Cheonggyecheon Stream 청계천: How To Enjoy It Best - IVisitKorea
cheonggyecheon stream

Cheonggyecheon Stream 청계천: How To Enjoy It Best

📍 1 Taepyeongno 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 중구 태평로1가 1
🚆 Subway Line 5, Gwanghwamun Station, Exit 5
🕒 Open 24 hours
₩ Free entrance
🌐 www.sisul.or.kr
☎️ +82-2-2290-7111
✍🏻 You can visit Gwangjang Market, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, and other popular areas like Gwanghwamun Square and Euljiro along the stream.

When seeking an escape from the bustling life of Seoul, many turn to the Han River. However, there’s another lesser-known yet equally beautiful waterway called Cheonggyecheon Stream. This 11-kilometer stream in the heart of Seoul is perfect for unwinding after exploring the city or taking a leisurely walk for fresh air. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the diverse elements that contribute to Cheonggyecheon being a captivating and revitalizing destination. Let’s begin!

How to get to Cheonggyecheon Stream

  • Address: 1 Taepyeongno 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul.
how to get to Cheonggyecheon stream in Seoul

Cheonggyecheon Stream is accessible in various ways due to its location in central Seoul. The best option is to use the subway. The following are the nearest stations:

  • Subway Line 5, Gwanghwamun Station, Exit 5 (2minutes)
  • Subway Line 1, City Hall Station, Exits 4 or 5 (5minutes)
  • Subway Line 2, Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station, Exits 2 or 3 (5minutes)
  • Subway Line 1, Jonggak Station, Exits 5 (2minutes)

Tips

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, especially if you plan to walk the entire stream. 
  • Before your visit, check the official website or local event calendars for any special events, festivals, or performances along the stream during your planned visit.
  • It is best to visit during the evening or night, particularly during festivals.
  • Consider bringing a small picnic. There are spots along the stream with benches and open spaces to relax and enjoy snacks.
  • If you want to be among more cafés, bars, and modern buildings, stay around the Cheonggye Square neighborhood. Head to the Dongdaemun area if you want to be close to marketplaces.

About Cheonggyecheon Stream

cheonggyecheon stream

Cheonggyecheon Stream, an 11-kilometer-long waterway in downtown Seoul, is a charming blend of history and modernity. This scenic stream is not just a contemporary urban feature; it encapsulates a rich historical narrative. Originally existing during the Joseon Dynasty, Cheonggyecheon was hidden beneath an elevated highway after the Korean War, marking a transformative phase in Seoul’s development. However, in 2003, a remarkable decision was made to dismantle the elevated highway, restoring the stream to its former glory. 

Starting from Cheonggye Plaza, it meanders under 22 bridges before joining the Hangang River. Stroll the stream from beginning to end. You will see several well-known tourist destinations, including the Gwangjang Market, the DDP Cultural Center, and popular areas like Dongdaemun and Euljiro. 

The stream is celebrated for its natural abundance, providing an ideal setting for a stroll. Despite being in downtown Seoul, the surroundings boast beautiful trees, grasslands, and flowers. It’s a perfect retreat, offering a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, inviting visitors to relax and connect with nature in the heart of Seoul.

Festivals in Cheonggyecheon Stream

Lantern Festival: Spring Festa

Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul

The Buddah’s Birthday in May is a great time to visit. The Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul lights up Cheongyecheon Stream with a breathtaking display of handcrafted lotus lanterns, embodying peace and the enlightenment of Buddha. This annual event, rich in Buddhist tradition, not only mesmerizes with its radiant beauty but also offers a tapestry of cultural experiences, from traditional performances to lantern-making workshops.

Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul

As lanterns float gently on the water and parades fill the streets with vibrant lights, the festival fosters a sense of unity and joy among attendees, making it a profound celebration of spiritual depth and communal harmony in the heart of South Korea’s capital.

Seoul Lantern Festival & Christmas Market: Winter Festa

Cheonggyecheon stream light festival in Seoul

Throughout the year, Cheonggyecheon Stream undergoes festive makeovers to coincide with different seasons and holidays. Events and installations are usually concentrated near Gwanghwamun Square at the beginning of the stream.

