Gyeongbok Palace, sometimes referred to as Gyeongbokgung Palace, was constructed in 1395 by King Taejo. Largest among the Five Grand Palaces built in Seoul around this time, Gyeongbok served as the central palace during the Joseon dynasty, doubling as the official kingly residence and seat of the Joseon government. The palace was designed with majestic towers, grand facades, intricate furnishings, a massive royal court, and no fewer than 7,700 individual rooms. Much of the palace was restored in the 19th century, and it continues to undergo work as part of a campaign to restore the site to its original glory. At once visually stunning and culturally significant, Gyeongbok Palace and its onsite museums offer excellent insight into Korean history.
Established in 1994, the War Memorial of Korea is one of the largest of its kind in the world and occupies the former army headquarters. It honors those who lost their lives fighting for their country through the course of the Korean War. The memorial comprises both indoor and outdoor exhibition halls that display a curated selection of 10,000 military relics, artillery, ammunition, documents, photographs and other artifacts from the museum's 33,000-strong collection pertaining to the nation's long and illustrious war history. Although primarily focused on the events of the Korean War, the museum also delves into battles preceding it and the international wars that Korean troops were involved in to provide a wider and more comprehensive understanding of the topic. An evocative memorial to the cost of war, as well as a testament to the nation's military prowess, the War Memorial of Korea is a chronicle of the events that shaped the geo-political history of the Korean Peninsula.
The National Museum of Korea is one of the most extensive museums in Seoul, housing art and archaeological objects from Korean prehistory through to the end of the Chosun Dynasty (1910). Throughout the three-floor museum, there are 13,000 artifacts in six permanent galleries on display. Audio guides, touch screens, and video rooms all help to bring the ancient world alive here. In addition to regular exhibitions, the museum offers special educational programs such as public lectures, arts and crafts classes, and special tours. There are over 220,000 objects in the collections. In addition there are special exhibition halls, education facilities, a children's museum, a huge outdoor exhibition area, restaurants, cafes, shops, and other amenities.
The National Museum of Contemporary and Modern Art (MMCA) opened another branch on Culture Street, in Seoul. An innovative addition to this particular branch, which sets it apart from its counterparts is that of the madang or courtyard where like-minded people can connect and discuss the topic of art. Striving to keep up with its innovative reputation, the MMCA is equipped with a multipurpose hall, a reference center and a gallery theater. It also houses the MMCA Art Zone and a food café within its premises.
Located in the heart of Seoul city, the Lotte World Tower stands at a height of 555.7 meters (1823.16 feet). The super-tall skyscraper was opened to the public on April 3, 2017 and is one of the tallest building in South Korea and the world. The tower is home to several stores, cafes, restaurants, galleries, an aquarium and even a concert hall. In addition they have a theme park that contains an ice rink and folk museum. On the top floors of the tower they have an observation deck, a sky-walk, and a luxury hotel. The tower is very popular with locals and tourists who spend the entire day exploring and enjoying a plethora of activities under one roof.
Built in 1971, the N Seoul Tower, located at the peak of Mt.Namsan is 236.7 meters (777 feet) tall. The iconic landmark, built for transmitting signals of radio and television, is visible from nearly everywhere in the city. Now, a famed tourist attraction, the tower offers stunning views from the top. One of the most romantic places in Seoul, the N Seoul Tower or Namsan Tower is a favorite for couples and as any Korean Drama fan will recognize, is the top spot to profess undying love, much like the Eiffel Tower in France. Around the roof terrace, there are locks in a colorful display, proclaiming messages of true love, as couples come here to leave a love lock as a symbol of their devotion to each other. Accessible by cable car, car or hiking, the tower has other attractions including art exhibitions, restaurants, and a cultural experience center.
Opened in 2009, Myeongdong NANTA Theater is one of three stages of the famous Nanta show in Seoul. It is also the first permanent theater to showcase this non-verbal, Samul nori-style comic act. Since it is a visual gag, even if you don't know the language, you will laugh your hearts out at the antics of the actors. The story is about three cooks who are time-pressed to prepare a wedding a banquet. The whole cooking scenario is enacted through drumming, acrobatics, chopping and juggling. The audience is also involved in the enthralling show. If you want to catch a show, the Myeongdong NANTA Theater is indeed the best option with two shows during the week and three in the weekends.
K-live takes virtual reality to another level. It is among the top theaters in the city known for its virtual live concerts. Opened in 2014, it was the first of its kind in the world to make its debut. This hologram theater is for those who are into K-pop and want a feel of a real concert. The illusion set up replete with fantasy and the latest digital technology is state-of-the-art. With shows happening throughout the week barring Mondays, you can be a part of this latest trend when in town. Get a digital photo with your preferred star at the Star Photo Box, get on the elevator with a star in the AR Elevator. Try the Secret Window to catch the K-pop stars on-screen or call out to your favorite artist in the Star Lounge. Check out their gift shop for some unique K-pop merchandise. Head to the terrace for a magnificent vista of the surrounding area. Truly, K-live is unlike other concert halls.
Designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is one of the most iconic landmark structures in Seoul. The cutting-edge modernity of this mega-structure coupled with its unique design won Seoul city the title of World Design Capital in 2010. The structure of the building is curvaceous and fluid, devoid of any straight lines or walls. It houses as many as five spaces inside, namely an art hall, a museum, a design lab, the Oullim square and the Dongdaemun History and Culture park. Visit the DDP at night for a dazzling view of this modern wonder.
This palace is the most preserved among major and minor palaces in Seoul, because the descendants of the royal family lived here until recent years. This is the one of the best places to observe the culture of the nobility of old Korea. This building has few restricted areas, with the southern half of this building widely open to the public. In addition, you can take various classes to learn about Korean culture, like court etiquette, tea ceremony, and general formality.