experience the very best of Seoul. From centuries-old palaces and temples to cutting-edge art galleries and lively markets, there are many free things to do in Seoul you’ll love.

By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have an extensive list of free Seoul attractions and activities to fill your schedule from morning to night. Whether you want to explore Seoul’s history and culture, sights, nature, or entertainment options, there are plenty of free places in Seoul for you to discover, such as the Bukchon Hanok Village, Namsangol Park, and Jogyesa Temple.

In this article, you’ll discover thirty of the very best free things to do in Seoul that I want to share from my experience exploring Seoul without spending any money. There are also many of my personal tips about ways to save money in Seoul, where to get cheap food and souvenirs, and how to get more for less. To make life easier, there’s also a handy interactive map of Seoul with all these free places.

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The Best Way To See Free Things In Seoul

Person enjoying free sights in Seoul

Seoul is a city blessed with many free sights and activities for travellers and locals to enjoy. Whether you’re in central Seoul or staying on the outskirts of the city, you’ll be able to find parks, gardens, mountains, historic temples, palaces, and lots more to explore, all for free. However, the most convenient way to see all of these is free sights is with a tour. Of course, a free tour is the best kind!

There are two main ways to get free tours of Seoul’s sights, both are open to travellers to Korea:

1: Free Transit Tours From Incheon Airport

If you have a layover of less than 24 hours in Seoul, you should definitely take advantage of the free transit tours offered from Incheon Airport to better acquaint yourself with the capital upon landing. These complimentary shuttles takes travellers into Seoul for guided tours of top sites like Gyeongbokgung Palace or insider neighbourhood walking tours full of history and culture appreciation.

With experienced multilingual volunteers leading the way across language or mobility barriers, these 3 to 4 hour excursions introduce the best free things to do in Seoul in a quick and easy tour. Sadly, these free tours are only available to transit passengers, so if you’re staying in Seoul for longer, then you should check out the second free tour type – walking tours of Seoul.

2: Free Walking Tours of Seoul

No trip to Seoul is complete without understanding the storied history and dynamic culture found on every street corner. Bring the city alive through your eyes and ears by joining a free Seoul walking tour. Knowledgeable volunteer guides versed in Korea’s complex past weave intriguing narratives while leading you to top attractions like Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, and more.

With tantalising insights of Seoul from locals, the free walking tours of Seoul allow visitors an insiders’ perspective of Seoul through thoughtful talks and unforgettable experiences without any fees.

Please note: While these tours are free, you may be required to pay entry fees to some attractions.

Conditions to join a free transit tour

If you satisfy any of the following conditions, you can join the transit tour without a visa. Passengers from visa exempt countries are still need to obtain K-ETA except the countries/regions which got temporary exemption. (https://k-eta.go.kr)

  • 1) Visa Free Entry by Designation
    • For more specific visa information, Please check https://www.visa.go.kr/
  • 2) Transit Tourists Travelling to a Third Country
    • Persons who hold a visa (or permanent residency) to the United States (including Guam and Saipan), Canada, Australia, New Zealand or one of the 32 European countries who transit through Korea to enter the above mentioned countries or persons who stayed in and departed from one of the above mentioned countries and transit through Korea bound for the country of origin or a third country.
  • 3) Visa Free Entry for Foreign Transfer Passengers
    • To join a transit tour, you need under 24 hours of layover time.
    • Passengers who have over 24 hours of layover cannot join the tour.
    • To register for a transit tour, you’ll need your passport and both arrival & departure boarding passes.

Planning to visit Korea? These travel essentials will help you plan your trip, get the best deals, and save you time and money before and during your Korean adventure.

Visas & K-ETA: Some travellers to Korea need a Tourist Visa, but most can travel with a Korean Electronic Travel Authorisation (K-ETA). Currently 22 Countries don’t need either one.

How To Stay Connected: Pre-order a Korean Sim Card or a WiFi Router to collect on-arrival at Incheon Airport (desks open 24-hours). Alternatively, download a Korean eSIM for you travels.

Where To Stay: For Seoul, I recommend Myeongdong (convenient), Hongdae (cool culture) or Gangnam (shopping). For Busan, Haeundae (Beach) or Seomyeon (Downtown).

