When I officially found out that I was going to be moving to Daejeon, Korea the first thing I did was try to search about fun places to hang out, cool coffee shops, and good restaurants. However, as Daejeon is much smaller than Seoul and there are significantly fewer international people living here, the amount of information available in English was quite limited.
Learning the in’s and outs of a city is something that takes time, and I’m very thankful that I have a lot more of it, because even after a year there are still lots of places I still need to explore better in Daejeon.
But I am now armed with about a years worth of knowledge of this city, so I thought, for anyone might be interested that I’d try to compile some kind of rough guide to the different areas in Daejeon and what’s good in them.
This is BY NO MEANS comprehensive and, if anything, is more of a reflection of my personal relationship with the city. But regardless I think it might be helpful.
So without further ado, here are the places you need to know in Daejeon, South Korea.
1. Dunsandong (둔산동)
Dunsan is the area in which I probably spend most of my time. As it’s only a few bus stops away for me and a relatively central location in the city so it’s very easy to meet up with friends there for dinner, drinks, or coffee.
Dunsandong, in my mind, is separated into two halves divided by the main road. On one side is city hall and the area surrounding it, and the other is Galleria Department store and the area around it.
When meeting up with friends in Dunsan, Galleria Department store is often used as the point of reference for where to meet. Between the higher end shopping in Galleria and some of the younger, cheaper, trendy fashion shops, there is shopping to be had for every price point.
If I’m ever in Dunsan during the day on Saturday I will almost certainly run into a few of my students.
As far as coffee and food let me list some of my favorites.
On the Galleria side:
크러쉬온드 Crush on Drinks: This was one of the very first cafe’s I went to in Daejeon. It’s located right behind galleria department across the street from the walkway between Starbucks and Gap. I usually just end up there if I can’t think of anywhere else to go because it’s kind of loud. However, somehow, after having visited there many times over the last year I managed to miss out on the fact that they have a really cool downstairs area.
The upstairs is just kind of your typical industrial style corporate feeling cafe, but downstairs is a lot more eclectic. If you go to this place I recommend trying to get a seat downstairs.
어저스트 Ajust: This restaurant/bar is a bit hidden but on a little alley right off the main street in Dunsan where all the food and shops are. If you’re not looking for it the entrance might be easy to miss because the door to go inside is actually a vending machine. Although to be fair it’s hot pink and has a neon sign with the name across the top, so not really that easy to miss. But it’s cool.
Inside is cool as well. It feels a little bit like a basement or something that’s stark but cozy at the same time. They do pizza and beer and they do the pizza pretty darn well. It’s new so this may change in the future, but as of now it’s always a good bet because they usually have lots of seating.
오마셰 Omache: Aka every foreigners go-to brunch spot in Dunsan. I wouldn’t even say it’s necessarily the best. It’s just reliable, cute, and the staff are super nice.
And because they get a lot of foreigners it’s maybe a little more comfortable than other places around. When the weather is nice they have a patio that’s cool to sit outside on. I like their smoothies!
Next we have The Cave. And it only occurs to me as I write this that I don’t actually know what this place is called. We just call it “the cave.” Sometimes “the wine cave” which is another mystery since we’ve never had any wine there. Any way it’s really close to Adjust. The entrance looks pretty much like what you’d expect it to then you walk down stairs into the basement, take your shoes off, and sit down on the floor somewhere. The floor is heated.
크래프트 피피 Craft PeePee: Come for the funny name, stay for the good beer. Which is how we ended up making this a regular place during our first 6 months here.
They have lots of different kinds of western craft beers and while I will, without fail, order a blue moon, my more enlightened friends get to try lots of different ones.
By virtue of having foreign beers they get a lot of foreigners too, so the staff can speak English pretty well if that’s a concern for you!
Plus we just like this place a lot. Go there if you get the chance 🙂
온 더 스킬렛 On the Skillet: This place is relatively new and really good. It’s your basic Korean BBQ but it comes out on a skillet.
Cool slightly nicer place to try out. It’s located more towards Galmadong closer to Craft PeePee.
On the city hall side:
꽃다방 Flower Coffee: This place is so sweet and tiny and I don’t think we’ve ever seen anyone else inside at the same time as us.
I’m pretty sure you can also buy flowers here so go ahead if you need to kill two birds with one stone!
이크 EEK: This place sprung up pretty recently and is really good food. Some of the best western food I’ve had in Daejeon. And the price is reflective of that, but still it’s nothing too crazy. The style is an interesting combination of things as each corner of the restaurant seems to have a different concept
2. Eunhaengdong (은행동)
Eunhaengdong is considered the “old downtown” of Daejeon. It’s here you can find the biggest underground shopping area, some traditional markets, and is very close by Daejeon station as well. It’s a bit of a hike for me to get over to that side of the city, but as most of the cool cafe’s in the city are over there, I end up doing it pretty often.
알로하녹 Alohanok: Okay I guess to be fair this isn’t technically in Eunhaengdong but if asked I’m pretty sure everyone would say that’s where it is. It’s in the old downtown area. And you should absolutely check this place out if you around there! It’s on the other side of the main road from most of the things in Eunhaengdong but worth the little walk.
It’s a hanok, traditional Korean house, style cafe and the interior is incredible. You can check out my full post on that cafe here!
