Written and photographed by Stephanie and Ryan Hedger
Hidden just beyond the line that divides Seoul from Gyeonggi-do is one of our favorite places in all of Korea. The Anyang Art Park is unlike any other park we’ve found in Korea, and it’s a place we find ourselves returning to whenever we get the chance. Filled with enough art, food, and entertainment to easily fill a spring, summer, or autumn day, the Anyang Art Park is an unsung oasis for those weary of the typical destinations of Seoul or the greater Seoul metro area.
For those lucky enough to visit the Art Park during the high heat of summer, make sure to wear sandals and (for those spirited individuals out there) a swimsuit. Though mostly frequented by children and their parents, the cool waters of the river flowing through the middle of the Anyang Art Park are especially inviting during the sweltering days of South Korea’s summer months. As an added bonus, at a wide point in the river is a sculpture that moves and sprays jets of water in different directions to mist and entertain visitors. Apart from the cooling effects of the water itself, the river has been decorated with art and modern bridges. By water or by land, the central river of the park acts as the glue that bonds all of this area’s unique and intriguing elements together.
True to its name, the Anyang Art Park is filled with tasteful, yet intriguing art installations of varying mediums. A walk in the woods will reveal mirror mazes, hybrid animal sculptures, and exciting areas for groups to lounge and enjoy nature. Along the river, you’ll find walls covered in flowers year-round, man-made waterfalls, and the visually stunning Anyang Peak. The peak is a modern sculpture that climbs asymmetrically into the sky to provide wonderful views of the Art Park as well as the towering peaks of the nearby Gwanak Mountains. It’s hard to go more than a minute or two in this area without stumbling upon some other artistic element, and they are often as practical as they are aesthetically pleasing!
Food and Drink
Hungry travelers, rejoice! The Anyang Art Park is littered with enough restaurants and cafés to satisfy even the most discerning visitor. At a hanok-style (traditional Korean style house) restaurant near the river, we have had some of the most satisfying kimchi-jeon (Korean kimchi pancake) we’ve ever found. Traditional restaurants in this area are the most common sights, with no chains whatsoever. The best restaurant in the area, in our opinion, is located on the right side of the main street after you cross the river. Named “Pokposu,” this restaurant is split between regular floor tables and plastic tables and chairs situated in a man-made, shin-deep, slow-moving river. With your feet in cool water and delicious food on the table, Pokposu is required dining for all who visit this park in the summertime.
Truly an area with something for everyone, the Anyang Art Park is filled with shopping for anyone with energy left after exploring the more notable installations. Being nestled in a valley surrounded by some great mountains and hiking trails, it will come as no surprise to most people that the area is loaded to the teeth with hiking and camping stores. After outfitting your next expedition, be sure to eat at a camping-themed restaurant to recharge your shopping batteries for visiting some art and pottery shops before sunset.
This park might just be a revamped and rejuvenated version of the Anyang Resort, which was popular in the 1970s, but it is also an amazing departure from the ordinary in Korea. For the nature lover who finds him- or herself trapped in the confines of city life and looking for something new, the Anyang Art Park is an oasis of relaxed atmosphere, art, nature, food, and entertainment. Found near Gwanak Station on Line 1 near Anyang, a trip to this park just might be the perfect destination for escaping the heat of summer.
Ryan and Stephanie have lived, traveled, and worked in South Korea since 2013. Based out of Yeosu, they are the duo behind Hedgers Abroad, their blog, which documents their lives through photography, videos, and shared stories. They freelance in their spare time and are on the road constantly.