Incheon Airport To Seoul: Take the Airport Express (AREX) to Seoul Station or a Limo Bus across Seoul. Book an Incheon Airport Private Transfer and relax to or from the airport.

Korean Tour Operators: Tour companies that have a big presence in Korea include Klook, Trazy, Viator, and Get Your Guide. These sites offer discounted entry tickets for top attractions.

Seoul City Passes: Visit Seoul’s top attractions for free with a Discover Seoul Pass or Go City Seoul Pass. These passes are great for families and couples visiting Seoul – you can save lots.

How To Get Around: For public transport, grab a T-Money Card. Save money on Korea’s high speed trains with a Korea Rail Pass. To see more of Korea, there are many rental car options from Klook, EconomyBookings, and RentalCars.

Travel Money: Use money exchanges near Myeongdong and Hongdae subway stations for the best exchange rates. Order a Wise Card or WOWPASS to pay by card across Korea.

Flights To Korea: I use flight comparison sites such as Expedia and Skyscanner to find the best flights to Korea from any country. Air Asia is a good option for budget flights from Asia.

Travel Insurance: It is important to insure your trips to protect yourself against the unexpected. World Nomad is a specialized travel insurance provider with options for different coverage for travellers from around the world. You can also purchase cover when you are already travelling.

How To Learn Korean: The language course from 90 Day Korean or Korean Class 101 both have well-structured lessons and lots of useful resources to help you learn Korean.

Free Sightseeing Activities In Seoul

Cheonggyecheon Stream In Seoul
Cheonggyecheon Stream at night

With palaces that transport you back in time, parks emanating tranquility, and lively cultural districts fuelling the future, Seoul overflows with exceptional sights to take in absolutely free of charge. This first section covers some of the best free things to do in Seoul that should be on any visitors’ bucket list. From historic hanok villages and fortress walls to modern design, there’s plenty to see in Seoul for free.

1: Bukchon Hanok Village

Nestled between two royal palaces, Bukchon Hanok Village allows visitors a glimpse into historic Korea. This beautifully preserved neighbourhood contains over 900 Korean hanok houses that date back 600 years. As you explore the winding alleys, you’ll feel transported back in time to the Joseon Dynasty while witnessing Korean cultural heritage continuing into modern everyday life.

Visitors can pick up a free walking map and tour the narrow cobblestone streets lined with tiled-roof houses, peaceful temples, tiny museums, craft workshops, galleries, and cafés at their leisure without tickets or tours. With its old-world charm and residents wearing traditional dress, Bukchon Hanok Village offers a free, living history lesson you can’t find anywhere else in Seoul.

Bukchon Hanok Village And N Seoul Tower
Bukchon Hanok Village
Couple in hanbok at a royal palace in Seoul
Couple in hanbok at a royal palace in Seoul

2: Seoul’s Royal Palaces

Slip into the silhouette of Korea’s past by wearing Korean hanbok, the flowing traditional attire, for free entry into Seoul’s most storied sites – the sprawling royal palaces. Built during the imposing Joseon Dynasty, elaborate complexes like Changdeokgung, Gyeongbokgung, Changgyeonggung, and Deoksugung transport you centuries back in time once adorned in vividly-hued hanbok.

Stroll through ornate gates guarded by stoic royal guards and traverse serene lotus garden ponds and ornate pavilions, which look beautiful in any season. These royal palaces are great places to photograph yourself alongside colourfully costumed palace actors and feel like Korean nobility yourself. Visiting Seoul with kids? These palaces are great places to see in Seoul with children.

Please note: Free entry to Seoul’s palaces is only available when wearing hanbok, as well as special dates such as Seollal, Chuseok, and the last Wednesday of each month, which is Culture Day.

3: Cheonggyecheon Stream

After strolling the bustling streets of downtown Seoul, find your inner peace again while wandering the Cheonggyecheon Stream. This oasis of gurgling water winds through the concrete jungle, with paved embankments, public art installations, and stone block bridges crossing its path. It’s one of the best ways to explore downtown Seoul without crossing roads and dodging cars.

