There are few family holidays destinations as kid friendly as Seoul. If you plan on visiting Korea with kids, the capital city has multiple children’s museums, free translators for tourists in the city centre and lots of quirky themed cafes to keep the kids entertained. Irena Marce of Kids Fun In Seoul has lived in Seoul with kids Mia (7) and Lukas (5) since 2011. She tells suitcases&strollers all her insider city secrets to Seoul with kids.

Why should parents plan a family holiday in Seoul with kids?

Seoul is one of the safest places to live and travel to. Everything is well organised and easy going. The public transportation works perfectly, the city is very clean and Korean people are very nice and helpful and they love kids. With young kids, parents will also appreciate the super clean restrooms usually conveniently built with children in mind (with either changing boards or kids’ seats) – they are everywhere and free!

Where is your favourite place to take kids in Seoul?

Our favourite place to go in Seoul is Children’s Grand Park. It’s great every season of the year. There is a nice children’s museum at the entrance, plenty of outdoor playgrounds and a small zoo all in the same place.

Where is your kids’ favourite place in Seoul to hang out?

Probably Seoul Children’s MuseumThis kids’ museum is filled with all kinds of playgrounds and activities designed especially for toddlers and preschoolers.

What is the best free activity to do with kids in Seoul?

Some of the kids museums are free like the Children’s Museum of National Museum of Korea or the very recently opened Children’s Museum The War Memorial Of Korea

There are also many festivals organised during the year in and around Seoul most of them free. To mention just a few you shouldn’t miss the Lotus Lantern Festival celebrating Buddha’s Birthday.

Or the colourful Yeouido Spring Flower Festival if you happen to be visiting during the spring time.  

[For more travel tips on free activities for kids available in most cities, see the suitcases&strollers story here.] 

Where is the best place to take kids in Seoul when the weather is bad? 

There are plenty of indoor playgrounds or inter-active museums around the city where you can spend a whole day if it’s raining outside. I have ten ideas on my website here

What are some of the city secrets that tourists might not know about but shouldn’t miss on a family holiday in Seoul with kids?

Seoul is a big busy city and may seem overwhelming especially if you are running from one tourist attraction to another with kids. What many tourists usually don’t know is that Seoul has a lot to offer when it comes to family parks and green spaces. Among our favourite parks we would mention Seoul Forest where you can find a deer garden, a skate rink, sport fields, horse stables, ponds, a butterfly garden, picnic areas and four playgrounds. 

Dream Forest is another place on the top of our list. Its unique features include forestry hills, a man-made waterfall, a cultural heritage pavilion, the awesome-looking astronomical tower and a waterplay stream in summer. 

Seoul’s second largest park, Olympic Park, is another place we love to come at every time of the year. The hills are beautiful especially in spring or in late autumn.

What’s the best way for children to have an authentic Seoul experience? 

Visit one of the many hanok (traditional Korean house) villages. There is a small Namsangol Hanok Village located at the foot of Namsan or you should definitely visit the Korean Folk Village just one hour south of Seoul. But if you are more adventurous we recommend to spend a weekend in a real hanok: sleep on the heated floor and enjoy a traditional breakfast including rice, soup, kimchi and fish.

[What do kids really think about staying in traditional Asian houses? Check out the suitcases&strollers interview with 11-year-old Alex who slept in a Japanese ryokan here.] 

Where are your top 3 places for family-friendly restaurants for kids in Seoul?

In Seoul it is now getting easier to find all kind of international food. Koreans love kids so if you want to try the delicious Korean food, you may just pick up a local restaurant and your kids will be usually treated like kings and spoiled by the kind-hearted ajummas (expression for Korean middle-age woman). Our children’s favorite food are mandu (Korean ravioli), tonkassu (schneitzel-style fried pork), white kimchi, simple rice with fried seaweed or the delicious patbingsu (shaved-ice dessert).

[For travel tips on introducing your kids to foreign foods, see the suitcases&strollers interview with the expert on feeding kids, Annabel Karmel.] 

What is also quite original in Seoul is that you can find plenty of themed cafes or “play cafes” all around the city. You’ll find here a Hello Kitty cafeLittle Prince cafe and cafes where you can jump on trampolines or do art and crafts like one of our favourites Norang Café

[Are your kids obssessed with Hello Kitty? Then don’t miss the suitcases&strollers story on the Hello Kitty Jets. Yes, this is a real, operational airline!]

What are your tips for kids' shops in Seoul?

If you are looking for toys, we recommend visiting the toy alley in Dongdaemun Market. For clothes you can find local brands on Namdaemun Market

Otherwise in the department stores like Hyundai, Shinsaege or Lotte you’ll find all the international brands or items you need.

Which is the best place to find family friendly accommodation if you are on family vacation in Seoul with kids?

All major international hotels are available here. Among local options, you may try a hanok stay in the heart of Seoul.

When is the best time of year to visit Seoul with kids? 

Spring and autumn are probably best time to visit Seoul. The weather is usually mild and dry with blue skies and the nature is beautiful . This period is also very active and filled with many festivals and activities organised by the city.

[Interested in the other side of the DMZ with kids? Don't miss the suitcases&strollers insider story on how to travel to North Korea with kids.]

What is the best way to move around Seoul with kids? 

The public transportation system is great in Seoul and all of Korea. But if it is a little bit hectic for you or if you are travelling with little kids, a taxi ride is a great option too. Taxis are cheap and easy to find. Just be ready for a fast ride!

If you want to travel out of Seoul, reserve your KTX (fast train) ticket or take the long distance bus (a very comfortable, cheap and fast option).

Is it hard to move around Seoul with kids if you cannot speak Korean?

For the first comers, travelling in Seoul with kids may seem a little bit difficult at the beginning if you don’t speak and read Korean. But don’t worry; if you stay in the city, all the signs are also written in English and if you are lost or looking for your way, Koreans are always very kind and ready to help, even if not all of them speak English easily.

In all major tourist areas (such as near City Hall, Namsan N Seoul TowerGwanghamun Palace) the city arranges tourist helpers who are able to assist you in the English, Chinese and Japanese languages. This is so helpful and convenient!

What are your top 3 tips for families travelling to Seoul with kids?  

1.  Be open and ready to discover new places.

2.  Try local food, for example, the yummy hotteok (sweet bean pancake) in local markets. This is just to die for!

3.  Check out at a good panoramic view point such as the top of Namsan N Seoul Tower or the “63” Hanwha Building or take a river boat cruise to enjoy the city.


Images: Hello Kitty Café,
Irena Marce of Kids Fun In Seoul, Korea Tourism Organization, VisitSeoul.net