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Smattering for Seoul

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These are unvetted by me, but I'm using this for options...
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Cheonggyecheon, Jongno 5(o).6(yuk)ga-dong, Seoul
An artery of calm running through central Seoul is the Cheonggyecheon stream. This soothing green space proffers a respite from the bustle, with tranquil waterfalls, bridges, and landscaped rock formations adorning the 5.2 miles of wooden walkways...
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Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Notebooks and markers and pencils, oh my! Art Box offers a kaleidoscopic array of school supply fun, a favorite among Korean students of all ages. Found in various locations around Seoul, this colorful stationery shop sells everything from...
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Seoul, South Korea
Seoul’s underground railway system is full of fun surprises. When you turn down one of the labyrinthine corridors or hop off a train, you never know just who or what you’ll find. One rainy day at the Anguk subway station, I stumbled upon this...
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60 Jangchungdan-ro, Jangchungdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Treatments at the Banyan Tree Club and Spa Seoul draw on regional therapies and ingredients. Banyan Tree’s green tea bath treatment was inspired by the bathing rituals of jjimjilbangs—Korean public bathhouses. Korean green tea is rich in...
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Deoksugung-gil, Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Bukchon, the historic neighborhood between Gyeongbok-gung and Changdeok-gung palaces in the heart of Seoul, is the home of buk-chon son mandu, which translates as "handmade dumplings." Even though this is a Seoul chain restaurant, the namesake...
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When Seoul's Gyeongbok-gung Palace was built in the 1390s, it was the centerpiece of the newly established Joseon dynasty, which had just named the city as its capital. Six centuries later, after invasions, fires, colonization, and wars, its...
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161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Originally built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest and greatest of Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces. Burned down during the Japanese invasion of 1592, it was reconstructed in 1867. Today, the palace grounds, filled with lotus ponds,...
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Earlier in the evening, this spot in Gwanghwamun Plaza was full of families, children playing in the fountains beneath the statue of 16th-c. Admiral Yi Sun-shin. After dinner, with the kids gone, I got a moment of calm. For decades, this statue...
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99 Yulgok-ro, Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
I spent the better part of a summer afternoon on the grounds of Changdeok-gung Palace, wandering the old courtyards and lush gardens of one of the most visited sites in Seoul. Originally built in 1405 as a secondary palace, this complex served as...
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Changdeokgung-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The upswept rooflines of Korean architecture are beguiling: intricate eaves are a symphony of patterned color...and every once in a while, a face pops out, like this scowling end-tile 'guardian'--a face only a roofer could love. I spent a couple...
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Palpan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The Throne Hall of Gyeongbok-gung Palace in Seoul has a lofty name based on Confucian principles: "Geun-jeong-jeon," meaning "diligence helps governance"—words for politicians to live by, eh? Originally built in the 1390s when a new dynasty...
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40 Hangang-daero 21na-gil, Hangangno 3(sam)-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
In Korea, nothing spells relaxation like a jimjilbang, or Korean bathhouse. For over a thousand years, Koreans have used public bathhouses not only as a means to get clean, but as a social gathering place to chill out with family and friends....
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Seoul, South Korea
Korea’s traditional costume is called hanbok, which just means “Korean clothing.” These vibrant dresses and pantsuits—characterized by loose, flowing lines—were primarily worn during the Joseon Dynasty for ceremonial occasions. Nowadays, however,...
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65 Hangaram-ro, Jamsil 2(i)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The Han River is Seoul’s main artery, and the fourth longest river on the Korean peninsula. This glistening waterway bisects Seoul’s bustling neighborhoods, while modern bridges span the divide and pretty pathways meander along the banks. Han...
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21 Cheonho-daero 4-gil, Sinseol-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul's Folk Flea Market is a place where you can buy anything, I mean anything! This scary contraption looks like an invention of a comic book super-villain, but for the small price of 5 dollars you could be tightening those crow's feet and...
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99 Sejong-daero, Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
While in Seoul, stop by Daehanmun Gate at Deoksugung Palace, where you can see semi-daily changing of the guard ceremonies.
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Also known as the 38th Parallel, the DMZ—which has separated North and South Korea for over 60 years—is the most heavily guarded border in the world. So it’s surprising that guided tours are actually available. One of the best options is with the...
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Seoksu-dong, Manan-gu, Anyang, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Anyang, located just outside Seoul, is an incredible place for a day trip. The Anyang Art Park has numerous sites to see—including this maze-like staircase. The park, situated in a valley, is a perfect place to spend an afternoon in any season.
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Munhwa-ro, Namdong-gu, Incheon, South Korea
Sure, you can get Chinese food in Seoul, but a quick trip to the end of one branch of Seoul Metro's Line 1 can bring you a step closer to China! Enjoy Chinese restaurants and bric-a-brac shops galore! Insider's Tip: Seek out the garlic bud statue...
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Namyeong-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Beans & Berries may seem like just another Korean coffee shop chain, until you step inside and realize that they serve frozen yogurt. This is a relatively new concept in Korea, where Baskin Robbins ice cream shops abound in even the country’s most...
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94 Wausan-ro, Changjeon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
If the name of Seoul’s favorite new ice cream shop sounds familiar, maybe it’s because the moniker is gleaned from an intersection in San Francisco where the owner used to live. This small-batch parlor serves up imaginative flavors of ice cream,...
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Seoul, South Korea
UK cookie favorite Ben’s Cookies has recently established a presence in Korea’s capital, and Seoulites are hooked. As I sat eating a warm chocolate chip cookie smothered with vanilla ice cream, I watched as a never-ending line queued at the cookie...
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Seoul, South Korea
A whimsical logo of little girl riding an oversized bird demarks each location of Coco Bruni Barista & Chocolatier scattered around Seoul. This chic, upscale café is a culinary treasure, particularly renowned for its scrumptious cakes. Sample a...
