To ring in the new year I have compiled a list of the top
20 must-sees and must-dos. Of course, the REAL list doesn’t
stop at 20. Show me what other Daegu gems you can find when you complete this
one!! Let’s get right to it.
1. Geumgang Station Rail Cafe
This train café sits right next to the station where it used
to operate at. From 2005 to 2013 Geumgang Station was in full operation but was
forced to close its doors due to low demand. Instead of getting rid of the
train carts, the city decided to make a unique café out of them. At first
glance, it looks like a movie set or something out of a cartoon. Nonetheless,
you’re in for a unique experience at the Geumgang Station Rail Café.
Located in Nam-gu (southern district) is a kids’ park dedicated to the raging reptiles that once roamed Earth hundreds of millions of years ago. The bright-colored plaza is enjoyable for everyone and there are some actual footprints on the riverbed. Kids can learn about the different species and pretend to excavate fossils. And of course, no dinosaur park is complete without 3-D trick-eye art and T-Rex photo zones.
This cultural art space was selected as a government pilot project through a plan called ‘Creation of Culture and Art Creation Belt Utilizing Regional Modern Industrial Heritage’ in October 2008. Once the location of an annexed tobacco manufacturing warehouse, the building was turned into a center for cultivating creations to establish cultures and expand Daegu’s artistic infrastructure. Artists from South Korea as well as abroad have had their arts on display here.
4. Daemyoung Performance Arts Street
Daemyoung Performance Art Street is like a small pocket of
dreams. Home to a plethora of artistry, including game producers, art center
organizers, musicians, and theatre actors, this alley near Keimyoung University
Daemyoung Campus has created a culture center as the base for performance arts
in Daegu. There are also plenty of cafes and bars to make a perfect scene for
live music and busking at night.
Kim Gwang-seok. Kim Kwang-seok. Kim Gwang-suk. Kim Kwang-suk. There are so many ways to romanize his name, but if you mention it to anyone in Daegu, guarantee they’ll know exactly who you’re referring to. His smiling face is one of the most recognized sights when it comes to Daegu tourism. Not only is this cultural street one of the 100 must-go places designated by the Korea Tourism Organization, his song titled ‘Although I Love You’ was re-made into Swedish by singer Andreas Sandlund.
Bullo-dong Tomb Park boasts as the first tomb park in South Korea and it is Historic Site #262. Even though it's quite easy to miss from the main road, once you see it for yourself, you’ll know how big it is. From the main parking lot, it doesn’t seem like much, but there are more than two-hundred tombs that have been unearthed. In order to retain the original forms done by ancient civilizations, they have been restored and put on display like so.
Mabijeong Mural Village is quite different than what you would expect. It’s a traditional farming village that depicts life from the 1960s and 1970s. Looking at the quiet walkways, you may think that it’s just a wall art village, but there are actually still folks living in some of the old homes. Everything from the A-frame (a back frame made from logs to carry sacks of rice or wood), the old well, and random farming tools laying around were used by real people long ago. The artist who did all of the paintings is named Lee Jae-do. He started in May 2012 and completed the entire village in about 3 months.
Samunjin Tavern Village is a small deck where three traditional taverns were built to give visitors a view of what Korea used to look like. The ground covering the area of the tavern village isn’t very big, but the history it holds makes it seem grander than it is today. The first piano to ever touch Korean soil arrived here on the Nakdong River in March 1900. Speaking of Nakdong River, why don’t you take the ferry ride and enjoy the riverside view.
There are many wonders that sit at the summit of Biseul Mountain. This is definitely one of the hidden gems if you’re up for a journey. It is located in a smaller town outside of Daegu named Hyeonpoong. You better hop on the city tour bus to get here unless you want to spend a couple of hours on the public transit. Nonetheless, no matter how you get here the view from the top will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
Apsan Mountain isn't the tallest mountain in the city, but it is one of the top attractions. It offers dozens of sceneries like a pine cone forest, rope trails, a dinosaur-themed path, and a cable-car leading to a panoramic view of the city. Whether you’re on a date or by yourself, the observatory deck is perfect all year round, especially at night time.
11. Ok Yeon Lake/Song-hae Park
This park on Okyeon Lake named after famous MC Song-hae, has gone through so many renovations over the years that it is now one of the best recent attractions. You’ll easily spend a couple of hours here between walking the bridges, going trekking, resting near the windmill, or admiring the petrified wood. And the huge water wheel is one of a kind!!
12. Daegu National Museum
If you’re looking to study history about Daegu and the Gyeongsang province, this is the place to be. You can learn about ancient funeral rites, brass dragon heads, wedding attire from the Joseon Dynasty, the introduction of religion to Korea, how the Gyeongsang province got its name, armor used in battles, and much more. A total of about 1,300 items are on display that date back all the way to the Prehistoric Era.
13. Line 3 Monorail
If there’s one feature that makes Daegu stand-out from the other large cities, it’s definitely the monorail. There is a different feeling from riding the underground train. Time seems to fly by faster as you gaze over the streets and neighborhoods. If you’re up for the challenge how about starting from Chilgok and ride all the way to Suseong Lake!!
14. Seomun Traditional Market
Everything you need is here: furniture, fresh fruits, stylish clothing, comfortable shoes, fresh coffee, plants, medicine, you name it. You don’t even have to buy anything; just wandering around and getting lost in the small dark alleys is enjoyable itself. Why don’t you challenge yourself to see how much food you can buy with only 10,000 won? Or better yet, go see the night market where dozens of food vendors roll out their food carts!
15. The ARC
The ARC is definitely one of the most unique landmarks in the city. Even at first the glance, it doesn’t even look like anything that came from Korea. That’s because the architect behind it is Cairo-born Hadi Rashid. His inspiration behind the design looks like a whale, a fish, or a skipping stone. It’s up for you to interpret it! This artistry of river culture is the central meeting point of the Nakdong River and Geumho River, the two main rivers that run through the city.
This old abandoned train station was recently transformed into GOMO Platform 208. As you head inside the small museum, you’ll find old conductor clothing, station operating equipment, records, and other relics that were used when the station was in operation from 1925 until the 70s. Gomo Station is nicknamed 'the station of tears’ because from here, parents had to see their children off to military and training camps during the Japanese occupation and Korean War.
Palgong Mountain is the tallest peak in Daegu, so you know what that means. The cable car that operates to and from sends you soaring high about the skyline to a breathtaking view of the landscape. From here, passengers can enjoy refreshments, photo zones, and walking trails.
Dodong Seowon Confucian Academy was recently registered as a UNESCO World Heritage in the summer of 2019. With its traditional architectural designs, it is a classic portrayal of Korean Confucian academies. Even the walls are considered national treasures. If you want to see for yourself, the best route is to take the city tour bus.
19. Daegu City Tour Bus
Speaking of city bus, there are various themed tours available. Each course has its own designated theme that takes passengers to different parts of the city and the outskirts. Some of the locations include the hard-to-reach ones like Dodong Seowon, Biseul Mountain, and Song-hae Park. The guides are all knowledgeable and will help you answer any questions you have. In addition, many of them are proficient in Japanese, Chinese, and English, too.
20. Annual Daegu Chimac Festival
Last but not least is the annual Chimac Festival. If you aren’t familiar with chimac, it means ‘chicken and beer’. This festival is 5 days of non-stop partying, music, performances, chicken and beer, and games to entertain everyone. It’s also family-friendly, so no one will be left out.