Best Things to Do in Insadong, Seoul

If you’ve got your eyes set what to do in Seoul, digging into the best things to do in Insadong should be high on your agenda.

The Insadong area harkens back to the more distant past of the Korean capital. Taking on most popular tourist attractions in Insadong, you’ll browse through antique shops and sip cha in traditional Korean teahouses.

Ready to plan out where to go in Insadong? Rev up your Insadong itinerary with this guide to the top Insadong attractions and best places to visit in Insadong…

What to see & do in Insadong

Sip on cha and eat snacks at Shin Old Tea House

One of the best cafés in Seoul, Shin Old Tea House is a pleasant getaway from the bustle of Insadong. Among all the best places to see in Insadong, visiting this classic teahouse is a must.

This cozy Insadong teahouse wears its long history on its sleeve. Shin Old Tea House effortlessly charms its patrons with rustic hardwood floors and wooden window shutters. You’ll also find traditional pillowed floor seating here.

Teahouse

Shin Old Tea House serves a couple dozen varieties of Korean tea. In winter, enjoy soul-warming ginger tea. Or get a refreshing escape from Seoul’s blistering summer heat with a fruity iced tea.

Along with quenching your thirst, beverages at Shin Old Tea House come with tasty stick-to-your-ribs snacks. Chow down on Seoul favourites ike sticky Korean rice cakes.

  • Address: 164 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Opening Hours: 10:30am to 11:00pm

Getting to Shin Old Tea House: From Anguk Station (Line 3), take Exit 6 towards Insadong. Turn left on Insadong-gil, one block ahead.

Walking about half a block, turn right at the small alley just before seeing Ssamziegil on your left. The café will be in the fourth building to your right.

Dabble in Korea’s artistic side at Kyung-in Museum of Fine Art

Few Insadong attractions capture its artistic vibe better than the Kyung-in Museum of Fine Art.

Opening in 1983, the Kyung-in Museum of Fine Art showcases the work of local artists and sculptors. The works are displayed among five exhibition halls & galleries.

Aside from the actual exhibits, the museum’s architecture is impressive. Checking it out is near the top of the list of what to see in Insadong.

Throughout the complex, natural light & manicured flora blend with modern & traditional elements. It creates an environment reflecting the whole city’s own tug-of-war between past & future.

Once you’ve revelled in the artwork & architecture of the Kyung-in Museum of Fine Art, pop into its traditional teahouse. Here, you can enjoy a herbal tea with a refreshing fruit ice cream.

  • Address: 11-4, Insadong 10-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Opening Hours: 10:00am to 6:00pm (Gallery), 10:00am to 10:50pm (Café)

Getting to Kyung-in Museum of Fine Arts: Hop onto Line 3 of the Seoul metro to Anguk Station. From Exit 6, walk a block and turn left on Insadong-gil.

Walk two blocks, turning left at Insadong 10-gil, the street after Ssamziegil. The museum entrance is a couple buildings up to your left.

Witness the birth of modern Korea at Tapgol Park

Touted as the first modern urban park in Seoul, Tapgol Park remains one of the most important sites in Seoul. Today, it’s still one of the top things to see in Insadong.

Tapgol Park charms visitors with a trove of historical monuments. In fact, the park’s storied past set the stage for South Korea’s independence in the post-WWI era.

The centrepiece of the Tapgol Park, Wongaksa Pagoda, dates back to 1467. At this time, the area was set within the grounds of the most important of the Jogye order of Korean Buddhism.

This ten-level stone pagoda was responsible for the park’s old name, Pagoda Park.

Wongaksa Pagoda is the only remnant from the 15th-century Wongaksa Temple. In modern times, it remains an important Korean cultural relic.

Wongaksa Pagoda Tapgol Park

During the 20th century, Tapgol Park set the stage for Korea’s independence. At Tapgol Park, resisters first read the Korean Declaration of Independence. The event set into motion the bloody days of the March 1st Movement. Every March 1st, Tapgol Park hosts a memorial service to remember the fallen.

Besides its historical significance, Tapgol Park remains one of the premier places to go in Insadong and in Seoul to get some fresh air. It’s a wonderful place to hang out with friends, walk around, or chill out and leave the urban bustle behind.

Getting to Tapgol Park: From Jongno 3-ga Station (Lines 1, 3 & 5), take Exit 1 onto Jong-ro. It’s about a five-minute walk west along the street to Tapgol Park.

Discover the world of tea at the Beautiful Tea Museum

You don’t need to be a bonafide tea lover to get a kick out of the Beautiful Tea Museum in Insadong.

This museum & café is stationed inside a beautiful hanok (traditional wooden Korean house). At the Beautiful Tea Museum, you’ll find displays of traditional ceramic tea cups & saucers. Several exhibits, detailing tea traditions from various countries in Asia, also await.

Once you’ve travelled around the world of tea, plop down and relax at the on-site café. You can choose to sip 130 different teas from Korea, China, Tibet, Japan, India, Sri Lanka and more.

From green & black teas to herbal & flower teas, the Beautiful Tea Museum covers flavours for every palate.

  • Opening Hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm
  • Address: 19-11, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul-si

Getting to Beautiful Tea Museum: The quickest (and easiest) route to the Beautiful Tea Museum is via Jongno 3-ga Station (Lines 1, 3 & 5). Use Exit 5 and walk west along Supyo-ro past Samil-daero.

