The smell of roasting chestnuts, a crunch of leaves with every step, and cool, crisp mornings that make you grab a jacket on your way outside. You guessed correctly, it’s that magical time of the year, autumn, when the city transforms and fall comes to Seoul.
When you’re caught up in the fast pace of the city, it’s easy to forget the little things about the season that make it so enjoyable in Seoul. Whether this is your first fall in Seoul, or you have lived here for years, there’s always a wide variety of things to do in the fall to truly get the most out of the season.
The season is brief but beautiful in Korea, so pick a day to retire from the sometimes stressful city life and enjoy one of these exciting things to do in Seoul during fall.
Offering its visitors beautiful panoramic views of Seoul, and being a relatively easy hike for all ages, a hike up to Namsan Tower is a perfect way to spend a fall day in Seoul.
In the fall, the dense spread of trees and greenery surrounding Namsan slowly begin to change to beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows, making a grand gesture of fall’s arrival. With it’s convenient location in the center of Seoul, and many access points, this might be one of the easiest day hikes to take while staying in the city.
Any time of the day is perfect for a visit to Namsan once fall has arrived. The cool air makes this hike most enjoyable in the fall, so wake up early to avoid more visitors and see the sunrise, or sleep-in and watch the sun go down over the beautiful city we call home. Trust me, the hike up will be well worth it.
Once you’re at the top of the mountain you can take a break and enjoy one of the many restaurants or cafes that Namsan Tower has to offer. Once you’ve caught your breath again, you can continue to explore the different levels and shop inside the tower or head back outside and admire the beauty of Seoul amidst the fall foliage.
Depending on which way you decide to head down the mountain (or if you decide to take the shuttle bus back), you can then enjoy the rest of your day shopping in Myeongdong, grab a bite to eat in the popular Haebangchon, or if your hike was especially hard, go out for a drink in Itaewon.
The grounds of Seoul Forest offer Seoulites a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. As if it wasn’t already enjoyable enough, the fall breeze brings with it a completely different atmosphere and color palette to the usually green forest. You could spend the whole day inside this beautiful forest and still not run out of things to do.
The entire forest welcomes the fall and changes in many ways compared to other seasons, but the most popular foliage viewing area would be the Ginkgo Tree Forest (Forest Road). The golden yellow leaves of the ginkgo trees will leave you speechless. Forest Road makes a nice rest area offering many benches to relax under the canopy of ginkgo trees and is perfect for taking fall pictures.
After you’ve experienced the mesmerizing beauty of the ginkgo trees, you can then head to another popular area of the forest, the Hill of Wind. This area is the highest point in Seoul Forest Park and is known for its fields of silver grass in the fall.
The skyscrapers in the background of the hill create a great contrast between the city and forest offering a great spot for Instagram photos. If you don’t feel like exploring on foot, there are many bike rental shops that you can rent from near the cafe street alongside the forest. By foot, or on bike, Seoul Forest is a great place to explore and relax on a nice fall day.
Enjoy A Cafe With The Best View Of The Fall Foliage
Center Coffee is the perfect café to relax in and pair with your trip to Seoul Forest when going to view the fall foliage. This cozy café is nestled in the same café street next to Seoul Forest.
The cafe’s second floor offers you a beautiful view through their glass windows facing the forest’s trees in their fall splendor. While the weather is still crisp, and just before winter sets in, the café will leave it’s windows open and you will be able to smell the perfect mix of fall leaves, baked goods, and coffee, basically everything you could love about a café in the fall.
You will likely see Center Coffee appear the most on Instagram and Pinterest in the fall as it is a popular destination for perfect fall cafe pictures. Many people come for the cafe’s bright window seats, so if you’re looking to do the same, or take some Instagram pictures with less people watching, try to visit Center Coffee during the week before the late afternoon.
For caffeine addicts looking for the perfect café to view the fall foliage with coffee in hand, Smeltz is the place for you. Although not technically in Seoul, this popular café was too amazing (and gorgeous) to leave off the list!
This cafe is a favorite among Korean cafe hoppers and less known to foreigners in Korea, so it is definitely worth adding to your list. Smeltz is a minimal themed cafe with huge glass windows perfect for taking in the changing leaves on the hills surrounding the cafe. This cafe sells a variety of food, desserts, baked goods, wine, and yes, coffee. Smeltz occupies its own huge building and the cafe boasts two floors of seating and an outdoor terrace.
Because this cafe is situated in Gyeonggi-do, it might be a bit harder to get to for those without their own form of transportation. But, if you’re willing to make the trip and explore a bit, Smeltz is sure to impress you.
Once a giant landfill for the Seoul government, the area comprising the World Cup Parks now stands as a beautiful ecological park and ode to the 2002 Korea and Japan FIFA World Cup. Haneul Park is one of the less visited of the Seoul public parks but it truly shines in the fall.
There’re many things to enjoy in Haneul Park, but the reason most people visit in the fall is to see the famous pampas grass (silver grass) and the pink muhly fields. Imagine waves of tall, silver flowing fields as far as you can see and fields of what appear to be clouds of pink and fluffy cotton candy. Sounds pretty cool doesn’t it? Walking through Haneul Park feels like something out of a dream.
Haneul Park also has many lookout points and an amazing view of the Seoul skyline from over the Han River. It would take more than a day to enjoy all of the World Cup Parks, so on a brisk fall day try to at least make it to Haneul Park!
Jeongdong Observatory gives its visitors a panoramic view of the Deoksugung Palace grounds, City Hall, and the trees surrounding the palace that turn a stunning red in the fall.
The observatory is located within the 13th floor of the Seoul City Hall Seosomun building and because it is sponsored by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, it is completely free for visitors. Jeongdong Observatory still remains relatively unknown to tourists visiting Korea so don’t worry about beating the crowds for a good view.
In addition to the observatory, there is also Cafe Darak on the 13th floor for visitors to enjoy. Cafe Darak is sponsored by the government’s ISEOULU campaign so you can expect lower prices than average for an aesthetic drink and a cafe with an amazing view. Jeongdong Observatory is a great place to visit solo or with friends to take in the beauty of Deoksugung Palace in the fall.