There are plenty of good reasons why South Korea is so high up on most travellers bucket lists. While this beautiful country has so much to offer tourists in its popular destinations like Seoul, Jeju Island, and Busan, visiting the bustling city of Daegu should definitely be added to your travel itinerary.
Being the third largest city in South Korea, there are so many fun things to do in Daegu. This city blends traditional history and culture with modern metropolitan charm in order to create a destination that is well worth the visit.
Located in the North Gyeongsang Province, Daegu is surrounded by breathtaking mountains and beautiful temples. This is a bustling city with a rich history. With so much going on in the city, planning the perfect trip can be overwhelming. Here are my top things to do in Daegu, South Korea for the ultimate visit.
What To Do In Daegu Korea
There are so many interesting things to do and see in Daegu. Whether you want to learn about history, experience the unique Korean culture, marvel at natural beauty or take on some adventure, you can find it all in Daegu. Here are some of my favourite things to do in this city.
1. Apsan Mountain
Daegu is surrounded by incredible mountains, with Apsan mountain towering right above the city. Summiting this peak is one of the most rewarding experiences for any visitor to the area.
From the top of Apsan mountain, you get the most breathtaking views over Daegu and the surrounding areas. It also features an area for colourful locks – very popular in Korea – and good for photos!
The best way to experience this is to climb up to the top. The walk up should take between one to three hours, and will have any nature lover in their element. Once you have soaked up all of the views at the summit, you can take the cable car down for an enjoyable descent.
A great way to get to Apsan is to use the City Bus (see below). There is a specific stop for Apsan on the route. From the Apsan bus stop, it is a 10-minute walk up to the cable car station. There are water and toilet stops on the way. There is also a decent coffee shop at the base of the cable car – the restaurant at the top didn’t look as appealing.
Purchase the ticket just near the entrance to the cable car. The cable cars run every 15 minutes on weekdays and it takes just 5 minutes to get to the top. The best views can be gained from turning right when you exit the cable car to the observatory.
2. City Bus Tour
Experience the best Daegu attractions with a city bus tour. Hopping onto the double-decker bus for a city tour will have you pass all of the best things to do in Daegu. You will get to see many interesting sights around the city on this convenient bus tour.
Hop on and off at attractions such as Kim Kwang-Seok Road, E World Duru Park, Suseong Lake Resort, Modern Culture Alley, and many more. This is a fantastic way to experience the city easily and efficiently. Also, they all speak English and were extremely helpful.
The bus also offers discounts for other activities and there is Wifi on board.
If you’re staying at the Novotel there is a stop just in front of the Crown Bakery.
3. Seomun Market
A trip to Daegu would not be complete without a visit to its largest traditional street market – Seomun Market. This market has over 4,000 shops and is the ideal place to pick up something to remember your trip here.
Whether you want to buy some of the area’s famous fabrics and textiles or are looking for delicious local foods and treats, Seomun is the place to go. There really is so much on offer here, and a visit will give you invaluable insight into the culture and bustle of this city.
4. Kim Kwang Seok Street
Daegu is a city alive with culture, and a walk down Kim Kwang Seok Street is one of the best ways to soak this up. This is a mural street named after the country’s famous musician that used to live here.
The street has a 350m-long wall covered in murals depicting the singer’s life and music. There are also famous statues here. If you are lucky enough to visit in autumn, you could catch one of the annual Kim Kwang Seok singing competitions!
The murals are in all sorts of different, often pastel, colours and very photogenic. There is often someone playing the music of Kim Kwang Seok and lots of cute cafes and shops.
The street is in the Bangcheon market area, which is a fantastic place to spend some time browsing the shops and appreciating the local neighbourhood.
5. Medicine Street
Medicine Street, located in downtown Daegu, is a fascinating place to learn all about Eastern traditional medicine. You can buy unique healing plants, such as ginseng, at the Yangyeomngsi market. Then there is the Herbal Medicine museum which is an interesting place to learn all about the differences between Eastern and Western medicine.
This is a great place to learn about an important piece of South Korea. I recommend a herbal water footbath to top off your experience on Medicine Street!
⇒ Heading to Japan? Check out my post on the Nakasendo Trail.
6. Day Trip to Jeonju
Take a trip to the centuries-old city of Jeonju for a truly cultural day out. There really is so much to experience in Jeonju – a must-visit destination in the country.
You can learn all about local cuisine through the many different food and wine stalls – this city is gastronomical heaven. The Jeonju Traditional Wine Museum can teach you all about the areas of rice wine production and history.
