Cheonggyecheon is a popular public recreation space right in the middle of downtown Seoul. It is located within walking distance from Gyeongbokgung Palace and starts right near Gwanghwamun Plaza. That means it’s located very conveniently next to a ton of sightseeing destinations.
Cheonggyecheon has only been around in its current form for about ten years and is the result of a massive urban renewal project and replaced a busy highway. You can find out more about its interesting history and mixed reception at the Guardian.
You can follow the stream for about 7 miles on its way through Seoul. It’s a fantastic spot to relax after a busy day of sightseeing, work, or whatever else you’ve been up to. I’ve talked before multiple times about one of my favorite things about Seoul being how easy it can be to escape the super-busy and hectic city (which of course is also fascinating, but can be a bit much at times). Cheonggyecheon is another such oasis. Even though it is quite popular and thus busy, it boasts a very relaxing atmosphere. You can take a nice walk unobstructed by traffic, or just sit down and let your feet dangle in the water for a while.
I’ve visited Cheonggyecheon many times throughout my time in Seoul and developed a bit of a routine. I would explore Gyeongbokgung and/or Gwanghwamun, maybe eat lunch at Tongin market, and then make my day down to the origin of the stream, Cheonggye Plaza. After relaxing at the stream for a bit, I would start strolling down. There are many worthwhile attractions along the stream that I’ve talked about previously. Insa-dong is fantastic, Changdeokgung is not too far removed, and so on. Another favorite spot of mine was Gwangjang Market, where I would usually get a smoothie, drink it at the stream, and start to head back.
I’m not sure I ever made it all that far past Gwanjang market. I kind of regret never walking alongside the entirety of the stream until it makes its way into the Han river. I’m sure there’s more interesting stuff to see along the way.
Experiencing Cheonggyecheon at night is also a worthwhile experience as there are a bunch of cool light shows and other displays.
And that’s all from my travels in Seoul! I still have a bunch of stuff from Korea left to cover, but who knows when or if I’ll get around to it. If I don’t, then let me stress again that visiting Korea was an unforgettable experience and I can’t recommend it enough.