Things to do in Daegu: The Unexplored Gem of South Korea's Travel Scene
Updated: Jul 30
Nestled in the heart of South Korea lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered: Daegu. While Seoul and Busan (and now even Jeju) often steal the spotlight, Daegu quietly boasts its own unique charm, cultural richness, and vibrant energy. This unexplored city offers a plethora of attractions, from fascinating historical sites to bustling markets, tranquil parks, and a thriving food scene. Join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of Daegu and reveal why it deserves a spot on every traveller's itinerary.
Tell me more about Daegu
Daegu, often referred to as "Daegu Metropolitan City," is a bustling urban hub located in the southeastern part of South Korea. As the fourth-largest city in the country, it offers a vibrant blend of history, culture, and modernity.
What is special about Daegu?
Daegu is renowned for its thriving education sector. The city is home to several prestigious universities and academic institutions, attracting students (and expat English teachers!) from all over South Korea and beyond. If you like Hongdae and EWHA in Seoul, the presence of these educational institutions in Daegu adds a youthful and dynamic energy to the city's atmosphere.
Not only is the city young, I also think that it is a shopper's paradise! Because of how dense the city is, Dongseongno street is the heart of it all. You can find everything there from traditional markets to modern shopping complexes and boutiques!
The only not-so-good thing about Daegu? Don't go there during Summer as it is often known as "Daefrica" for its hot summer as it is a basin or valley in South Korea.
How to get to Daegu, South Korea?
Getting to Daegu, South Korea, is relatively straightforward as it is well-connected to major transportation hubs. If you wish to fly into Daegu, the International Airport is just 5km away. And if you're travelling via high-speed train from Seoul or Busan, you'll likely stop at Dong-Daegu station. Some people may also choose to go luxe and take a chartered private car to Daegu.
Where to stay in Daegu, South Korea?
When visiting Daegu, you'll find a range of accommodations that cater to various budgets and preferences. Whether you're seeking luxury, convenience, or a more budget-friendly option, Daegu has plenty of choices. Here are a few recommendations on where to stay in Daegu, along with some notable hotels:
Daegu Accommodation: Dongseongno Area
The Dongseongno area is a popular choice for travelers due to its central location and vibrant atmosphere. Here, you'll find a mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Some notable hotels in this area include:
Hotel Inter-Burgo Daegu: This upscale hotel offers luxurious rooms, excellent amenities, and stunning views of the city. It boasts multiple dining options, a fitness center, and easy access to nearby attractions.
Eldis Regent Hotel: With its prime location, Eldis Regent Hotel provides comfortable rooms and modern facilities. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant, fitness center, and business center.
Rivertain Hotel: This mid-range hotel offers decor and modernity with a high-end experience. It is located walking distance from the Dongseongno shopping streets and just around, you'll find plenty of restaurants and bars!
DG House: This is for the budget traveller who wants a more authentic living arrangement. DG House is a loft apartment (very popular accommodation with Koreans and Koreans expats).
If you only have a day or two in Daegu, we highly recommend staying at Dongseongno! With Spark Land a walk away, it is a fun place to live in for families with young children.
Daegu Accommodation: Duryu Park Area
If you're looking for a more tranquil setting, consider staying near Duryu Park. This area offers beautiful green spaces and recreational activities like E-World Theme Park! The Hotel Inter-Burgo Exco is situated in the vicinity this upscale hotel offers luxurious rooms, stunning views of the city, and convenient access to the theme park. It features multiple dining options, a fitness center, and a business center.
Daegu Accommodation: Suseong Mot Area
If you prefer a more tranquil and residential atmosphere, staying in the Suseong Mot area is a great option. Located in the eastern part of Daegu, this neighborhood offers a peaceful setting and easy access to various attractions.
Daegu Grand Hotel offers spacious rooms, a fitness center, and various dining options. The hotel's proximity to the lake allows guests to easily explore the beautiful park and enjoy its tranquil atmosphere.
Hotel Susung Spa Resort: It is a more budget-friendly option near Suseong Lake. It provides cozy rooms with essential amenities and offers a convenient base for exploring the lake area and nearby attractions.
Staying in the Suseong Mot area, you'll have the opportunity to experience a quieter side of Daegu while still having easy access to amenities and attractions.
How to get around Daegu, South Korea?
Because Daegu isn't as wide and big as Seoul, the metro and buses are great ways to travel around the city conveniently.
Get around Daegu by Metro
Daegu has a well-developed metro system, known as the Daegu Metro. It consists of three main lines (Line 1, Line 2, and Line 3) that connect different parts of the city. The metro is efficient, reliable, and a popular choice for both locals and tourists. It offers a convenient way to travel to major attractions, shopping areas, and other points of interest within Daegu.
