48 hours in Hong KongLife
Check in to the new Ryse Hotel, a hip boutique in the Hondae neighborhood, known for its trendy restaurants, street fairs, and nightlife. The 272-room hotel’s décor blends Seoul’s industrial roots, like exposed concrete, with touches such as glossy pink floors, edgy wall murals, and gallery of local contemporary artwork.
Close to the Olympic park is the elegant Signiel Seoul, a luxury property housed in the 76th to 101st floors of the world’s sixth tallest building, the Lotte World Tower. The rooms, fitness center, and indoor pool provide panoramic views of the city. There’s also a spa, Pilates studio, sauna, and Michelin-starred restaurant.
Start your day at Grain, a charming cafe serving Nordic breakfasts. It’s a hotspot in Seoul, where locals dine on Instagram-worthy dishes. Order the oatmeal pancakes with Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and muesli or the eggs, avocado, smoked salmon, and bread, paired with a cold-pressed juice or latte.
For dinner, try the traditional temple cuisine (local recipes served by Korean Buddhists) at Balwoo Gongyang. The vegan restaurant serves sweet pumpkin soup with red beans and kimchi and tofu stuffed with shiitake mushrooms. Afterwards, take in the city views from N Seoul Tower, a 774-foot-high observation deck that’s open until 11 p.m.
Your trip isn’t complete without a visit to Namdaemun Market, where you can sample street food and shop for souvenirs from over 10,000 vendors. For breakfast, go to Migabon for juk, a warm rice porridge. Order the signature version made with abalone, mushroom, oyster, and chicken.
Dinner is at Tosokchon Samgyetang. It’s famous for its namesake samgyetang, a chicken stuffed with chestnuts, garlic, and ginseng and slow-cooked for hours. Or opt for other Korean dishes, such as kimchi and a seafood and green onion pancake.
If you want a taste of Seoul’s wild nightlife, have a nightcap at 12 Stairs, a stylish speakeasy gem with a gilded chandelier and marble.