Spending Christmas in Seoul: Cafes, Lights, and More!
Christmas is upon us, and honestly has been upon us here in Korea since mid-October when everyone started to play Christmas carols and hang wreaths… But now that its December, I feel comfortable getting in the holiday spirit :)
Here are a few Christmas-themed activities to do this holiday in Seoul and I wish you a very merry Christmas!
Things to See
Starfield Coex Mall
Coex Mall’s famous library is covered with lanterns and art for the holidays! After stopping by the display, be sure to visit Butter to get all your decorating needs and plenty of pink elephant gifts :) They even have mini trees perfect for Seoul-sized apartments.
Address: 513 Yeongdong-daero, Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu
Hours: 10:30am - 10pm
Open on Christmas? YES! 🎄
Myeongdong is always crowded, but something about the Christmas spirit makes it enjoyable. There are lights strung all around the shopping district and all the stores have decorated their storefronts with lights, ornaments, and trees. Get a picture with the Line Friends’ bear who is dressed like Santa this year and also be sure to stop in Aland to check out their vintage Christmas sweater selection!
Chyeonggyecheon Christmas Festival
From 5pm to 11pm all the way until January 1, the Cheonggyecheon Stream that runs right through the center of Seoul will be covered in lights and art displays to help fend off the cold and bring you some Christmas cheer. The festival is completely free and its perfect for a stroll by yourself, with a date, or with friends!
Seoul Christmas Market
From December 22 to 31, Seoul will hold its Christmas Market in two spots around the city. It will feature a host of food trucks and local artists selling crafts! There will be music performances as well and plenty of activities the warm up the freezing night. If you’ve been to the night goblin markets all summer, this is run by the same people and should be a blast!
Lotte World will be crazy crowded on Christmas, since in Korea Christmas is a couple holiday rather than a family one, so be warned! The theme park has its Christmas Miracle festival going strong from now until December 31 so if you don’t want to go on the day of, you can get your Christmas spirit on another, hopefully much less crowded, day :)
There are lights all around the city too like in Sinchon, Hongdae, Times Square Mall, Jamsil, and more so keep your eyes open!
Things to Eat
SCOFF has been one of my favorite bakeries since I discovered a year or so ago. It used to be located at the very top of a mountain, but its popularity allowed it to open a second location in Seochon, near Tongin Market and Gyeongbok Palace. The owner is British, bringing some classic British baked goods to Seoul where we definitely need it! Everything is baked in-house so the cafe smells amazing and they even have gingerbread men, ginger cookies, and ginger cake just for Christmas!
4 Wall Fish Cafe
This cafe/baking studio goes over the top with all of their creations but this year for Christmas they might have outdone themselves. The Santa Cream Coffee features a meringue Santa taking a hot bath in a cream coffee. What’s cream coffee you ask? Its a really popular drink here in Korea that is essentially a tiny bit of coffee and a ton of cream (not as fluffy as whipped cream!) on top. It was thick enough that the meringue could rest on top and the powdered sugar made it look just like snow! It’s a popular spot and there aren’t a lot of seats so be prepared to wait or get there right on time!
I was first introduced to P.Chokko through my friend Yeni who owns the amazing green tea cafe, Matchacha. They did a collaboration with P.Chokko and made some green tea chocolates, but I had never gotten over to their store to try their other offerings. This year, I called up my friend Katie to visit it and we were blown away. The store is owned by a Venezuelan-Korean with a passion for chocolate. Their chocolate is incredibly high quality and the manager was able to walk us through all their flavors as if it was a class - I learned so much! They have samples of everything out too so you can really eat your way through :) We ordered hot chocolate (which we got iced haha!) and its literally just their chocolate bars melted right in front of you, a touch of milk, and some cream on top. It was probably the best hot chocolate I’ve had in my life!
Cre8 Cookies was opened by a woman that studied abroad in England. When she came back to Korea she found herself craving the British style of baking (ie looooots of butter) so she decided to open her own cookie shop - just like that! The cookies are so soft and chewy (versus the crispier cookies you find in Korea) and every single flavor is delicious. Their nutella cookie always sells out and their Christmas themed ones are in high demand. I’d definitely suggest going early to make sure your favorite isn’t sold out!
Perfect cupcakes in the shape of snowmen and Rudolph? How could you say no? This cafe is super trendy on Instagram right now so if you want one of these tasty treats, be sure to get there when it opens@
Dinga Cake House
Photos from @nbd_yb and @zoopeach respectively. This famous cake house in the Mangwon area has whipped up two Christmas cakes and an adorable snowman cupcake just in time for the holidays! If you’re feeling Christmas-overload, you can always get their hamburger cake :)
Address: Mapo-gu Yeonnamdong 252-18
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11:20 to 10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am to 11pm
Open on Christmas? YES! 🎄