When it comes to family travel in Asia, South Korea often gets overlooked in favor of the tourism powerhouses like Thailand, Indonesia or Japan. But that’s a bit of a shame, as visiting Seoul with kids can be an excellent family vacation destination.
Seoul, South Korea not only has a ton of interesting history, great food and beautiful nature, but it’s also clean and safe with plenty of fun things to do with kids.
We spent 6 days in Seoul with kids on our family vacation to South Korea. During our week in Seoul with kids, we did a little bit of everything including food tours, palace visits, aquariums, markets, hiking around ancient fortress walls and also in the nearby national park.
No matter what your travel style, you’ll find a lot of fun things to do in Seoul with kids.
Here are our favorite things to do along with our six day itinerary for our visit to Seoul with kids. We hope that you’ll discover some inspiration for your own family vacation to Seoul.
Seoul with Kids – Table of Contents
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14 Things to do in Seoul with Kids
We did a lot of really fun things during our visit to Seoul with kids. Here are the attractions we enjoyed during our family vacation, in order from our favorite things to do in Seoul with kids to our least favorite.
1. Seoul Food Tour
Our 9-year old daughter has been an adventurous eater ever since she started trying more exotic foods on our family trip to Thailand a few years back. Our 7-year old son has been more of a picky eater, but has started to get a little more adventurous of late.
Prior to our family trip to Korea, we had very little knowledge of Korean cuisine, so we thought the perfect thing to do in Seoul with kids on our first day would be to join a Seoul food tour by Secret Food Tours to get some local knowledge.
We began our tour at the very popular Gwangjang Market. A riot of sounds, sights and amazing smells, our first few steps into this historic Seoul market was a feast for the eyes. There were so many busy, colorful stalls with vendors hawking their goods or enticing people to try their offerings at little restaurants stalls.
At our first little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Gwangjang Market, we were introduced to mung bean pancakes and yukhoe (a dish made of raw beef, a raw egg and pear slices – a Korean version of beef tartar). Neither dish was something we would have ordered on our own, but they were so delicious.
This is the exact reason we booked a Seoul food tour, to get to try new and exciting Korean dishes. What’s even better is that both our kids tried the Korean foods, and liked them!
Our next stop in the Gwangjang Market was at a tiny little food stand run by the cutest little old Korean lady, who kept making funny faces at our kids. We sampled her spicy rice cakes, maki rolls, some fish cake soup, kimchi dumplings and pork dumplings. Again, we had great success with the kids trying new foods – they didn’t love everything, but at least they were trying.
This was a huge step forward, especially for our younger child.
The next stop on our Seoul Secret Food Tour was the trendy Ikseondong Hanok Village neighborhood which, was right across the street from our kid-friendly Seoul hotel. The narrow streets of the Ikseondong Hanok Village still have the historic charm to them, but with a very modern offering. You’ll find all sorts of new & exciting Seoul cuisine within these exciting side streets.
We stopped at Fuhaha within Ikseondong to try a cream filled pastry. They were so good, which is pretty dangerous, given our hotel was so close by. (This wasn’t our last visit to Fuhaha for cream pastries during our time in Seoul with kids!)
We finished our Seoul food tour at a traditional tea house on the touristy Insadong shopping street. The main street is very crowded and touristy, but the traditional teahouse was tucked away in a little alleyway – a little oasis of calm in an otherwise crazy tourist scene. It was a fun & relaxing way to end our Seoul food tour and reminisce about the exciting Korean food we had just tried.
The Seoul food tour with Secret Food Tours is an excellent way to introduce kids to South Korean food!
2. Dobongsan Trail – Bukhansan National Park
There’s only so much we can take of a big city before we start craving trees and fresh air, so for our third day in Seoul with kids, we headed north into Bukhansan National Park to enjoy some hiking in nature.
It was super easy to get from our Seoul hotel to Bukhansan National Park as the Line 1 subway takes you straight there. It’s a 40 minute subway ride from central Seoul to the national park, but it’s a fun opportunity to see what the suburbs of this massive city look like.