Notable festivals include the November Lantern Festival and the Christmas and New Year celebrations. The stream becomes beautifully adorned during these times, creating a lively atmosphere that attracts many visitors.

For an enhanced experience, visit in the evening or night, especially during these festivals. The decorations light up, casting a mesmerizing glow over the stream, and the ambiance becomes more enchanting in the darker hours. If you plan your visit right before sunset, you can enjoy the daytime and nighttime charm of Cheonggyecheon. 

What to do along the stream

“Spring” Sculpture

If you’re unsure where Cheonggyecheon Stream begins while walking on the main road, look for the eye-catching Spring sculpture. This vibrant 20-meter spiral cone, painted in red and blue, was created by artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. It looks like a colorful giant snail.

Initially, it stirred some controversy when it was selected to be placed on the stream in 2006, but now it’s an essential part of the downtown art scene, making the area uniquely vibrant and complete. It’s a great place to explore the stream and take artistic pictures. 

  • Address: 1 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울 종로구 청계천로 1)
Cheonggyecheon stream in Seoul

When you enter the Cheonggyecheon Stream area, the first thing that catches your eye is a big, beautiful waterfall and a bridge lit up with rainbow lights. It’s a popular spot, busy with events, but it’s worth sitting by the stream and enjoying the surroundings. The place looks beautiful during the day, but the rainbow lights make it even more special at night, perfect for a nighttime stroll.

  • Address: 1 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울 종로구 청계천로 1)
Gwangtonggyo Bridge
By Instagram of eon2_k

The Gwangtonggyo Bridge was crucial in the Joseon Dynasty, but floods often damaged the original wooden and soil structure. The bridge we see today was built by King Taejong between 1400 and 1418, using stones from Queen Sindeok’s tomb. Despite facing floods, the bridge underwent restoration 100 years later during river repairs, and some original stones remain. It stands today as a resilient piece of history from the Joseon era.

  • Address: 35 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울 종로구 청계천로 35)

For history enthusiasts, a must-visit spot awaits just before the Jangtonggyo Bridge. You’ll find a captivating tiled mural depicting King Jeongjo’s Royal procession. This 192-meter-long mosaic, made of 5,120 ceramic tiles, tells the story of King Jeongjo’s journey to his father’s tomb in 1785 alongside his mother, Hyegyeouggung Hong. And if you’re into maps, check out Seoul’s street map, Suseon Jeondo, created by Kim Jeongho during the 19th century. It’s the most outstanding woodblock map from the Joseon Dynasty, still showing names familiar in today’s Seoul.

  • Address: 61 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울 종로구 청계천로 61)
Sewoon Bridge
By visitseoul.net

A bridge over the stream in the Sewoon Sangga Market area exists. The street-level bridge has been around for a while, but recent development has added a second-floor pedestrian bridge connecting both sides of the stream. This concept existed before, and as they continue to develop the area, they’ve brought it back. If you want a great view, head up to Sewoon Sangga for a rooftop perspective of Jongmyo Shrine and Namsan Tower.

  • Address: 159 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울 종로구 청계천로 159)

Even though the original houses along Cheonggyecheon Stream are gone, you can see replicas from the 1960s just outside the Cheonggyecheon Stream Museum. These replicas include homes, a convenience store, a coffee shop, a comic book store, and even a school. If you’re up for it, you can try on retro Korean school uniforms for a fun and nostalgic experience.

  • Address: 530 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul (서울 성동구 청계천로 530)

Nearby attraction

Gwangjang market
  • Address: 88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 창경궁로 88
  • Open hour: Market open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (closed Sunday) | Vintage shop Open: from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm(closed Sunday) | Food Alley 09:00 – 23:00 KST (Never closed)
  • Phone: 02-2267-0291

If you are hungry after a stroll along the stream, go to Gwangjang Market, one of Seoul’s oldest and largest markets that draws visitors globally. Featured in an episode of Netflix’s “Street Food,” Gwangjang Market is renowned for its diverse and delectable street foods. You can try a range of treats with various inexpensive and tasty options. Join the locals by sitting at the stalls, soaking in the lively atmosphere of this bustling market while savoring your delicious finds.

