Over the years, Seoul has secured a prominent position as one of the trendiest and most artistic cities in the world. With that said the art museums in Seoul have played an immense role in Seoul’s development into a cultural hub. They have served not only as an exhibition space but also as a community of art lovers and a source of inspiration. Here are the best art museums in Seoul for you to check out! 

*Please note that the museums’ opening hours may vary. Check the official museum website or social media for up-to-date opening hours before your visit.


1. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) was founded in 1969 as a state-owned museum to raise art and cultural awareness in Korea through exhibitions, educational research, and international exchanges. 

MCAA has four branches – two of which are in Seoul: the Deoksugung branch and Seoul branch. The Deoksugung branch is located inside the Deoksugung Palace, in the Seokjojeon Annex. Seokjojeon was considered the epitome of modernized architecture in Korea at the time it was built. Now it is used as a modern art museum in recognition of the edifice’s lasting cultural impact. 

The Seoul Branch is located near Gyeongbokgung Palace. Its location in the neighborhood of the ancient palace and the museum’s contemporary architecture create an interesting juxtaposition that is difficult to come by. 

Join MMCA National Art Museum & Korean Cuisine Half Day Tour!

Things to Do Around the Museum:

  • Deoksugung Palace, which is where MMCA Deoksugung is located, is the only palace that has incorporated Western-style buildings into its palace grounds. Visit Deoksugung with a tour guide who can tell you about the tragic history in regards to the palace and its royal residents. 

Opening Hours: 

  • MMCA Deoksugung – Tue, Thu, Fri, Sun: 10:00am~6:00pm / Wed, Sat: 10:00am~9:00pm / Closed on January 1st, Mondays
  • MMCA Seoul – Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sun: 10:00am~6:00pm / Wed, Sat: 10:00am~9:00pm / Closed on January 1st, Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day), Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day)

Address:

  • MMCA Deoksugung – 99 Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul
  • MMCA Seoul – 30 Samcheong-ro, Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

2. Daelim Museum 

 

Instagram에서 이 게시물 보기

 

대림미술관 | 디뮤지엄(@daelimmuseum)님의 공유 게시물님,


Daelim Museum is another modern art museum located near the Gyeongbokgung Palace. The museum first opened in 1996 as a photography museum in Daejeon before relocating to Seoul and expanding to different mediums of art. The museum has held exhibitions of world-renowned artists, such as the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, photographer Juergen Teller, and furniture designer Finn Juhl. 

Things to Do Around the Museum:

  • The Gyeongbokgung Palace is right across the street from the Daelim Museum. Visiting the two sites in one day can give you a good look at how Korea has evolved over the years. To fully immerse yourself in Korean heritage, click here to rent a hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) and stroll around the palace!

Opening Hours:

  • Daelim Museum – Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun: 11:00am~7:00pm /  Fri, Sat 11:00am~8:00pm / Closed on Mondays, Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) (*Last admission: 1 hour before closing time) 

Address:

  • Daelim Museum – 21, Jahamun-ro 4-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

3. D Museum

In 2016, Daelim Museum marked its 20th anniversary by opening D Museum in Hannam-dong, a luxurious residential area. In 2021, the D Museum moved to Seongsu-dong, a hipster area so-called the Brooklyn of Seoul. Click here for a complete guide on Seongsu-dong!

Things to Do Around the Museum:

Opening Hours:

  • D Museum – Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun: 11:00am~6:00pm /  Fri, Sat 11:00am~7:00pm / Closed on Mondays (Except April 1st & 8th), Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) (*Last admission: 1 hour before closing time) 

Address:

  • D Museum – 83-21 Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul

4. Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

Leeum Museum is owned by the global conglomerate, Samsung and it is located in Hannam-dong and was designed by the world-renowned architects, Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel, and Rem Koolhaus. The museum has two sections: Museum 1 and Museum 2. Museum 1 of Leeum mostly houses traditional Korean art, including 36 national treasure pieces. Meanwhile, Museum 2 is a space dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Its permanent collection contains artworks from legendary artists like Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Yves Klein, and Donald Judd. 

Perhaps the most principal area in the museum is the rotunda in Museum 1. A colorful hanging art piece created by a Korean artist, Jung-Hwa Choi, drops down through the snow-white rotunda. If you are looking for an extensive art collection in Seoul, the Leeum Museum is the place to be. 

Things to Do Around the Museum:

Opening Hours: Tue~Sun: 10:00am~6:00pm (*Last admission: 30 mins before closing time) / Closed on Mondays, January 1st, Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day), Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day)

Address: 60-16 Itaewon-ro 55-gil, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu


5. Seoul Museum of Art 

Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) is operated by the Seoul City Council and the building in which the main branch of the museum is located was previously occupied by the Supreme Court of Korea before the relocation of the court. The museum is within walking distance from Deoksugung and the stone-walled path that leads from Deoksugung to SeMA is one of the most beautiful streets in Korea. The museum carries a large collection of masterpieces created by prominent Korean artists such as Nam June Paik, Ufan Lee, Seobo Park, and Whangi Kim. SeMA also plays a big role in promoting young Korean artists through means like financial support, professional consulting, exhibition promotion, and residence programs. 

Things to Do Around the Museum:

  • After getting a close look at the artistic culture of Korea at SeMA, go to the nearby Jeongdong Theater to watch The Palace ‘Jang Nok-Su-Jeon’ Show, a traditional Korean performance that encompasses decorative and musical aspects of ancient Korea. Click here to grab your tickets right now! (Temporarily N/A)
  • If you are looking for unique activities near City Hall Station, which is close to the Seoul Museum of Art, check out a sand art class!

Opening Hours: Tue~Fri: 10:00am~8:00pm / Sat,Sun: 10:00pm~7:00pm (March~October), 10:00am~6:00pm (November~February) / Close on Mondays, January 1st

Address: 61 Deoksugung-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul


Art museums in Seoul have had a defining presence in the city’s unique culture. For more attractions in Seoul, don’t forget to visit Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop!

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