Winters in Korea are known to be harsh, but there are plenty of things to do during winter in South Korea. Festivals, performances and events abound across the country despite plunging temperatures. If you’re wondering about Korean winter activities, then look no further!
Those not afraid of fully embracing the cold can get outside with snow sports, ice rinks, and ice fishing festivals., and you can also enjoy the pleasant sights in and around Seoul. You can also stay warm indoors while enjoying some music. From markets to ice sculptures, sunrise festivals to sledding, there’s plenty of things to do during this Korean winter.
Annual Winter Festivals Around Korea
Seongsan Sunrise Festival | Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
December 30, 2016 – January 1. 2017
Held at the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site Seongsan Sunrise Peak, this year-end celebration lets tourists marvel at the impressive sunrise attraction of the island. End 2016, and welcome 2017 with a scenic lantern-lit night hike and artistic performances. You’ll also love the spectacular fireworks show.
Pyeongchang Trout Festival | Gangwon-do
December 23, 2016 – January 31, 2017
Go ice fishing in Pyeongchang, where the 2018 Olympics will be held and where the trouts are freshest during wintertime. Share a feast with your friends or family—or even other tourists, too. Attending this festival is one of the top things to do during winter in South Korea, and it will surely be a memorable experience.
Fees start at 13,000 KRW. For more information, check updates on festival700.or.kr (Korean), or call +82-33-336-4000.
Hwacheon Mountain Trout Festival | Gangwon-do
January 7 – 29, 2017
Hwacheon is said to be the first area that freezes during winter, so it’s only natural that it holds one of the grandest fishing festivals during winter in South Korea. Aside from many snow activities, you can also go ice fishing and bare hand fishing—a thrilling experience you really can’t miss out on!
Mt. Taebaek Snow Festival | Gangwon-do
January 13 – 22, 2017
Enjoy on-snow and ice events for all ages! Likewise, get to see wonderful snow sculptures and the breathtaking Taebaeksan mountain.
Fees start at 2,000 KRW. For more information, check updates on festival.taebaek.go.kr (Korean) or call the Taebaek-si Tourism Information Center at +82-33-550-2828 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese).
Skiing & Snowboarding
A lot of ski resorts in South Korea open in the month of November (most of them are open right now!) Whether you’re a beginner or more of a risk-taker, you can definitely find the spot around the country that offers what thrills you. Check out our article on the best places to try these winter sports, and take your pick.
Outdoor Ice Skating In Seoul
Practice your skills, or take some classes to learn ice skating. Either way, it’ll be a fun leisure activity among friends or even a nice date idea. In some venues, there may also be snow sledding hills, snow playgrounds, and other diverse winter activities.
Grand Hyatt Hotel Seoul | Yongsan-gu
Opens December 1, 2016
Fees start at 26,000 KRW (additional 20,000 KRW for skate rental). For more information, visit seoul.grand.hyatt.com.
Yeouido Park | Yeouido-dong
December 9 – February 14, 2017
For more information, visit english.visitkorea.or.kr, or call +82-2-120 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Mongolian).
I’Park Mall | Yongsan
Seoul Plaza at City Hall | Jung-gu
Olympic Park Peace Plaza | Songpa-gu
Garden5 | Songpa-gu
These four outdoor ice rinks usually open mid or late December till January or mid February, but have not announced the official opening dates yet. Entrance and rental fees here are generally more affordable.
Winter Light Festivals and Exhibitions In Korea
Going to a light or lantern festival is one of the most affordable and enjoyable things to do during winter in South Korea! You just need to keep your eyes peeled, so you know where to go.
LED Flower Garden at the DDP | Jung-gu
Every night, except every 3rd Monday of every month (19:00-24:00)
Walk through a bed of illuminated roses at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. It’s going to be the perfect way to end (or start!) the all-night shopping marathon in the area.
Light & Fairy Tale Story Festival of Herb Island | Gyeonggi-do
Until December 31, 2016
If the LED roses at the DDP aren’t enough, see the whole Pocheon Herb Island filled with Christmas lights! The Light & Fairy Tale Story Festival never fails to wow guests with the truly fantastical decor. Starting mid-November, you can also try various Christmas-themed activities like tree, candlestick, and souvenir soap-making.
Romantic Illumination @ Everland | Gyeonggi-do
Until March 1, 2017
Spend an entire day in South Korea’s largest theme park, and see how it transforms into a bright and colourful spectacle at night.
Admission fees start 35,000 won (discounted ticket for foreigners). Check out everland.com/web/webzine/2016_winter for more information and everland.com/web/multi/english/everland/everland_guide/ticket for ticket info.
Winter Concerts In Korea
Dream of seeing your favourite Hallyu stars or K-Pop idols? Planning to catch a leg of world tours? You have many options during winter in South Korea! These events might just fit the bill:
Super Seoul Dream Concert
November 27, 2016 | Gocheok SkyDome
Here’s your chance to watch your favorite K-Pop idols perform live! The tentative lineup of this 210-minute concert includes the biggest names today like SHINee, AOA, T-ARA, GFRIEND, TWICE, and Red Velvet, so it’s truly a dream concert you don’t want to miss!
Tickets in Korea have almost if not totally sold out, but there are still a few tickets available (starting at 120.91 CAD and 84.14 EUR or about 105,500 KRW) via international sellers. For tickets, visit ticketbis.com/en-ca/super-seoul-dream-concert-tickets/ev114517 (Canada) and ticketbis.net/super-seoul-dream-concert-tickets/ev114517 (UK).
December 24 and 25, 2016 | Gocheok SkyDome
Ever wanted to see the man who introduced the world to Gangnam Style perform live? Get your tickets before they sell out pretty soon!
Tickets in Korea (starting at 77,000 KRW) have almost if not totally sold out, but you can visit ticket.auction.co.kr/Foreign/Perf/PerfDetail_201610_PSY_Concert.aspx to try your luck. There are also a few tickets available (starting at 154.81 EUR or about 195,000 KRW) via international sellers. For tickets, visit ticketbis.net/psy-tickets/ca7102 (UK)
Merry Chri Sound Festa
December 24 and 25, 2016 | KINTEX Hall 8
If you’re more of an indie music fan, spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with a night of great music. Several artists from different genres—pop, rap, EDM, and modern rock included—will be performing.
Tickets start at 29,500 KRW. For more information, visit facebook.com/Merrychrisoundfesta.
Urban Music Festival
December 20 – 31, 2016 | COEX Auditorium
Get to see various indie bands, rappers, and K-Pop artists like Glen Check, IDIOTAPE, Jeong Jinwoon Band, Lee Jin-ah, Jung Seung Hwan, Deepflow, ODee, and Don Mills.
Tickets start at 77,000 KRW. For more information, visit facebook.com/UMFestival.kor.
January 11, 2017 | Gocheok SkyDome
Metallica’s world tour includes various Asian countries, and Korea will be one of the first legs to kick off the new year.
Tickets start at 99,000 KRW. For more information, visit ticket.interpark.com.
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