The 10 Best Things To Do In Gwangju

Gwangju, a vibrant city nestled in the heart of South Korea, is a treasure trove of culture, history, and mouthwatering cuisine. It’s a place where the past meets the present, and where every corner has a story to tell. If you’re planning a trip to this dynamic city, buckle up! I’ve got the inside scoop on the top 10 things you absolutely must do to make your visit unforgettable.

1. Dive into History at the Gwangju National Museum

First up, let’s talk about the Gwangju National Museum. It’s a cultural haven that showcases the rich heritage of the Jeollanam-do region. With artifacts that span thousands of years, you’ll be transported back in time. From ancient pottery to stunning Buddhist sculptures, each exhibit tells a unique tale of Korea’s storied past.

2. Pay Respects at the May 18th National Cemetery

For a poignant experience, the May 18th National Cemetery is a must-visit. It’s a solemn reminder of the pro-democracy uprising that took place in Gwangju in 1980. The site honors those who sacrificed their lives for democracy and human rights. Walking through the peaceful grounds, you’ll feel the city’s spirit of resilience and hope.

3. Revel in Art at the Gwangju Biennale

Art enthusiasts, rejoice! The Gwangju Biennale is an international art festival that’s held every two years. It’s a playground for contemporary art lovers, showcasing avant-garde works from around the globe. Whether you’re a critic or a casual observer, the innovative displays will leave you inspired.

4. Explore the Bustling Gwangju Jungang Market

Ready for a sensory overload? The Gwangju Jungang Market is where the action’s at. It’s a labyrinth of stalls selling everything from fresh produce to traditional Korean snacks. Don’t miss out on the street food – the hotteok (sweet pancakes) are to die for. It’s a feast for the eyes and the taste buds!

5. Take a Hike up Mudeungsan Mountain

If you’re itching for some nature, Mudeungsan Mountain is your go-to spot. The trails range from leisurely walks to challenging hikes, leading you to breathtaking viewpoints. Once you reach the Summit, the panoramic views of Gwangju and beyond are simply spectacular. It’s the perfect way to escape the city buzz for a while.

6. Unwind at the 5.18 Liberty Park

For a dose of tranquility, 5.18 Liberty Park is a serene oasis. It’s a beautiful green space dedicated to the memory of the May 18th uprising. With its lush gardens and reflective ponds, it’s an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll or a quiet moment of reflection.

7. Experience Traditional Korean Culture at Yangdong Market

Yangdong Market is a cultural gem where you can experience the traditional Korean way of life. It’s one of the oldest markets in Gwangju, brimming with history and charm. Here, you can sample authentic Korean dishes, shop for handmade crafts, and soak in the lively atmosphere.

8. Catch a Performance at the Gwangju Culture & Art Center

Looking for some entertainment? The Gwangju Culture & Art Center is the place to be. It hosts a variety of performances, from classical concerts to modern dance shows. The center is a hub for artistic expression, and there’s always something exciting on the calendar.

9. Savor Gwangju’s Culinary Delights at Chungjang-ro Street

Foodies, take note! Chungjang-ro Street is Gwangju’s culinary hotspot. It’s lined with restaurants and cafes serving up local specialties. Whether you’re craving Korean BBQ or something sweet, you’ll find it here. Make sure to try the tteokgalbi, Gwangju’s famous grilled short rib patties.

10. Get Creative at the Uijae Museum of Korean Art

Last but not least, the Uijae Museum of Korean Art is a haven for creative souls. It celebrates the work of Heo Baek-ryeon, a renowned Korean painter. The museum is not only a showcase of beautiful art but also a source of inspiration for aspiring artists.


  • What’s the best time to visit Gwangju?

    Spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) offer pleasant weather, making it ideal for exploring the city.

  • Is Gwangju tourist-friendly?

    Yes, Gwangju is welcoming to tourists, with plenty of English signs and helpful locals.

  • Can I get around Gwangju using public transportation?

    Definitely! Gwangju has an efficient bus system and a subway that connects major attractions.


Gwangju is a city that’s full of surprises. From its rich history and culture to its stunning natural landscapes, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a history buff, or a food lover, you’ll find your niche in this South Korean gem. The 10 best things to do in Gwangju that I’ve shared are just the tip of the iceberg. So, pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready to fall in love with Gwangju. Trust me, it’s a journey you won’t forget!

Remember, this list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a fantastic starting point for anyone looking to experience the essence of Gwangju. Each activity offers a unique perspective on this dynamic city, ensuring that your visit is as enriching as it is exciting. So, when you’re planning your trip, keep these must-do activities in mind, and you’re sure to have an incredible time exploring all that Gwangju has to offer.

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