Visiting Seoul – A City Guide
Both historic and futuristic, Seoul is a welcoming city where ancient temples and grand palaces intermingle with soaring skyscrapers and luxury hotels. Seoul, with its fascinating mix of old and new, is one of the most unique destinations on earth.
Seoul: City Layout & Top Attractions
Seoul is a sprawling metropolis bisected by the Han River. To the north, the historic Jongno district is home to magnificent imperial residences like Gyeongbokgung Palace
and the galleries and handicraft boutiques of the Insa-dong
For proximity to cultural landmarks like Namdaemun Gate
and the Myeong-dong
’s buzzing shopping and street-food scene, redeem your IHG® Rewards Club points for a stay at Holiday Inn Express Seoul Euljiro.
Itaewon is a lively dining and nightlife area with a distinctly international vibe. The genteel, family-friendly residential neighborhood of Seongbuk-dong is close to Samcheong-dong’s indie art galleries and the popular hiking trails of Bukhansan National Park
South of the river, stylish Gangnam offers fine dining, luxe shopping on Apgujeong Rodeo Street
and uber-cool clubs around Gangnam Station.
Eating Out in Seoul
For local food, vendors at busy Gwangjang Market
offer tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and kimbap (seaweed rice rolls). The market’s biggest draw is Jeon Alley, where competing chefs present their unique takes on the fried pancake.
Noryangjin Fish Market
is a haven for seafood lovers, who can have professional chefs turn their ingredients into surprising sushi or spicy stews. All around the city, hole-in-the-wall makgeolli (rice wine) bars are the place to try Korea’s oldest traditional liquor.
A more upmarket option is Jungsik
, a restaurant serving molecular Korean cuisine that’s earned its chef, Jungsik Yim, a global reputation.
Shopping in Seoul
A great way to get to know Seoul’s traditional heart is by exploring a market like Dongdaemun
, a vast cluster of malls and speciality retailers where fashionistas snap up the latest Korean trends.
Apgujeong is home to many of the city’s film stars and known as Seoul’s Beverly Hills, with its Rodeo Street
modelled after Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive.
Redeem your IHG® Rewards Club points at InterContinental® Grand Seoul Parnas, and you can treat yourself to luxury shopping at contemporary Parnas Mall
Nightlife in Seoul
In Seoul, you’ll find everything from K-pop venues in former parking garages to the Korea National Opera
and concerts at Zaha Hadid’s iconic Dongdaemun Design Plaza
Itaewon is a lively neighbourhood filled with sports bars, sleek cocktail lounges and international cuisine, from elegant bistros to friendly Mediterranean restaurants and laidback noodle joints.
Home to exclusive Seoul hotels, Gangnam draws a well-heeled crowd with its VIP vibe and ritzy nightlife. In contrast, Hongdae
is the stomping ground of Seoul’s young and creative and has some of the best live-music venues in the city.
Leisure in Seoul
Thinking about visiting Gangnam? Hotel guests are minutes from Samneung Park
, a UNESCO site, with the royal burial grounds of several Joseon-era kings and queens.
Ancient Bongeunsa Temple
offers tea ceremonies and the chance to make traditional lotus lanterns.