new years eve seoul

Best Places To Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Seoul

The vibrant city of Seoul shines as an exceptional destination to experience a New Year’s Eve celebration with a seamless blend of traditional charm and modern extravagance. Seoul’s incredibly dynamic aura and vibe, highlighted by bright lights and a rich culture, provides a unique celebratory experience. From the iconic Bosingak Bell-Ringing Ceremony, the exquisite Lotte World Tower Fireworks, and the stunning Namsan Seoul Tower celebrations, this city offers multiple unique places for unforgettable countdowns. The busy streets of Gangnam, the artistic haven of Hongdae, and the youthful party vibes of Itaewon district come alive with noise and lights, representing Seoul’s diverse activities and nightlife culture. Whether reveling in a traditional ceremony or enjoying the contagious energy of urban dwellings, this city has a deep fusion of culture, history, entertainment, and hospitable locals that make your New Year’s Eve celebration truly memorable.

Bosingak Bell Ringing Ceremony

bosingak new year's ceremony in Seoul

The Bosingak Bell-Ringing Ceremony is an iconic and traditionally symbolic event deeply ingrained in the local culture. The event draws both tourists and locals for an encapsulating New Year’s Eve celebration that is unique to South Korea. Situated in the center of Seoul city, Bosingak Pavilion houses a towering bell that tolls at midnight to signal the beginning of the new year. Moreover, this beautiful ceremony is rooted deeply in Korean tradition and dates back to the Joseon Dynasty. The ceremony symbolizes hope and renewal for the upcoming New Year.

The atmosphere around the ceremony becomes highly jovial, and the crowd is full of anticipation as the clock ticks towards midnight. Thousands gather to witness this unique ceremony, usually led by dignitaries, culminating in the striking of the massive bell and the symbolic ringing welcome in the New Year. Furthermore, the event is also marked by numerous vibrant traditional performances, displays of culture, and large crowds jubilantly celebrating!

bosingak ringing - new year's ceremony in Seoul

The sounds of the bells being rung echo throughout the area, creating a powerful and awe-inspiring moment for onlookers to enjoy. Moreover, the bell’s ringing is accompanied by a massive fireworks display in the night sky, enhancing the vibrant festive ambiance. Essentially, the Bosingak Bell-Ringing Ceremony provides a truly unique experience. It signifies the unity of the community as people gather to spread cheer and well wishes for the new year.

  • Address:  54 Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Getting there: The fastest way is via the subway to Jonggak Station (Line 1). Multiple buses pass the area.

Gwanghwamun Light Show

gwanghwamun light show- new year
Gwanghwamun light show- new year

Gwanghwamun Square, with its grand views of Gyeongbokgung Palace, offers a unique blend of Korea’s rich history and contemporary celebration. As the clock ticked towards midnight, the square, illuminated by colorful lights, felt like a bridge between the past and the present. The energy here is contagious! Crowds gather, filled with excitement and anticipation, creating a communal spirit that’s hard to find elsewhere. Street performers, traditional music, and modern K-pop beats fill the air, ensuring there’s never a dull moment.

gwanghwamun sqaure for new year's eve
Light Festival in Gwanghwamun Square

The highlight for me was the incredible light show and the fireworks display. As the sky lit up, the silhouette of the palace against the colorful backdrop was a sight to behold. It’s a photographer’s dream and a memory that stays with you. What truly sets Gwanghwamun Square apart is its embodiment of Seoul’s spirit – a perfect harmony of tradition and modernity. Celebrating New Year’s Eve here isn’t just about the countdown; it’s about experiencing the heartbeat of Korea.

  • Address: 1-68 Sejong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Getting there: The quickest and easiest way to get there is via the Seoul Metro. Get off at Gwanghwamun Station exit 2, served by lines 5.

DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza) Light Show

DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza) Light Show

As a travel blogger always on the lookout for unique New Year’s Eve experiences, I had the chance to witness the awe-inspiring DDP Light Show in Seoul. Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), known for its neo-futuristic design, transforms into an electrifying light show spectacle as the year draws to a close. The plaza’s curves and folds become canvases for brilliant light projections, creating a visual feast that is both futuristic and artistic.

The atmosphere at DDP on New Year’s Eve is nothing short of electric. People from all walks of life gather, united by the shared experience of bidding farewell to the old year and welcoming the new. What I love most about DDP during this time is its blend of modern art and cultural diversity. Celebrating New Year’s Eve at the DDP Light Show is more than just watching lights; it’s about immersing yourself in a futuristic, artistic, and culturally rich environment. If you’re planning a New Year’s Eve that’s out of the ordinary, DDP in Seoul should definitely be on your list!

  • Address: 110 Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Getting there: The quickest and easiest way to get there is via the Seoul Metro. The station is at the City Hall Station, served by lines 1 and 2.