Cross over Insadong-gil until the street becomes a smaller alleyway. The museum will be on your left, three buildings up.

Ssamziegil

For shoppers looking for a break from the brand-heavy streets of Myeongdong, the shopping mecca of Ssamziegil lies in wait.

Ssamziegil is famous for its unique spiralling outdoor courtyard walkway. For its architecture alone, it’s become one of the top points of interest in Insadong.

Opened in 2004, Ssamziegil is home to over 70 stores. Browsing Ssamziegil, you’ll drop your won on everything from handmade goods to yummy Korean food.

Ssamziegil

The fresh-faced Ssamziegil blends surprisingly well with the traditional aesthetic & spirit of Insadong.

Many of Ssamziegil’s best finds are unique to Insadong. They’re handcrafted by local artisans in the complex’s workshops and galleries.

While visiting Ssamziegil, don’t miss out on visiting the Sky Garden. Located on the 4th-floor rooftop, the Sky Garden delivers sweeping vistas over Insadong and Seoul.

  • Address: 44, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Opening Hours: 10:30am to 8:30pm

Getting to Ssamziegil: As Sssamziegil lies on the main drag of Insadong, finding it is a cinch. Make your way to Anguk Station (Line 3), using Exit 6 to get to street level.

Walk straight along Yulgok-ro, turning left at Insadong-gil. Continuing south along Insadong-gil, you’ll see Ssamziegil about two blocks ahead to your left.

Get silly at the Alive Museum

Following the lead of the popular “trick-eye” museums, the quirky Alive Museum opened to great fanfare in 2014. It’s since become one of the best places to visit in Insadong for tourists and locals alike.

The Alive Museum in Insadong is much like the Trick-Eye Museum in Hongdae. It uses parallax effects and optical illusions to draw visitors into outlandish scenes.

At the over hundred exhibitions in the Alive Museum, you can insert yourself into various artwork. Some of the odder options include getting chomped on by Marilyn Monroe or boxing a kangaroo.

Want to get some extra action in? Combine your visit to the Alive Museum with the Dynamic Maze. This interactive and challenging obstacle course will test both your mind & body.

  • Address: 12, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul-si
  • Opening Hours: 9:00am to 8.30pm
  • Admission: Alive Museum (₩12,000 adults; ₩10,000 children), Dynamic Maze (₩12,000), Alive Museum & Dynamic Maze Package (₩18,000)

Getting to Alive Museum: Using Seoul’s public transportation, scoot over to Jongno 3-ga Station on Lines 1, 3 or 5. From the station’s Exit 1, walk west along Jong-ro, turning right at Samil-daero. Turn onto Insadong-gil. The museum will be on your righthand side after the

Chow down on delicious Korean food

It’s no secret: Insadong is one of the best places to eat in Seoul. And if you’re looking for what to do in Insadong, eating’s not a bad place to start.

Along the main drag of Insadong-gil, the culinary adventures awaiting your tastebuds are endless.

Insadong Shopping Street Food

You can hunt down all the Korean street food staples here. Keep on the look out for mandu (Korean dumplings) and tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes). You’ll also find more substantial Korean dishes like bibimbap and bulgogi. All your cravings will be at your fingertips at the restaurants & food stalls of Insadong!

Looking for some of the best food in Seoul? Check out some of these top Insadong restaurants…

  • Cha Iyagi: This popular Korean BBQ restaurant is set inside a beautiful traditional hanok. Their famous dish, rice cooked inside a hollow bamboo stick, is a local favourite.
  • Jirisan: One of the most popular Korean restaurants in Insadong, this yummy culinary hotspot is famous for its vegetarian bean-curd and tofu dishes.
  • Insadong Sujebi: This popular Insadong restaurant serves up delectable sujebi. These delicious hand-pulled noodles are drown in a flavourful broth in an clay pot. Delicious! Their haemul pajeon, a savoury Korean pancake made with seafood and scallions, is also to die for.

Best hotels in Insadong for sightseeing

Done digging into all the best things to do in Insadong? It should be no surprise that this traditional neighbourhood is one of the most popular places to stay in Seoul.

Ready to find the perfect Insadong accommodations? Here are a couple of the best Insadong hotels

  • Grid Inn Hotel: This modern hotel is one of the best budget picks in Insadong. It delivers a memorable urban accommodations experience. To boot, it’s also in a convenient central location.
  • Makers Hotel: This mid-range Insadong hotel features a chilled-out European mid-20th century design. It makes for a unique stay in the traditional heart of Seoul. With its doors just outside of an exit for Jongno 3-ga Station, the location is fantastic, too.
  • Orakai Insadong Suites: These beautiful self-catering suites are only real choice for luxury in Insadong. They’re well-equipped and come with access to extra amenities. Staying here, you’ll enjoy an indoor pool, fitness centre, and sauna. It bestows a truly at-home feel.

Where to visit next in Seoul

Ryan O'Rourke

Ryan O'Rourke is a Canadian traveller, food & drink aficionado, and the founder & editor of Treksplorer. Join Ryan as he explores the world two to three weeks at a time from his home base of Canada with Treksplorer's independent and unsponsored mid-range luxury travel guides including itineraries, things to do, where to stay, when to visit, and hiking & walking trails.

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