Christmas in Korea is something that is very dear and true to my heart. It’s something I always remember and think of when I think of Christmas. Many expats mention that Christmas in Korea is a romantic holiday usually spent with your significant other rather than family. As someone who is mixed and half Korean, I’ve always had a different experience when it comes to Korea. I’ve always spent it with my Korean family and even though I have only lived here for about 2 years, I’ve spent Christmas in Korea over 22 times.
Christmas in Korea – 15 Amazing Light Festivals and more
Christmas in Korea can be lonely for expats or travelers who are completely new to the country. They may be missing family, friends, and the holiday spirit. Here are some ideas of how to spend and celebrate Christmas in Korea to make it feel more like the holidays again.
Christmas Food in Korea
As Christmas is becoming more popular in Korea, many Western restaurants have risen to the occasion for providing a great Christmas meal. Christmas in Korea doesn’t always feel the same when you eat Korean food, but I think the holiday is about the spirit of Christmas more than anything. Here are some of the restaurants in Korea that offer a Christmas meal.
- Route 66
- Ilsan Brunch Club
- Salon de Joo
- Linus BBQ
- Mix and Malt
Growing up, Christmas markets were probably not as popular as they are now. Koreans are starting to embrace this Western holiday with decorations, celebrating with family, believing in Santa, and just making it a fun day for the kids. At many of these markets, you can find lots of Christmas decorations from ornaments to small decorated trees. Here are some of the well known Christmas markets in Korea.
- Namdaemun Market
- Dongdaemun Market
- Gangnam Express Bus Terminal
Where to see Christmas lights for Christmas in Korea
Despite Christmas being a romantic holiday in Korea, Korean’s absolutely love lights, night strolls with their partners, and photo-worthy places to visit. So many of these places are typically open during winter, some more geared towards Christmas in Korea and others just beautifully lit up for a neat experience.
Cheonggyecheon Stream Seoul Lantern Festival
Probably one of the most popular places to visit especially in Seoul is Cheonggyecheon Stream. This location is usually a bit more traditional with Korean-style lanterns and is a very popular amount of tourists and locals. They are displayed along the stream and crowded on Christmas day. They usually have traditional lanterns on one side and themed lanterns on the other. It’s quite beautiful and highly recommended to visit if you are staying in Seoul.
Address: Cheonggyecheon, 서울특별시 종로구 창신동, http://naver.me/5O448ceN
Since Korea does make it a couples holiday, Namsan Tower is the perfect place to take your date for Christmas in Korea. It’s beautifully lit up at night and there are beautiful metal trees covered in love locks to seal the deal with your crush or loved one. I honestly think Namsan tower looks best at night and it may not be as festive as some of the other locations, it still has a great feel to the holidays.
Address: Namsan Seoul Tower, 서울 용산구 남산공원길 105, http://naver.me/5cZs494P
Garden of the Morning Calm
If you are staying in Seoul and want to make a day trip from Seoul to the Garden of the Morning Calm, this is the most popular place in all of Korea to visit during Christmas. Honestly, it’s popular to visit all year long. Most expats may think that visiting the Garden of the Morning Calm is a must-do for Christmas in Korea. The garden of the morning calm is a botanical garden that is northeast of Seoul. This botanical garden is filled with colorful lights that cover the plants and fields. If you are interested in taking a tour from Seoul, book your tour here.
Address: Garden of Morning Calm, 경기 가평군 상면 수목원로 432, http://naver.me/GUUknaQi
Many people will visit the Garden of the Morning Calm and Petite France around the same time. This becomes another great place to visit during Christmas in Korea at night. They have something called the Little Prince Lighting Festival that starts in December and runs until February. The buildings are decorated in Christmas lights and Christmas trees giving it a classic Christmas feel.
Address: Petite France, 경기 가평군 청평면 호반로 1063, http://naver.me/IxUpkkmr
Oozoo – Byeolbit Garden
I highly recommend visiting this place during Christmas in Korea if you can. This is a difficult location to visit and probably least likely to be visited by tourists or expats. This location would only be accessible by car since it’s actually on the side of a rest stop. It’s quite interesting and very beautiful. I was shocked when I first pulled up thinking that my GPS must have taken me to the wrong location. However, after exiting the vehicle I was able to see the entrance. They have small Christmas light shows that happen every hour until they close.
This garden is filled with lights and there are some interesting places where you can easily set up your phone and take some selfies with your friends, family, or significant other. The garden has barrels set up easily around the area where you can put your phone and place it on a self-timer for those precious recorded moments. This was absolutely a delight to visit and I will be coming back here soon.
