I recently moved to Incheon in February of 2019 to teach English in South Korea. When people visit South Korea, they mostly think of Seoul and Busan. Some who do their research know about Daegu, Daejeon, and Incheon. Incheon is where the airport is located and has the saying “All ways Incheon” meaning that all ways lead to Incheon because of the airport, shipping dock, and more. Incheon is also known to hold a lot of expats from all over the world and is becoming more popular with the city of Songdo. While living here, I have been able to explore and wander to various places in Incheon and I wanted to share some of my favorite things to do in Incheon.
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Things to do in Incheon
Incheon is probably one of the most undervalued places to visit in South Korea. Most people will skip over it because there is so much to do in Seoul. Most people don’t know where Incheon is even though it is where the airport is. Incheon is quite far from everything, unfortunately, but what makes it great is that it isn’t overtaken with tourists and foreigners like Seoul is. You immediately go into Hongdae, Itaewon, Myeongdong and you are surrounded by tourists. When you visit Incheon, it’s definitely a more authentic feel of Korea.
Best time to visit Incheon
The best time to visit Incheon is in the spring, March-May, or fall, September–November, months. The winter months are doable if you don’t mind the cold. The weather can be very cold up to -20 degrees F so be prepared with some thick winter coats. The summer months, however, are extremely humid. The temperatures don’t usually get too high, but the humidity is about 80% and higher.
How to get to Incheon
If you are arriving from the airport then you are already in Incheon. You can easily take the subway to your destination or get in a taxi cab and travel around. If you are new to South Korea, let me explain the ways to travel around South Korea.
One of the best ways to get around Seoul or Incheon is by Subway, they are consistently reliable and always run on time. There are plenty of subways to take and they are easy to get around. All signs are written in English and Korean, just be sure to download the subway app first before arriving in South Korea.
One way to get around Incheon is to take the bus. Buses are very common all over South Korea and especially in the major city propers. It’s one of the best ways to get around. However, if you are traveling during heavy traffic times, it may be the worst way to get around.
The other way to get around is by Taxi, this is perfect for family, people who are struggling with traveling long distances or if it happens to be late at night and past the time when buses and taxis operate. Taxis are very affordable in Korea which makes it a great resource to use. I highly suggest you download the Kakao Taxi app. This is pretty much the uber of South Korea and you can pay the driver with card or cash. You don’t need to input your information into the app.
Where to stay in Incheon
- Unseo – If you are only in Korea for a layover, I suggest you look for hotels near or in the area of Unseo. Unseo is the next subway stop from the airport. There are a lot of affordable transit hotels in this area and is very newly developed area perfect to just get a good night’s rest and some food.
- Paradise City – If you want to visit Cimer Spa and enjoy a spa day during your layover or just wanting to stay and be in that area, I suggest you stay at Paradise City. This is a great hotel location for layovers as well since it is very close to the airport and you can easily take a bus from the airport here or even take the subway as well.
- Oakwood Premier in Songdo – Now I suggest Oakwood because it is the most popular hotel to stay at in Songdo, however, you can easily find any hotel or location in Songdo. Songdo is very popular for foreign visitors who are there for work.
- Bupyeong – I suggest staying in Bupyeong if you want to be surrounded by a ton of restaurants and locals. It’s a great place to shop, explore and a very populated area in Incheon.
Things to do in Incheon – Popular Cafes to Visit in Incheon
- Rose Stella Garden Cafe – This is Incheon’s cutest little cafe that has a greenhouse feel. With many of the greenhouse cafes and parks popping up in the area, this is a cafe that is popular because of the quaint charm.
- Daily Oasis – This cafe is for matcha green tea lovers. This entire cafe focuses on the natural earthy flavors of green tea. They have ice cream and desserts along with coffee. This cafe is Instagram worthy with their cute cactus and cow-shaped cookies.
- Cafe Mug – This cafe is a very cute and relaxing cafe. You can sit on the rooftop under tents, eat dessert, drink coffee or other drinks along with your friends.
- Cafe Valor – Check out this cute Instagrammable Cafe in Incheon. You can easily take photos in their large warehouse filled with the furniture you can purchase.
Other Cafes to Visit in Incheon
- Andhari (앤드하리)
- Cafe Ora
- Masirang Cafe
- Talk Rapi
- Cafe Galilee
- Green Holiday
Where to eat in Incheon
- Incheon Arts Center – One of my favorite places to enjoy a few good meals and go drinking is to hang on in the Incheon Arts Center area. Near the subway station are a lot of great restaurants and places to drink. This is a pretty popular area among younger people and there is a reason why. Additionally, you can walk to the open park area and view the Art Center and light show as well.
- Chinatown – In Chinatown, you should each the best Jjajangmyeon in South Korea. They have been known to have made this dish since the 1800s. The best restaurant to go to for jjajangmyeon is Mandabok.
- Songdo – If you want more Western food options, I suggest you go to the Technopark Subway station and use exit 2 to get to Triple Street. There you can easily find so many Western Restaurants. You can walk into the mall and find some market-style places to eat at or keep going through the passageway where you can find Mexican food from Coreanos and more.
- Bupyeong – Near Bupyeong Station there are tons of places to eat, shop and explore. Above the large market is also a huge food court where you can get any type of food imaginable.
