Celebrate the New Year at the World Trade Center Seoul
Looking for a unique way to celebrate the New Year? Visit Korea’s biggest digital display at Coex K-pop Square in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul.
As 2023 -- the Year of the Black Rabbit -- approaches, the country's largest multiplex cinema chain CGV and Korea International Trade Association are showcasing a 3-D animation video, featuring giant rabbits.
Samseong-dong in Seoul, where Coex K-pop Square is located, was declared Korea’s first free outdoor advertising zone in 2018, turning it into Korea’s "Times Square" with large LED screens placed throughout the area.
The giant rabbit appears every hour with special messages -- wishing a happy new year, hoping to stay healthy and love each other. The character interacts with the message and entertains visitors by popping up from Korean drawstring bags, exercising in the gym or coming out together as a rabbit couple.
Visitors can enter a lottery by making an Instagram post featuring a photo of Coex’s rabbit-themed outdoor screen. The prize is a CJ voucher, total value yet to be announced.
Detailed information can be found at the official Instagram of CGV OOH.
The media facade is scheduled to run through Jan. 31, 2023.
Make leather goods over coffee
Christmas is a day for giving presents, but how about dropping by a craft shop to make something for yourself?
A remodeled hanok space since 2020, Folki, located near Gyeongbokgung Station, operates as a cozy cafe and craft leather shop.
Stepping into the cafe, you will notice a variety of vintage wooden furniture and leather goods on display.
The craft shop is located on one side of the space, but depending on the number of participants, workshops can also be conducted at the cafe.
Register for a class by sending a direct message to the Folki's official Instagram account, with the item you wish to make -- from a simple car key case and watch straps, to card holders and wallets. Workshop reservations can be scheduled any time during the cafe’s opening hours, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., including weekends.
Kim Hyun-tae, FOLKI's owner and leather crafter, also welcomes foreign visitors to come and join his classes.
"I have studied English in the UK, and learned leather crafts in Japan, after studying the basics in Korea.” Kim told The Korea Herald. "We actually have customers from many different countries. Sometimes they come for a cup of coffee or tea and end up enjoying the leather craft workshop even more."
Each workshop is about two hours and 30 minutes, according to Kim.
Prices vary from 50,000 won to 150,000 won, depending on the selected item and design.
Holiday vibe fills Gwanghwamun
If you are looking for a place to enjoy the holiday spirit, visit the Gwanghwamun area for a lantern festival, Christmas market and museum show of traditional Korean paintings.
Before enjoying the lantern festival at night, you can visit the Ilmin Museum of Art located near Gwanghwamun Square beforehand, and view the exhibition “Korean Traditional Painting in Alter-age.”.
The exhibition explores how Korean paintings have evolved through works of 13 contemporary artists and the museum’s collection of traditional Korean paintings by Kim Jeong-hui, known as the father of Korean calligraphy and painting, and Ko Hui-dong, Korea’s pioneering painter who applied western painting techniques to his paintings.
After viewing the exhibition, the 14th edition of the Seoul Lantern Festival takes place in Gwanghwamun Square for the first time. The square is packed with a Christmas tree and giant rabbit lantern in celebration of the upcoming “Year of Rabbit.” You can grab snacks from vendors who have set up shop around the square.
If you have some time on your hands, drop by “Win-Winter Festival,” a Christmas market at Yeorlin Songhyeon, in Songhyeong-dong east of Gyeongbokgung. A huge lounge dome resembling an igloo has been set up as a cafe. Vendors sell snacks and merchandise as well as offering activities, including tarot card reading and calligraphy. The market will be run until Dec.25 and is open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends and from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays.