Spring is here and what better way to enjoy it than with the many festivals and events that will take place around Seoul?
Cherry blossoms are probably the most anticipated natural event for spring and the festival in Yeouido is the best known festival. This year’s Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival will run from April 4 through 9. Included in this year’s festivities are concerts, parades, live performances, photo zones, activity booths, and more.
Another cherry blossom will take place at the Seoul Grand Park from April 8 through the 12. The theme for this year’s festival is, “A sonata along the lake’s footpath.” Concerts, photo zones, and live music will be prepared for this event. Dongdaemun will also host its festival from April 7 through 9 along the Jangan Cherry Blossom street along the Joonglangcheon Stream. The Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival is yet another popular option and this year takes place April 8 through 11. You can also visit the neighborhoods around Namsan, Kyunghee University, Yangjae Stream, and more to simply catch the cherry blossoms, though there aren’t any official festivals.
Along the various parks of the Han River, the Hangang Spring Flower Festival began on April 1 and will last through until April 21. Various events such as a picnic festival at Yeouido Park on April 8, a children’s drawing contest at the Ttukseom Park on April 22, and various performances and events will be held. Among them, the “Hangang Space Out Competition” in which contestants simply sit and space out and think about nothing, is already generating buzz and will be held on April 30 at the Mangwon Hangang Park. Along the Jamwon Hangang Park, a new honeybee forest has opened up and featuring peach and apple blossoms, May trees, lilac flowers, and more.
Gyeongbokgung Palace is a top attraction but now visitors will have even more reasons to visit as the palace’s Gyeonhoeru Pavilion is temporarily open to the public. This year, from April 1 through October 30, guided tours for the pavilion will be available three times a day on weekdays (except Tuesdays) and four times a day on weekends. This beautiful pavilion was once a royal banquet venue but is normally closed to the public. But now, you can enjoy beautiful views of the palace grounds and Inwangsan Mountain. The 30 to 40 minute tours have no additional cost aside from the palace’s admission ticket but advanced reservations are required on a first-come-first-serve basis. Call Gyeongbokgung Palace to make your reservations at least six days in advance. Same day reservations are not allowed.
And once the sun sets, on weekend you can head to either Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Cheonggyecheon Stream, the Yeouido Hangang Park, or Banpo Hangang Park for the return of the Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market. Running until October 29, the popular night market series features handmade goods, food trucks, exhibitions, performances, and more. The night markets run only on Fridays and Saturdays with operating hours differing slightly so check www.bamdokkaebi.org for more information.
Another night activity that will take place this spring is the Yeon Deung Hoe Festival or Lotus Lantern Festival which will take place April 28 through the 30 this year. This tradition originated more than 1,200 years ago and celebrates the coming birthday of Buddha with dancing, parades, performances, and many beautiful lotus lanterns lit up. Temples like Jogyesa, Bongeunsa as well as Cheonggycheon Stream will feature many beautiful lanterns. Visit www.llf.or.kr for more information about this festival.