From an evening dinner meeting on the floating islands of Some Sevit, to a new product launch at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul is a city with a profusion of surprising venues for every imaginable event. This rich selection, combined with a supportive city government and an excellent tourism infrastructure, make Seoul a great choice for meetings, conventions and exhibitions, both large and small.
While the city’s giant COEX meeting, convention and global trade center houses a dizzying array of meeting sites and spaces, this is a city filled with more unique and more local meeting venue options. These remarkable sites and spaces provide a better connection to Korean culture (both modern and ancient) for attendees, while still letting event organizers tap into professional planning and support for their gatherings.
This cultural center occupies a collection of traditional Korean buildings in central Seoul and provides a complete cultural experience with its own music and dance performance group.
Catering is available, with a menu that showcases Korean Imperial cuisine. Meals can be served in the buildings or in the central courtyard, with a capacity of about 200 for buffet-style dining. The location in the center of Seoul makes it easily accessible from different areas of the city. koreahouse.or.kr/eng
Another traditional venue, this complex of buildings is like the Korean Camp David. Originally created for a Red Cross conference between the North and the South in the 1970s, the site is now owned by the city and was recently completely renovated and modernized. Samcheonggak is near the Blue House, the official residence of the Korean president, and although located within the city borders, the space feels like a hill-top retreat with wonderful privacy and security.
The large conference center retreat has six meeting halls designed as hanok (traditional Korean houses) and large outdoor formal gardens, plazas and event spaces. Traditionally hanok compliment and enhance their environment and these buildings reflect this harmony with the surrounding trees and hills. Each hanok hold from 30-200 people, with room for up to 500 in the outdoor areas.
Beyond being just an event venue, Samcheonggak offers a range of immersive cultural experiences like traditional tea ceremonies, hands-on musical experiences with traditional Korean instruments and cooking classes. samcheonggak.or.kr
Dongdaemun Design Plaza
Locally known as the DDP, this futuristic creation is the city’s design hub. The curving, metal-sheathed building was designed by superstar architect Zaha Hadid and offers a wide range of meeting and event spaces. There are two airplane-hanger sized convention halls with just under 50,000 square feet, two 34,000-square-foot exhibition halls and a 4,500-square-foot conference hall.
The DDP now hosts some of the city’s largest and most prominent events, such as Seoul Fashion Week and high-profile car launches. Beyond the exhibition halls, there are some beautiful smaller art gallery spaces and amazing outdoor areas, all benefiting from the building’s curves and flowing design. ddp.seoul.go.kr
The city’s newest modern art museum provides a selection of settings for events, both indoors and out. With 54,000 square feet of function space in a range of traditional galleries (complete with masterpieces on the walls), the museum also has a large sculpture garden overlooking the local neighborhood. The garden frequently plays host to cocktail parties and other gatherings, often in conjunction with events being held in the museum’s interior space.
There’s also an ancient Korean house with connections to Korea’s former ruling dynasty, moved here for preservation as a national historic monument. The refurbished ancient structure provides a more traditional setting than the modern galleries. seoulmuseum.org
Some Sevit Floating Islands
This series of three linked, man-made islands sits just off the banks of the Han River, which flows through the heart of the city. The complex has several unique spaces, the largest of which is a 1,000-person capacity convention hall, used frequently for fashion shows. There are also two banquet halls, each with a capacity for 300, plus a 500-person capacity restaurant, all with views of the river and the Seoul skyline.
The floating islands offer several large, outdoor spaces, which also feature views of the city. The interior spaces have state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, the highlight being a video projection system that uses the domed ceiling of the main hall as a screen. The outside area features a massive 60-foot-wide video screen, visible from the shore, along with a floating stage that is frequently used to display cars for vehicle launch events. somesevit.com/en
Seoul Marina Club & Yacht
Another riverside venue, this elegant space in the Yeouido area is part of the city’s first in-shore marina. There’s a modern, four-story clubhouse with an Italian restaurant and three convention halls, along with a large marina filled with some beautiful yachts.
