Getting off the Ground Floor

There are those days, everyone has them. Where the street life gets a little too loud, the job a little too boring and the ceiling feels like it’s falling in on your head. With over 10 million souls making their way in Seoul, the city can feel a little too crowded and I really start to understand the term “concrete jungle”.

I call these days, weekdays.

So when Saturday arrives, impossibly late and apologizing for making me wait, I grab my camera and get off the ground floor. Here’s to getting above it all, and taking a breath.

N. Seoul Tower (or Namsan) is one of the most easily accessible and best spots in Seoul to go to in the Spring or the Summer. Located just up the street from the shopping mecca Myungdong, the Seoul Tower gives you  a 360 degree clear view of most of Seoul and the Han River that calls it home.

Take in the sights, watch the outdoor live shows (sword fights, drum shows, etc.) and enjoy the summer breeze. I head up here once a year or so in the summer just so I can remember what it’s like to take a breath.

Just a few stops away by subway and you’ll find yourself at the 63 Building. Formerly the tallest building in Korea, the 65 Building is impossible to miss. The facade is decked out in reflective gold and it stands (from basement level to top) 65 floors. The highest floor is home to an art gallery which is great but the view definitely steals the show.

Honestly  the art show kept most of my attention right until dusk when the city around you shows just how beautiful she really is. When I saw the sun go down, it was like watching the city slip into a little black dress. Head up here at night, get a seat on a window sill, and remember that everyday is like this to someone.

In Seoul, the Han River is crossed by no more than 23 different bridges. Some of these are accessible by foot while others would require some legwork and a loose interpretation of the law. Any one of these bridges are a great place to capture the city when it comes alive at night. The top spots are occupied by the Sunyoodo Park Bridge (the only foot traffic bridge) and the Cafe Aritaum which overlooks the previous bridge and the island.

The Han popular with photographers and you’ll always run into at least one person with a camera no matter where you are on the Han. My favorite time is just before dawn when the inhabitants might be well asleep but the city’s wide awake.

These places aren’t the only places to get photos of the cityscape and make your way off the ground floor but they’re some of my favorites.

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