3. Daehungdong (대흥동)
This is my favorite area of Daejeon. Located adjacent to Eunhaengdong it’s very easy to do both of them at the same time. Most of the time when people are talking about places in Daehungdong they’ll just say Eunhaengdong because they’re right next to each other.
Where as Eunhangdong big and flashy, Daehungdong feels very small and quaint but trendy at the same time.
There is a girls high school located kind of in the middle of the neighborhood so it’s pretty easy to just figure out where things are in relation to that.
Basically all of my favorite things in Daejeon are here.
처치앤댄스홀 Church and Dancehall: I did a full post on this cafe also. It’s very trendy recently and for good reason. The coffee and scones are really good and the interior has some really cool minimalist white vibes.
초록지붕 Green Gables: This is a restaurant/cafe with all kinds of different food. From pasta to donkatsu. The inside is cool but when the weather is nice, sitting outside under the big tree and the lights is the best!
불란서삼겹살: I’m not sure what the English name of this place is, I usually call it France BBQ place because it is a Korean BBQ restaurant inexplicably decorated with French stuff.
Regardless the food is really good, unlimited meat and it’s actually good quality. Something to be wary of with lots of unlimited places. And the staff is really nice!
카페 비돌 Cafe Bidol: Or as we call it, “cat bar.” This place is really unique. The inside doesn’t feel like Korea at all and there can often be found a black and white cat lounging on the bar.
You’ll know it by the jeep parked outside. The upstairs half is also an art gallery that always has some interesting stuff.
하이드아웃 Hideout: Another favorite of mine. This place is really tiny but super cozy. They’re known for their cakes and the hideout latte which has honey in it.
If you go at a busy time it can be hard to find a seat, but it’s worth a visit nonetheless.
모모제인 Momo Jein: This cafe, Cafe Bidol, and Hideout are all located very close to each other. Another typical cute but minimalistic Korean style cafe. The afogato is yummy!
4. Gungdong (궁동)
Nestled in-between Chungnam National University and KAIST, gungdong is popular area for college students and also international food.
더초콜릿 The Chocolate: This is a little cafe/chocolate shop that does a really good cheesecake.
리코타코 Rico Taco: Next we have some Mexican food! Or what passes for Mexican food in Korea. Actually this place is pretty good, and I often find myself here if I’m in need of an avocado fix. There are other Mexican/Latin American restaurants in Daejeon but I haven’t been to many. Rico Taco is usually a pretty safe bet though if you happen to be in the area!
바비떡볶이 Babi Ddeokbokkie: For those of us who love 떡볶이 but don’t eat spicy things too well this is the perfect spot for you. This is a “build your own” so to speak 떡볶이 place where you can choose from a huge variety of ingredients to add into your pot.
더 랜치펍 The Ranch Pub: This is the little pub of Ranch Brewing Company. They have lots of western beers and drinks a long with the hope of seeing the pretty golden retriever who sometimes is loitering around. There’s also usually English-speaking staff around if that’s important for you!
5. Bongmyeongdong (봉명동)
Together gungdong and bongmyeongdong are usually just called Yuseong which is the district they are both located in. But I figured I’d keep this all deparated into neighborhoods.
Quick note about Korean. If you notice all of these places end in *dong 동. Dong in Korean basically means neighborhood and apart from the road, is usually the smallest unit to refer to areas/addresses. Gu구 on the other hand is the next unit up. Daejeon has 5 “gu’s” and Yuseonggu 유성구 is one of them.
Anywayyyyy bongmyeongdong, located within Yuseong, is home to a lot of larger cafe’s and also notably the foot hot springs.
One of my absolute favorite and most frequented cafe’s in Daejeon is here.
세븐팩토리 모먼트 Seven Factory Moment: If you’ve been around this blog for any amount of time I’m sure that you’ve seen photos of this cafe.
Located up on the 15th floor of one of the highest buildings in the area, it looks a lot like Tom Hank’s apartment from the movie Big. The ceilings are high, decor is mostly white with lots of toys scattered around and from the second floor you can go outside to a patio with a really nice view of the city.
리케리케 LikeLike: LikeLike has a more homey feel than Seven Factory Moment. It’s one of the bigger cafe’s that I’ve been to in Daejeon and a really popular hang out spot on the weekend.
They have a sign up on the second floor make out of books that says, “Coffee brings out the good in people.” And I couldn’t agree more.
And before I wrap this up I figured I’d leave you with one more tip. So that you can start making your own list as soon as you get here!
Like I mentioned earlier finding information in English about good food and cafe’s is quite difficult. So here is your key. Utilize the Naver blogs. Naver blogs are your best friend.
Korean people are VERY good about posting updated information in the form of these long single page blog posts with tons of photos and information. But you have to search in Korean and you have to search on Naver Blogs.
Here’s the best way to do that.
Pull up Naver blogs search page, type in the “dong” of the area you want to go to and then what ever your searching for be it cafe, food, or drinks.
카페 = Cafe
맛집= Restaurants (note this word literally means “taste house” or “delicious house.” But it’s the way you have to search for good restaurants.)
술집= Bars (again this literally means “alcohol house” but it’s the word you need to use to get the best results.)
So for example: Let’s say I want to find a cafe in Daehungdong. I would type in 대흥동 카페.
And then search! You can pretty much always count on each post to have tons of photos and the address with a map at the bottom.
For anyone moving to Daejeon soon, or living here now, I hope this is at least a little bit helpful!!
As always thanks for reading!