10 Things to do in Seoul in Winter: Mix of Indoor and Outdoor Fun!

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Looking for things to do in Seoul in winter? We’ve got you covered with this list of indoor and outdoor activities so you can enjoy the snow but also warm up in between!

It can get pretty cold in Seoul during the winter months. Once the Siberian winds begin to blow from the north and the wind chill reaches temperatures well below zero, you’ll be looking for ways to stay warm. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to spend winter in Seoul; from cosy teahouses to themed cafes, and public bathhouses to video arcades, we’ve got a few ideas to keep you toasty…and a few fun outdoor activities to get you enjoying the snow, even if it’s briefly!

Here’s a list of things to do in Seoul during the winter months.

10 Things to do in Seoul in Winter: Mix of Indoor and Outdoor Fun!
Photo via Pixabay CC0

Things to do in Seoul in Winter

1. Warm up at one of the teahouses

Sometimes there’s no better way to enjoy Seoul in winter than by having a piping hot cup of tea with a side of sweet rice cakes.

If you want to experience a traditional teahouse, head to Insadong where the side lanes are lined with them.

A few to check out include:

  • Shin Old Tea House – Located down a side street away from the busy Insadong district, this typical Korean tea house with floor seating offers a relaxing and cozy atmosphere. It was one of the first tea houses I visited in Seoul and one of my personal favourites! They have a wonderful selection of sweet teas that are served with sticky rice cakes and puffed rice.
  • The Moonbird Only Thinks of the Moon – This cafe is locally known as Dalsaeneun Dalman Saenggak Handa. The inside of the teahouse is very quirky with lots of antiques, some farming equipment, rustic furniture and lots of writing on the wall from previous guests. They have a unique selection of teas that can be served hot or cold including chrysanthemum, jasmine, bamboo leaf, and mugwort. I found their teas very fragrant and it was a nice place to linger in.
  • Dawon Traditional Tea Garden – This is considered the oldest teahouse in Seoul and it is located in the courtyard of Kyung-in Museum of Fine Art in Insadong. The teahouse is set in a traditional Korean hanok building and offers homemade teas and Korean snacks amid a setting of beautiful magnolia flowers in spring.
  • Suyeon Mountain Tea Room – Also known as Suyeonsanbang, this Koren teahouse was converted from a hanok and was once the former home of Korean novelist Lee Tae Jun. It offers a classic and antique style in a tranquil setting with garden views.
  • Yetchatjip – This is another teahouse in Insadong that combines a modern flair with warm, rustic touches that make the place feel very warm and cozy, especially on a winter day. They are known for their jujube tea is very rich and fruity.

2. Spend the day at a jjimjilbang

Jjimjilbangs are public baths where you can scrub your body clean of all of the dead skin cells and then soak in hot and cold tubs.

It’s a very common activity for Koreans, no matter what the time of year, and it’s a fun way to pass time on a cold winter day.

The bath areas are segregated by gender so you don’t have to feel embarrassed.

After the bath, you can wrap yourself up in a robe and hang out in one of the common rooms.

Jjimjilbangs aren’t just for bathing and you’ll often find movie rooms, workout rooms, reading rooms, gaming rooms, sleeping rooms, and even a restaurant or two where you can enjoy some Korean food.

When I was working as an English teacher in Korea, my students would always come back to class on Monday and tell me how much fund they’d had over the weekend hanging out at the local jjimjilbang with their families. It was the thing to do!

3. Go sledding at Everland

So technically this next activity isn’t in Seoul, but it’s fairly easy to reach Everland in Yongin

Here you’ll find the Snow Buster, a hill that is covered in snow and has tons of tubes that you can rent. Choose a single tube or a couples tube.

Then all you have to do is hook your tube up to the lift and let it pull you to the top of the hill.

It’s really well organized and once you get to the top you can choose which path you want to take. Some are straight down while others have curves that make you go even faster.

If you get too cold, you can head inside to the lounge where there is a cafe and restaurant selling plenty of hot drinks and delicious Korean food.

If you want to make your visit as easy as possible and not even have to worry about transportation, you can book this Jisan Ski Resort and Everland Day Tour which includes transportation to and from Seoul.

Eating hotteok - one of the best things to do in Seoul in winter

4. Sample Korean winter street food

Seoul has so much great street food and there are a few dishes that taste even better in winter!

If you’re in the mood for something savoury, keep your eyes peeled for tteokbokki, which are rice cakes cooked in a spicy red chilli paste and sometimes served with fish cakes.

Another popular snack is gyeran bbang, which translates to ‘egg bread’ in Korean. This is a small steamed bread with a whole egg inside and it can come with different toppings.

And we can’t forget hotteok; these are Korean pancakes stuffed with nuts and honey, though you can also find savoury ones with green onions or kimchi inside. They usually serve them in a little cup so you can hold it while you eat without burning your fingers. This was my favourite street snack living in Korea and I would buy it every time I saw a food vendor on the street selling it!

