Where to Stay in Seoul 2024 (Based on Your Interests)

I’ve visited Seoul eight times now, and have stayed in several parts of Seoul to experience different neighborhoods and areas.

I also love walking all over the place and each area has unique places to visit.

Here are my favorite areas to stay in Seoul, recommendations on where to stay in Seoul based on your interests, and nearby attractions in each area.

If you’re new to South Korea, make sure to read my travel guide to South Korea and essential Seoul travel tips.

Summary: Best Area to Stay in Seoul

Traveler TypeNeighborhoodFind a Hotel
First-Time VisitorsMyeongdongTop Myeongdong Hotels
Solo TravelersHongdae/ItaewonTop Hongdae Hotels
Top Itaewon Hotels
Short VisitsInsadongTop Insadong Hotels
Nature LoversNamsan ParkTop Namsan Hotels
FamiliesCBDTop CBD Hotels
Kpop FansMultiple!Top Hotels in Seoul

Where to Stay in Seoul for First-Time Visitors

πŸ“ Myeongdong

Myeongdong Shopping Street with vendors Seoul

In general, if you’re visiting Seoul for the first time, the best area to stay in Seoul is Myeongdong.

It is a tourist area, but it’s a nice kind of liveliness and Myeongdong is close to other top places to visit in Seoul too.

Nearby Myeongdong Attractions:

  • Myeongdong Night Market
  • Myeongdong Streeet
  • Namsan Park and Seoul Tower (north)
  • Namdaemun Market
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Cheonggyecheon Stream
  • Myeongdong Cathedral

Nearby Alternative to Myeongdong: CBD

Seoul City Hall building - large ceramic dark green glass

πŸ“ For a less touristy area, but still central and walkable to Myeongdong, I suggest somewhere in CBD downtown Seoul near City Hall.

I’ve stayed here a few times, and they have really good hotels like Travelodge Myeongdong City Hall.

Ready to Book?

🏨 Look through hotels in Myeongdong | Sort by price and reviews

Where to Stay in Seoul for Solo Travelers

If you’re traveling solo and would like to meet other travelers, the best area to stay in Seoul is either Itaewon or Hongdae.

πŸ“ Itaewon

Itaewon Class (kdrama) Bar Sign on a large green bar in Itaewon

Stay in Itaewon if you like to drink and club (responsibly and safely), and Hongdae for a more chiller party scene and nightlife.

Nearby Itaewon Attractions:

  • Itaewon Street
  • Hannam-dong upscale area
  • Namsan Park and Seoul Tower (south)
  • Yongsan Park
  • War Memorial of Korea

Ready to Book?

🏨 Look through hotels in Itaewon | Sort by price and reviews

πŸ“ Hongdae

Hongdae Street Performers and a large crowd watching at night in Seoul

Nearby Hongdae Attractions:

  • Hongdae Shopping Street
  • Hongik University Street
  • Gyeongui Line Forest Park
  • Hongdae clubs and cafes
  • Yonsei University

Ready to Book?

🏨 Look through hotels in Hongdae | Sort by price and reviews

Where to Stay in Seoul for Short Visits (and Mega Tourists)

πŸ“Insadong

A long walking street surrounded by small shops and restaurants with tourists walking at Insadong Shopping Street, in top Seoul attractions

For short visits and for my fellow mega-tourists, I recommend staying in Insadong.

If your goal is to cross off as many Seoul attractions during your visit, it’s better to stay in areas in Seoul where there are lots of tourist sites and that are walkable to subway stations.

If you’re only staying for one day in Seoul, I also recommend staying in Insadong. It’s also close to most of the royal palaces of Seoul.

Nearby Insadong Attractions:

Ready to Book?

🏨 Look through hotels in Insadong | Sort by price and reviews

Where to Stay in Seoul for Nature Lovers & Runners

πŸ“Namsan Park Area

Namsan Park Walking Path Seoul South Korea

For those that like to get in a morning walk or be surrounded by nature, I recommend staying near Namsan Park, where you can walk up to Namsan Tower.

There’s several paths going up to Namsan Tour, each about 30-minutes each way. It’s a nice workout and a walk through trees and paved trails.

