Historic meets modern in this central district of Seoul, where good food, unique architecture and mountainous green spaces come together.
Jung-gu (Jung district) is at the heart of South Korea’s capital. Find the Seoul City Hall here, where the rules and regulations of the city are made. Although it serves an important administrative function, the area also has a lot to draw tourists, from museums and historic sites to great restaurants and a super-high viewing point.
Much of Jung-gu is residential, so it is a pleasant spot to escape the crowds of some of Seoul’s other central districts. Start at City Hall Plaza and be sure to bring your camera. The sight of the hypermodern new City Hall rising from directly behind the historic original City Hall makes very interesting photos.
Next, have a meal at Sindang-dong Tteokbokki Town. Walk beneath the tall blue arch that marks the entrance to this well-loved food street. Many locals will tell you it offers the best ddukbokki (sometimes written as “tteokbokki”) anywhere in Seoul. These spicy stir-fried rice cakes are a must-try Korean specialty.
When your stomach is full, head to N Seoul Tower. Pause to have your portrait painted by one of the artists at the foot of the tower. Ascend to the tower’s viewing platform, the highest in the city, for truly spectacular views of the area below.
The tower is located in Namsan Park, a vast green space that offers an idyllic oasis within the city. Wander the scenic trails that wind to the peak of Namsan Mountain. Another peaceful spot in Jung is Jangchungdan Park, where old-fashioned, ornate Korean buildings are scattered throughout.
In the evening, enjoy some culture at the National Theater of Korea. Watch a dance show that you can appreciate without knowing the Korean language.
Jung-gu station is very central. Reach it from Seoul station in about 20 minutes. Once here, the best way to explore the area, especially its sprawling green spaces, is on foot.