Jongno is an important administrative and cultural center in Seoul. That’s because it is where you can find some government facilities, like the residence of the President of Korea, called Cheongwadae (청와대), also know as Blue House, and most of the embassies.
Besides that, area also has many museums and lots of cultural events and festivals. Here are some places you should visit around Jongno! All of these places are within a walking distance so you can choose more than one to visit in the same day!
1. Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁
This is probably the most famous attraction to visit in this area. Gyeongbokgung is one of the Five Great Palaces built during the Joseon dynasty. It has a great importance since it was the main and largest royal palace, official residence of the dynasty Kings.
The entrance gate of the palace, called Gwanghwamun (광화문), is fascinating and full of endless ornaments and details. You can enter for free but, to go further into it, there is a small fee. Around the palace there are Hanbok rental stores, so you can dress up matching with the atmosphere and take wonderful photos.
Also, you shouldn’t miss the Changing of the Royal Guards that happens twice a day (except Tuesdays) in front of the main gate, Gwanghwamun. In this ceremony the guards wear royal uniforms, carry flags and traditional weapons and play instruments as a reenact of the Joseon dynasty ceremony.
2. Bukchon Hanok Village 북촌한옥마을
The Bukchon Hanok Village is a traditional area, with hundreds of preserved hanok houses back from the Joseon dynasty. Exploring its narrow streets can be a really exciting activity, while you slowly approach the highest area of the village. Once getting there, you have a stunning view of the modern Seoul buildings as a background of the traditional hanok houses, an unique and yet harmonious picture.
In addition, an interesting thing to notice is that, differently from some other touristic traditional villages, this one actually has people living in it, so you can’t enter any of the houses.
3. National Palace Museum of Korea 국립고궁박물관
The National Palace Museum of Korea is one of the museums around Gyeongbokgung Palace. It can be found inside the area of Gyeongbokgung Palace and its collection includes a lot of artifacts from the Joseon dynasty.
The museum has a huge amount of interesting information about this period, for example, about rites, vestment, arts, culture and others, which makes it really intriguing to learn about such long and important period of Korea’s history.
If you want to enjoy the most, you will probably need some hours to see everything it has to offer. The best of it is that the entrance is completely free!
4. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art 국립현대미술관
This museum has four branches in Korea, the main one is in the city of Gwacheon (과천시).
The branch in Seoul was inaugurated in 2013, really close to Gyeongbokgung Palace. It displays works of Korean and international artists, including artwork, photography, media art, installations etc. and has a variety of performances and education programs.
The outside of the buildings and the external area itself already has an interesting unique design and can be a nice destination to explore and take photos. Besides that, it holds free artistic and cultural events and exhibitions.
For more places worth visiting in Jongno, check the ‘Jongno-gu: Cultural and Artistic Tour II’!