Locals and travellers alike come to this urban waterway to rest their feet, have a picnic, and soak in Korean history from the informative plaques along the way. As a free refuge from the city’s chaos, Cheonggyecheon Stream lets you relax and recharge without spending a cent. If you visit during Christmas, you’ll be treated to lantern displays, while night markets are held here in summer.

4: Insadong Art Street

For creative spirits and art aficionados, a must-do free activity in Seoul is wandering Insadong Art Street. This quaint area explodes with inspiration down every alley from galleries showcasing traditional paintings and calligraphy to indie craft shops brimming with pottery and handmade knickknacks. Street culture dazzles with impromptu dances, music, chalk art, and graffiti murals colouring the walls.

Let Insadong ignite your imagination with its eye-popping art that spills onto the streets and inspires at every turn – all free for visitors to glimpse. My favourite spot in this area is the Ssamzigil art mall, which has loads of creative shops and the strangely delicious Poop Cafe on the top floor.

Insadong Art Street
Ssamzigil Art Shopping Centre
Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul
Gwanghwamun Square

5: Gwanghwamun Square

At the heart of Seoul lies Gwanghwamun Square, a public space with free access offering glimpses into Korea’s dynastic history through art and artefacts. Visitors can explore the plaza’s statues of Admiral Yi Sun-sin and King Sejong the Great while learning about their leadership legacies. Wander through the on-site exhibit displaying parts of a former royal palace.

With cultural shows, temporary art installations, and city views surrounding this downtown square, Gwanghwamun provides free entertainment and education for travellers of all ages to better understand Seoul’s storied past. In winter, this area is home to the Seoul Winter Festa, a dazzling display of lanterns and light installations, while in other seasons you can find free markets to explore.

6: Banpo Rainbow Fountain Bridge

As the sun sets over Seoul, head to the Banpo Rainbow Fountain Bridge to witness its nightly rainbow fountain show lighting up the river, absolutely free. This 10-minute spectacle projects arcing jets of water in sync with a captivating LED light display. The colourful, dancing fountain against the city skyline creates an almost magical illusion not to miss.

From late April through mid-October, the dazzling rainbow fountain performances occur multiple times per night. With different themed multimedia shows featuring music, images, and lasers, visitors never see the same program twice. An iconic Seoul attraction, the Banpo Rainbow Fountain Bridge is a free, family-friendly evening activity perfect for making vacation memories along the Han River.

7: Deoksugung Stone Wall Road

Explore the exterior of one of Seoul’s four grand royal palaces, Deoksugung, on an intimate scale by taking a peaceful walk along the complex’s Stone Wall Road. As a lesser-known alternative to the main gate entrances, this tree-lined pathway hugs the palace perimeter wall giving unique angles gazing into traditional buildings more closely.

Built during King Seonjo’s era when Deoksugung became a primary royal residence in the late 1500s, these historic stone barriers now offer poetic scenery for peaceful palace strolls utterly free of charge, unveiling new beauty found only with adventures off the beaten track when discovering Seoul. It’s a popular location in K-drama’s and you might recognise it if you’re a fan of Korean shows.

Deoksugung Stone Wall Walkway
Deoksugung Stone Wall Road
Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul
Myeongdong Cathedral

8: Myeongdong Cathedral

Rising distinctly above the gleaming high-rises and congested alleyways of Myeongdong’s busy shopping district, the late 19th century Myeongdong Cathedral stands as an elegant heritage landmark open freely to visitors. Marvel at its vaulted Gothic spires, intricate stained glass, and historic pipe organ inside this Anglican church serving Seoul’s community since 1898.

Attend English language masses or benefit concerts within this cultural icon. For a brief reprieve from the consumer chaos of Myeongdong outside, find sublime solace appreciating this architectural beauty as one of the city’s most photographed sites and Korea’s oldest Anglican place of worship, with no admission tickets required. Please be careful not to disturb ceremonies when you enter.

9: Seoul’s Fortress Walls

One of my personal favourite free things to do in Seoul is walking along the many miles of ancient fortress walls that still exist in many parts of the city’s centre and surrounding mountains. The freely accessible fortress walls and towering gatehouses, which date back through the centuries and once protected Korea’s capital from foreign invaders, stretch over 18 kilometres around the city.

