Lights stay lit after Christmas: Seoul City Hall
February 5, 2008
World of Travel is a new column by staff writer Pfc. Bo Park. It will contain different travel tips, and you don't have to travel the world to enjoy them. Often we are constrained by money, but you can still make the most of your time in Korea. You can then say you've been there and done that (at least some of it!).
Usually when Christmas lights stay lit long after the New Year, they soon look tired and tacky. However this is not the case near the Seoul City Hall when I rediscovered the delights of the area recently.
'Lucevista' means festival of lights in Italian. They celebrate the religion of the Saints. The Seoul City Council uses it to promote their popular public display of the light towers. They are not necessarily Christmas lights, as there is no particular characterization of the holiday. No pictures, no words, just thousands of eye-blinding vibrant light bulbs. The color and the size of the towers are enough to make a tourist attraction on its own.
What is more, is that there is an ice rink as well. It may not be the ice rink in Central Park in New York or Somerset House in London, but the ambience it creates is just as romantic. It sits right in the middle of bustling roads with the city hall in front and Seoul Plaza Hotel in the back. The square is full of people taking pictures and standing in long lines for very civilly priced ice rink tickets.
Originally Seoul City Council was going to take it down during the first week of January along with the display in Cheonggyecheon area. However, due to the surging number of visitors from in and out of Seoul, the city council decided to keep the display in the City Hall Square until Feb. 10, despite its electricity cost of $5,000 per night.
The only possible downside to this is that there are a lot of kids. I mean, we all love kids, but it can be a bit much when you are trying to skate on the ice and enjoy the atmosphere.
I still had fun skating though there was a mad rush of children who are half as tall as I am. So do keep in mind that there are many little ones to look out for.
So why not visit Seoul City Hall this Saturday evening and take a walk around the city and get entertained for free'
How to get there: From CRC and Casey, go to Uijeongbu Station and Dongducheon Station and travel on the dark blue line #1. Get off at City Hall Station and use exit #6, then it's right in front of you. It takes 55 minutes on the metro from Uijeongbu Station.
From Camp Humphreys, go to Pyeongtaek Station and travel on the line #1 to City Hall Station. It takes 1 hour and a half from Pyeongtaek Station.
Hours: The lights will be lit from dusk until midnight. The ice rink opens from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekdays and until 11 p.m. on weekends. Tickets for the ice rink are sold hourly for 1,000 won. Skate rentals are for free, but skaters must wear gloves.