20 of the best Things to do in Daejeon South Korea
Welcome to our guide on the very best things to do in Daejeon, South Korea. For some reason, Daejeon has earned a reputation of not having much to do. As the sixth largest city in the country, with a growing population, we’re here to tell you why that really isn’t the case!
We spent two weeks exploring this beautiful city and have assembled a list of our 20 favourite attractions. Daejeon is much unlike the more popular places to visit in South Korea; Seoul and Busan. It has a very local atmosphere, a variety of both city and countryside attractions, and some excellent cafes and restaurants. You won’t find many tourists here, but in our opinion, that’s a good thing.
Read our list of things to do in Daejeon and start planning your own trip to the city. We highly recommend visiting for at least one week!
Gyejoksan Mountain Red Clay Trail and Gyejoksan Fortress
Undoubtably, one of the most unique things to do in Daejeon is the Gyekoksan Mountain Red Clay Trail. This scenic mountain trail is excellent for long walks in nature, sitting at one of the highest points in the Daejeon area. What makes it extra special is the soft red clay that makes up the walking trails on the mountainside. The park rangers have used a machine to wet the clay, creating a softened ground that’s therapeutic to walk on. Strolling across the clay massages your feet and promotes good circulation.
At one of the highest points of Gyejoksan Mountain, you’ll find the towering Gjejoksan Fortress. It’s a challenge to hike up to the fortress but it’s well worth it for the stunning countryside views. We recommend hiking up the mountain trail in shoes and then returning to the base walking barefoot on the red clay.
If you’re looking to experience Daejeon’s nightlife, shopping and dining district, head to Daejeon Skyroad in the city centre. As an attraction in itself, the Skyroad is surrounded by karaoke bars, photo booths, cool cafes and plenty of shopping options. It’s the living and breathing heart of Daejeon!
We recommend visiting Daejeon Skyroad on an evening to see the attraction lit up in its full glory. Look up at the ‘road like’ structure above the main street and you’ll find hundreds of LED panels joined together to create a series of special effects, advertisements and animations. It’s something that you wouldn’t have seen anywhere else in the world, not just South Korea. Walk the full length of the Skyroad to experience the different screen transitions and then go wherever your evening takes you…
Yuseong Foot Spa and gardens
Yuseong is a suburb of Daejeon that sits next to the old town area of the city. It’s a place that is quickly becoming one of the best places to stay and live in the city and it has a number of new attractions. The Yuseong Foot Spa is one of them! Bathe your feet in the warm water of the many foot spas and enjoy plenty of circulation and relaxation benefits. It’s a completely free experience that’s popular with both locals and tourists.
Along the stretch of outdoor foot spas in Yuseong, there are a number of unique art exhibitions and park benches. We recommend going for a long walk along the full stretch of the exhibit before giving your legs and feet a rest at the foot spa.
Hanwa Life Eagles Baseball Stadium
One the absolute best things to do in Daejeon is to attend a baseball game. It was one of the highlights of our entire trip! If you didn’t know already, baseball has a huge following in South Korea, with all the main cities playing host to a local team. Daejeon’s very own ‘Hanwa Eagles’ admittedly aren’t one of the best teams in the league, but they’re on their way up and are improving.
Attending Hanwha Life Eagles Park for a game is not just about the baseball either. It’s about the experience! The sport has an electric atmosphere with plenty of singing, chanting and dancing. There’s also the food, which is a major reason to attend a baseball game in South Korea. Unlike the west where stadium food and drink is way overpriced and bland, baseball stadium food is on another level here. Expect beer, fried chicken and even full meals at street food prices. The selection on offer is seriously impressive!
Booking tickets for a baseball game is also very affordable, so even if you’re not a fan of the sport, we encourage you to give it a try.
If you want to enjoy some peace and quiet away from the busy city, head to Daecheong Lake and eco-park. Daecheong is a man-made lake reservoir that was built in 1980 to boost local fresh-water supplies. It’s actually the third largest lake in South Korea and appears just like any lake that has formed naturally. With scenic views, a number of walking spots and some quaint outdoor cafes, it’s a great place to explore in half a day.
We recommend hiring a car and driving around the south-east section of the lake, stopping at each viewpoint. Go for a long walk by the lakeside on one of the woodland trails or hire a rowing boat to see the lake away from the shore. It’s a great activity for a warm summer’s day! One of our favourite things to do at Daecheong Lake is to dine with a view from Pangsion Café. This Italian restaurant is perfect for a special location and boasts some of the best views in Daejeon.
Cheongnamdae Mansion is a former presidential villa that has been preserved and transformed into a museum for the public. The sprawling grounds and rooms of the building have been used by 5 of South Korea’s former presidents and a number of important meetings have taken place here. In addition to learning about its rich history, a key reason to visit Cheongnamdae is to get a glimpse at its grand interior and grounds.