Much of these monumental battlements still stand today with scenic hiking trails following their path. Wander past ancient mountain gates, watchtowers, beacon mounds, and signposts guiding wayward travellers. For unparalleled views into the fortress and the city it shields, the Seoul City Wall Museum also provides a free observatory deck overlooking iconic sites like Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Seoul fortress walls with white flowers
Seoul fortress walls
Love locks at Namsan Mountain Park Seoul
Love locks at Namsan Mountain Park

10: Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Rising in dramatic curves from Seoul’s central district, the contemporary Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) serves as an iconic exhibition centre and architectural work of art with 24/7 free access to its outdoor spaces, including the plaza’s lawns, rooftop park, and lotus pond. Designed by Zaha Hadid, DDP’s flowing metallic facades encapsulate a creative complex of galleries and event halls.

From experimental art displays wrapped around the structure to dynamic light shows like Seoul Light illuminating DDP in technicolour, this urban design destination dazzles the senses with visionary design open to the public day and night. Explore the free night markets held here during the summer and use some of your saved money to buy yourself some artistic souvenirs.

11: Namsan Mountain Park (N Seoul Tower)

While the observation decks of N Seoul Tower come with admission fees, exploring the surrounding Namsan Mountain Park area is completely free. Ride the cable car up to the tower and then set off walking along the many scenic trails crisscrossing the mountain. Leafy paths snake up to panorama viewpoints, traditional pavilions, and even quirky attractions like the “Locks of Love.”

After exploring all the free things to do in Seoul’s Namsan Mountain Park, work your way down nearly 100 staircases back to downtown. Under spring’s cherry blossoms or fall’s fiery foliage, a trek around Namsan Mountain lets you enjoy the sights of N Seoul Tower’s perch amid nature without opening your wallet. I recommend walking up in the afternoon to enjoy sunset views of Seoul at night.

12: Namsangol Park And Hanok Village

Escape Seoul’s bustling metropolis back in time with a stroll through Namsangol Hanok Village’s tranquil grounds. Within this historic enclave beside Namsan Mountain rest five traditional Korean houses from the Joseon era for visitors to explore the preserved architecture. Surrounding the hanoks, the sprawling Namsangol Park bursts with lovely ponds, gardens, and walking paths underneath tree canopies.

From classic concerts at its outdoor stage to glimpsing folk arts like kite-making demonstrations, you can enjoy free cultural experiences in this area. An oasis in the city, Namsangol Hanok Village and scenic Namsangol Park offers peaceful, educational escapes into old Korea completely gratis. There are some lovely teahouses here which, although not free, offer great views, teas, and tranquility.

Cultural Activities In Seoul That Are Free

Cheong Wa Dae Palace Blue House Seoul
Cheong Wa Dae (The Blue House)

Immerse yourself in Seoul’s dynamic culture with an array of superb free experiences across this cosmopolitan capital. From centuries-old traditions to trendsetting pop culture, Seoul overflows with opportunities to tap into its cultural heartbeat. These free things to do in Seoul are perfect for those who want to learn more about Korea’s rich and varied culture, both traditional and modern.

13: Cheong Wa Dae (The Blue House)

Understand Korea’s complex democracy by joining a free tour of Cheong Wa Dae, the presidential palace with abundant history as both a royal and colonial site now open to the public. Walk among lotus ponds, through regal meeting halls, over stone bridges previously reserved for private walks by the president, and inside dozens of unique buildings that were previously hidden from public view.

With limited tickets available each day, this opportunity unveils the behind-the-scenes inner workings steering modern Korea from this historically significant landmark free-of-charge to those eager to learn. The Blue House opens at 9am each day and, as this is one of the most popular free places in Seoul since opening in 2023, I recommend being there just before to make sure you get a ticket.

14: K-Star Road For K-Pop Fans

Along Apgujeong’s stylish Rodeo Street lies K-Star Road, letting Hallyu fans glimpse their favourite actors, K-pop idols, and Korean celebrities along a stretch of sidewalk absolutely free. Hundreds of stars’ handprints are immortalised in stone next to bronze name plaques that comprise this unofficial walk of fame. There are also life-sized bear statues of the most popular K-culture icons.

