Seoul’s major museums and galleries are now fully open in 2023. Therefore, SEOULSPACE has decided to list some of the best museums in Seoul to visit in 2022. The list comprises museums that offer something for everyone, from tourists to locals. Want to explore the history of South Korea? We’ve got a museum for that. Want to see modern and contemporary art? We have that covered as well. What about galleries with a digital flare? There are more than 100 museums and galleries in Seoul, but we were able to narrow them down to the ten best.
Here are the 10 best museums in Seoul to visit in 2023.
Leeum Samsung Museum of Art
The Leeum Samsung Museum of Art was opened in 2004. It is a world-renowned institution located in the heart of Seoul, South Korea. The museum is home to an impressive collection of traditional and contemporary art, making it a must-see for any art lover visiting the city. In addition to the permanent collections, the museum hosts regular temporary exhibitions, ensuring that there is always something new to see. The museum is also conveniently located near other major attractions, making it easy to include on any itinerary.
The museum continuously looks to acquire Korean works of art with great historical value. They have over 15,000 works of art. The architecture of the museum itself is a work of art. It was done by world-famous architects Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel, and Rem Koolhaas. It has a great blend of East and West works of art, making it one of the more international museums in Seoul.
Address: 60-16 Itaewon-ro 55-gil, Yongsan-gu
Museum Hours: 10:30am-6pm
Admission: 10,000 won (Students aged 7-24, disabled, and seniors 5,000 won), free for children under 6
The ALT1 Gallery is located at the Hyundai Seoul department store in Yeouido. The Hyundai Seoul is one of the best shopping department stores in Seoul. Its interior design offers many natural motifs such as indoor trees, gardens, and a waterfall. However, the key attraction is the ALT 1 Gallery located on the top floor. They had the immersive “Beyond The Road – Seoul 2021” exhibition. It showcased all kinds of artwork, such as paintings, sculptures, and video art. In addition, the exhibition had music via 3D audio speakers, making it seem like a live concert.
ALT1 Gallery is a must-see for anyone interested in the contemporary art scene in Seoul. The gallery offers a rare chance to see some of the city’s most innovative and boundary-pushing art being created today. In addition to its cutting-edge exhibitions, ALT1 Gallery has a vibrant program of events, talks, and workshops, making it a unique cultural hub.
Address: 6F, 108 Yeoui-daero, Yeoui-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu
Museum Hours: 10:30am to 8pm (Monday – Thursday); 10:30am to 8:30pm (Friday – Sunday)
Admission: Beyond the Road Exhibition: 20,000 won
LOTTE Museum of Art
The LOTTE Museum of Art is one of Seoul’s most popular tourist destinations. The museum is home to a collection of over 200,000 artworks, making it one of the largest art museums in the world. Visitors can explore the collection through a variety of interactive exhibitions and programs. In addition, the museum offers a range of educational resources, including workshops and lectures. The museum is also home to a cafe, restaurant, and gift shop.
The LOTTE Museum of Art opened on the 7th floor of the LOTTE World Tower in January 2018. LOTTE Museum of Art introduces new waves of modern art around the world. You can find art sculptures outside the tower on your way to the museum. There is the “Possibility” by Jaume Plensa, “Life as Marshmallows” by Joon, and the “Light Forest” by Kim Joo-hyun.
Address: 7th floor, 300, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu
Museum Hours: 10:30 am-7 pm
Admission: dreamer, 3:45 am: 18,000 won (19 and over), 15,000 won (13-18), 10,000 won (4-12), Free for children under 4.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul)
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) is one of the oldest museums in Seoul. It was opened in 1969 and offered a wide selection of Korean art. The museum houses a collection of over 150,000 works of art, ranging from traditional Korean paintings to contemporary installations. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum also features a range of temporary exhibitions that showcase the work of both emerging and established artists. The museum is also home to a research center, library, and auditorium, making it ideal for scholars and casual visitors.
It is considered the representative institution of modern Korean art. Furthermore, the museum offers a beautiful natural landscape that surrounds the site. Their focus moving forward will be to introduce global contemporary art. In addition, they have other locations located in Gwacheon, Deoksugung, and Cheongju. Therefore, through its various locations, MMCA intends to function as a cultural platform that encourages various disciplines of contemporary art from art, science, and humanities.
Address: 99 Sejong-daero, Jeong-dong, Jung-gu
Museum Hours: 10 am-7 pm
Admission: 4,000 won (entry is free on the last Wednesday of each month), and there is a 20% discount for groups of 10 or more.
Free admission for:
- Students under 24 and teachers
- Seniors over 65
- Disabled and caretaker
- Members of the MMCA
Ilmin Museum of Art
The Ilmin Museum of Art is one of the most important museums in Korea. Founded in 1969, it holds a collection of over 100,000 items that date back to the Joseon Dynasty. The museum is located in the heart of downtown Seoul, and it is easy to get to by public transportation. The museum is open every day except Monday, and admission is free for everyone. The Ilmin Museum of Art is a great place to learn about the history and culture of Korea. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and more.
