7 Places To Get A Great View of Seoul From Above For FREE
I visited the Seoul Sky Observatory some months back after it had opened and the stunning views got me thinking of the numerous places around Seoul that you can actually get great views WITHOUT paying. Seoul Sky Observatory is so worth the ticket price in my opinion, BUT if you want a few other options that will make that trip very budget friendly, here is a good list of places to check out. They may not be as tall, because the Seoul Sky Observatory is way… way up there!, but Arielle from Soju4Two and I think they are worth the trip up up up and the view down down down.
As always, make sure to read through to the end where you will find a nifty map so you’ll know where every place mentioned in this post is located. (PS If you’re looking to check out the Seoul Sky Observatory, get your tickets online before you go. You don’t have to wait in the line to get tickets as that line can be long, but also, they only sell a certain number of tickets for each time slot so there aren’t too many people at one time and you don’t want to rock up and find that you have to wait hours for the next available time.)
(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.)
1. The Sky Farm
The Sky Farm is a gorgeous greenhouse on the 51st floor of an office building in downtown Yeouido. Surrounded by office buildings you’d never even expect this place to be in the top of one. The views are great from here but the greenhouse is also absolutely stunning and most people that head up stop just short of it as they head into the cafe and restaurant one floor below. Actually, the elevator will only take you to the 50th floor, so it stands to reason that most people don’t even realize they can go up juuuust a bit more. Feel free to stop into the cafe for an (expensive) meal but if you head back to the elevator from which you came and look for a stairwell, there you will find another elevator that goes up just one more floor to a hidden gem with views and a beautiful green space. (This spot came on to my radar last summer after my pal Emre posted some AMAZING photos on his site Kanik Fotografie. Go check out his beautiful photos of the building as well.)
If you head to Yeouido to visit Sky Farm, also check out taking a cruise on the Hangang River with Eland. It’s a great experience and definitely something fun to do on the Han River if you haven’t yet.
2. Commcomm Bakery
Commcomm bakery is a quick walk from Sinyongsan Station. While the downstairs cafe is very cute and full of instagram corners. The rooftop is not to be missed. They have an empty bathtub for photo inspiration and a great 360 view of the city. Definitely try their steamed buns and other baked goods. You won’t be disappointed.
We visited this cafe when we were staying at the nearby Dragon City Hotel that is a multiplex of leisure and fun. If you won’t be staying in the area, but want to check out something else while you’re there, visit the very popular Dragon Hill Spa. It’s well known in the area and who doesn’t need a spa day?
3. Sewoon Market (세운상가)
Sewoon Market was recently renovated and the rooftop was a part of those renovations. The space has a rooftop garden as well as an overlook to see out over Jongmyo Shrine and if you turn around, it offers great views of N Seoul Tower too. It might just be the best rooftop downtown and that’s not all that has been revamped. Head down a few floors and you can stop in to some cool cafes and see what collaborations are afoot. The entire block will be getting redone over the next couple of years, but I’m glad this building was the first to be remade. Check out my full post on this spot to see where to go and what to see.
This area downtown can be a little confusing if you don’t know your way around, but it worth the wander. If you want a tour of the sites to really understand how the alleys of Euljiro are growing and have expanded through the Korean industrialization check out a tour with Trazy. You’ll visit Sewoon Plaza and the nearby alleys and meet some of the inventors in the area.
4. Seoul Express Bus Terminal
Anyone who has ever made their way through the Gangnam Express Bus Terminal was likely overwhelmed with all the pathways and possibilities. My favorite hidden gem is the 10th floor rooftop garden. Grab a coffee and head up there for a peaceful view of the city away from the chaos and the hustle bustle below. Then head down to the underground shopping center for all the deals.
Not planning on taking a bus from the terminal? Check out some other things in the area:
- Visit the Sulwhasoo Spa. It is one of the most talked about spas in the city and it’s located at the beautiful Sulwhasoo Flagship Store.
- Visit the COEX Aquarium with 40,000 sea creatures.
- Want to have a night out after seeing the sunset from the rooftop? Check out Club Octagon ranked 7th in DJ Mag’s 2018 world’s best clubs.
5. World Cup Park
No post is complete if I don’t bring up World Cup Park (Check out my full guide on the gorgeousness of this park!). If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you just know that to be true by now, don’t you? Both Haneul Park and Noeul Park in the park system offer great views and you don’t have to huff and puff your way up to see them. Catch one of the electric cars and then find a bench and take it all in. Look out over the Han River, catch a glimpse of the new Seoul Battleship Park, and if you time it right, enjoy a sunset.
There are a ton of cool things to do in the area due to it’s proximity to both Mangwon and Hongdae so visit the park and then plan to do something like:
- Make your own custom ring in Hongdae. What would you put on it?
- Visit the VR Arcade and have the fun you didn’t even know existed.
- Make your own leather goods in Hongdae. Choose between a bracelet, card case, passport case or single fold wallet.
- Make your own neon light. Need something to decorate with? This is it and it’s super cool.
6. Myeongdong Sinsaegae Department Store
Shinsegae Department Store is located on the site of Seoul’s first department store. While getting in some much needed shopping time in Seoul’s hottest shopping district, take a stroll to the older Shinsegae building and make your way to the rooftop statue garden. It has a perfect view of Namsan Tower and a lovely cafe for a break. There are some other awesome places in Myeongdong like the Urban Space cafe with a giant adult size ball pit and some eats that just can’t be beat. Spend the day in the area and do all of the best things.
Want some other ideas for what to do in the area?
- Need to let some steam off? Head to the Myeongdong Shooting Range.
- Make your own unique perfume that you can take home with you.
- Take part in a Kimchi and tteokbokki cooking class.
7. The Seoul Metropolitan Library
The Seoul Metropolitan Library is the former City Hall and now sits just in front of the Seoul City Hall. There are over 200,000 books inside and also has a comprehensive search tool to help identify materials are 320 libraries around Seoul. The building was built in 1926 and even if you don’t have a book you want to check out, head in and up to the cafe and the outdoor park. The park on the top floor of the building provides a view straight from City Hall down to Gwanghwamun Plaza and on to Gyeongbokgung Palace and the President’s House. The only thing I’ll say about this spot though, is that it is hit or miss if the rooftop will be open. I’ve had friends swing by and find the entrance closed off. I THINK it has to do with concerts in the square or other events downtown, buuuut if you’re in the area, it’s worth it to see if it’s open.
Definitely check out this guide that Arielle Pukanecz and I made with 20 pages of spring festivals you shouldn’t miss this beautiful flower blooming season along with cafes that will get you in the spring spirit too. There are also some off the beaten path spots we totally recommend and some popular, but for a good reason places with our best tips too. There is lots to see and tons to do. Don’t miss out on all of the fun this season and let us help you know where to go so you can make plans ASAP.
<—- Click on the image NOW to get your guide TODAY!
Know Where To Stay!
Seoul is massive and finding a good area to stay can be tricky if you don’t know the city well. With that in mind, let me recommend two places that are in great spots. Situated in Jongno, Makers Hotel is the perfect place to experience Seoul and its surroundings. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. Makers Hotel has it’s own special aesthetic that couldn’t be more cool and inviting. Get help from the concierge if you have questions and expect an amazingly fun stay.
Another great option is the L7 Hotel in Myeongdong. Myeongdong is known as the shopping center of Seoul. It’s just south of the palaces and more historical districts of Seoul but offers more in the way of restaurants, cafes and quirky and fashionable finds. L7 Myeongdong is a popular pick for both business and leisure travelers. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. Have a great stay in downtown Seoul and see all that there is to see!