We visited Bukhansan National Park on a Sunday and it was funny to see how the train car slowly, but surely, transitioned from ‘normal’ people into a train full of hikers by the time we got to Dobongsan Station.
We weren’t sure what to expect in this outer area of Seoul, but it was alive and hopping. The walk from the subway station to Bukhansan National Park was through a lively market, with many vendors selling food or hiking supplies. We were surprised to see many global outdoor gear stores had set up shop here too, like Colombia, Arc’teryx, Patagonia, North Face and more.
This is obviously a legit recreational area for the people of Seoul.
As we neared the entrance to Bukhansan National Park with our kids, we passed a beautiful temple with colorful lanterns and many candles burning. The Dobongsan hiking trail begins on a trail of paving stones in a beautiful deciduous forest, but eventually transitions to natural rock steps.
At the 3.3 km (2 mile) mark, there is an opportunity to leave the main hiking trail and take a short side trip to the Cheonchuksa Temple. At the top of the steps, you are greeted by rows and rows of Buddha statues, with a massive rock face looming overhead. Then we walked underneath a canopy of bright yellow lanterns before reaching the main temple.
The sounds of Buddhist monks chanting filled the air as we walked through the colorful temple buildings. A friendly monk took the time to stop and say hello to the kids. Our stop at the Cheonchuksa Temple was a real highlight for the kids and a fun way to introduce them to the Buddhist culture.
Just beyond the temple, a cute black and white cat suddenly appeared next to the hiking trail. The cat seemed to be our trail guide for the next 5 minutes as it was always just slightly ahead of us. This thrilled our daughter who just loves cats.
At 3.8 km (2.4 miles) we reached Madang Rock, which is a massive, smooth granite rock slab. Madang Rock is a very popular place to plop down for a rest and enjoy the distant views of the skyscrapers of Seoul far in the distance. In fact, many people make Madang Rock their final destination and head no further up the mountain.
The trail really starts to get more challenging beyond Madang Rock. It’s a lot of fun for kids with many big rocks and tree roots to climb up and over. The trail gets quite steep, requiring most hikers to grab onto the handrail for assistance. There is some minor rock scrambling required in this stretch, but if you are in good enough shape to make it this far, your family should have no issue with it.
As you near the very top of Dobongsan Trail, you’ll start climbing some steep stairs. Before long you’ll reach the top of the stairs, revealing the very, very steep final section to the top of Sinseondae Peak. There are handrails along this final section, but it’s so steep that we don’t recommend you go with your kids unless they are capable mountain hikers.
Our son wanted to go up, but became bored halfway up as the wait to get to the very top was quite long. Hikers who arrive at the top all want their pictures taken, etc. resulting in quite the lineup to get to the top.
We loved hiking the Dobongsan Trail with our kids. Not only was it a beautiful hiking trail in a national park just outside Seoul, but it gave the kids a fun chance to interact with the locals. Normally Koreans can seem quiet and reserved, but out here in the wilderness, they were all very friendly and had tons of smiles and encouragement for our kids.
3. Cheonggyecheon River Park
Originally a natural stream, the Cheonggyecheon River was replaced by a busy highway in the 1960s as part of an effort to modernize the city of Seoul, South Korea. As part of an urban renewal project in the early 2000’s, the highway was demolished and they transformed the river into a beautiful park which is now the centerpiece of Seoul’s downtown area.
We visited the Cheonggyecheon River Park on our first morning in Seoul with kids and it was an excellent way to gently introduce ourselves to the bustling city.
There are beautiful, artistically crafted pathways on both sides of the stream at the beginning, which eventually gives way to a more natural riverbank. The stream begins in dramatic fashion as a waterfall appearing out of nowhere, then forming into the stream.
The kids just loved running ahead, crossing over the stream over an endless series of stone step bridges (which we first encountered on our trip to Kyoto with kids). It’s a fun environment with many locals out for their morning walk, who seemed to enjoy the enthusiasm of our kids.
The easy walk along the Cheonggyecheon River Park is very photogenic, with many interesting bridges, colorful artwork, tall, modern buildings, intermixed old historic buildings along the way. We stopped at many spots to admire the beautiful herons, ducks, and fish who call this stream home.