Grand tables, furnishings and hallways can all be seen within the mansion. You then have the outside area, which is surrounded by neatly manicured gardens, seasonal trees and a forest walking trail. The mansion’s countryside location and grand façade is well worth visiting if you fancy a day-trip out of the city. See it alongside Daecheong Lake; they’re right next to each other.
One of the top things to do in Daejeon is a visit to its famous bakery. A bakery you say? This isn’t just any bakery… Sungsimdang bakery is famous throughout the country for its exquisite bakes, pastries, sandwiches and cakes, offering some of South Korea’s best bakery products. Inside the shop, you’ll find locals on their lunch break on the hunt for a tasty sandwich. You’ll also find tourists, eagerly filling their baskets with treats.
We recommend visiting Sunsimdang for a takeaway lunch sandwich and snacks. Red bean buns, bread rolls and miniature cakes are all worth trying. It’s also worth noting that there are two Sunsimdang bakery locations that sits across the road from each other. One specializes in bread products; the other stocks cakes and specialist pastries.
Jangtaesan Recreational Forest
Located just south of the city, Jangtaesan Forest was one of the most beautiful places we visited during our time in Daejeon. Featuring tall evergreen trees, a stream and plenty of tranquil forest scenery, a walk through Jangtaesan will relax your body and soul. It’s not just a forest, either! The recreational park has been transformed with a number of manmade wooden bridges, platforms and even a suspension bridge.
The walkways are a unique way to see the forest in all its beauty; from the ground below, up to the tree canopy. One of the walkways is a spiral ramp that takes you up to a raised viewing deck. It’s perfect for spotting the local wildlife! Aim to spend a couple of hours exploring the forest.
Jungang Market is one of the top things to do in Daejeon for lovers of walking markets. They’re everywhere in South Korea and Daejeon’s Jungang is one of the best in the city. Located right next to the Skyroad we mentioned above, it’s a central hub for locals doing their weekly shop. It features indoor and outdoor stalls, with goods ranging from clothing, accessories and apparel, to grocery foods and plenty of snack options.
Be sure to pay Jungang Market a visit when exploring the centre of the city. It’s a good place to have a cheap lunch-on-the-go. You might find a cool accessory or item of clothing you like the look of, too!
Jungangno Underground Shopping Mall
Are you looking to shop ‘til you drop during your time in Daejeon? For affordable fashion and accessories, head underground to Jungangmo Mall and you’ll find rows-upon-rows of independent shops. Underground malls are a popular place to shop in most South Korean cities, providing affordable options and unique options for clothes versus the department stores and international chain stores.
Jungangno Underground Shopping Mall stretches hundreds of metres between metro stations. So much so, you can quickly get lost and spend hours browsing the shops beneath the city! Even if you don’t fancy buying anything, walking around Jungangno is a fun experience and one of our favourite things to do in Daejeon.
Expo Park, bridge and fountain show
Expo Park is a central research park in Daejeon that celebrates all things science. It has research facilities, but also features a number of attractions for the public. Stop by the campus and you’ll instantly see the first attraction, Expo Bridge. This cool bridge lets you cross the river with ease and is lit up in a bright array of colours on an evening. There’s also Expo Hanbit Tower, a futuristic-looking building with a viewing deck and restaurant at the top.
Our favourite aspect of Expo park is the fountain show, which takes place every evening. The show is a bright collection of neon lights and fountain streams that dance to the music as you enjoy some street food. When we visited, Expo park was host to a beer festival and a number of food stalls. There’s always something going on here so be sure to check the event calendar on the official website before you visit.
Hanbat Arboteum is one of the most picturesque things to do in Daejeon. Just a short walk from Expo Park and bridge, this beautifully designed garden is full of colourful plants, walkways and architecture. It’s a place where you can escape city life for a morning or afternoon stroll. Some of the top things to see in the botanical garden include a pretty flower bed with a corridor of arches, a lake with a traditional temple structure and a number of wooden walkways. There’s also a winding path that leads you up to a viewpoint of Daejeon city centre.
Hanbat Arboteum is one of the top-rated places to visit in Daejeon on TripAdvisor and we highly recommend paying the park a visit. It’s completely free to enter and there’s a diverse array of gardens and attractions to see.
National Science Museum
Also in the Expo Park area, the National Science Museum is a must-see attraction in Daejeon if you have children. It’s packed full of unique science attractions, ranging from space, our planet and the animal kingdom, to technology of the future and educational cartoon characters. The interactive element of the museum is excellent for young children and it’ll keep them entertained for hours. Even some adults might enjoy the variety of things to see here.
Aim to spend a few hours exploring the National Science Museum. You can see the museum, along with Expo Bridge, Expo Hanbit Tower, Expo fountain and Hanbat Arboteum in one action-packed afternoon.