City Hall Countdown Party

An Aerial View of Fireworks in Seoul
Colorful Fireworks lighting up Seoul City

Seoul City Hall transforms into a pulsating hub of excitement on New Year’s Eve, offering another unforgettable spot for revelers to experience a countdown party. Located in Taepyeongno, Jung-gu, at the very center of Seoul, experiencing a countdown here is doing so in the heart of this vibrant city! The city’s vibe during New Year’s is great anticipation as large crowds come together beneath the dazzling lights adorning this iconic location. Moreover, the celebration at Seoul City Hall includes a lively countdown featuring diverse performances, music, and entertainment on a grand stage. This area’s atmosphere and crowd are usually family-friendly, so it is a great place to bring your loved ones and children for a family countdown!

The exterior of the City Hall building transforms into a canvas for vibrant light displays, and the event symbolizes the modern spirit of Seoul. Seoul City Hall’s New Year’s Eve countdown party is a dynamic representation of the city’s ability to bring in the New Year in style and provide celebrations by creating memorable experiences for all those who enjoy the festive season!

  • Address: 110 Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Getting there: The quickest and easiest way to get there is via the Seoul Metro. The station is at the City Hall Station, served by lines 1 and 2.

Lotte World Tower Fireworks and Countdown

Bright Fireworks at Lotte World Tower
Lotte World Tower in Seoul with Bright Light Shows

New Year’s Eve celebrations at the Lotte World Tower in Seoul are another great way of bringing in the new year. The fireworks and the crowds gathering for the countdown epitomize the grandeur of the festive season. Being among the city’s largest landmarks, Lotte World becomes a hub of activity and excitement well before Christmas. However, the NYE celebrations are the main draw, and the entertainment kick starts with an extravagant fireworks display that illuminates the sky with many colors, reflecting off the massive glass façade of the tower. The perfectly timed and choreographed pyrotechnics cascade down the sides of the building, forming a breathtaking visual experience for onlookers.


Huge crowds typically gather every year on the eve of the countdown, so visitors should prepare to be surrounded by thousands of people on every side! Moreover, the countdown to midnight is usually coupled with lively music and a festive atmosphere as the entire city anticipates the signaling of the new year. In addition, the observation deck provides visitors with panoramic views of the city, becoming a great vantage point to soak in the magic of the moment and take the perfect Instagram pic. Essentially, the celebrations at Lotte World Tower are among the top places to experience a proper countdown and fireworks show in this beautiful city!

  • Address: 300 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Getting there: The nearest subway station is Jamsil Station (Lines 2 and 8)

Namsan Seoul Tower

Fireworks near the Namsan Seoul Tower
Fireworks near the Namsan Seoul Tower

Another amazing gathering hotspot for a New Year’s countdown and fireworks show in this sprawling city is the Namsan Seoul Tower. As the countdown party begins, this icon becomes a beacon of vibrant colors, casting a radiant glow over the cityscape. Additionally, the observatory deck becomes a prime vantage point for witnessing Seoul’s skyline explode with fireworks, painting the night sky in brilliant hues. The festive atmosphere on Namsan Mountain is palpable, and jubilant crowds add to the celebratory vibes.

Seoul Night View from N Tower
Stunning night view from Seoul N Tower

Moreover, couples and families alike will particularly enjoy celebrations at this iconic landmark, sharing heartfelt moments and creating lasting memories as they welcome the new year. The Namsan Seoul Tower offers a serene yet energetic setting, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a captivating and panoramic New Year’s Eve experience in the heart of Seoul.

  • Address: 105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Getting there: There are several ways to get to Namsan Seoul Tower. One is the cable car service that takes you to the tower from Myeongdong Subway station (Line 4, Exit 4). Similarly, the Namsan Oreumi (Incline Elevator) can also take you to the tower from Myeongdong Subway station.

Gangnam District

The Lively Gangnam District at nightht
The bustling district of Gangnam

The famous Gangnam District in Seoul is one of many great choices to spend your New Year’s Eve in Seoul. This iconic district is bustling with life, and the energy is contagious as the clock counts down to the New Year. The busy streets come alive with an array of lights and a gathering of massive crowds. Moreover, Gangnam’s renowned nightlife establishments host extravagant parties and events, making it one of the best places to party the night away! Trendy bars, nightclubs, and stylish lounges in the area provide ample fun for a great night of entertainment.

Gangnam Festival - Media Art Show

Furthermore, visitors can explore the colorful local culture, enjoy delicious Korean food, and witness the countdown and fireworks, surrounded by the fashionable and youthful crowd representing Gangnam’s allure. The New Year’s Eve celebrations in Gangnam are guaranteed to be full of life, excitement, and fun! This is one place that you will not be disappointed in when selecting a place to spend your New Year.

  • Address: Google Maps
  • Getting there: Gangnam Subway Sation (Line 2)

Hongdae Area

Hongdae shopping area at night
Hongdae Area at night

One of the busiest areas in the city during New Year’s Eve is the vibrant Hongdae area. Here, the festive vibes unfold with a contagious energy representing the area’s youthful and creative spirit. Known for its lively streets and trendy atmosphere, Hongdae becomes a dynamic hotspot of activities as the clock ticks toward midnight. Moreover, crowds gather in the area’s iconic spots, including the bustling Hongdae Playground, which becomes a fun space for street performances, live music, and spontaneous celebrations.