Address: Byeolbit Garden Space, 경기 이천시 마장면 덕이로154번길 287-76, http://naver.me/Gsl1znUX
Ansan Starlight Village- Byeolbinmaeul Photo Land
I would say this is quite similar to Oozoo in style and looks. It may be a bit smaller. There are 2 themes to the park one being the animal village and the other being the heart village. This park is available all year long and is known to have lights displaying a variety of animals including owls, cranes, swans, elephants, giraffes, lions, pandas, and more.
Address: Byeolbinmaeul Photo Land, 경기 안산시 상록구 수인로 1723, http://naver.me/F1jf2dn9
Chungju Light World
This location looked pretty in the reviews and photos, but I think maybe we went on a bad day. Several of the lights were out when we visited and it was still quite beautiful, but maybe not as ready for winter as we thought. It’s very affordable though to visit. This location I would not say is quite Christmas in feel, but you can still see the beautifully decorated buildings with lights.
There are some famous landmarks they have created here that are filled with lights like the Eiffel tower, London bridge, the U.S. White House, and more.
Address: Chungju Light World, 충북 충주시 남한강로 24, http://naver.me/x4nnm3xX
Herb Island Lighting Festival and Santa’s Village
I would say like at Garden of the Morning Calm, you can view lots of beautiful plants covered and decorated in bright and colorful lights. They also have some Santa’s set up and they also have a small Christmas market as well.
Address: Herb Island, 경기 포천시 신북면 청신로947번길 35, http://naver.me/5B53IzbI
Busan’s Christmas Tree Festival and Haeundae Light Festival
If you want a great view of the beach and some Christmas light extravaganza, well Busan might be the place to visit for Christmas in Korea. During winter, they have a beautiful light festival. Starting from the street to the beach, you will see beautiful lights and a lighted Christmas tree at the end. When you walk onto the beach, you will see a pathway and extravagant lights that cover the beach. There are little areas to take some selfies or instaworthy shots.
Address: Haeundae, 부산광역시 해운대구 우동, http://naver.me/5gKhRyK5
Illumia Light Festival at Let’s Run Park
Another location in Busan, is the Illumia Light Festival at Let’s Run Park. A show with music, filled with images produced by special lights and lasers can be enjoyed on the artificial lake.
Boseong Tea Plantation Light Festival
Although the tea plantation isn’t so great to visit during winter, they have made it appealing for those visiting during winter. They set up a beautiful light festival for tourists and locals that light up the entire plantation.
Address: Boseong Tea Farm, 전남 보성군 보성읍 유촌길 151 화장실, http://naver.me/xisWULlz
Amusement Parks to visit during Christmas in Korea
If for some reason you just want to make every holiday easy to access or feel festive, these amusement parks dress up for every season. You can guarantee you’ll find these places decorated for Halloween, Christmas, New Years’, and more.
This is probably the most popular amusement park in Korea and a great place to visit during Christmas in Korea. Although, I do find this park may be more suitable for older or taller kids. When I traveled here with my friend Shelley and her daughter Naia, there are more carnival-style rides rather than rollercoasters. She also was not tall enough to ride a lot of the rides, so we just did the ones she loved over and over again. Everland goes out when it comes to performances, decorations, and just an overall feel of the holiday.
Address: Everland, 경기 용인시 처인구 포곡읍 에버랜드로 199, http://naver.me/x4cIJssg
This is a great location for the entire family. There are kids of all ages who visit here and Lotte World is one of my fondest memories as a kid during Christmas in Korea. My cousins and I would often come here to visit and spend the day going on the rides. Lotte World can oftentimes be preferred due to location and accessibility. It’s located in Seoul in the Jamsil area.
Address: Lotte World, 서울 송파구 올림픽로 240, http://naver.me/F7sbp9zw
E-World Starlight Festival
If you happen to be closer to Daegu or down south, then E-World will be the best amusement park to visit for your Christmas in Korea. Like Everland and Lotte World, they have a beautifully decorated park covered in Christmas lights. It’s a great location to take photos and enjoy amusement park rides, performances, and Christmas decorations.
Address: Eworld, 대구 달서구 두류공원로 200, http://naver.me/xsA2BhPk
Looking for more posts about travel in Korea? Check out these posts below.
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- Seoul Travel Tips
- Myeongdong Street Food
- One day in Seoul
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- Seoul Gardens & Parks
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- What to do in Incheon Airport for a Layover
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- Gwangjang Market
- 2 Days in Busan Itinerary
- 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary
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