With Korea’s rapid growth over the past few decades and the concentration of resources in metropolitan areas, regional colors have grown less distinctive. Daegu is one exception. Instead of being influenced by Seoul-oriented trends, it has maintained its unique culture and history.
Also known as Korea’s Vienna, the city is home to the highest number of franchise cafes in Korea. You can experience its rich culture and try an assortment of local brands on a day trip or over a night’s stay. On the KTX, Daegu is only a two-hour ride away from Seoul, and it is less than an hour by plane from Gimpo—cheaper than taking the train.
Mt. Apsan Observatory
The Best Scenic View of the City
“Apsan” literally means “a mountain in front.” True to its name, the Mt. Apsan Observatory is a place where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. For a more unforgettable experience, you can time your visit around sunrise or sunset. At night, when the city becomes adorned with lights, this spot is popular among photographers. To get to the observatory, you can take a 15-minute cable car ride, or hike up for an hour or so. The latter choice will allow you to immerse yourself in the beauty of autumn.
Similar to Seoul’s Namsan Tower, the observatory has a railing covered with locks of love. If you’re visiting with a loved one, you will want to hang your own padlock as a symbol of immortal love. While you’re there, a good place to drop by is Apsan Park. It is the largest urban eco-park in Daegu, and offers a range of walking paths to choose from.
Kim Gwangseok-gil Street
Rising Back in Popularity
The late Kim Gwang-seok is still one of the most beloved singers in Korea. His hits are sung today by many people, both young and old. Next to Bangcheon Market, where he used to live, is a mural street themed on Kim Gwang-seok’s life and songs. The murals feature his lyrics, and his songs are being played over speakers. On Kim Gwangseok-gil street, you cannot help but sing along while paying tribute to the legendary singer.
Until 2010, the market was quite deserted. It was once the most popular in Daegu, but stores closed down one by one following the opening of supermarkets and department stores. The merchants worked together with artists to create the murals, and the vacant stores were rented to artists at affordable prices. This gave birth to a unique market that fuses culture and the arts. The old songs have bounced back in popularity, and patrons are returning once more to the street. You will discover a new charm with each step you take.
Daegu National Museum
A Walk With Your Family
The Daegu National Museum, small but satisfying, houses artifacts of Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province. It is some distance away from Dongdaegu Station, so you might have to skip it if you’re on a tight schedule. Praised by many as the perfect spot for a family outing, the museum is highly recommended especially if you’re with young children. The learning center next to the main exhibition hall provides the opportunity to draw your own picture and play traditional games. Also, the auditorium screens family movies in the afternoon every weekend.
The three regular exhibition halls are the Ancient Culture Hall, Medieval Culture Hall, and the Textiles & Clothing Hall. They feature various artifacts dating from the prehistoric ages to the Joseon era. A must-see at the museum is the gilt-bronze crown, influenced by Goguryeo (northern part of the Korean peninsula from 37 BCE to 668 CE) and thus rarely excavated in the south. If you’re there, drop by the library, and take a walk in the small outdoor park.
A Favorite Resting Place of Locals
The view at the lake is beautiful regardless of the season, but fall is undoubtedly the best time to visit. You will be greeted by foliage and reeds swaying in the wind. While taking a leisurely stroll, you can even spot wild animals every now and then. When the weather is good, there will be a fleet of duck boats cruising on the lake.
At night, the lake takes on a different mood. The boats and walking trails light up, adding to the mystical atmosphere. A fountain show runs from May to October, but stops temporarily during cold weather. If the walk has left you feeling hungry, you can drop by any of the nearby cafés or restaurants. With every place highly rated by locals, it is hard to make a wrong choice. Don’t forget your wallet if you want to pick up some great food on the way.