Seoul Plaza is an oval public space located in front of City Hall in the heart of the city. Once a traffic circle, it is now used for events and festivals. Originally, a large water fountain could be found in the center of the traffic circle, but it has since been removed.
Prior to 2004, the plaza, congested with traffic, was known as City Hall Plaza. In 2004, the area was renovated and became vehicle free. On May 1, 2004, the new plaza, renamed Seoul Plaza, was opened.
During the renovation, the fountain at the center of the plaza was removed and the oval area surrounding it was replaced with grass. The fountain was replaced with a sidewalk fountain that spurts water high up in the air through a number of holes in the ground.
Many protests have occurred at this location over the years including the Independence Movement in 1919, pro democracy movement in 1987, and the candlelight protest of United States beef imports in 2008.
In 2002, thousands of fans packed the plaza to cheer on South Korea in the World Cup. The South Korean team finished in fourth place out of 32 teams that competed.
Today, the plaza used to hold events such as the Hi! Seoul Festival and is enjoyed by tourists and locals as a place to relax and take a break from the fast paced city life.
At all hours of the day, especially on warm summer days, visitors to the plaza will find office workers relaxing with a cup of coffee during work breaks, tourist and locals with cameras around their necks snapping photographs, mothers with their children, and young couples on romantic dates.
In the winter, an ice skating rink can be found in the plaza. In the summer, the rink is replaced with grass full of people running around with their shoes off.