The Cheonggyecheon River Park was a great way to get some fresh air and exercise in a car-free environment. It helped give is the lay of the land of downtown Seoul and was a fun and beautiful way to get to our main activity for our first day in Seoul with kids – our food tour.
4. Suwon Hwaseong Fortress
Located about 90 minutes south of central Seoul by subway and bus, the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress is worth the effort to get there. Awaiting your family is a fully restored, 300-year old fortress which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The fun began the moment we stepped off the bus in Suwon. Our bus stop was in front of the Suwon Center for Traditional Culture. This charming historic village was fun to walk around and get a glimpse of traditional Korean life.
The Suwon Hwaseong Fortress is a fully restored 5 km (5.1 mile) long defensive wall which visitors can walk all the way around. If you get there early in the day, before the Seoul tour buses start arriving, you’ll enjoy the experience of walking the walls with friendly locals out for some morning fresh air.
Almost immediately, you’ll be amazed at the restored condition of the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress. Our kids really enjoyed the feeling of being high up on a castle wall, looking down on their ‘enemies’ through the arrow slits in the walls.
There are many traditional buildings and structures along the Suwon Fortress walls, many of them you can walk through. Some of them you can even climb up a level, enabling you to look over the walls and down on the modern city below.
The Suwon Hwaseong Fortress walls are not on flat land, and after about 800 m (0.5 miles) of walking, you’ll start climbing the first (and only) major hill of your tour around the walls.
Hyowon’s Bell sits at the very top of the hill. The gigantic bell has various symbols inscribed in its sides, representing the important aspects of Suwon culture. For a small price, visitors can pay to ring the bell, using a large hammer hanging on ropes next to the bell.
Hyowon’s Bell is always rung three times – the first ring is in gratitude for the love of one’s parents, the second ring is to hope for happiness in one’s family, and the third ring as a prayer for self-improvement. There were four of us, and we each rung it once, so I’m hoping that us parents got two shots of gratitude! Regardless, ringing Hyowon’s Bell was a ton of fun for parents and kids alike.
After ringing Hyowon’s Bell, the fortress walls begin their journey back down the other side of Paldalsan Mountain. At first the descent is gentle, with a park and playground, before becoming a long set of stairs back down to the town.
At this stage the walking trail around Suwon Hwaseong Fortress goes through town, so we starting exploring the many alleyway markets looking for lunch. We eventually settled into a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant which had a Korean-only menu on the wall. Using Google Translate, we ordered some bibimbap, pork dumplings and red bean steam buns for lunch. Everything was so good – thank God for Google Translate!
If you don’t want to navigate the bus, the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress Half-day Tour from Seoul is a good option!
5. Lotte World Aquarium
The forecast for our fifth day in Seoul was for rain, so we sought out the best indoor things to do in Seoul with kids. We’re not typically big on tourist attractions, but given the weather we decided to visit the Lotte World Aquarium – one of the biggest aquariums in South Korea.
Just a 50-minute subway ride from central Seoul, the Lotte Aquarium is located in the Lotte World shopping mall complex, which in turn, is part of the Lotte World Tower. Opened in 2017, the Lotte World Tower is currently the sixth tallest building in the world with 123 stories.
The Lotte World Aquarium is an excellent aquarium, occupying two floors within the Lotte World Mall. This massive Seoul aquarium is home to lots of crowd pleasers and some of our kids favorites from our visit were: Axolotl, many cute frogs, an open-mouthed crocodile, a black and white polka dot stingray, piranhas, otters, sea lions, clown fish (i.e.: Little Nemo), puffer fish, sea turtles, penguins and a giant octopus.
There are several interactive exhibits for kids at the Lotte World Aquarium, including several small aquariums, with tunnels for kids to crawl through. In addition, there was a carp feeding station for kids – for a small extra charge, kids are given a small baby bottle with carp food which the fish aggressively suck from the bottle. It’s surprisingly intense, yet an exciting memory for the kids.
There are two massive tanks at the Lotte World Aquarium, both on the lower floor. The ocean tank is incredible to watch, filled with sharks, massive stingrays and all sorts of large and interesting fish.
