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[Well-curated] Seoul nightscape from revolving restaurant, painting over coffee and dazzling Christmas village

Nov. 3, 2023 - 09:01 By Park Yuna By Kim Hae-yeon By Hwang Dong-hee
N Seoul Tower is seen amid the fall foliage on Sunday in Seoul. (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)

This weekend may be the last chance to see the red and gold fall foliage at its peak in Seoul. N Seoul Tower is where you can enjoy the autumn colors while hiking the trail to the tower on top of Namsan. If you arrive at the top at night, you can enjoy panoramic views of central Seoul as well as check out Namsan Octagonal Pavilion.

On top of N Seoul Tower is n.Grill, a French restaurant that offers a prix fixe menu for lunch and dinner. The restaurant rotates, giving a complete 360-degree panoramic view of the city. The restaurant is a lovely spot for a fancy year-end gathering, chatting with friends and family about the city or buildings that you recognize, while the courses are being served.

Night view of Seoul from n.Grill at N Seoul Tower in Seoul (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)
A French-style prix fixe menu is served at n.Grill at N Seoul Tower in Seoul. (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)

You might contemplate how small the city looks from far away, as are our lives themselves.

The highlight of the menu is the dessert, which includes chocolates in the shape of padlocks, symbols of the tower, as many lovers attach padlocks to fences the tower. It takes around two hours for the restaurant to rotate 360 degrees -- so slow that you hardly notice that the restaurant is revolving.

Those who dine at the restaurant can also visit the tower observatory, located below the restaurant, for free.

Kyungsung Museum, which is fully equipped with paint, canvas and other supplies for painting (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)

Where coffee meets canvas: Kyungsung Museum

While autumn is a perfect time for outdoor activities, abrupt temperature drops also drive many indoors.

For those who want to spend a unique and cozy few hours over a steaming cup of hot chocolate, Kyungsung Museum, a cafe that combines drawings, paintings and coffee, beckons just a five-minute stroll from Sinsa Station's exit No. 8.

Inside, everything feels like the enlightenment period of early modern Korea, from the late 19th to early 20th century.

The rich red carpet, velvet sofas and ornate picture frames on the walls create an opulent mood.

More than 10 wooden easels and chairs on one side of the cafe await artists-to-be. A large communal table, used by people painting on smaller canvases, can seat up to six people at a time.

For 24,000 won, anyone can come and paint here for as long as they want.

The cafe staff majored in fine arts and are available to teach basic techniques in acrylic painting and help visitors paint their own pictures for a 45,000 won fee.

In need of inspiration? The cafe provides an array of sample photos and design sketches on tablet devices.

Kyungsung Museum in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)

What sets the Kyungsung Museum apart is its all-included set-up.

Everything you need -- from paint, canvas and brushes to palettes and aprons -- is on hand.

The cafe offers a selection of beverages including beer, coffee, hot chocolate and wine as well as desserts. A minimum of one drink per person is required to order.

You can have your work of art displayed at the cafe or take it home with you.

Kyungsung Museum operates from noon to 10 p.m. on weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.

Christmas village "La Boutique d' Harry" (The Hyundai Seoul)

Christmas village at The Hyundai Seoul

In recent years, hotels and department stores have engaged in something of a battle over who puts up the most spectacular and dazzling holiday decorations for Christmas. Social media is bursting with suggestions for the perfect spot to take photos of popular holiday displays.

This year, The Hyundai Seoul has taken the lead by unveiling this year's grand Christmas decorations on Wednesday. The 5th floor of the department store in Yeouido, Yeongdeungpo-gu, has already been magically transformed into a Christmas-themed village.

Spanning an impressive 3,300 square meters, the village features a magnificent 13-meter-tall Christmas tree at its center, surrounded by over 120 trees, a charming array of 16 themed boutiques such as book store, flower shop and bakery. With more than 6,000 twinkling lights, the atmosphere undergoes a mesmerizing transformation from day to nighttime.

Christmas village "La Boutique d' Harry" (The Hyundai Seoul)

The space has been crafted to resemble cozy, old European alleyways, complete with the charm of small artisan workshops, including a post office, delightful cake shop and nutcracker doll boutique.

Reservations for the first round of visits via Naver on Monday quickly sold out, with over 20,000 people logging in at the same time. Reservations are fully booked until Nov. 15. Stay tuned for the second round of reservations, scheduled to be announced on The Hyundai Seoul’s official Instagram page on Nov. 14.