Spy on Korea’s biggest record labels like JYP, SM, and YG in towering company buildings looming nearby as you meander past luxury designer boutiques. For spotting Korea’s rich and famous, this free attraction in Seoul offers the best chances of a celebrity sighting while learning about viral Korean entertainment sensation’s impact nationwide. Don’t expect the rest of this area to be cheap, however.

K-Star Road Famous Gangnam Sight
K-Star Road
Bongeunsa Temple is a free sight in Seoul
Bongeunsa Temple

15: Jogyesa And Bongeunsa Temples

Transport back through the centuries by visiting Jogyesa and Bongeunsa, two of Seoul’s most prominent Buddhist temples open freely to visitors. Built in the 14th century, these serene complexes house preserved relics and serve as urban sanctuaries where monks perform daily rituals. Tour ornamented main halls, join in chanting ceremonies, sample vegetarian Temple cuisine or try meditation with monks.

For authentic cultural experiences, you can learn about traditional tea ceremonies, make lotus lanterns or try on traditional hanbok during workshops on certain days. These free activities in Seoul give you a wonderful insight into Korea’s Buddhist traditions. An oasis amid skyscrapers, these historic temples offer charming glimpses into Korea’s ancient past and Buddhist traditions.

16: Ihwa Mural Village & Naksan Park

Discover quaint cafés, boutique galleries, and explosively colourful street art woven along the sloping hillside neighbourhood of Ihwa Mural Village, open freely for aimless wandering without tickets. Winding pedestrian pathways full of trendy shops and cafes covered top-to-bottom in vibrant murals lead up to the equally stunning Naksan Park perched high above.

Follow the park trail to panorama viewpoints gazing across Seoul’s vast skyline or relax under blossoming fruit orchards blanketing the mountainside from spring through fall. With artistic flair painted everywhere you look, Ihwa and Nakasan beckon the curious to explore their beauty hiding just above the city streets. I recommend following the fortress walls from Naksan Park to Dongdaemun Gate.

17: Seoul’s Traditional Markets

Venture beyond Seoul’s glitzy malls to wander its traditional markets for an authentic look into Korean shopping culture. Browse curb side food stalls serving beloved street eats like tteokbokki smothered in fiery sauce. Snake through vibrant Korean traditional markets like Gwangjang’s alleys teeming with tempting snacks or Dongdaemun’s endless urban maze packed with fashion bargains.

Haggle with ajummas peddling ginseng, handmade hanji paper, and other unique souvenirs as you immerse in the colourful chaos. For unraveling Seoul’s shopping DNA through loud bartering, intoxicating sights, and tantalising smells, traditional markets promise a sensory experience. These markets offer lots of cheap things to do in Seoul, such as trying street food and buying souvenirs.

Traditional market in Seoul
Traditional market in Seoul
Changing of the guard in Seoul
Changing of the guard

18: Royal Palace Changing Of The Guard

Witness Korean military pageantry at the changing of the guard ceremony held at two of Seoul’s royal palaces multiple times daily, the first at 10:00am and the last at 2:00pm. Both Gyeongbokgung and Deoksugung open their gates for crowds to watch guards in traditional costumes marching with military bands playing as symbolic sentinels switch shifts protecting Korea’s cultural treasures.

Hear commands echo as rows bow synchronised on cue to entertain visitors of all ages while learning about dynastic defence tactics and regal rituals. For traditional Korean fanfare infused with modern discipline that makes history come alive through sights and sounds, catching the changing of the guard ignites patriotic pride and is a great free thing to do in Seoul any time of year.

19: Oil Tank Culture Park

Once an oil depot from the 1960s, the Oil Tank Culture Park is now an elevated grassy recreation space open for Seoul residents and tourists alike to enjoy modern art installations and city views absolutely free of charge. Stroll between 15 repurposed fuel tanks decorated vibrantly by local artists then climb outdoor staircases to rooftop lookout plazas guiding eyes across Seoul’s sea of buildings.

Kids will love the Children’s Gallery building offering hands-on learning fun from robots to workshops. Atop four iconic oil tanks, this cultural playground brings together art, technology, and breathtaking vistas. There are cafes, art shops, and occasional markets here, offering plenty of cheap things to do in Seoul besides the aforementioned free activities. Soon to be accessible by the Seoul river bus service.