But the best attraction by far at the Lotte World Aquarium was the beluga whale. Housed in the other massive 2-story tank, the beluga whale was an incredible experience for our kids.
They could go right up to the glass, and the beluga kept swimming past, looking them straight in the eye. The beluga whale seemed to develop a special interest in our daughter as it kept coming back to her time and again. Her new friendship with the beluga whale is something she won’t soon forget.
There are several walkthrough underwater tunnels at the Lotte World Aquarium, including one through a tropical river and through the sea lion exhibit. But the best one goes around the beluga exhibit and the massive ocean tank.
There are two other kid-friendly Seoul attractions at the Lotte World complex. There’s a theme park and an observation deck on the 117-123rd floors of the Lotte World Tower. We took a pass on both of them as the weather was not the best. The theme park would have been no fun in the rain, and we were worried the observation deck view would have been obscured by the clouds.
Another popular Seoul aquarium is the Coex Aquarium.
6. Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market
Many years ago when we visited Tokyo with kids, we had a great time at their fish market. We remember it clearly, but our kids were too young to remember, so we were excited to take them to the Seoul fish market.
Located just south of the Han River and easily reachable by the Line 1 subway, the fish market is a very fun thing to do in Seoul with kids. A truly massive complex, we loved walking up and down the endless aisles, looking at the many colorful and exotic fish and sea life on display.
Our kids favorites were the massive (and scary looking) king crabs, and the slightly smaller queen crabs. In addition, the kids enjoyed looking at the eels, stingrays, clams, squids and shrimp.
The auction area had a much different vibe than the wholesale side of the Seoul fish market. The auction area had many different types of fish, mostly packed up in boxes ready to be shipped out. When you visit the Seoul fish market with kids, its worthwhile taking a walk through both the wholesale and auction sides to see the widest variety of fish.
Try the Noryangjin Fish Market Guided Tour and Food Tasting to make this a longer outing.
7. Namdaemun Market
After the success of our Seoul Street Food Tour, we were excited to visit Namdaemun Market on our own to find some Korean street food for lunch. The largest market in Korea, Namdaemun Market is a ton of fun to explore with kids.
On a Saturday afternoon, the Namdaemun Market was simply buzzing with people – tourists and locals alike exploring the many fun streets and alleyways. The kids bought some souvenirs for themselves and for some of their friends.
With many food stalls throughout the market, the smells were ever so tempting. We found some incredibly tasty Korean street food for lunch. We each got a sweet rice honey hotteok pancake for lunch, which is filled with a dark, sweet honey, sesame seeds and pine nuts. They are amazing and quickly became our favorite food in South Korea.
In addition, the kids had deep fried potato covered corn dogs, while we had a bag full of pork and kimchi steamed dumplings.
8. Namsan Mountain Park
After a great time exploring the Namdaemun Market and filling our tummies with delicious Korean street food, we decided to burn off a few calories by walking to Namsan Mountain Park for the very popular walk up to the N. Seoul Tower.
While you can take a cable car up to the top of the Namsan Mountain Park, the best way to enjoy this Seoul experience is to hop onto the trails and walk to the top with the locals. The trail to the top of Namsan Mountain Park is a combination of paved trails and stairs.
The trail to the N. Seoul Tower winds its way uphill through a forest of beautiful trees and the views of the mega city below get increasingly nicer the higher you climb. There are several viewing platforms where you can take a moment, catch your breath and enjoy the views of this amazing South Korean city.
It doesn’t take very long to climb the stairs to the top of Namsan Mountain Park. Once at the top, you’ll be amazed at what’s on offer. In addition to the observation deck within the N. Seoul Tower, there’s a 4 story building with many shops and restaurants.
Namsan Mountain Park has a ton of hiking trails all over, so we decided to enjoy a walk through a beautiful pine forest on the back side of the mountain on our way back down. It was much less crowded and we passed underneath some truly magnificent, ancient cherry trees still in bloom.
The highlight of the hike back down Namsan Mountain Park was when we passed a firefly breeding ground. It was still too early in the day to see any fireflies, but there was a stream running through it that had thousands of tadpoles swimming about in it.
