Traveling to Seoul is traveling to the heart of K-Pop! If you are looking for opportunities and chances to fully experience Korea in the shoes of a K-pop fan, here’s a list of places you can go to. Rumor has it that you might spot some of your favorite idols with your own eyes in these places if you are lucky!
One of the must-do things in Seoul is to visit your favorite K-pop idols’ workplace: the entertainment companies. While it is rather hard to spot an idol here as they all go into the company through the underground parking lot, it is still cool to be able to see their workplace. The surrounding areas of these companies are usually filled with restaurants and cafes that artists have visited in the past so you can see their signatures if you visit. These places also hold events for artists such as for their birthdays so you’ll be able to see posters and other related things to them.
Here are some of the top entertainment companies to visit:
SM is home to big names like Super Junior, Girls Generation, EXO, Red Velvet, NCT, Aespa, and the list goes on. This new SM building is located right next to the Seoul Forest so it has an amazing view. The sad part is that SM no longer has public spaces where fans can go in and enjoy the K-Pop experience. Their previous exhibitions and cafes have all been closed until further notice.
The only physical public space that SM fans can go to for now is the SM Store they have located at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. There, you will be able to find goods, merchs, posters, and some life-size cutouts of NCT.
JYP is home to other big names like 2PM, Twice, Stray Kids, Itzy, Day6. Similarly to SM, their new building is very close to a big park called Olympic Park. With a nice view and a nice quiet area surrounding the building, you can take pictures outside the building or even take a walk nearby afterwards.
YG is home to iconic artists like Big Bang, 2NE1, Winner, iKon, Black Pink, Treasure. The building is located near Hongdae so there is a big shopping strip that you can walk to after you take pictures outside the building.
YG also has their own cafe located right across their building with tons of merchandise and coffee and foods as well for the public.
HYBE is one of the biggest rising labels in Korea and is home to iconic artists such as BTS, Seventeen, ENHYPHEN, TXT, Zico, NU’EST. It is rather hard to spot any artists here as it is so heavily guarded but the good news is that HYBE is the only company at the moment that has a museum open to the public called HYBE Insight.
HYBE Insight is a museum located in the basement of the HYBE building where fans can go in to see the behind the scenes of some of the work their artists go through and fans also get to see some exhibitions and displays. Fans have to reserve ahead of time through the app called WeVerse and pay around $20USD for the entrance fee. Make sure you bring headphones as it is a guided tour and wear a K94 mask as it is required.
If you’re interested in seeing idols in person, the best bet is to go to a music show recording. While you might not be able to get into the actual show recording for all of them, the good news is that you can spot idols going into the buildings and out of them sometimes. Here’s a list of the music show recordings:
Location: SBS Prism Tower, Sangam-dong (상암동 SBS 프리즘 타워)
If you really wish to go see a music show recording, your safest bet is to secure tickets through these two different websites (Trazy & KoreaTravelEasy) that guarantee your entry to the show. The tickets are around $85USD but sometimes they give discounts so just keep an eye out.
Location: CJ E & M Center, Sangam-dong (상암동 CJ E & M 센터)
M! Countdown works on a first come first serve basis so many fans start lining up early in the morning at 5AM or even earlier to get tickets.
Location: KBS Broadcasting Hall (KBS 신관 공개홀)
Sign up for a foreign account through this website when you are actually overseas as it tracks your IP address.
Besides going in to see the actual recording, many fans just wait outside the door near the convenience store to get a glimpse of their idols getting off the car to go into the building or when they get off work and need to go back into their cars.
Location: MBC, Sangam Broadcasting Station (MBC 상암 공개홀)
In order to go to Show! Music Core, you have to first register as a foreign fan through this website. Similar to all other shows, you need to register when you are overseas.. You can later sign up to watch the show on Thursdays. Fair warning, the page is only in Korean so you might need a friend or Papago if you are unfamiliar with the language.
Location: SBS Dongchon-dong, Broadcasting Hall (SBS 등촌동 공개홀)
Inkigayo is based on a lottery system for tickets. You can sign up for an account here. Make sure to keep an eye out on when the lottery opens up so that you can enter it. Fair warning that it is very competitive and it is hard to get tickets.
If you travel to Korea at the right time, you might be able to enjoy concerts from different artists. A good time to go to Seoul is in the summer around June and July where most of the artists will either have comebacks, showcases, or concerts.
If you are lucky, you might be able to spot other celebrities supporting their friends performing on stage during concerts.
At the end of the day, you are in the same country as other K-Pop artists so you might just get lucky and be able to spot them hanging out with their friends or just walking around!
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