Seoul’s Best Free Natural Sights

Seokchon lake during autumn in Korea
Seokchon Lake during autumn foliage season

Beyond dynamic cityscapes, Seoul overflows with natural splendour from windswept parks to guardian mountains shielding the capital that visitors can walk through free of charge. These green getaways will take you across the rivers and peaks enveloping central Seoul for serene escapes back into nature and sweeping metropolitan panoramas, as well as offer gentle strolls through beautiful downtown areas.

20: Bukhansan National Park

Escape Seoul’s concrete landscape for pristine wilderness less than an hour away at the stunning Bukhansan National Park. Only a metro and quick bus ride north, its granite peaks offer challenging yet accessible hikes with breathtaking rewards of towering mountain temples and panoramic views across the entire city. The hike to Baegundae Peak offers incredible views over Seoul all for free.

With diverse wildlife, autumn’s scarlet foliage, and one of Korea’s most sacred sites, this easily accessible natural wonderland promises exhilarating treks tailored for all difficulty levels. It’s absolutely free to enter Bukhansan and you can explore at your own pace. There are valley paths to wander along slowly, or various hiking routes that will take you up into the lofty peaks.

People hiking at Bukhansan National Park Seoul
People hiking at Bukhansan National Park
Flowers at the Seoul Forest Park
Spring flowers at Seoul Forest Park

21: Seoul Forest

Escape Seoul’s concrete jungle into nature’s tranquility at Seoul Forest Park, an enormous green space featuring flowerbeds, forests trails, a cultural art park, children’s playgrounds, an insect botanical garden and more – all freely open to the public. See native wildlife like storks and herons landing in a lake dotted with blossoms, and cute critters like deer, rabbits, and sheep in the petting zoo.

Renting a bike and riding through the park and along the Han River is one of the best cheap things to do in Seoul during summer and is very popular with locals and tourists alike. If you prefer to walk, it will take a few hours to explore this large green area, more if you have children and they discover the many play areas with slides, swings, etc., that they can enjoy endlessly.

22: Seokchon Lake (Near Lotte World Tower)

Nestled at the foot of Jamsil’s Lotte World Tower lies the tranquil Seokchon Lake, a serene urban oasis offering free lakeside walks and downtown views across this artificial reservoir. Stroll around the long lakeside walkways and marvel at the lazy ducks floating through the pond, the abundant nature, and the cute swan-shaped paddle boats you can rent nearby. At night there are neon-moon boats, too.

Just steps from the bustle of Jamsil, this hidden eco-park promises Instagram-worthy moments beside its undisturbed waters at no cost, with the stunning Lotte World Tower in the background. Seokchon Lake is one of Korea’s most popular places to visit during cherry blossom season and is home to the Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival, a must see free festival in Seoul!

23: Han River Parks

Escape the hustle of Seoul by visiting the Han River Parks, an interconnected 12-mile riverside greenway open 24/7 for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy absolutely free. This urban waterfront oasis features landscaped lawns, wooded areas, and cycling paths dotted with unique attractions like public swimming pools, performance venues, and museums. Perfect for a cheap day out in Seoul.

From rollerblading under blooming cherry trees in Yeouido Park to catching golden hour along the Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain, visitors of all ages can bask beside the gentle Han River year-round, making it one of the best free options in the city. Definitely visit during cherry blossom season and autumn foliage season, although expect millions of other people to do the same!

People At A Han River Park Seoul
Chilling at a Han River park
Seollo 7017 walkway in Seoul
Seollo 7017 walkway

24: Seollo 7017 Nature Walkway

Soar across Seoul for stunning skyline panoramas along Seollo 7017, an overpass reinvented into a 983-meter long elevated park trailing through central Seoul. The name comes from the year this section of the highway became pedestrianised (1970) and the year it became an innovative green walkway between Seoul Station and Namdaemun Market near Myeongdong (2017).

The free footpath now connects people walking to and from Seoul Station, allowing them to pass through charming greenery, elegant footbridges, and contemporary pathways instead of busy city streets. Seollo 7017 is best visited during spring and summer when the trees and plants on the bridge are in full bloom and people come to play the pianos dotted along the pathway at night.