Our family loves experiencing nature and this was a truly incredible sight – countless tadpoles, trying to avoid the hungry salamanders in this tranquil stream. We stayed and watched the action for quite a while.
9. Children’s Museum of the National Museum of Korea
We were happy to discover the National Museum of Korea had a children’s museum as well. As one of our final things to do in Seoul with kids, we visited the National Museum of Korea in hopes of providing a little cultural education, but we soon realized the main museum would not hold our kids attention for long. (To be fair, we found it pretty boring as well).
Thankfully, we simply walked over to the Children’s Museum of the National Museum of Korea. Although we didn’t have the required reservation to get into the children’s museum, in the typical hospitality of South Korea, they let us come in anyway.
The Children’s Museum of the National Museum of Korea is a super-fun thing to do with kids in Seoul. It’s a colorful and highly interactive museum jam packed with fun kids activities. There was no language barrier at all, and in fact, many of the local children were excited to practice their English with us.
If you like children’s museums, there is also the Seoul Children’s Museum located in the Seoul Children’s Grand Park.
10. Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Palace is an immense palace of significant importance to the history of Seoul. A UNESCO world heritage site, a walk through Gyeongbokgung Palace is sure to impress.
To be honest, it was a mistake coming to Gyeongbokgung Palace at the end of our first day in Seoul. After waking up in the middle of the night, then walking about 5 km (3.1 miles) in the morning along the Cheonggyecheon River Park, then eating a ton of food on our Seoul food tour, we were all pretty tired and didn’t have the energy for this outing.
It’s a bit of an uphill battle to begin with, as Asian palaces are a little harder for kids to enjoy than a typical European castle. Throw being jet lagged and over-stuffed in the equation, and we ended up with two tired and disinterested kids.
The Gyeongbokgung Palace was quite grand and impressive, and the surrounding gardens were a very nice place to enjoy an easy family walk in Seoul. I’m certain under different circumstances that we’d have enjoyed the Gyeongbokgung Palace more. We were just too tired and too stuffed from the food tour to properly enjoy it.
If you have the time and energy, a Gyeongbokgung Palace History Walking Tour is the best way to get the most out of your visit.
11. Yeouido Park and Yeouido Hangang Park
Although it was pretty clear on our first day in Seoul with kids that we had largely missed the cherry blossom season, there were enough trees in bloom at the Gyeongbokgung Palace, that we felt we should at least give another Seoul cherry blossom hot spot a try.
Yeouido Park is considered one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Seoul and is a short bus ride from the fish market, so we figured we’d swing on by with the kids.
Yeouido Park is a long and skinny park sandwiched in the middle of many very tall office towers on an island in the Han River. The park is very nice, with many beautiful, old trees, including many cherry trees, maples, pine trees and more. There were still quite a few cherry trees in bloom, but sadly most of them had a pink carpet of fallen flower petals underneath.
But there is much more to Yeouido Park than cherry blossoms; there’s plenty of unique and colorful artwork, a playground for the kids and many fun picnic spots, including an outdoor communal table shaped like a spoon.
The views of the tall buildings of central Seoul and the mountains beyond are very nice from Yeouido Hangang Park. There’s lots of fun spaces for kids to run and enjoy themselves, including along the beautiful walking trails next to the river. There are ponds, streams and all sorts of concrete structures for kids to play on and explore.
Our original plan was to rent bikes in Yeouido Hangang Park as there are popular cycling paths along the Han River, but it was too cold in the morning and we didn’t have gloves.
12. Changdeokgung Palace
Changdeokgung Palace was equally as impressive as Gyeongbokgung Palace. We enjoyed a leisurely walk through the grand buildings of the palace complex, the beautiful gardens and ponds.
But, to be honest, it felt a little too much like Gyeongbokgung Palace and it was hard for us to differentiate between the two visits. Perhaps,it’s just us, but we didn’t enjoy our second Seoul palace visit as much, simply because it felt too familiar. Unless you or your kids are Asian palace fanatics, we’d recommend you pick one of the two major Seoul palaces to visit, and take a pass on the other one.
