Wondering what are some fun activities that you could do while in Seoul? Do you have an interest in all sorts of things that museums, however traditional or modern, light or serious, have to offer? Then you’ll definitely want to take a look at this list of Seoul museums!
Seoul Museum #1: National Museum of Korea
Opened in 1945, it’s one of the most visited museums in the world. There are over 10,000 art pieces and relics displayed at any given moment, with different galleries focusing on different art.
On the first floor, you can find the archeological and historical gallery with pieces of art dating all the way back to the beginning times of Korea. On the second floor, they have on display calligraphy and paintings, plus works from individual collectors. On the third floor, there are stunning Buddhist sculptures, and other art representing Asia and its culture.
Where: Ichon Station on Line 4 (Seoul, Yongsan-gu, Seobbingo-ro 137 //서울특별시 용산구 서빙고로 137)
Seoul Museum #2: War Memorial of Korea
There are two main exhibitions in this museum, one inside and the other one outside. Indoors, you can find exhibitions related to all the wars Korea has had.
Outdoors, on showcase are tanks, vehicles, submarines, aircraft and artillery that Korea used during World War 2, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. You can even visit inside them!
Where: Samgakji Station on Line 4 (Seoul, Yongsan-gu, Itaewon-ro 29 // 서울특별시 용산구 이태원로 29)
Seoul Museum #3: Trick Eye Museum
If you’re simply looking for a fun museum to visit, this should be on top of your list! The Trick Eye Museum contains art pieces are designed so that you can make yourself a part of them, and perhaps even snap a photo in the process. There are simple guides to give you instructions on how to do that.
The pictures are actually 2D, but made using optical illusion techniques so they look 3D. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon with your friends!
Where: Hongik University Station on Line 2 (Seoul, Mapo-gu, Hongik-ro 3-gil 20 // 서울특별시 마포구 홍익로3길 20)
Seoul Museum #4: Seoul Museum of History
This museum is especially recommended for those interested in history. Visit this museum and watch how Seoul grew from its prehistoric period to the city that it now is. Special exhibitions can also be found here.
Where: Seodaemun Station or Gwanghwamun Station on Line 5 (Seoul, Jongno-gu, Saemunan-ro 55 // 서울특별시 종로구 새문안로 55)
Seoul Museum #5: Leeum Samsung Museum of Art
Inside this museum are two different museums. In museum 1, there are several types of traditional Korean art on display, from paintings to ceramics. Museum 2, on the other hand, focuses on modern and contemporary art. The art is from both Korean artists and foreign collaborators as well. In addition to the regular exhibitions, there are also special ‘featured’ exhibitions on display, changing every three months.
Where: Hangangjin Station on Line 6 (Seoul, Yongsan-gu, Itaewon-55-gil 60-16 // 서울특별시 용산구 이태원55길 60-16)
Seoul Museum #6: National Folk Museum of Korea
There’s no better way to actually learn about Korea’s history than by visiting this museum, which you can easily access while exploring Gyeongbok Palace. There are three main exhibition halls in this museum.
The first one, called ‘History of Korean People’, is focused on displaying all sorts of everyday life materials in Korea dating all the way from prehistoric times to 1910.
The second exhibition, named ‘The Korean Way of Life’, will show you how the life of a Korean villager in the ancient times was like. The third exhibition, ‘Life Cycle of the Koreans’, centers on Confucianism and how this ideology has affected the life of Koreans in Korea.
Where: Gyeongbokgung Station on Line 3 (Seoul, Jongno-gu, Samcheong-ro 37 // 서울특별시 종로구 삼청로 37)
Seoul Museum #7: Seodaemun Prison History Museum
This is perhaps the most heart-wrenching museum you’ll find on this list. The Seodaemun Prison History Museum not only exhibits the prison, but also tells of the history when Japanese soldiers tortured and executed the followers of the Korean Independence Movement.
There are different halls and displays on show, with ‘A Place of Reverence’ on the first floor being the most grueling one of them all. It’s a must-visit museum for when you’re in Seoul, even if it’s not a fun activity per se.
Where: Dongnimmun Station on Line 3 (Seoul, Seodaemun-gu, Tongil-ro 251 // 서울특별시 서대문구 통일로 251)
Seoul Museum #8: National Museum of Korean Contemporary History
Yet another museum on the history of Korea, this one is focused on showing Korea’s history specifically from the late nineteenth century until the present, with around 16,000 pieces in their collection. There are four exhibition halls that you can explore, each focusing on a different time period.
Where: Gwanghwamun Station on Line 5 (Seoul, Jongno-gu, Sejong-daero 198 // 서울특별시 종로구 세종대로 198)
Seoul Museum #9: The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Unlike a lot of the other museums on this list, this museum focuses on displaying contemporary art on a global level rather than focusing on Korea or Korean artists. There are several different exhibitions on display at all times.
Where: Gyeongbokgung Station or Anguk Station on Line 3 (Seoul, Jongno-gu, Samcheong-ro 30 // 서울특별시 종로구 삼청로 30)
Seoul Museum #10: Dongdaemun Design Plaza
Dongdaemun Design Plaza, or DDP for short, hosts five different museums (plus numerous art galleries and several other things) on its grounds. The museums are centered on design and other contemporary and modern art. Their exhibitions change every so often, with artists from all over the world having their works on display.
Where: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station on Line 2, 4 and 5 (Seoul, Jung-gu, Eulji-ro 281 // 서울특별시 중구 을지로 281)
We hope these museums offer a nice little day trip for you while you’re in Korea. There’s plenty more to do when you get through this list!
Which of these Seoul museums have you been to? Let us know your favorite in the comments below!