25: Gyeongui Line Forest Park

One of my favourite green areas in central Seoul, the Gyeongui Line Forest Park is a set of public parks that were created from an abandoned railway line that used to cut through central Seoul all the way to Seoul Station. Stroll through contemporary art installations, discover Seoul’s passion for reading in green spaces, and find respite in the 17 unique parts of this urban oasis near Hongdae.

Each section comprises colourful murals, whimsical sculptures, and rotating public exhibits by Korean artists and designers. Kids can play in interactive fountains while adults peruse the outdoor galleries during a walk between buzzing Hongdae and Yeonnam-dong neighbourhoods. Showcasing rising talents and revitalising forgotten urban spaces, these avant-garde parks offer freely accessible art to all.

26: Seoul Grand Park

Reconnect with nature and spend a day seeing the sights at Seoul Grand Park, an enormous green space filled with botanical gardens, forests trails, a zoo, and a children’s theme park. While the zoo and theme park have entrance fees, you can see most of the park for free, including the cherry blossom trees that line wide walkways, making this park an incredible free place to visit in spring.

Have a picnic under flower arbors in the themed gardens blooming seasonally then hike through ginkgo tree forests as your faces brush against golden leaves in fall. For families and nature lovers alike, roomy Seoul Grand Park provides free outdoor adventures found few other places in the city. There are discounted entry tickets for Seoul Zoo online which you can use to save money on your visit.

Free Museums And Galleries In Seoul

Ancient dog statue from Korean museum
Artefact from the Silla period

Beyond royal palaces, Seoul overflows with exceptional museums and galleries that open their world-class collections to the public completely free-of-charge. Enrich your mind through history, art, science, and creativity without spending a single won with these fascinating cultural repositories. These free things to do in Seoul are just a sample of the free cultural wonders awaiting you in Seoul.

27: Seoul Museum Of Art

For fine art free of charge, visit the elegant Seoul Museum of Art showcasing 7000 years of Korean aesthetic heritage across seven floors of galleries tucked behind Deoksugung Palace. Explore one of the most comprehensive Asian art collections in the world spanning ancient religious works through modern multimedia pieces.

Don’t miss the museum’s highlight – a complete handwritten book of Buddhist scriptures dating back to the 700s considered a national treasure of Korea. Special exhibits also focus on aspects of Asian art history, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the region’s creative roots.

28: War Memorial Of Korea

Pay homage to Korean veterans and fallen soldiers with a free self-guided tour of the mammoth War Memorial of Korea, the country’s only state-run national museum overlooking sprawling Yongsan Park. Hundreds of aircrafts, tanks, and artillery greet visitors outside while expansive exhibit halls detail intense battles fought across oceans through extensive dioramas and documentaries.

War Memorial of Korea Statue
War Memorial of Korea
National Museum of Korea in Seoul
National Museum of Korea

29: National Museum Of Korea

Journey through Korea’s expansive history spanning ancient kingdoms to thriving modern society free-of-charge at The National Museum of Korea, the nation’s largest repository safeguarding over 150,000 artifacts. Wander massive exhibition halls displaying age-old pottery, calligraphy scrolls, and Buddhist sculptures while exploring chronicles of cultural milestones and ancient dynasties.

Don’t miss King Sejong’s original Joseon canon inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register for its global significance. Offering indoor and outdoor venues with rotating traditional performances on weekends, this world-class museum unveils Korea’s storied past completely gratis.

30: National Folk Museum Of Korea

Delve into Korea’s cultural roots spanning dynasties and generations with a free trip to the National Folk Museum of Korea, perfectly placed within the Gyeongbokgung Palace grounds. Three exhibition halls brim with over 4,000 artefacts from ancient to modern times depicting lifestyles in both rural villages and royal courts through authentic clothing, housing models, spiritual symbols and hands-on activities.

Map Of Free Things To Do In Seoul

To help make it easier for you to check out all of these free things to do in Seoul, I’ve placed markers on Google Maps which you can use to navigate to each destination. Use the map below or open and save the details to Google Maps on your phone or browser to check later on. I’ve also added in some extra free or cheap things to do in Seoul that are close by the other attractions.