Hongik University Street

Neon lights, street food stalls, and an exuberant crowd create an infectious party ambiance, and while the crowds can get slightly overwhelming, the energy is truly palpable. The colorful mix of local and international visitors, coupled with the district’s unique charm, makes spending New Year’s Eve in Hongdae a memorable experience, reflecting the youthful dynamism of Hongdae in Seoul.

  • Address: 365-8 서교동 Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea.
  • Getting there: Hongik University Station (Line 2)

Itaewon Area

Gathering nightclub in Itaewon, Seoul.
Nightclub in Itaewon
Source: Instagram

A trip to the Itaewon area during New Year’s will surely be fun but very hectic! As the international hub of Seoul, this famous part of the city transforms into a vibrant epicenter of New Year’s Eve celebrations, drawing thousands of people worldwide. As the countdown approaches, the streets come alive with many lights, booming music, and jubilant crowds. Itaewon’s impressive array of trendy bars, lavish nightclubs, and incredible restaurants offer diverse entertainment options that cater to all kinds of people. From panoramic rooftop parties with stunning views to exhilarating discotheques hosted by renowned DJs, the area undoubtedly pulsates with an infectious energy.

glam lounge

Moreover, the international vibe of Itaewon promises a very multicultural celebration, where people from various backgrounds gather together to welcome the New Year with open arms. Itaewon’s fun-filled atmosphere and bustling charm make it the perfect hotspot, especially for younger crowds seeking an unforgettable and diverse New Year’s Eve experience in the heart of Seoul!

  • Address: Google Maps
  • Getting there: Itaewon Subway Station Line 6

Achasan Mountain Sunrise

Views from the summit at Achasan Mountain
Views from Achasan Mountain

Another option for a nature-friendly and more wholesome experience for the New Year is attending the Sunrise at Achasan Mountain. Located on the eastern outskirts of Seoul, the Anchasan Mountain sunrise at New Year’s promises a breathtaking experience for all those who make the journey and do the easy 15-minute hike. Additionally, climbing to Achasan’s summit becomes a symbolic journey, resulting in a truly inspiring and stunning sunrise to welcome the new year.

Moreover, the peaceful and breezy ascent through the gradual slopes presents a huge contrast to the city’s bustling energy. This trip and the sunrise itself offer a beautifully serene time for reflection. At the peak, the light at dawn typically illuminates the horizon with vibrant hues of gold and orange, turning the vast city below into a magical panorama. Undoubtedly, the Achasan Mountain sunrise on New Year’s Eve promises visitors a soul-enriching experience, helping capture the essence of renewal and promising a wholesome start to the year ahead! Just be prepared to wake up early and brace yourself for the freezing-cold mountain winds!

  • Address: Google Maps
  • Getting there: The easiest way is via the subway Line 5 to Achasan Station. You can use Exit 4 and head straight to the trail leading up to the mountain’s summit.

Starfield COEX Mall fireworks show

Starfield COEX Mall in Seoul morphs into a truly spectacular New Year’s Eve hotspot, captivating people through incredible fireworks and countdown celebrations. Essentially, the fun and sights at this humongous shopping and entertainment complex culminate in a breathtaking display of fireworks that illuminates the entire sky with dazzling lights. As the clock turns and runs closer to midnight, the mall’s exterior transforms into a display of amazing pyrotechnics, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere. Moreover, the festive spirit and the overall energy of the crowds are electric, and this is one of the most exciting places to be in Seoul during the countdown. There is a strong collective excitement and anticipation, with huge crowds gathering and building up to the countdown.

Furthermore, the massive outdoor area at the front of the mall offers the perfect vantage point to witness the impressive fireworks show. In contrast, the indoor areas offer a cozy retreat for those seeking a more intimate celebration. Starfield COEX Mall’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza provides visitors with a stunning show and represents Seoul’s incredible mixture of entertainment, commerce, and community!

  • Address: 513 Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Getting there: The quickest way is via the Seoul Metro. The station is at Samseong Station (Line 2, Green Line).

Seoul: An Exciting New Year’s Eve Destination

Traveling to Seoul for New Year’s Eve celebrations will leave you with a memorable experience filled with culture and modernity. This massive metropolis, embellished with vibrant lights and decorations, offers a festive vibe that showcases the essence of South Korean culture and creativity. Moreover, the city’s iconic landmarks, like the N Seoul Tower and the Lotte World Tower, serve as extravagant backdrops for the stunning fireworks that light up the night sky, signaling the transition to a new year.

Besides these dazzling fireworks and countdown experiences, Seoul’s New Year’s Eve festivities include various cultural performances, traditional music, and incredible Korean street food delights, offering a sensory feast for all. The friendliness of the locals, the deep culture of the city, and the ease of modern amenities in the highly developed city make Seoul the perfect place to welcome the New Year!

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