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Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
In the Samcheong-dong neighborhood, I saw this whimsical mural on the side of a bakery—perfect for a Francophile Korean sweet tooth. I became a lover of macarons (not to be confused with macaroons) when I lived in Paris. I had no idea that the...
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18 Insadong 4-gil, Nakwon-dong, Jongno-gu, 서울특별시 South Korea
"Yeot...what?" The closest approximation in English for one of Korea's favorite street-sweets might be "taffy." It ranges from sticky-soft all the way to jaw-breaker-hard. Traditional vendors announce their confectionery presence by loudly and...
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South Korea, Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Sinsa-dong, 536-20
In trendy Garosugil sits the see-and-be-seen hotspot Coffeesmith. This two-story, open-air coffee house is more about the atmosphere than about the beans, but no one seems to care as this place is always packed. The dark wood paneled walls give it...
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Jongno 5(o)-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Anyone who's been to Seoul knows how coffee-crazed South Korea's capital is: There are well over 200 Starbucks locations in Seoul alone! But this independent coffee shop, a few blocks down from the city's medieval East Gate, takes it to a whole...
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Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tucked away in the heart of downtown Seoul is the quaint Insadong district, where a Korea of yore comes to life in the form of traditional artists and musicians, shops selling Korean crafts and souvenirs, and street performers dressed in native...
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Dosan-daero 13-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
No, it’s not your imagination. Everyone—men, women, children, even dogs—dresses up in Seoul. Sure, you’re bound to see the odd denim-clad dud, but on the whole you’re more likely to spot bow ties and blazers or blouses and heels walking the...
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21 Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Namchang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Among the biggest and most chaotic markets in Korea, Seoul's Namdaemun Market is the capital's oldest, dating to the 1400s. Today you can find ANYthing here, if you're willing to brave the crowded alleyways tucked in behind skyscrapers:...
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Euljiro 6(yuk)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Dongdaemun, the old East Gate of Seoul, has been the site of a market for generations. Today, the double-roofed stone arch no longer marks entry into the city, but the capital's residents still come here to haggle over everything from shoes to...
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78 Namdaemun-ro, Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
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In the Korean capital's Myeongdong district, you're not limited to 'Seoul-food;' you can also taste distinctive dishes from Jeonju city, in the country's fertile Southwest. Go to "Go-gung" (pronounce: goh-goong) restaurant. The restaurant's...
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Euljiro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Arguably Seoul's most memorable and most exotic street snack, buhn-deh-ghee (silkworm larvae) are pure protein. If you've ever had boiled peanuts, they're quite similar! They're a snacking ritual in the Korean capital, so sooner or later, if you...
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272 Gonghang-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon, South Korea
Postcards from abroad just aren't as evocative if they don't have the foreign stamp and postmark...So, before our departure from Korea, my wife wanted to make sure to send a few from the airport post office. We went up to the fourth floor in the...
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Seoul, South Korea
Bibimbap is by far one of Korea’s most popular dishes, and it’s found in almost every traditional restaurant in Seoul. Once you’ve sampled it, you’ll understand why. Imagine a large bowl is placed before you, filled with a heaping portion of...
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105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan 2(i)ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Look to the top of Seoul’s 860-foot-tall Namsan Mountain and you’ll see the N Seoul Tower, which rises an additional 777 feet. This aerial perch is the highest point in the city and offers incredible views. Far below, Seoul sprawls out...
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Seoul, South Korea
The traditional curves of the sloping roofs and intricate patterns adorning doors and gates are the benchmarks of Bukchon Hanok Village in central Seoul. Set on a gently rising slope with views of the modern metropolis in the distance, the...
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Sinsa-dong, Seoul, South Korea
Prominently situated on Rodeo Drive in the ritzy district of Apgujeong is the aptly named restaurant Salt and Butter. Cooking up what one may call comfort food, I stumbled upon Salt and Butter while window shopping one afternoon. Owned by a Korean...
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Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Korea isn't only about K-Pop, kimchi and computer technology. It is also a haven for antiques and, in Insa-dong, Seoul has the perfectly quaint neighborhood in which to shop for them. The focal point of Korean traditional culture and crafts,...
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688 Nodeul-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Korea puts its own spin on sashimi at the Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market. Bargain for a piece of raw fish (hoe, pronounced “hway”) amid the lanes of fishmongers, then head upstairs to have one of the in-house restaurants garnish your prize...
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651-4 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tucked in neatly amongst the designer boutiques in trendy Apgujeongdong is Ceci Cela. This quaint little café looks as though it’s been transported from the streets of Paris or SOHO, the sidewalk seating and European flair a nice change from Seoul...
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Jugyo-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Evidently Lord Stow's Bakery is a Macau-based chain with a handful of locations in Asia, but we weren't aware of that as we found it while strolling through Seoul on a frigid February morning. We simply saw the cute-as-a-button, closet-sized space...
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4 Itaewon-ro 23-gil, 이태원동 용산구 서울특별시 South Korea
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Off of Itaewon’s main thoroughfare is a tiny alley containing one of the best bakeries in all of Seoul: Tartine Bakery and Pie Cafe. Sunny yellow tables and chairs decorate the sidewalk and cheerfully beckon passersby to sit and stay a while....
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5-2 Jae-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
This rambling little spot has all kinds of seating for a quick bite or picking up nibbles as you stroll. A nice bakery and cafe on the edge of two interesting neighborhoods - Bukchon with it's slightly run down but traditional Hanok buildings and...
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71 Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
This place is delicious - simple menu from Pad Thai to curry noodles but such a fun comfort stop if you're too overwhelmed by the more complicated local menus. A perfect lunch stop. Super yum!