Within the past week or two, I've felt a marked difference in the temperature outside. Specifically, what I've noticed is the humidity. While Korea's hottest days are still a month or so away, we also have the rainy season, which technically has already begun. So what to do on those weekends when you want to go explore and be social, but between the rain and/or the heat, you don't want to spend time outside? Well, check out this handy list of the top air-conditioned activities to check out in Seoul this summer!
Last summer, I wrote a basic how-to for beating the heat during a Korean summer. This summer, I'm thinking of finding more indoor activities. When it comes to staying indoors as much as possible, I automatically think of museums. Luckily, Seoul has quite an array of museums to offer to those of us who are looking to enjoy the things Korea has to offer, but also would prefer to limit our time under the hot summer sun.
Here are the activities I'm planning to check off my list over the coming weekends:
Dongdaemun Design Plaza
I recently revisited this awesome building and allowed myself to get completely lost wandering around inside. Some shopping was done in its quirky, creative stores and delicious food was eaten at one of the Western-style restaurants in the food court. Even better, the DDP has various exhibits running throughout the summer that are worth checking out.
We wandered through the Weta Workshop Fantasy Exhibition and had a good time. Weta is well-known for being the special effects/makeup/costumers/etc. for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The exhibit features much more than pieces of Middle Earth -- it has sculptures and dioramas and conceptual artwork for many of their other fantastical projects.
For more information, check out the DDP's official website.
I've seen some really great art exhibits come to Korea in the past, so I typically keep my eye on what's happening in the museums at all times. Luckily, this summer looks to be a good one for art lovers.
Seoul Arts Center has two exhibits that just recently started -- The Great Artists: Renoir to Damien Hirst, and Edvard Munch and the Modern Soul. I'll definitely be visiting both of these soon and probably writing a full review. The exhibits I've caught at the SAC in the past have been excellent, so I'm looking forward to these too.
There is also the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art that's right next to Gyeongbokgung in Seoul. Since the last time I was there, the exhibits have changed over, which means I'll be planning a trip there sometime soon as well.
The War Memorial of Korea
The best part of this museum is that it's totally free. Who can argue with wandering around a huge museum, enjoying the nice air conditioning, and being able to save the money that would typically be spent on admission fees?
This museum is really quite well-organized and presented. Informative, huge, and really quite cool. Check out some previous Aclipse blogger write-ups of the museum here and here. And, should you feel like venturing outside, a sizeable portion of the museum is on the grounds in the form of wartime vehicles. You can even climb inside some of them to look around, so I would recommend saving this museum for a hot day rather than a rainy day.
The War Memorial's official website also has all the additional info you'll need.
Trick Eye Museum
If art and history aren't quite your thing and you're looking for something a little more whimsical, definitely check out one of the many trick eye museums around Seoul (and Korea!). An optical illusion technique makes the paintings on the walls three-dimensional, and the best part is they're designed so that you can jump into the middle of them! Expect countless photo ops and make sure your phone's batteries are charged up.
We went to the Trick Eye Museum in Hongdae, which actually has the freezing cold Ice Museum -- and in the summertime, this might be just what you need. If you're in other parts of Seoul, check out the locations of the Alive Museum, which includes the same kind of illusions.
Any museums or exhibits to add to this list? I'm sure there's so much more to do on the weekends that would otherwise be lost to rain or gross humidity. Leave a comment below with your recommendations!
Between studying Japanese and Asian culture in university and setting her sights on a teaching career, it came as no surprise when Zannah Smreker announced that she was moving to South Korea to teach for Chungdahm Learning. In November 2011, Zannah accepted a position through Aclipse with the Songdo branch in Incheon, just southwest of Seoul. When she's not teaching, she keeps herself busy with exploring Korea, eating all the street food, and hunting down strange Engrish shirts. Check out her blog here for more of her adventures!