[Blog] Places in Korea – Daehakro (대학로)


대학로 (Dae-hak-ro) means “college street”, and is actually pronounced 대항노 (dae-hang-no), which is slightly different than the “official” romanization. This is because of a tricky little Hangul pronunciation rule:

  • When the letter “ㄱ” is the 받침 (final consonant) and is followed by “ㄹ”, the “ㄱ” is changed to “ㅇ” and “ㄹ” becomes “ㄴ”.

This is mostly for ease of pronunciation because it’s WAY easier to say 대항노 than it is to try and spit out 대학로 at native speed. Plus, no one will know what you’re talking about if you pronounce it as “dae-hak-ro”.

Some other examples of this rule are:

  • 독립 (independence) —–> 동닙
  • 석류 (pomegranate tree) —–> 성뉴
  • 목련 (magnolia) —–> 몽년

It may seem a little confusing at first, but once you start practicing, you’ll find that it just naturally comes out this way.

Anyway, now that we have that out of the way, let’s learn more about 대학로!

대학로 used to be the main road that bordered Seoul National University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Although that campus moved to another part of the city some time ago, 대학로 is still the core of about a half dozen major university branches. It’s also known as the “street of youth, art, and freedom”, and from this name, it may seem that only younger people frequent the streets of 대학로, but that is certainly not the case. 대학로 is more of an intersection where the youth of today and the youth of half a generation ago meet to explore and share what is quintessentially Korea: tradition meeting modernity.

One of the best spots to experience this generational crossroads is 마로니에 공원 (Marronnier Park).  마로니에 공원 used to be the spot of Seoul National University’s College of Arts and Sciences campus, but has since become a terrific cultural space. At the center of 마로니에 공원 is a symbolic 밤나무 (Marronnier/Chestnut tree), and surrounding it are dozens of sculptures and art centers. This place is particularly good for hanging out on the weekends because of the numerous bands, singers, comedians, and dance troupes that gather here to give performances.  You may also run into a few street artists that will draw your picture for a small price, or a fortuneteller that may unveil your future 😀

This area is famous for being a “theater district” because of the high concentration of theaters and concert halls. If you like comedy, you can find live comedy shows, too. The most famous one is the live version of  KBS’s famous comedy show, “Gag Concert.”  How’s that for famous? At any rate, you can find posters for various productions hanging up all over the streets of 대학로, and this is definitely one of the best places in Seoul to experience plays and musicals that sometimes aren’t huge productions or very expensive.

Although 대학로 is more of a theater district, there are a good number of international restaurants, cafes, cinemas, a jazz bar, and some small stores to shop at. Since it’s a college area, everything is really cheap compared to some other places in the city. Whether you’re looking to try some traditional Korean liquor, known as 막걸리, and 파전 (Korean pancake) with your friends, or purchasing some skin care products, you will definitely get your money’s worth at 대학로!

With Former Prime Minister Chang Myeon’s house, the Hyehwa-dong Residence Center, the first president of Korea’s former residence, and a number of other cultural experiences, 대학로 also has a lot of history behind it.  It’s also just a stone’s throw away from 낙산 (Naksan), the Seoul Fortress Wall, and 동대문, a.k.a. The Great East Gate, which makes it a SUPER good place to start exploring Seoul.

This blog post just scratched the surface of all that 대학로 has to offer, so make sure to get your happy little self over here to experience it first-hand.

Thanks for reading! Let us know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for future blog posts by writing on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/talktomeinkorean or leaving a comment in the comments section below!

Written by Stephanie Morris

Photograph by Hyunwoo Sun


[Blog] Places in Korea – Daehakro (대학로)
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  • Wow, beautiful places!
    I’m dying to visit 대학로

  • pete

    how does one get there??

    • It depends on where you’re coming from, but the closest subway station is 혜화역 on line 4 and take exit 2 to get there ^_^

  • Samuel

    Will add to my list of places to go…

    감사합니다 !!!

  • Sharon

    The article is very well written, with a clear and detailed description of the place. I myself have been to there when I went to Korea, and I like the place very much. To add to the illustration above, I think another special feature of the place is that dramas are quite frequently shot there. If I did not remember wrong, hit dramas such as “Mary stays out all night” have some scenes shot there. So, if we go there, perhaps we might have the chance to meet our favourite hallyu stars as well!

  • rigo

    very nice pictures
    i had seen in my korean-english dictionary this change in pronunciation
    but never explained why or how often it happened
    now i have a better understanding thanks to you guys
    ㄱ = ㅇ
    ㄹ = ㄴ

    have a nice day

  • 이성진

    I been here !!
    대학로는 재미있었어요

  • 젠나

    Omg I loved 대학로!! I saw plays there at least once a week

    So much fun there ^__^

    I lived in Incheon at the time so after a play my friend and I would have to hurry to the subway station so we coild catch the last speed train home haha ^_^

    Ah good times.. 🙂

  • Snowz

    Would love to know all the pronunciation rules in TTMIK. There are textbooks on pronunciation rules in Korean, but they are simply not as good as what is being taught in TTMIK.

    Will there be any structured lessons on that?

    부탁해, 선생님..


    ^ ^

  • I was there with Shanna last week^^ I love love the museum there and the place is great!

  • Rose

    The blog didn’t mention how we can get there via subway. Could you please post directions? Thank you so much!

    • Hi Rose,

      Please take a subway line number 4 and stop at 혜화 [hye-hwa] station then you will find 대학로.

  • cyrus

    Hi Stephanie,

    Great article. I lived there for four years and I certainly confirm your literature. One request, Can I use your exact sentences for introducing the neighborhood in some brochures I am working on?


  • Megan

    Thanks so much for this post! Does anyone know exactly where the Uniplex Hall is (in or around 대학로)? I’m going to see Grease there, but I can’t find directions anywhere! Thank you!