Jeonju is also the home of the classic Korean dish bibimbap. There are a lot of Bibimbap restaurants in Jeonju. We chose to visit Hanguk Jip– serving bibimbap in Jeonju since 1952 and still run by the same family.
It is best to have the complete traditional experience which means sitting on the floor and having your bibimbap served in an extremely hot stone bowl. It also comes with an insane number of side dishes.
There is a 15th-century Gyeonggijeon shrine with portraits of former kings which is worth a visit. Omokdae and Imokdae are ancient hilltop pavillions which provide some of the best views of the surrounding area.
Without question though the most fun thing to do in Jeonju is to join the locals and hire some classic Korean fancy dress!!! A key thing to do in Jeonju is to hire classic Korean costumes and then wander the streets being instagrammed in front of the classic buildings.
We were the only westerners doing this and it was great fun! We also gave much amusement to the locals. The fabrics aren’t the most breathable so about 20 odd minutes of this is more than enough.
The old town area itself is filled with lots of cute shops and cafes and many Hanok houses which offer homestays.
Jeonju also has an art village outside of the old town called Jaman Mural Village. It is necessary to cross the main road and walk up a very steep hill to access it. Jaman Mural Village is covered in murals and has several cute cafes and is very photogenic.
A bus trip from Daegu to Jeonju can take between 2 1/4 and 3 1/2 hours depending on which bus you choose. And what a bus! It was very luxurious and so comfortable!
7. Daegu Arboretum
If you love beautiful natural spaces, then a visit to the Daegu Arboretum is a must. This is such an enjoyable way to break away from the busy city around you and enter into a calm, serene urban garden.
The arboretum is incredibly well-maintained, with the most breathtaking flowers, fountains, and trees surrounding you wherever you go. This is an ideal place to spend an afternoon walking around and enjoying the natural beauty and peace.
8. Buy K Beauty Products at the Many Beauty Shops
Korea is famous for its beauty products, as skincare is taken very seriously here. Before leaving Daegu, be sure to stock up on some of the best quality local beauty and skincare products from the city’s many famous beauty shops.
Some of the best brands to get while in Daegu would have to be Dr. Jart +, Blosson Jeju, Sulwahsoo, Skinfood, TonyMoly and Missah. You will feel truly amazing after using some of these products!
Olive Young is a drug store/pharmacy which stocks a range of the K beauty brands and a good place to start if it feels a bit overwhelming! Lotte is the main department store in Korea and also has a good range of products.
All of the well known K Beauty brands have stores in Dageu – most in the central part of town. Look out for the hottest new ingredient trend – it was all about beeswax when I was there! Also, when you purchase they generally give you loads of fantastic samples which is great!
The Koreans are world masters in face masks so look out for some of these. And the prices are very low compared to what you would pay for similar style beauty products elsewhere in the world.
While we’re in shopping mode, I recommend Art Box for the cutest of Korean kitsch –, particularly for stationery.
Read my other posts about Korea:
9. Daegu Art Museum
When looking for Daegu things to do, a visit to the art museum is an absolute must. This municipal art museum showcases some of the country’s finest and most impressive artworks.
The well-curated exhibition halls are filled with modern and contemporary art. There are all kinds of interesting planned exhibitions on various important topics. If you are interested in art and culture, then a visit to this enormous triple story art museum should definitely be in your Daegu itinerary.
10. Suseong Lake
The perfect way to break up your time in the busy city is through a visit to the peaceful Suseong Lake. This lake is one of the most beautiful in South Korea, and it offers an ideal setting for a lazy day.
Have some fun paddling around in the swan boats, or witness one of the impressive fountain shows. There are well-kept walkways around the lake for a scenic walk, as well as a small amusement park to keep the children entertained.
11. Experience the Daegu Coffee Scene
South Korea is famous for its vibrant cafe culture, and Daegu has got to be one of the best places to experience this. This city is loaded with artisan coffee shops offering all kinds of amazing food and brews.
These coffee shops are seriously trendy and full of life. If you are looking for the best place to go to experience just how good the Daegu coffee scene is, I would recommend a walk down Dongseong-Ro for some of the most buzzing cafes in the city.
Paris 16 does a good coffee and an even better brunch.
Enjoy your coffee with real cats and dogs at Yanggun Munggun. Of course, there are separate rooms for cats and dogs. The animals just hang out wherever they would like – including next to sewing machines which is a bit random. All very Korean!