Nearby Namsan Park Attractions:

  • Namsangol Hanok Village
  • Namsan Cable Car
  • Namsan Mountain Park
  • Namsan Baekbeom Square
  • Namsan Botanical Garden

Best Area to Stay in Seoul for Runners:

I Seoul You Sign Courtyard at Yeouido Hangang Park in Seoul

If you plan to run during your visit in Seoul, stay near the Han River in the Mapo neighborhood, where you can jog or run along multiple paved river paths and parks.

Ready to Book?

🌳 Look through hotels near Namsan Park

πŸ‘Ÿ Look through hotels near Han River

Where to Stay in Seoul for Families

πŸ“Seoul’s CBD

Gray water fountain in downtown Seoul

To be fair, I have not traveled in Seoul with a family, but from reading others’ experiences and general knowledge of Seoul as a tourist, the best area in Seoul for families would probably be Seoul’s CBD, or Central Business District where more family-friendly hotels are located.

If you need a bigger stay, you can also book stays on Airbnbs for apartments with multiple rooms.

Nearby CBD Attractions:

  • Seoul City Hall building
  • Seoul Plaza
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Seoul Museum of Art
  • Cheonggyecheon Stream

Alternative to CBD: Insadong

A long walking street surrounded by small shops and restaurants with tourists walking at Insadong Shopping Street, in top Seoul attractions

Insadong is a quieter tourist alternative to Myeongdong but still central to family-friendly tourist sites.

Nearby Insadong Attractions:

Ready to Book?

πŸ™ Look through hotels near CBD / Seoul City Hall

🏯 Look through hotels near Insadong

Where to Stay in Seoul for Kpop Fans

Entrance to WithMUU Store Kpop Location - AK Plaza Hongdae

For my fellow kpop stans, here are three of the best areas in Seoul to stay at:

1. Gangnam

Close to: K-Star Road, COEX Mall, and a bunch of kpop agencies if you plan to visit them.

2. Myeongdong

Close to: Most of the kpop stores in Seoul.

3. Hongdae

Close to: Kpop-cover performances during the day and night. Plus, most kpop cupsleeves will be in Hongdae.

TIP for Kpop Fans: If you’re attending a concert, I generally don’t recommend finding a hotel near the venue. Most venues are farther from main tourist sites.

There are late-night trains, and from my experience, it’s generally safe to take trains at night post-concert. There will be lots of other fans doing the same.

Ready to Book?

🎢 Top Hotels in Gangnam

πŸ› Top Hotels in Myeongdong

🎀 Top Hotels in Hongdae

More posts for kpop fans visiting Seoul:

Tips for Booking Hotels in Seoul

hello. prints on wall of Superior Queen Room - Travelodge Myeongdong City Hall
  • The main website I book for hotels in Seoul is Agoda.com. They usually have the cheapest prices and run discounts, even for more expensive hotels.
  • Most hotels on Agoda.com have refundable options if you have to cancel a few days before your reservation.
  • Some hotels and stays may be located on side streets and alleys. Use Naver Map for the most accurate walking directions.
  • Read others’ reviews for any tips on ways to get to the hotel i.e. airport bus, subway, etc.

My Favorite Hotel Stays in Seoul

So far, my favorite hotels in Seoul that I’ve stayed in have been these two hotels near City Hall, which are actually right around the corner from each other:

Travelodge Myeongdong City Hall

BOOK IT HERE | Read my full review

Superior Queen Room with large white bed and hello sign on wall Travelodge Myeongdong City Hall - Best where to stay in Seoul

Le Seoul Hotel

BOOK IT HERE

Le Seoul Hotel double bed hotel room with white bed in best area to stay in Seoul

Best Area to Stay in Seoul?

My personal favorite area to stay in Seoul (as a solo traveler) is central Seoul, whether that’s in Myeongdong, Insadong, or CBD.

However, to change things up since I’ve been visiting Seoul quite a bit, I like to try other areas too.

I have a long Seoul bucket list since there’s always something to do, so it’s always nice to be closer to places I want to visit.

πŸ“– Read next: my most popular Seoul blog post: 28 Top Places to Visit in Seoul

Book Before Your Seoul Trip:

🎫 Get the 24/48/72 hours Discover Seoul Pass + transit card

🚊 Ride from the airport: prebook a transfer | airport bus | AREX train

🏒 Book discounted hotels in Seoul on Agoda (what I use)

πŸš™ Rent a car in South Korea for as cheap as $28 USD a day

🚌 Browse through dozens of available Seoul tours

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