Money Saving Tips For Seoul

From public transportation to sightseeing, Seoul overflows with money-saving opportunities for budget-conscious travellers able to uncover the city’s generous free offerings. Here are some of my top tips about how to see Seoul for less and save money on your travels.

Buy a transportation card: Seoul’s public transport system is amazing, cheap, and user-friendly. Take advantage of discounted fares by picking up a transportation card when you arrive at Incheon Airport or at convenience stores across Korea.

Eat Korean street food: Seoul is blessed with lots of incredible cheap street eats that you should try regardless of your budget as they’re absolutely mouth-wateringly tasty. If you want to save money, snack outdoors instead of lunch or dinner and you’ll save lots.

Explore Seoul’s traditional markets: Not only do Seoul’s traditional markets offer the chance to try cheap street food snacks and some of the best traditional dishes in Korea, they’re also full of bargain souvenirs.

Try hanbok for free: Although hanbok rental in Seoul isn’t that expensive (and certainly worth it), you can save some money by trying hanbok for free at cultural and tourists centres in Seoul, including the Seoul Global Culture Centre and the Myeongdong Tourist Information Centre.

Rent a bike to see more sights: Seoul has a great bike rental system that’s cheap and conveniently located throughout the city. This is one of the best ways to explore the long stretches of Han River parks and get some exercise while you move from sight to sight.

Pick up a Seoul city pass: City passes for Seoul allow you to visit some of the most expensive and exciting attractions for one set price and can save you a lot of money vs. paying for each attraction separately. The Discover Seoul Pass and Go City Seoul Pass are two of the best.

Book hotels in advance: Seoul has a wealth of cheap places to stay, but prices always increase the closer you get to your stay. Book ahead and you’ll get the best prices. Not sure where to stay in Seoul? Check out my guide to Seoul’s best districts for travellers.

Claim your tax back: A great way to save money in Seoul, especially if you plan to do a lot of shopping, is with tax refunds on eligible purchases. You can claim up to ₩5,000,000 tax back.

Visit the Jeong-dong Observatory by City Hall: I didn’t include it in this list, but there’s a place in Seoul to get free sights of Deoksugung Palace, as shown in the cover image of this article. On the 13th floor of the Seosomun Building near City Hall is the Jeong-dong Observatory, which offers views of central Seoul from the cafe. However, you kind of have to buy a coffee to enjoy them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about free things to do in Seoul. These answers are based on my own experience and from research conducted to write this article.

Are the royal palaces in Seoul free to enter?

There is an entrance fee to enter the royal palaces in Seoul, but you can gain free entry to the palaces if you’re wearing hanbok. Entry to the royal palaces is also free on cultural holidays like Seollal and Chuseok, as well as the last Wednesday of each month, which is Culture Day.

What are the best free things to do in Seoul?

There are many amazing free things to do in Seoul and which ones are best depend on your interests. To discover traditional Korean culture for free, visit Bukchon Hanok Village, the National Museum of Korea, and Buddhist temples like Jogyesa or Bongeunsa. For free places in Seoul to see the sights, there’s the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Namsan Mountain Park, Ihwa Mural Village, and the Han River parks.

Are there any free activities in Seoul for children?

The best free activities in Seoul for children include the many parks and play areas, including Seoul Grand Park, Seoul Forest Park, and the Han River parks. Children will also enjoy the free dance performances near Hongik University, where locals perform K-pop style dance moves.

Can you try Korean activities for free in Seoul?

There are often free cultural activities in Seoul, especially on holidays like Chuseok and Seollal. Free cultural activities can be found in areas like Namsangol Hanok Village, Gyeongbokgung Palace, around Seoul City Hall, and in Hongdae.

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About the author

Hi! My name is Joel, I'm the author of In My Korea and writer of this article. I've lived, worked and travelled in Korea since 2015 and want to share my insights, stories and tips to help you have the best experience during your trip to Korea.

I love learning more about Korean culture, hiking the many mountains, and visiting all the coolest places in Korea, both modern and traditional. If you want to know more about my story, check out the 'about me' section to learn why I love living in Korea.

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