Dongdaemun design plaza in Seoul
  • Address: 281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul

DDP, or Dongdaemun Design Plaza, is another noteworthy attraction near Cheonggyecheon Stream. Designed by the renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the building’s exterior features delicate curves and bold shapes, making it a favorite among photographers. The plaza hosts various exhibitions and museums for art, design, and fashion enthusiasts, providing a fantastic way to spend time in this vibrant and creative hub.

Gyeongbokgung Palace
  • Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161
  • Open hours: 09:00-17:00 | Closed on Tuesdays
  • Phone: +82 2-3700-3900

Gyeongbokgung is the largest among Seoul’s five royal palaces, making it a standout and iconic tourist attraction in Korea. Stepping into the palace feels like a journey back in time, providing a truly immersive experience. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply eager to explore a unique aspect of Korean history and culture, visiting Gyeongbokgung is highly recommended. Check out our ultimate guide to Gyeongbokgung Palace for more details. 

Cheonggyecheon Museum
  • Address: 530 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul (서울 성동구 청계천로 530)
  • Hours: 9:00 – 18:00 daily| Closed on Mondays | Last enter 17:30
  • Phone: +82 2-2286-3410

Along the stream, you’ll find the Cheonggyecheon Museum, dedicated to documenting the history of Cheonggyecheon and its surrounding area. It’s an excellent spot to delve into the stream’s history, tracing its significance from the Joseon Dynasty to today. The museum offers free entry, making it a budget-friendly and informative activity for anyone exploring the stream. 

What to eat near Cheonggyecheon Stream

Wangbijib Jongno  - best place to eat near Cheonggyecheon Stream
By Instagram of thesinfulpalate
  • Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, Samil-daero 15-gil, 24 2층
  • Open hours: 11:30 – 15:00 and 17:00 – 22:00 weekdays | 17:00 – 22:00 Saturday | Closed on Sunday
  • Phone: +82 2-720-3066

This restaurant is a perfect choice if you crave delicious Korean BBQ. They serve fresh, high-quality beef and pork, with tasty marinated meat pieces and delightful Korean-style side dishes. In addition to the BBQ options, they also serve mouth-watering noodle dishes and soups. The friendly staff grills the meat for you, and the menu is conveniently available in English, ensuring a hassle-free experience even if you’re unfamiliar with Korean.

Samhaejib - best place to eat near Cheonggyecheon Stream
By Instagram of annabellekxoxo
  • Address: 16-15 Supyo-ro 20-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Open hours: 10:30 – 2:00 daily
  • Phone: +82 2-2273-0266
  • Website: 삼해집 (samhae1.kr)

This is a traditional Korean restaurant where you can try classic Korean dishes like pork backbone stew, chicken stew, and stir-fried octopus. Among their renowned dishes are Bossam (Korean Boiled-Pork Wraps) and Oyster. The oysters are super fresh and juicy. The pork is prepared with medicinal herbs, resulting in a delightful flavor, remarkable tenderness, and a melt-in-the-mouth texture. 

Xiao Bao Beef Noodles
By Instagram of Iamianworld

As the name implies, this Chinese restaurant specializes in beef noodles, cold noodles, and Chinese braised noodles. They also serve appetizing side dishes such as xiaolongbao (dumplings), fried eggplant, and dried tofu salad. The cozy setting makes it ideal for a relaxed lunch, especially after a stroll along Cheonggyecheon Stream.

  • Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, Cheonggyecheon-ro, 11 2층
  • Open hours: 11:00 – 22:00 daily
  • Phone: +82 2-571-5732
  • Website: 라그릴리아 (spc.co.kr)

This Italian restaurant, spanning two floors, offers a charming view of the Cheonggyecheon stream. The menu boasts a variety of dishes, including citrus salad, grilled cabbage with bacon, BBQ ribs, Truffle Steak Pasta, margarita pizza, risotto, and steak. Its spacious and airy interior is the perfect setting for a delightful dining experience with friends and family.

In conclusion, don’t miss the chance to uncover the hidden treasure of Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul. Whether you crave calm moments, a touch of history, or a leisurely walk, Cheonggyecheon offers a unique and refreshing experience. Take the time to discover the charm it brings to the vibrant heart of Seoul.

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