13. Bukchon Hanok Village
We had a little extra time one afternoon, so we decided to walk around and explore the nearby Bukchon Hanok Village. This traditional village has hundreds of traditional Korean houses and buildings dating to the 14th century.
Upon arriving at the Bukchon Hanok Village, we were given a very helpful map of the area by Seoul tourist volunteers. (They are found in many tourist attractions and can be identified by their bright red hats).
The side streets and narrow alleyways of the Bukchon Hanok Village are very beautiful and are quite fun to explore with kids. The main street through the traditional village isn’t very special though – it’s mostly a charmless, busy street with lots of shopping and restaurants.
We’re glad we visited Bukchon Hanok Village with our kids, but we’re glad it wasn’t our feature destination of the day. It was a nice thing to do for an hour or so, but to be honest, it wasn’t as interesting as we’d hoped. If you visit Bukchon Hanok Village with kids, we recommend you spend most of your time in the narrow alleyways to get the best experience.
14. Seoullo 7017
We fell in love with repurposed city parks when we first walked the High Line on our trip to New York with with a baby. When we heard that Seoul had converted an old overpass into an elevated city park, we knew we had to visit.
Located right next door to Seoul station, Seoullo 7017 is a pleasant, short walk with nice views of the massive city skyline. We don’t recommend it as one of your main kids activities in Seoul for your family visit, but it’s a nice kids activity if you have some time to kill near Seoul Station.
6 Days in Seoul with Kids
To help give you a feel for what you can do on your family travel to Seoul, here is a summary of our 6-day Seoul itinerary.
Day 1 with Kids in Seoul
After a very long trans-Pacific flight to Seoul, we all woke up in the middle of the night, very jet lagged. We were ready to go experience our first day in Seoul with kids. Here are the highlights:
We went for a super fun and very scenic walk in the Cheonggyecheon River Park. This beautiful river used to be covered by a highway, but was restored to become the natural centerpiece of central Seoul.
We used the Cheonggyecheon River Park to get to our feature attraction for the day – a Seoul Food Tour. We wanted to do a Seoul food tour on our first day to give us knowledge and confidence to try local cuisine during our family trip to South Korea. Our Seoul street food tour was a big success – we learned a lot about South Korean food and gave our kids some confidence to try even more local foods during our family vacation.
We finished our first day in Seoul with kids at the Gyeongbokgung Palace. A UNESCO world heritage site, the Gyeongbokgung Palace is an impressive introduction to important South Korean culture.
To get the most of your visit to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, try this Morning 3-Hour Intro to Seoul Tour.
Day 2 of our Family Trip to Seoul
We began our second day in Seoul with kids by taking the subway across the Han River to the exotic and exciting Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market. Our kids loved walking the aisles and marveling at the exotic fish on display.
After the Seoul fish market, we visited nearby Yeouido Park and Yeouido Hangang Park. Yeouido Park has lots of fun things to do for kids, while Yeouido Hangang Park is a beautiful park near the Han River.
Next we thought we’d test our new-found knowledge of Korean food at Namdaemun Market, the largest market in Korea. We discovered Hotteok pancakes, sparking a 2-week love affair with Korea’s favorite street snack. You must try them on your family trip to Seoul!
We did a ton of walking during our second day in Seoul with kids. We ended our day by enjoying the popular walk up to the N. Seoul Tower in Namsan Mountain Park. We loved interacting with the locals and the views of Seoul from the top were amazing.
Day 3 in Seoul with Kids
We escaped the bustling city and hiked the very popular Dobongsan Trail, where we enjoyed the best Buddhist temple visit of our family trip to South Korea. Our kids had some fun interaction with locals and we enjoyed some epic views of Seoul below.
We ended day 3 in Seoul with a visit to the traditional Bukchon Hanok Village. It was fun for a short visit, but it’s not one of the most exciting things to do in Seoul with kids.
Day 4 with Kids in Seoul
On Day 4 we headed south of Seoul to the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We loved getting to walk the length of the fully restored fortress walls – we had lots of fun family adventures along the way.
