Seoul is a safe, family-friendly city with lots of kid-friendly museums (including several devoted to kids themselves), as well as amusement parks, playgrounds and fun events that will appeal to all age groups.
Lonely Planet’s Travel with Children is good for general travel advice.
Thanks to the global appeal of local pop culture, little ones are likely to be more au fait with contemporary Korean pop culture than their parents. Be prepared to search out shops stocking BTS or Big Bang posters, DVDs of Korean TV soap operas, or manhwa (Korean comics and graphic novels). Kyobo Bookshop is a good place to start.
Museums and other traditional culture centres don't need to be boring. The National Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum have fun, hands-on children’s sections, and the War Memorial of Korea has outdoor warplanes and tanks that make for a popular playground. Various events, some involving dressing up in traditional costumes or having a go at taekwondo, happen at Namsangol Hanok Village. Older kids and teenagers will likely want to visit places such as the Seoul Animation Center to learn more about local animated TV series and films, or Samsung D’Light to play with the latest digital technology. Nonverbal shows such as Nanta and Jump are great family entertainment.
At theme parks such as Lotte World and Everland, family entertainment comes in mega-sized portions. Easier on the wallet are the scores of free open spaces that constitute Seoul’s wealth of city-managed parks – places such as Seoul Forest, Olympic Park, Children’s Grand Park and the string of bicycle-lane-connected parks that hug the Han River’s banks. Each summer six big outdoor-pool complexes open in the Han River parks, too.
Need to Know
Sleeping & Eating Korean-style ondol rooms are family-friendly, as everyone sleeps on a yo (floor mattress) in the same space. Children are welcome in restaurants, though few will have kids’ menus. High chairs aren't common.
Babysitting Some top hotels and residences can arrange babysitting.
Festivals Children’s Day (5 May) sees special events for kids across Seoul.
Korea 4 Expats.com (www.korea4expats.com) Child-related information.