Visit a trendy coffee shop
Coffee, coffee, everywhere… Unique drinks, and especially coffee, is huge in South Korea. Cafes are seemingly on every street corner and it’s rare to see someone without their favourite beverage in their hand. Whilst in Daejeon, we highly recommend checking out some of the local coffee shops. There’s the chain cafes like Holly’s Coffee and A Twosome Place, but you’ll also find some unique, independent options.
Stop by Cafe BlessRoll is a trendy dessert café on the edge of town. It has a captivating collection of ice creams, cakes and drinks and its interior is very cool. You then have Café Interview, which is just along the riverside. Interview has scenic views of the river as you enjoy your drink and is a great date spot.
Daejeon O World
If you’re looking for a super-fun place to visit in Daejeon, why not visit the local theme park? ‘O World’ is the city’s answer to the famous Lotte World theme park in Seoul and Busan, but on a much smaller scale. Themed around animals, fairy-tales and animated characters, O World has a number of attractions to enjoy. It caters towards families, but adults will still find a few fun rides to check out.
Admittedly, Daejeon O World is a fairly mediocre theme park. However, the wacky theming, affordable ticket price and unique appeal of a theme park make it one of the best things to do in Daejeon for those that fancy doing something a little different.
If you want to experience an authentic, local market in Daejeon, head to the old town area to the north-west. The Yuseong neighbourhood is home to a long-standing walking market that’s rich in history and tradition. Dating back over 100 years, the locals will tell you that nothing has changed at this market in their lifetime. It’s a narrow street with bustling stalls on either side; all selling fruit, vegetables, seafood, meat or a range of apparel and accessories.
The market is on one long street so it’s easy to navigate. Spend an hour or so wandering around at your leisure, trying a few snacks and buying any cheap and cheerful goods that catch your eye. Whilst in Yuseong, you can also explore Daejeon’s old town. It’s full of old buildings, independent shops and affordable restaurants.
Located in the south of Daejeon, Ppuri Park is one of the city’s lesser-known attractions. Ppuri is a park nestled on the side of a river bend, featuring some beautiful river views, nature walks and a number of attractions. Some of the top things to do here walking through the gardens, crossing the suspension bridge or renting a swan-shaped pedal boat.
Visit Ppuri Park on an evening and you’ll see it lit up with neon lights and character displays. As it’s right next to Daejeon O World theme park, we recommend visiting the theme park during the day and then going for a late afternoon or early evening walk at Ppuri Park. It’s a nice place to be when the sun goes down.
Daedong Sky Park
Daedong Sky Park is one of the best things to do in Daejeon at sunset. Situated to the south of the city, the hill is a daily gathering spot for locals. Couples go there on dates to admire the view, and families enjoy a picnic as the sun goes down and the atmosphere is very unique. There’s not a lot in the Sky Park; it’s all about the amazing views of the city.
We recommend visiting one hour before sunset and finding a spot on a park bench. You can then watch the orange glow of the sun touch the skyscrapers of downtown Daejeon. Another popular thing to do at Daedong Sky Park is to stop by one of the hilltop cafes. The view from the rooftop terrace at 5%coffee is breath-taking.
City Centre shopping
Many South Koreans love shopping. Giant malls, department stores and all your favourite international brands can be found in all of the country’s city centres. What’s great about Daejeon is that most of the best shops are all in one central area. Head to the Daejeon Skyroad (as featured above) and you have a number of independent shops on either side of the walking street. You then have Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Zara and many more international brands just across the street.
A 10-minute walk from Skyroad, New Core Mall is a great place to stock up on Korean fashion brands. Combine the above with an underground shopping centre, a local market and lots of cafes, bars and restaurants and you have the perfect setting for some retail therapy.
Uam Historical Park
To experience some of South Korea’s rich history in beautiful countryside surroundings, stop by Uam Historical Park. As one of Daejeon’s few historical sites, it has preserved temple grounds, a stone bridge and archways. There’s also a few walking trails. There isn’t a great deal to see at Uam but the scenery is very beautiful and it’s a relaxing escape from the bustling city.
The attraction is just outside of Daejeon city and is easily reachable by car, metro or bus.
Thanks for reading our guide on the best things to do in Daejeon, South Korea. We hope we inspired you with some excellent places to visit and you can now plan your own trip. If you’re not from South Korea, you’ll soon find Daejeon’s lack of tourists and laid-back city atmosphere to be a breath of fresh air. Sure, it doesn’t have all the countless attractions of Seoul. But is it still worth a visit? It certainly is!
If you have a question about any of the places on our list, be sure to post a comment below. 😊
By RickyAuthor bio:
An adventurer at heart that loves anything outdoors. Beaches, mountains and amazing scenery is everything I love about travel! I also enjoy home comforts and need a nice place to relax and re-charge after every trip.