Memos from Asia

How to Spend the Christmas Season in Seoul

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Christmas time is one of the best holidays to gather with your family and friends to enjoy the quality time together. Some families may gather around each other’s homes under the fireplace, opening up presents from all their relatives, or some may go on a couple’s trip to a warm place and enjoy the warm weather near a beautiful island.

Christmas lights at Cheong Gye Cheon, South Korea

Another wonderful way to spend Christmas is to go to South Korea and enjoy the holiday festivities. Seoul is known to have many events during the winter months, and many locals and tourists travel to the city with their families to spend quality time.

1. Seoul Christmas Festival at Cheong Gye Cheon

Cheong Gye Cheon is a fun and unique place to spend an evening during the Christmas season. Cheong Gye Cheon is a recent stream that was renewed as part of an urban renewal project in Seoul. The stream has been turned into a public recreation space for people to gather as a social area.

Cheong Gye Cheon during Christmas, South Korea

The Cheong Gye Cheon stream that leads to the Cheonggye Plaza holds a festival called Seoul Christmas Festival. During the Christmas season, the area is decorated in beautiful Christmas lights and trees for people to gather around.

Cheong Gye Cheon carolers, South Korea

The Cheonggye Plaza is covered in a life size gingerbread house with lights decorated all over. In the middle, carolers perform many Christmas songs that are pleasant to listen to while admiring the decorations.

Cheong Gye Cheon Christmas Tree, South Korea

Many people come to take photos with the decorations and have a fun time with their family and friends. The area is also surrounded by many food booths so people can have a warm meal while meeting at Cheonggyecheon.

2. Seoul Light

Seoul Light is a light show that is created through AI innovative technology, which is displayed on large scale screens. The screens are reflected onto the innovative design building that was built as part of the experience. The building is unique, as it has a wavy shape that stretches all along the shopping centers.

Seoul Light Building, Itaewon

The light show is available at DDP Design Avenue at Itaewon, near the shopping malls. The theme is “Seoul Haemong,” which means Seoul Dreams, and there are many events and activities you can participate in at the spot.

The landmark is surrounded by color changing LED lights

From 7pm to 10pm every night, you can watch the display screens make beautiful Christmas designs. The light show will play at random times only 4 times a day, so make sure to plan accordingly! The people will gather around the screens when the light show is about to take place, so it is hard to miss.

The admission is free, and there are many food corners and restaurants at the shopping mall located right next to the light show. There are also many design booths where people can buy small artistic souvenirs to take home. The shopping malls are also filled with many other Christmas activities as well. There is also a New Year’s Eve countdown that people can participate in at the light show center.

3. Ice Skate at Lotte World

When it comes to Christmas, you can’t forget ice skating! Ice skating in the middle of Lotte World is a magical experience for visitors. The ice skating rink also has been featured in one of the most famous Korean dramas, “Stairway To Heaven.” The rink also has a large Michelangelo mural that one of the characters drew in the drama, which they have kept as an attraction to this day.

Lotte World, Seoul

The Lotte World Ice Rink has an admission fee of 9,000 Won. The skate rentals are an additional 5,000 Won. The rink is also surrounded in delicious restaurants and the Lotte Mall. The third floor is also where the Lotte World Amusement Park is, so people can visit all of these places in one day if they wanted to. The Amusement Park will have a Christmas parade for children, and visiting is a fun way to spend the holiday season.

Seoul City Hall Ice Rink, Seoul

Another ice rink in Korea is the outdoor public rink outside of Seoul City Hall. The ice rink recently opened and has many activities in front of the rink as well. There are singing carolers who perform in front of the rink, and there are also many food booths and carts all around.

4. Shopping in Myeongdong

Myeongdong is a wonderful place to visit during the Christmas season. The whole street is decorated in Christmas lights and trees, so it gives a very festive and cheerful mood when walking through the shopping areas.

There will be garlands, decorative trees, LED covered windows, and bright colorful lights all around the neighborhood. The Myeongdong Cathedral is decorated in beautiful colored flower lights all over the garden. Families often visit this area and take many photos. The cathedral also has a commemorative reenactment of Christ being born, so people can visit inside the cathedral as well for the event.

Myeongdong Shopping Street, South Korea

There are many food booths, including Hoddeok, which are hot pastries with sesame seeds and honey in the middle, and Gae Ran Bbang (egg bread carts). These are popular Korean street food pastries that are usually old sold in the winter in food carts.

There are also Hodogwaja carts, which are walnut pastries with red beans in the middle. Many pojangmachas also have areas where people can grab some quick tteokbokki and fish cake soup.

The street has many clothing and beauty shops, that you can shop around to get your last minute Christmas shopping done for your family and friends.

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