Seoul Olympic Park on Seoul-si Songpa-gu Bangi-dong was specifically constructed for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but was also used for the 1986 Asian Games. Now that these important international games are decades over, people still come here for concerts, wedding pictorials, special events, jogging, strolling, and visiting the many facilities within the park.
Seoul Olympic park covers a wide 1.4-million square meter area with a lake, large grassy field, vast wooded park, reproduction of two historical sites, an art square (Olympic Sculpture Park) with a number of sculptures (more than 200 pieces), and a variety of competition facilities that were used during the international games but are still perfectly functional today. These facilities include an Olympic velodrome, fencing gymnasium, gymnastics area, tennis courts and an indoor Olympic-size swimming pool. There are also non-competition facilities such as the Seoul Olympic Museum, Mongchon Fortress, Olympic Parktel Hotel, Olympic Hall, World Peace Gate, Korea National Sports University, and the SOMA Museum of Art.
The SOMA Museum of Art is a well known arts and culture museum that is over 3,300-square meters wide. The museum has two exhibition floors that are divided into five exhibition halls, as well as a Video Art Hall. There are a drawing center, seminar room, studios for art education, event areas, and other important amenities. Also, the SOMA hosts a number of events throughout the year and runs art education programs, specifically the Art Academy for children and adults. There are regular events for children during Children’s Day, special night exhibitions, movie screenings, and special presentations. The museum itself is a work of art. The structure is a modern building that makes use of natural, environment-friendly wooden elements.
Founded by the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation (KSPF), the SOMA Museum of Art is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. except on Mondays, Lunar New Year and the Day of Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving). Admission fees are 3,000 won for adults, 2,000 won for teenagers and 1,000 won for children; for group tours consisting of 20 people or more, 1,500 won for adults, 1,000 won for teens, and 500 won for children.
Other than the SOMA Museum, an important structure within Seoul Olympic Park is its iconic World Peace Gate. This is the first thing to see when coming in from the subway station. It is an imposing arch, 24 meters high, 37 meters wide and 62 meters long, and in the middle sits the Olympic flame that is still ablaze today. The World Peace Gate symbolizes hope and peace using traditional Korean architecture.
With so many reasons to visit Seoul Olympic Park other than its original intention, the park still actively receives visitors and holds both sporting and non-sporting events on a regular basis. The park is still very much alive and relevant, unlike other Olympic parks and stadiums in other countries where the summer games were held. To get to the park by subway, get off at the Mongchon-toseong Station, Line 8, Exit 1 and simple walk to the park’s Gate 3 or 4. When coming in by bus, take Bus #340, 3412 or 3413. Admission to Seoul Olympic Park is free.