Modern, classic, and buzzing with a neon vibe, Seoul is one of the most spectacular cities in the world. With a friendly culture and brilliant food, it’s going to easily become one of your favorite places. However, you’ll be missing out on so much if you simply stick to all the tourist sites. While touring the ancient palaces tucked amid the towering skyscrapers, visiting the DMZ, and heading to the top of N Seoul Tower are all must-see attractions, you have to experience Seoul like a local. Here’s what you should do to make that happen.

Go to a singing room

One of the most popular things to do in Korea is norebang, which means “singing room.” That’s right, karaoke. Thankfully though, in Seoul, these singing rooms are private. You get a room to yourself with all your friends, complete with sound system and the whole nine yards. You can even get snacks and drinks delivered at the push of a button. How’s that for awesome?

Play for free

Most visitors have no clue about this place, but expats will all tell you Seoul Children’s Park is a fun (and free!) way to spend your day. It features a free zoo, botanical garden, and park. There’s also an amusement park that charges a nominal fee to ride the rides. It’s where many Koreans of all ages like to stay and play all day.

Go out like a Korean

If you make any Korean friends, you’ll get a true sense of Seoul nightlife. They’ll invite you along to go out to eat, probably starting at a Korean BBQ restaurant. There, while grilling your own meats in the center of your table, you clink glasses and drink plenty of beer and soju (a strong, clear alcohol much like vodka). Koreans never go out to drink without food. In fact, it’s frowned down upon. You’ll eat and drink there, and then your group will amble on to another place, perhaps a noodle joint or fried chicken place. Again, you’ll all order a few plates of food to share and drink some more. This keeps going on until it gets late, so be ready to eat and drink your share, and perhaps stop for some dancing at one of the many clubs.

Shop until you drop

Koreans love shopping, and who could blame them? It’s extra fun in Seoul too. The cosmetics are to die for, and so are the fashions. Some of the best stuff you’ll score is in the underground subway station malls. In particular, Goto Mall in the Gangnam Terminal (yes, Gangnam style) is among the best.

If you spend your time doing traditional touristy things and mix it up with these localized ways to enjoy Seoul, you’ll soon see why it’s one of the best cities you’ve ever been.

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