"Virtuous Longevity" in the heart of the city...(and weird donuts)
Surrounded by skyscrapers in the center of Seoul, Deoksu-gung Palace ("The Palace of Virtuous Longevity") got its start as a prince's villa in the mid-15th century. In 1907, the compound became the 'retirement home' of the next-to-the-last king of the Joseon dynasty...and by 1933, the grounds were opened to the public as a park/museum. While not as grand or as wooded as some of the other palaces in Seoul, Deoksu-gung is right across from City Hall Plaza--the heart of the city. The photogenic medievally-uniformed changing-of-the-guard ceremony takes place at the palace gate a couple of times a day.
(Afterwards, grab a snack at the Dunkin' Donuts (?) on the corner--yes, yes, it's an international chain, but it's fun to see how local tastes have changed the franchise's offerings: tomato-and-carrot, walnut-redbean-holic-rings, glutinous rice, tofu, and banana-'chewisty' donut! All served with 'hand-drip' (huh?) coffee. No guarantees of 'virtuous long-life,' though, if you have too many of these donuts...As you exit the Palace, Dunkin' is on your right.)
To get here via subway:
Lines 1 and 2, exit at City Hall Station, "Shi-cheong"