The Ilmin Museum of Art has three exhibition halls, one for each floor. In addition, there are lecture halls and documentary archives. Therefore, the museum is known for holding lectures by art professionals. There are even special screenings that showcase their achieved images. In addition, they also have a bookshop, art shop, and coffee shop on the first floor.
Address: 152 Sejongdaero, Jongno-gu
Museum Hours: Tue.-Sun: 11am-7pm
Admission: 7,000 won, Students 5,000 won and Seniors (over 65) 3,500 won)
The Daelim Museum is located near Gyeongbokgung Palace. It is considered South Korea’s first photography museum. However, these days the museum also showcases designs of all forms. Therefore, their exhibitions showcase new lifestyles, which shed new light on the value of everyday objects.
The museum houses an impressive collection of Korean art and artifacts from over 5,000 years. Visitors can view pottery, painting, sculpture, and other works of art from various periods and styles. In addition, the museum offers several interactive exhibits and educational programs that provide insight into Korean culture and history. The Daelim Museum is also home to a cafe and a shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs. With its convenient location and wide range of facilities, the Daelim Museum is an ideal destination for travelers interested in learning about Korea’s rich cultural heritage.
Address: 21, Jahamun-ro 4-gil, Jongno-gu
Museum Hours: Tue/Wed/Fri/Sun: 10 am-6 pm; Thu/Sat: 10 am-8 pm
Admission: 8,000 won; Under 19 years old 3,000 won, Children: 2,000 won. Discount for Seniors and disabled.
D Museum is located near Seoul Forest, near Seoul Forest Station. It is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in the history and culture of Seoul. The museum is home to many artifacts, from ancient pottery to modern art, that provides insight into the city’s past. The museum also hosts various events and exhibitions throughout the year, making it an ideal place to learn about the latest Korean art and cultural trends.
It has an underground entrance that connects straight to the subway station. Moreover, it also holds two exhibition halls, one performance hall, a rooftop, an education center, and a museum shop in the five-story building. The whole building is covered with transparent glass, so you can see not only Seoul Forest from inside but also the Han River. In addition, they provided online content through their official YouTube channel during COVID-19.
Address: 83-21, Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu
Museum hours: 10 am-6 pm
Admission: (5-15,000 won based on exhibition)
Amorepacific Museum of Art
The Amorepacific Museum of Art (APMA) started with the private art collection of the founder and former CEO, Suh Sungwhan. The museum was established in 1979 and was called the Pacific Museum. It was renamed the Amorepacific Museum of Art in 2009. The museum houses a comprehensive collection of Korean art spanning many periods and styles. Highlights include traditional paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, and contemporary works by leading Korean artists. In addition to the artwork on display, the museum offers a variety of educational programs, including guided tours and hands-on workshops.
The galleries are on the basement level, and Atrium is a space that goes from the first floor to the third floor. Furthermore, once you enter the Amorepacific Museum of Art, there is a lobby and shop, an exhibition space, and a library called the Amorepacific Library of Art Project.
Address: 100 Han River Boulevard, Yongsan-gu
Museum Hours: (Tues-Sun: 10 am-6 pm)
Admission: Free (Exhibitions may charge)
MY ART MUSEUM
MY ART MUSEUM is located in the center of Seoul. Located in the heart of Seoul, MY ART MUSEUM is one of the city’s premier cultural institutions. Housed in a beautifully restored building, the museum features a wide range of exhibitions, from traditional Korean art to contemporary works by leading international artists. In addition to its world-class collections, the museum also offers a variety of educational programs and events, making it the perfect place to learn about Korea’s rich cultural heritage.
If you are in Gangnam, you won’t have to go far. It holds exhibitions of various high-quality works of art that transcend time and genre. Therefore, they offer exhibitions of famous Western paintings, fashion, architectural design, and decorative art exhibitions throughout the year. In addition to the exhibition hall, there is a lobby lounge, art shop, coffee shop, seminar room, open salon, culture salon, gallery, restaurant, and educational space.
Address: Textile Center Building B1, 518, Teheran-ro, Daechi 2(i)-dong, Gangnam-gu
Museum hours: 10 am-8 pm
Admission: Free (Exhibitions may charge)
Oil Tank Culture Park
The Oil Tank Culture Park is located near World Cup Stadium. It was originally an oil depot that stored over 69 million liters of oil after the oil crisis of 1973. However, South Korea turned the oil tanks into a cultural space thanks to the help of ideas citizens. Seoul’s Oil Tank Culture Park is a must-visit for anyone interested in the city’s rich history and culture. It is now an eco-friendly, complex cultural space with its original spatial properties of oil tanks intact. The five tanks were turned into performance venues, exhibition halls, and a multi-purpose pavilion. Moreover, there is even a newly-built tank that has become a community center with a cafeteria.
The park, built on the site of an old oil refinery, features a variety of interactive exhibits and installations that tell the story of Seoul’s development from a small trading town to a major metropolis. Visitors can also explore the city’s heart through a series of walking trails or take panoramic views of Seoul from the park’s observatory deck.
Address: 87 Jeungsan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Museum hours: 24/7
Those looking to see Korean urban street art can do so at Urban Break, which is held in Seoul annually.