Day 5 in Seoul with Kids
For our fifth day, we needed to find an activity for kids in Seoul on a rainy day. The perfect indoor kids activity was a visit to the Lotte World Aquarium – the biggest aquarium in Korea. There are plenty of crowd-pleasers at the Lotte World aquarium, but our favorite was our interactions with the beluga whale.
We went back to our hotel for some foosball to wait out the rain. Once the sky cleared, we walked to the Changdeokgung Palace. It felt a little too much like Gyeongbokgung Palace and we didn’t stay too long.
Day 6 of our Family Trip to Seoul
We arrived back in Seoul mid-afternoon, so we didn’t have a ton of time for a big outing. We enjoyed a short walk on the elevated Seoullo 7017 park, before heading back to the Namdaemun Market for one last meal of our favorite South Korean street foods.
The next morning, we took the kids to the National Museum of Korea, but quickly discovered it was not going to be our favorite activity for kids in Seoul. Thankfully they have a seperate children’s museum on the property, which was a ton of fun for our kids.
Where to Stay in Seoul with Kids
In a city as massive as Seoul, South Korea, there are no shortage of kid-friendly hotels. We were very happy with our choice of kid-friendly hotel in Seoul.
We stayed for 6 nights at the Moxy Insadong Hotel, by Marriott, in central Seoul. It had an incredible location, which was perfect for our Seoul sightseeing. The Moxy Insadong Hotel is right across the street from the ultra-trendy Ikseondong Hanok Village, with many great shops and restaurants.
In addition it was only a 15 minute walk from Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Bukchon Hanok Village and Changdeokgung Palace. As if that’s not enough, there’s a subway entrance immediately in front of the hotel with connections to 3 major subway lines.
The hotel itself had lots of great amenities for kids and families. On the main floor, there is a large playroom, with free use of a large foosball table, a giant Jenga game, a huge teddy bear, and many other games.
We recommend staying at the Moxy Insadong Hotel as it makes an excellent base for a family trip to Seoul!
On the second floor, there’s a gym, complimentary filtered water and a 24 hour free coffee machine. In the basement, there’s a large washer and dryer which takes credit cards. It’s only 8,000 won (~$6 USD) per load, which is very affordable by normal hotel standards.
The daily breakfast buffet of international and local favorites is also on the second floor (extra charge). The breakfast dining room is open all day and is filled with books and toys for the kids. We’d often bring in a snack or some street food, and eat it in the dining room, while the kids played and read books.
Best of all, we were able to book two connected hotel rooms. It’s nice to have separate rooms for the kids and parents, while being able to keep the kids close and safe. We booked two “Room, Two Twin Beds, Non Smoking, City View” rooms. You’ll need to send the hotel a message requesting they set up the connected rooms for you.
We loved our stay at the Moxy Insadong Hotel. It was fun for the kids and had a great location.
Getting Around Seoul with Kids
Getting around Seoul with kids is quite easy and fun by taking the clean, safe and efficient Seoul Metro everywhere.
We got from the Incheon International Airport to our family-friendly hotel by taking the Airport Express train to Seoul Station, then a short subway ride. From the airport to our hotel took around an hour.
Once we were settled into our hotel, we got around Seoul with kids with ease. Our hotel was within walking distance to many of the top tourist attractions, and for those that were further afield, we simply took the subway and/or bus.
All of the subway stations have ticket machines which work in English. Simply select your destination station and it will tell you your fare. Note, that the Seoul subway ticket machines only accept cash (won) and do not accept credit cards.
We had several metro employees tell us that our kids (aged 7 & 9) did not need tickets, even though the ticket machines said that kids 6 and up require tickets. Because of this local guidance, we often didn’t buy our kids tickets for most of our metro journeys. We just took them with us through the ticket turnstiles as we entered the fare-only sections of the Seoul subway stations.
If you plan on taking the Seoul metro a lot, it’s worth it to invest in a T-Money card (a preloaded card to pay subway fare with). Simply go to a 7-11 and buy a card for each member of the family. Use Google Translate to ask the staff to set up your kid’s cards for the kids fare. Then, take your T-Money card to a subway station and add money to your card. It’s very easy and convenient.
