Edited by Emma White
Taipei is a big city made up of a collection of different neighborhoods, each with its distinctive character and a unique selection of things to see and do. Most people will know about the city’s modern and attractive financial district of Xinyi, featuring the spectacular Taipei 101.
However, there are so many other places to discover which can sometimes be missed by visitors. Explore the city like a local with this guide to 5 of its best neighborhoods. I’ll let you in on the local secrets like which neighborhood is best for food or nightlife, and where to go for off the beaten path activities. I’ll also give you tips on finding the best areas to stay in Taipei to match what type of experience you’re looking for.
Xinyi is to Taipei what Times Square is to New York. Think bright lights, luxury hotels, upscale shopping malls, stylish restaurants and lots of glitz and glamour. Whether you come to eat, shop, sightsee or simply to wander around this busy hub, it is a definite must-see in Taipei.
Xinyi is also home to the city’s world-famous Taipei 101. Once the world's tallest building, Taipei 101, was designed to resemble a bamboo stalk and dominates the city’s skyline standing at an impressive 101 stories above ground. Inside, you’ll find an array of designer shops, luxury goods stores, and restaurants.
Take the Taipei 101 tour where visitors get access to the observation deck on the 89th floor via the fastest elevator in the world! Fun fact: there are two mailboxes at the top where you can send mail from! Purchase a postcard from a nearby shop, take it up with you and write to those back home about everything you can see from the top of the tower, then post it right there!
Just by walking around the bright streets you’re sure to come across some surprises such as live street performers, hidden temples or people wandering around in wacky outfits and cosplay costumes.
This hipster neighborhood is a different scene to others across town and it’s worth adding it to your list of must-see sights. It only gets better when the sun goes down! At night, Ximending comes alive with huge crowds of locals and tourists alike who come here to enjoy the buzz of Ximending’s nightlife. This is one of the top places to go for good nightlife in the city.
Before hitting the clubs and bars, take time to mingle with the locals over some food and drinks. Be sure to check out the cool shops and admire the neon lights and animated signs. Travelers on a budget will be pleased to know that Ximending also has some of the best cheap places to stay in Taipei!
Tamsui’s seaside location makes it a favorite destination for locals and tourists who want to get out of the city center and relax by the water with a cup of traditional mango flavored shaved ice, an iced coffee, or some delicious street food.
Walking along the traditional Tamsui Old Street is like stepping in back in time – you’ll get to see Taipei from a whole new perspective and also learn a lot about the city’s history and culture. The area’s old architecture and infrastructure help to narrate the city’s past and its progression into one of the top city break destinations that we know it as today.
If you have time, check out the old Tamsui Red Castle and perhaps enjoy a meal in the restaurant which offers a unique view of the Tamsui River. If you don’t want to stay in the city center but you’re wondering where to stay in Taipei for food experiences that will be both authentic and relatively cheap, the Tamsui Old Street area is a good choice.
Tamsui is now the final station on the red line for the Taipei subway and can be reached in a little over 30 minutes, from downtown Taipei.
Daan is a quieter district outside of the city center, known for its stunning houses, great shopping and the Gongguan and Linjiang night markets, both popular spots for authentic street food.
The district is also home to Taipei’s largest park, where locals and ex-pats like to relax on summer weekends with a picnic or a good book. Summer is a great time to visit Taipei and the Daan district, however, there are also plenty of great things to do in the colder months.
Spend an afternoon in one of the trendy cafes or check out the local craft beer scene. Sample Taiwanese street food from a hole-in-the-wall type eateries or indulge in some retail therapy. Check out Yongkang Street where you’ll find everything from quirky boutiques, trendy bars, ice cream shops and, live concert venues frequented by the local university student population.
Daan is great for all the family and is accessible via the subway - just head to Gongguan Station.
A much less touristy part of town, Songshan is a calm neighborhood where you will find several budget eateries, affordable places to stay and a slower-paced local lifestyle.
This is one of the best neighborhoods in Taipei for people looking to get off the beaten path and wind down. Why not rent a bike and cycle along the nearby Keelung River? Enjoy the fresh air and the sight of the rainbow bridges along the way.
While you’re in the area check out the Wufenpu clothing market and the Raohe night market where you’ll find some of the most delicious street snacks that Taipei has to offer!
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