Events can be held inside the clubhouse, on the terraces and marina and on individual boats. Three rental yachts are available with room for 8-10 people each, and the club has a 41-foot “business boat,” created and equipped just for meetings, with a capacity of 28. The Seoul Marina Club & Yacht has three convention halls, with capacities of 50, 100 and 200 attendees. seoul-marina.com
700 Yacht Club
This private yacht club on the Han in Mapu Gu offers a more hands-on approach to meetings and functions with its own corporate fleet. Sailboats can be rented to host events or with instructors for team building.
The club is known for its all-day corporate regattas, which start with sailing instruction, followed by yacht races and ending with a group BBQ dinner. The clubhouse has space for 100 people and there are two large outdoor decks with capacities of 100 and 150 people each. 700yachtclub.com/eng
This restored ancient Buddhist temple complex sits at the base of the Bukhansan National Park and its majestic mountains, only minutes from some of Seoul’s busiest neighborhoods. The temple is open to the public and has several large indoor and outdoor structures accommodating groups of up to 200 people.
Special Buddhist temple meals are served in a communal dining room, showcasing the monks’ unique monastic vegetarian diet. A traditional, elaborate Korean tea ceremony is also performed and overnight temple stays are offered.
If you want to ensure a high celebrity count at your event, the Grevin Museum – an offshoot of the famous Paris wax museum – is a perfect venue. With gallery after gallery of beautifully crafted wax figures that celebrate notables from sports, entertainment, politics and history, events can be hosted among the motionless likenesses, providing poses for an endless number of selfies.
The entire museum space can accommodate 300 people, with more space available at their French cafe that can host 120, a main hall that can host 150 and a private banquet space that will seat 60 people. grevin-seoul.com/en
Think Disneyland under one roof and you have Seoul’s LOTTE WORLD, the planet’s largest indoor theme park. There’s an outdoor component called Magic Island and an aquarium has just opened as well. LOTTE WORLD has a large stage area that can hold 1,200 people and the on-site Korean folk museum will accommodate up to 200 attendees.
The entire park can be rented out for large groups and the aquarium can be also be booked for events, providing a fascinating aquatic backdrop. The on-site LOTTE Hotel has some large conference and banquet facilities that can accommodate up to 2,000 people along with 469 guestrooms and suites. lotteworld.com
Korea and much of the world is K-pop crazy and the home of K-Pop is SMTOWN. What Motown was to soul music, SMTOWN is to K-pop – the dominant music label, with all of the top groups on its roster.
SMTOWN STUDIO, the company’s Gangnam headquarters is now one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations and features a restaurant and large recording and dance studio complex. This space is perfect place for a meeting, event or party and can be booked as an event venue or as part of a K-pop star experience. Event sessions can include make-up, wardrobe, singing and dance lessons, and even recording and music video production for conference participants. smtownland.com
Seoul MICE Alliance
Seoul bills itself as “Your convention city” and boasts an advanced travel and tourism infrastructure and a supportive local and national government. The city’s Seoul MICE Alliance is a partnership between the government (via the city’s tourism organization) and private sector stakeholders, and offers an extensive array of support, assistance and tools for both planners and attendees.
Qualifying exhibitions can receive marketing subsidies up to $17,000 which can be used for promotions, marketing, hosting delegates or buyers, and tours. The city has an array of outdoor signage and advertising assets which they make available to qualified exhibitors. In addition, subsidized, trained college interns are available to assist with registration, on-site guidance and escorting attendees from location to location.
Unique benefits for attendees include reloadable, prepaid travel cards which can be used for almost any local service including public transportation, taxis or even toiletries at the local convenience store. Convention attendees at the city’s COEX trade and exhibition center can make use of the on-site airport terminal allowing remote check-in and baggage drop for flights at Seoul’s Incheon airport. miceseoul.com