Get around Daegu by Bus
Daegu has an extensive bus network that covers the entire city. Buses are a cost-effective mode of transportation and offer an opportunity to see different neighborhoods and landmarks along the way. The buses are color-coded and numbered, making it relatively easy to navigate. Information boards and announcements on buses are provided in both Korean and English, making it accessible for foreign travellers. But if you want a more guided approach, the open-top hop-on-hop-off buses are only 5 USD.
Get around Daegu by Taxis
Taxis are readily available throughout Daegu and offer a convenient way to get around, especially if you prefer door-to-door transportation. Taxis are metered, and most drivers are familiar with major tourist destinations. It's recommended to have the destination address written down in Korean or use a translation app to communicate with the driver more effectively. Better still, download Kakao T so you can simply key in the address directly into the app.
Get around Daegu by Foot
Daegu is a walkable city, especially in areas with concentrated attractions like downtown and historic districts. Walking allows you to explore at your own pace and discover hidden gems along the way. The city provides well-maintained sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly areas, making it a pleasant experience to stroll around.
Get around Daegu by rental bicycles
Daegu offers a bicycle rental service called "Dalseo Public Bicycle" or "Tashu." You can rent a bicycle from one of the many rental stations located throughout the city. This eco-friendly option allows you to explore Daegu at your own leisurely pace and enjoy the city's bike-friendly paths and parks.
What are the things to do in Daegu?
There are many things you can do in Daegu, from city life to nature spots, this section we'll take you through the top spots in Daegu, South Korea!
Hike Apsan Mountain to Apsan Observatory
First up, we'd recommend that you embark on a hiking adventure up Apsan Mountain to enjoy the panoromic views of Daegu at the Apsan Observatory. The mountain offers various trails for different skill levels, making it a great option for outdoor enthusiasts. At the top, there's a little cafe where you can enjoy some simple foods and a cup of coffee - to reward yourself from all that hiking!
But if hiking is not your jam, you can also take the Apsan Cable Car and then hike just a little to reach the peak! Nonetheless, even with the cable car as a "hack" there is still lots of walking to do, so put on a good pair of walking shoes and enjoy the top of Daegu!
Experience the Modern Side of Daegu at E-World and 83 Tower
For a taste of modern Daegu, head to E-World and 83 Tower. E-World is an amusement park offering thrilling rides, colorful attractions, and panoramic views of the city. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel for a breathtaking perspective of Daegu's skyline. Adjacent to E-World, 83 Tower is a towering landmark that provides an observatory with sweeping vistas. And you must visit the toilets at the top of the tower! You can complete your business in full awe of the scenery!
Wander around Duryu Park
If theme parks aren't your thing, then you can head over to Duryu Park. It is located right opposite E-World and the expansive park offers a tranquil retreat with its lush green spaces, beautiful lake, and a variety of recreational facilities. You can choose to take a leisure walk, or rent a bicycle to explore the park's scenic trails, which wind their way through woodlands and alongside the shimmering lake. Duryu Park is an ideal spot for picnics, family outings, and outdoor activities, providing you with a refreshing break from urban life!
Relax at Suseong Mot
Another must-visit area in Daegu is Suseong Mot! Located in the eastern part of Daegu, Seseong Lake is a picturesque neighbourhood known for its peaceful atmosphere and scenic beauty. Because Daegu is a city that is completely inland, this tranquil body of water surrounded by lush greenery (and almost feels like a valley) is popular amongst even the locals. In the morning, you'll see many older koreans taking off their shoes and walking or jogging on the sand around the lake.
And at night, the restaurants and bars around Suseong Mot come to live! There are numerous food to try out, and even a water fountain show, where jets of water dance to synchronized music, creating a magical spectacle that delights visitors of all ages.
Explore the Colourful Seomun Market
Every Korean trip is not complete without a trip to the local markets. And Daegu's most popular market is the Seomun Market. This bustling marketplace is a sensory feast, with rows of stalls offering a wide array of goods, from clothing and accessories to traditional crafts and mouthwatering street food. Lose yourself in the maze of narrow alleyways, sample local delicacies like bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes) and dakgangjeong (crispy chicken), and experience the energy of this lively market. While you're there, check out also this Taekwondo Experience located near the market.
Arrived in Daegu too late? No worries, there's also the Seomun Night Market where you can feast to your hearts content!
Shop till you drop at Daegu's Shopping Streets - Banwoldang and Dongseongno
Get ready to indulge in a shopping extravaganza on Daegu's vibrant shopping streets. Start your retail therapy at Banwoldang, the city's most famous shopping district and continue towards Dongseongno Rodeo Street. Here, you can explore a plethora of fashion boutiques, department stores, and trendy shops offering the latest fashion trends and accessories. You'll also find your Olive Young here to stock up on all your beauty and make-up essentials.
