New Year Eve In Seoul | Where To Celebrate
Are you staying in Seoul during the end of December and are you looking to start 2024 with a bang? Then you came to the right place. This article covers all there is to do during New Year Eve in Seoul including fire works, performances, parties and much more. Read on to find out more!
In Korea, the traditional New Year celebration, known as “Seollal,” has been observed for over a thousand years. However, the celebration of New Year’s Eve on December 31st is a relatively recent phenomenon in the country, having been adopted from Western culture in the 20th century. The holiday is called “Silvester,” after the German name for New Year’s Eve, and is celebrated with fireworks, parties, and countdowns.
While it is not a national holiday, many Koreans still take the opportunity to gather with friends and family to welcome the New Year. Some also participate in the tradition of ringing the Bosingak bell in Seoul’s Jongno district, which has been a symbol of the New Year for over 600 years. Overall, New Year’s Eve has become a popular and joyous occasion in Korea, blending both traditional and modern elements to create a unique celebration.
Things To Know Before Coming To Seoul
Listed below are links to other relevant guides about winter and Christmas in Korea.
- Christmas: will you also be staying in Seoul or the rest or Korea? Then check out our full Christmas in Korea guide.
- What to do in winter: there are lots of fun places to visit during winter in Korea, including skiing, ice fishing, snow festivals and much more.
- Skiing: looking to go on a day trip from Seoul to one of the many ski resorts? Why not go to Vivaldi Park, Yongpyong or Phoenix Park? Check the best ski resorts in Korea here.
- What to wear: even though it’s New Years eve and you want to wear a fancy cocktail dress, you might want to think twice as during the end of December temperatures can drop under zero. Make sure to layer up! Check what to wear in winter here.
- Snow: will is snow in Seoul on New Years Day? The chance is quite high that there will be snow, but this cannot be guaranteed.
New Year Eve In Seoul
Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a vibrant metropolitan city in Asia. It is a popular travel destination all year. During winter it can get quite cold, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring all the city has to offer. If you are staying in Seoul during New Year’s Eve, you are in for a treat. All over the city people are celebrating and many tourist attractions have organised special performances, fireworks or ever parties.
Where To Countdown In Seoul?
Listed below are some of the most popular places in Seoul to countdown into the new year. Note that public transportation will be very crowded, so it is recommended to stay in an accommodation close to the place you are planning on celebrating from.
1. Bosingak Bell-Ringing Ceremony
The bell-ringing ceremony in Jonggak has been taking place since 2006. People from all over Korea and Seoul gather in Jonggak Square and countdown together. At midnight between the 31st of December and 1st of January, 13 people including the mayor of Seoul will hit the bell 33 times. This ceremony is also aired on National Television.
The Bosingak Belfry was used during the Joseon Dynasty to announce the start and end of each day. The bell would ring each day 33 times at 4 AM and 28 times at 10 PM. The bell was originally located in Wongaksa Temple, but was moved to its current location in 1619.
You can get to Jonggak using public transportation, but after the even you’ll most likely have to take a taxi back to your accommodations as subways won’t be running anymore.
2. COEX Fireworks And Countdown
Just like every year, COEX is having huge fireworks that will light up the sky of Seoul. The fireworks are known for being magnificent and are the perfect start of the new year. The Sky Lounge at the InterContinental is also hosting a special New Years event and guests can watch the fireworks and countdown from the party.
TIP: Book a trip which includes the COEX fireworks and watching of the sunrise in Gyeongpodae Beach, Gangneung. Check more info and prices here.
3. Lotte Tower Fireworks
Twice a year Lotte Tower organises huge firework festivals. Once in May and once during in the night of the 31st of December and 1st of January. More details will be announced closer to the event.
TIP: Instead of standing outside in the cold, why not watch the fireworks from your warm hotel room. Good places to stay at are Signiel Seoul (in the actual tower!), the Lake Tourist Hotel and the Rosana Business & Boutique Hotel
4. Great Gatsby New Years Party 2023
Each year GSM holds a huge New Years Party in Seoul. Last year the theme was the Great Gatsby and this year it’s the Moulin Rouge. This year the party is held at the Imperial Palace Luxury 5 Star Hotel and around 3000 people can attend. Tickets are 60 000 krw but include all you can drink wine and champagne (9 – 1 am), unlimited cocktails (9 – 10 pm) and fingerfood.
TIP: Book a hotel just around the corner of the party and don’t worry about getting back safely. Good places to stay at are Imperial Palace Seoul, Kimchee Gangnam Guesthouse and New Hilltop Hotel. These hotels are all within walking distance of the party.
5. Countdown Seoul 2024 @ Times Square
Celebrate New Year Eve in Seoul with your favourite celebrities. Each year in Time Square a K-Pop concert takes place. The line up for the upcoming Countdown party hasn’t been announced yet but previous years artists included BTS, Zico, Dynamic Duo and many more.
6. Haneul Park Sunrise Festival
Like each year the Mapo-gu office is organising the Haneul Park Sunrise Festival. This is not a countdown event and actually takes place in the morning of the 1st, but it is a fun thing to do the first day of the year. During the festival you can enjoy the sunrise and watch many cultural performances.
7. Jeju Shinhwaworld Count Down
Shinhwa World in Jeju Island will be holding special New Years eve celebrations with 2 concerts featuring performers like Tiger JK, Koyote, BADA and many more. Find more info here.
Clubs That Celebrate New Years Eve In Seoul
Apart from the special parties and fireworks there are lots of other venues, like clubs, at which you can celebrate New Years Eve. Listed below are some of the most popular places.
1. Octagon Gangnam
Octagon is one of the coolest clubs in Seoul and it was selected as one of the best clubs in the world by the DJ Magazine in 2017. The place is huge and every corner has a different vibe. Celebrating New Years Eve at Octagon will be a night to remember. Buy tickets for Octagon here.
2. Cakeshop Itaewon
Cakeshop in Itaewon is very popular among the younger crowd. It is a popular place to visit during the weekend and they play all kinds of music, from hip hop to electronic. If you are planning to celebrate and counting down in the Itaewon area, then Cakeshop is a great place to go.
3. NB2 Mapo-Gu
NB2, owned by YB, is open every day until 6 AM and they play some great hip hop music. If you are staying in the Hongdae area to celebrate, go check out NB2. Lines can be long, so please bring a jacket so you won’t catch a cold.
Hotels That Celebrate New Years Eve In Seoul
Many hotels all around Seoul are having special New Years Eve parties and this most of the time includes dinner and drinks too. The following hotels usually organise special parties: Grand Hyatt Seoul, Conrad Seoul, Park Hyatt Seoul, InterContinental Seoul COEX, The Westin Chosun Seoul, Sheraton Seoul D Cube City, JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul and Vista Walkerhill Seoul.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are lots of events happening all over the city. What to do really depends on what you are interested in. Do you want to see the fireworks, go clubbing or just go to a nice restaurant?
The parties hosted by GSM are some of the best New Years Eve parties in Seoul. Each year the theme and location are different from the year before.
The city hasn’t announced extended bus or subway hours yet for New Years eve, so it seems like public transportation will be running on a normal schedule.