5. Visit a themed cafe

Seoul has so many interesting themed cafes to check out and winter is the perfect time to do so. The idea is that you can go in, pay for a drink, and enjoy the company of cats, dogs, or even sheep depending on the cafe.

If animal cafes aren’t your cup of tea, there is a Hello Kitty cafe, a Lego cafe, a board game cafe, and a poop cafe that serves your coffee in mugs shaped like toilets.

You can get a better idea of the strange and quirky cafes in Seoul here.

Visiting Seoul in winter and seeing the hanok buildings covered in snow

6. Stay in a hanok

Hanoks are traditional Korean houses with heated floors and they are a great choice for winter travel.

When you spend the night in a hanok, you sleep on a thick mat on the floor, while the heat rises to keep you warm.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Seoul for a traditional hanok experience, Bukchon and nearby Samcheongdong are your best bet.

Keep in mind that there are all sorts of hanoks to fit every budget, so you can find high-end properties with lots of modern amenities as well as budget-friendly guesthouses with smaller rooms but plenty of charm. You can view some hanok options here.

Winter in Seoul feauturing Namsan Tower on a snowy day

7. Go ice skating in Seoul

If you enjoy ice skating, there are plenty of places to do so in Seoul during winter.

One of the most popular spots is Seoul Plaza Skating Rink, which is located right next to City Hall. This is one of the most central places in the city if you want to go skating.

Another popular choice for outdoor skating is Yeoui Ice Park, located near the Han River. This is a fairly new spot, where aside from skating, you can also use the sledding slope or have fun making snowmen in the snow playground.

8. Visit Seoul’s royal palaces

Seoul’s palaces look completely different throughout the year. Spring means lots of flowers in bloom, summer offers great weather, fall brings beautiful foliage, but visiting in winter means seeing them covered in snow.

Not only do the palaces look magical covered in fresh powder, but the ponds freeze over and there are far fewer tourists which makes for some great photo ops.

For an in-depth look at Seoul’s royal palaces, check out this small group Seoul Morning Royal Palaces Tour which also includes a visit to Jogyesa Temple.

If you're looking for things to do in Seoul in winter consider a ski day at Daemyung Vivaldi Park

9. Escape to a nearby ski resort

There are so many mountains to explore in South Korea. The country is made up of more than 70 percent mountains, so you’re sure to find a few nearby that are great for skiing.

Jisan Forest Resort is very close to Seoul. You can be on your first run in under an hour if you’re driving. During the winter there are direct buses from Gangnam.

Daemyung Vivaldi Park is another popular ski resort that is only an hour and a half from Seoul. The resort has 13 slopes and offers one, two, and three-day ski packages that include your lift ticket and ski or snowboard rental.

10. Play arcade games

For some indoor fun to escape the cold, you can also head to one of Seoul’s arcades.

Rovio Korea is a big arcade and bar in Gangnam where you can play tons of different games, watch international sporting events, and have a few beers or cocktails.

If you want to dabble in virtual reality, there’s VR Plus, Korea’s first virtual reality cafe where you can try numerous games and experiences.

Or if you’re looking to play online games, keep your eyes peeled for PC-bangs, which are scattered all over the city.

Visiting the royal palaces of Seoul in winter

Tips for visiting Seoul in winter

  • Dress in layers to stay warm. Seoul’s winter can be quite cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. Layer your clothing, and don’t forget essentials like a warm coat, gloves, a hat, and a scarf. Thermal wear is highly recommended.
  • Get some hand warmers. These little hot packs or heating pads produce quite a bit of heat and if it’s really cold you can stuff them inside your mittens or inside your pockets to keep your hands warm. This is something that you’ll find at almost every Korean convenience store in winter and it’s really useful if you’re planning to spend a lot of time outside.
  • Explore indoor attractions. As we’ve already mentioned, take advantage of Seoul’s numerous indoor attractions, such as museums, palaces, shopping malls, and cafes, to stay warm. You can still enjoy some outdoor activities, but sprinkle some indoor attractions in between.
  • Be prepared for shorter days. Winter days in Seoul are shorter, so plan your itinerary accordingly. Start your day early to make the most of the daylight hours for sightseeing.

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Join the Conversation


  1. says: Vania

    Hi, I just saw that you have been to Croatia I welcome you to visit Slovenia also, it is a small country that has all – mountains, sea and beautiful forests.

  2. says: Sebastian Bach

    If I get a choice for travelling this year, I’ll choose Seoul in winter. There’s something so charming that I feel intrigued to visit.

  3. Ooooohh now I know how they call their public baths – Jjimjilbangs.. I’ve seen a lot of Korean dramas with scenes in Jjimjilbangs where the actors are shown laying on the floor relaxed after bathing.. It really looks interesting and I somehow wanted to try it once I travel to South Korea (one of my dream travel destination) 😀 But what surprised me even more, is the idea that their public baths also have movie rooms, workout rooms, reading rooms, gaming rooms, sleeping rooms, and even a restaurant or two where you can enjoy some Korean food. I’m soooooooooo looking forward to going there and trying Jjimjilbangs aside from the other nine exciting things to do in South Korea during Winter 😀

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