5 Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Seoul
Korean food can be intimidating for many visitors, especially families traveling with kids. Unlike more commonly known Asian food like Thai or Japanese, Korean food is a bit of an unknown for many.
If you are worried about what to feed your kids in Seoul, don’t worry too much, they won’t go hungry. We’ve written a full blog post on what to feed your kids in South Korea which will help put your mind at ease.
To help you get started, here are 5 kid-friendly restaurants in Seoul we enjoyed during our family visit:
This excellent pizza restaurant was located in the alleyway behind our central Seoul hotel. Backstreet Pizza has a wide variety of pies on the menu, with kid-favorites such as pepperoni, Hawaiian, mac and cheese and even a pizza loaded with French fries. The best part about Backstreet Pizza is that they overload each pizza with toppings. I’ve never seen such generous toppings on a pizza anywhere in the world.
Given it was so good, and so close to our hotel, we ate at Backstreet Pizza with our kids twice. Each time we ordered enough pizza to have sufficient leftovers for breakfast the next morning.
We were lucky that our Seoul hotel was right next door to the trendy Ikseondong Hanok Village neighborhood with many fun restaurants. One of the kid-friendly Seoul restaurants in this neighborhoods was El Carnitas, a fun Mexican restaurant with plenty of kid friendly menu options. One of our kids enjoyed a quesadilla, while the other had a huge taco salad (and ate it all!).
Also, just minutes from our hotel, just north of the Ikseondong Hanok Village, is a small Seoul hamburger restaurant called Yankees Burger. They have a simple menu with just cheeseburgers or bacon cheeseburgers and fries, but the quality is excellent.
One thing to note however, is that the hamburgers come with a spicy sauce on them instead of ketchup. We (the parents) loved the spicy sauce, but it was too much for the kids. Try to order your kids burgers without the spicy sauce.
Korean Street Food on Isadong Street
There will be times that you’ll want to enjoy some Korean food, but your kids won’t. For these nights, we recommend you take the family to the touristy Isadong Street (about a 10 minute walk from our hotel). On Isadong Street, our kids were able to eat a fun meal of street food consisting of deep fried twisty potatoes on a stick and a huge deep fried hot dog on a stick.
Meanwhile, Celine and I had some of the best dumplings we had during our family trip to Seoul at a place our Seoul food tour guide recommended. It’s not on Google Maps, but look for a white sign on a post pointing to an alleyway. Heading north in Isadong Street, the dumplings place will be on your right. These dumplings are worth the effort to find!
American Fast Food Chains
And, of course, there are an assortment of American fast food chains to choose from. For example, we ate at McDonald’s on several mornings, simply because we couldn’t find any breakfast options in Seoul that our kids would entertain. In addition to McDonald’s, you’ll find Burger King, Subway and KFC. These American fast food restaurants will almost always be concentrated near the tourist attractions, so you won’t have to work very hard to find them.
Tips for Parents visiting Seoul with Kids
- There are toilets literally everywhere in Seoul. They are in every subway station and along many city streets. You’ll never have to go far to find one.
- Garbage cans, on the other hand, are very difficult to find. Bring along a little plastic bag in your day bag to hold your accumulated garbage until you can find an appropriate place to dispose of it. The easiest place to find a garbage can is in the subway stations.
- Many hotels will provide bottled water, but this is unnecessary as the tap water is safe to drink and tastes good. When you eat at restaurants, almost all of them will have a self-serve purified water station where you simply get up and serve yourself water.
- When you walk through Seoul with your kids, we encourage you to get off the main roads and take the parallel alleyways instead – they are so much more interesting with little shops and restaurants to peek into.
Dan Brewer is an intrepid family travel blogger with a passion for exploring the world's most captivating destinations. With 58 countries under his belt and a sense of wanderlust that knows no bounds, he has made it his life's mission to share his travel experiences and insights with fellow families who love to travel.
When Dan isn't traveling with his wife and kids, he's either out enjoying the Canadian Rockies he calls home or working on one of his three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Travel Banff Canada and Ultimate Sports Road Trip).