From international brands to local designers, you'll find an array of options to suit your style. Don't miss the underground shopping malls - Daehyun Primall, which offer a treasure trove of shops and bargain deals. As you stroll along the bustling streets, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and discover unique finds!
This place is also the best area in Daegu to find the best foods and restaurants! Whether you want a western meal, or traditional korean cuisine, or k-bbq, you'll find them all here!
Indulge in Retail Therapy at Daegu's Vibrant Malls
If street shopping isn't your jam, then you can head over to the shopping malls. The city's most prominent mall is Daegu Hyundai Department Store. It is walking distance from Banwoldang, or just a few metro stations away. This sleek mall is known for its contemporary architecture, trendy fashion retailers, and unique lifestyle brands. You can even dine in a garden in the basement food court, or head up to the top floor for a wondrous cafe experience.
The other recommended mall is the Shinsegae Dongdaegu mall. This is the mall you'll see when you take the KTX from Busan or Seoul. Here, you'll find lots of international brands and even the Daegu Aquarium located on the top floor.
Go on a thrill ride at Dongseong-ro Spark Land
After all that walking and eating, you can head over to Dongseong-ro Spark Land to unwind. Here, the pay-per-ride model allows you to feel like you're in an amusement park without breaking your bank, and you can ride on the swing from the top of the building, or take the swinging wheel where you can take your thrill rides to the next level on top of Spark Land!
Immerse Yourself in the Musical Legacy of Kim Gwang-Seok Street
Pay tribute to one of Korea's legendary singer-songwriters by exploring Kim Gwang-Seok Street in Daegu. This vibrant cultural area is dedicated to the memory of the late Kim Gwang-Seok, whose heartfelt lyrics and soulful melodies touched the hearts of millions. As you walk along Kim Gwang-Seok Street, you'll be enveloped in streets adorned with murals depicting scenes from Kim Gwang-Seok's life and career, allowing you to step into his world and experience the essence of his music.
Browse through trendy shops and boutiques that showcase his influence on fashion and style. Explore the cozy cafes that play his songs, creating an intimate setting for fans to connect and reminisce.
Take a stroll across the historic Ayang Railroad Bridge
Immerse yourself in history and enjoy a picturesque walk across the Ayang Railroad Bridge, a beloved landmark in Daegu. This iconic bridge, also known as Ayanggyo, spans the Geumhogang River, offering stunning views of the surrounding natural beauty. Originally built in 1937, the Ayang Railroad Bridge served as a vital transportation link during the Japanese colonial era. Today, it stands as a symbol of Daegu's rich heritage and provides a unique recreational space for locals and visitors alike.
A great activity to do if you have more free time, is to go on a stroll or cycling trip along the banks of the Geumhogang river!
Go cafehopping in Daegu
Korean cafes are a must-see and even an attraction on its own. All cafe owners take pride in the location and spend lots of effort and money to decorate the space into a cosy spot. Whether you like industrial-themed ones, or something more eclectic, there's definitely a cafe that will suit your preferences.
Some of the cafes we'll recommend is Margaux Plain Ayang, Hands Coffee, and pangpangpang! And if you like Hanok-style cafe, hop into Mansion 5 or Starbucks Daegu Jongro Goteak!
The pastries in Korean cafes are also all AMAZING, definitely a must-do when you are in Daegu, or any part of South Korea for that matter!
Try Gopchang at Anjirang Gopchang Street
What's gopchang? It's actually a Korean delicacy consisting of grilled beef or pork intestines. Yes, you've heard that right, you'll actually be surprised at how tasty it is! I mean, they even have a street just for gopchang in Daegu.
As you step into Anjirang Gopchang Street, you'll be greeted by the tantalizing aromas of sizzling meat and the lively atmosphere of local restaurants. Take a seat at one of the many gopchang eateries and prepare your taste buds for a feast of flavors. The gopchang is expertly grilled to perfection, resulting in a tender and succulent texture that pairs perfectly with a variety of seasonings and sauces.
Don't miss the opportunity to try different variations of gopchang, including marinated options that are bursting with rich flavors. Indulge in the unique combination of textures and tastes as you sample the diverse cuts of intestines, accompanied by fresh vegetables, spicy kimchi, and steamed rice.
Should you visit Daegu?
Absolutely! Daegu, the unexplored gem of South Korea's travel scene, offers a diverse array of experiences that captivate visitors from near and far. From its rich history and cultural heritage to its vibrant markets, charming neighborhoods, and stunning natural landscapes, Daegu has something for everyone.
So, pack your bags and embark on an adventure to Daegu, South Korea's best-kept secret. Discover a city that blends tradition and modernity, where rich history meets contemporary innovation. Let Daegu surprise you, enchant you, and leave an indelible mark on your travel experiences. Unlock the secrets of this unexplored gem and create memories that will last a lifetime. Daegu awaits, ready to welcome you with open arms and reveal its hidden treasures.