Where to shop in Incheon
- Bupyeong Underground Shopping Mall – This shopping mall is very impressive and super easy to get lost in. It’s one of the biggest underground malls and there is something for everyone here.
- Triple Street – Triple Street if the popular shopping mall area located in Songdo. This popular area is filled with locals and foreigners from all over. There are more Western brands here like Nike, Adidas, H&M, Zara and more. You can find a lot to do here and be sure to eat at Shake Shack!
- NC Cube Canal Walk – Another shopping area that is popular in Incheon is the NC Cube Canal Walk. This area is filled with many western brands as well, however, this area isn’t very easy to get to by public transportation.
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Incheon Attractions – Best things to do in Incheon
Visit Cimer’s K-Style Spa at Paradise City
Skincare and spas are very popular all over South Korea. Koreans really enjoy resorts and fancy hotels, it’s part of their culture. Many people will rent a hotel room over the weekend to either spend quality time with their friends or significant others. The Cimer K-Style Spa is a very popular spa in Korea and is quite affordable once you find out everything that this place has to offer. You can enjoy an entire day swimming, enjoy spa treatments and feeling relaxed.
RELATED: Cimer Spa at Paradise City
Bupyeong Underground Market
South Korea is very popular for shopping for clothes, bags, skincare and more. Bupyeong Underground Market has it all. You can find anything you really want in this area and bargain to the best of your abilities. Underground markets are very popular in South Korea. If you have been to Korea, you probably have explored many of the night markets in and around Seoul.
Wolmido and Wolmi Theme Park
So if you happen to miss the boardwalks from the US or wanting to experience the boardwalk of Incheon, Wolmido or Wolmi Theme park is the place to go. Here they have classic wooden roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, and carnival games. You can walk all the way to the lighthouse, enjoy street food, buy alcohol at the convenience store and just walk around the boardwalk.
Visit Incheon Chinatown and Jajangmyeon Museum
Not too far from Wolmido in Chinatown. Chinatown is a popular destination in Incheon because of the influence of Chinese immigrants and food. Jajangmyeon a Chinese Korean dish, is popular among Koreans. This dish is what they call a Chinese dish, however, you will never see it in a Chinese restaurant unless it is in Korea. This dish is a noodle dish covered in a black sauce with meat and veggies.
In the same neighborhood and right next to Chinatown is Songwol Dong Fairy Land. This is a magical place in South Korea with images from famous Disney characters, fairytale fiction, and more. You can get some of the best Instagram selfies you want here. If you have seen the KDrama “What’s wrong with Secretary Kim?”, you can see the rainbow steps here, where the movie was filmed. Additionally, you can get a stamp with your selfie blasted on it. I used it a lot for my kids at school, which has made it pretty fun to use.
Sorae Ecology Park
This is probably the least known thing in Incheon and located in the area I am living in. There is a nice nature walk near my house with old-style windmills. I found it to be a relaxing nature walk and a great way to not feeling like I am in a city proper. I was also able to take some cute Instagram photos (oh don’t mind me) and explore the open space.
Picnic and boat ride at Songdo Central Park
Song-do is located in the southernmost part of Incheon. This area became popular because of large companies like Samsung, Jansen and more. Many foreigners live in this area because of the large companies so there are a lot of Western restaurants. One of the most popular things outside of eating and drinking in Song-do is to visit Song-do’s central park. Central Park is a large park with many walking trails and a man-made river in the middle. Here you can have a picnic, rent small a small boat or kayak with your family and friends and cruise down the river. Don’t forget to visit the rabbit island.
The Tri Bowl is an art center located in Songdo’s central park. This creative architectural building was built with 3 bowl type shapes that happen to sit on the water. You can walk on the paved concrete paths underneath the structure. There are some events that are held here that you can enjoy as well. You can visit their website to check out the monthly schedule at the Tri Bowl.
G-Tower Observatory Deck
After visiting the Tri Bowl, take some time to go to the G-Tower. This is a tower a 33-floor, 150-meter skyscraper. There are lots of small businesses located in this tower, but the observatory deck is the most popular location to visit for tourists. You can get the best view of Songdo’s Central Park.
Visit Incheon Grand Park
Like Seoul Grand Park, Incheon has its own Grand Park. This is a large scale park located between two mountains within Incheon. This park includes an outdoor theater, artificial turf grounds, skating rink, botanical garden, bicycle trails, lake, sledding hill, children’s zoo, observatory, and more. You can easily rent a bike and take a ride around this beautiful park.
Baedari Secondhand Bookstore Alley (배다리 헌책방 골목)
If you are a book lover or just interested in finding any book store, library, etc. in Korea, one of the places to visit in Incheon is the Baedari Secondhand Bookstore Alley. Like the famous bookstore alley in Busan, these stores are covered from floor to ceiling with books.
This cute little theme park located in Incheon is filled with miniature recreations of world-famous buildings. See some of the famous architectures around the world such as the Great Wall of China, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center with its famous ice rink, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Broadway in New York City.
Other Incheon Attractions
- Hike Gyeyangsan
- Jeondeungsa Temple
- Island Hopping to Baengnyeongdo
- Baemikkumi Sculpture Park (배미꾸미조각공원)
- Gwangseongbo Fortress (광성보)
There you have it, my favorite things to do in Incheon, South Korea. Be sure to come back to this post as I discover and explore other parts of Incheon.