12. Donghwa Temple
This temple was built by the Monk Geuk-Dal in A.D. 493. The ancient Buddhist temple is an amazing place to learn about local religion and culture. There is an interesting history behind this temple, and it has become quite an iconic aspect of the city.
Besides learning, a visit to Donghwa Temple will show you some of the most beautiful architecture in Daegu. This is a rewarding stop for any visitor.
Where to Eat in Daegu
A visit to South Korea would not be complete without loads of delicious food! This city has a lot to offer on the culinary side, and it is important to experience just how good the local food can be. Here are some of my favourite restaurants in Daegu.
Located on Gongpyeong-ro, Hi Thai serves up some of the best Thai food in the city. If you are looking for amazing green curry, or shrimp pad thai, then this is the spot to go. The food is made with fresh local ingredients, and it focuses on traditional Thai flavors. A must-visit for any hungry traveller.
Any trip to Korea is not complete without feasting on the delicious local food, and this has got to be one of the best places to do that. Affordable, always busy, and utterly delicious, Geumgok Samgyaetang is a must for anyone wanting to taste some of the best flavours of Daegu. The ginseng chicken is a definite highlight.
Pan is a trendy spot in Myeongdeok-ro serves up some of the best vegetarian and vegan food in Daegu. The menu is very health focused and offers some quality gluten-free options. The menu is loaded with all kinds of interesting flavours, and the staff is super friendly too.
Snowpea is an absolute gem if you really want to treat yourself. This special restaurant serves up some of the best sushi in the city, with an interesting menu. The food is fresh and made with love, while the beer and sake list is long and varied. If you love sushi, then be sure to head down to Jungang-daero to find Snowpea restaurant.
Located alongside the river at Dongdeok-ro, Mentawai is a top choice for a local feast. Experience the flavors of Daegu at this stylish restaurant. The food is fresh, the atmosphere is welcoming, and the service is excellent.
A great Korean Mexican fusion find! Vasco also had an absolutely delicious grapefruit ade drink which I highly recommend trying.
Where to Stay in Daegu
Whether you want luxury, basic comforts, or a fun and quirky hotel, Daegu has it all. Here are some great places to stay when visiting the city.
Novotel Ambassador Daegu
Conveniently located in the heart of the business, shopping, and entertainment district, Novotel Hotel Ambassador is an ideal home base for any visitor to the city. The rooms are clean, modern and equipped with all the comforts that you may need.
The staff speak quite a bit of English and are extremely helpful. This is worth its weight in gold in Korea as they can let your taxi driver know where to go, give you helpful information etc. There is a pool on the 8th floor and a lovely terrace bar that has some decent wine on offer.
The Novotel Ambassador Daegu offers pretty good value for money, considering the kind of quality accommodation you are offered. With the central location and well-maintained rooms, it will be the perfect base for your city visit.
Across the road from the Novotel is a small park. The streets on each side are good for exploring for coffee, shopping and restaurants. There is also a Crown Bakery very close to the hotel which I recommend for snacks.
February Boutique Hotel Apsan
February Boutique Hotel Apsan is a really fun little hotel with themed rooms and a great atmosphere. Besides the lovely decor and fully-equipped rooms, the boutique hotel is centrally located with so many brilliant shops and amenities nearby. This is a really good value hotel for a perfect trip to Daegu – you will seriously love staying here.
Hotel Inter-Burgo Daegu
If you are looking for a clean and comfortable hotel that will allow you to make the most out of your stay in Daegu, then the Hotel Inter-Burgo is a wise choice. With its own gym, spa, bar, and restaurant, you will be well taken care of here. The riverside location is excellent and very close to many top attractions.
The Grand Daegu Hotel
The Grand Daegu Hotel offers quality accommodation in an easily accessible part of the city. The rooms are clean, well equipped, and completely comfortable. The hotel itself has some useful amenities and is close to many good restaurants and coffee shops. Centrally located, well maintained, and offering solid value, this hotel is a smart choice for any kind of visitor to the city.
Final Thoughts on Daegu, South Korea
If you are visiting South Korea and want to experience all that the country has to offer, then Daegu should definitely be included in your trip. Daegu attractions are vast and varied, with something on offer for every traveller.
Whether you love food, history, culture, nature, adventure or bustling city life, this place has it all. I hope that if you enjoy these places and activities as much as I did, as there really is so much to experience and enjoy throughout this wonderful city!
Who Paid for What in this Article
I covered all the costs when I visited Korea. However, if you click through on the links in this article and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. Just wanted to make sure that you knew.
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