Visitors to Taipei often find themselves confined to their hotel’s neighborhood or the city’s most famous attractions. But Taipei is so much more than amazing temples, museums, and the one-time tallest building in the world. Here are five of the coolest neighborhoods to spend an afternoon away from the tourist masses.
Formerly home to United States Armed Forces personnel, Tianmu is one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods and has the largest expatriate population in the region. It’s in this neighborhood that Taipei’s most famous international schools have their campuses and despite the high rents and house prices, it remains one of the most sought-after addresses in the city.Close to Beitou and Yangmingshan National Park, the area is also a melting pot of both local and foreign cultures. Here locals can find everything from Mexican restaurants to Supermarkets that specialize in imported products.
The weekend haunt of many of the city’s teenagers, Ximending is a shopping area and an interesting cultural experience rolled into one. Home to a huge number of shops catering to the fashion requirements of Taiwan’s younger generation, it’s not uncommon to see outfits that look like something from a cosplay convention on the neighborhood’s many pedestrianized streets.The area is full of restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, cinemas, and even Karaoke clubs. There’s so much to do and see in Ximending that it’s a neighborhood well worth visiting.
Once home to one of the city’s busiest and most famous night markets, Shida neighborhood has quietened down in recent years due to complaints from the locals that live there. It is still a great place to find something to eat or take a walk through, visiting the small boutiques and stores that line the narrow alleyways.The proximity of the university and student halls of residence mean it’s a predominantly student crowd that visits the neighborhood and gives the area a multicultural vibe.
Just a short walk from Shida lies the neighborhood of Gongguan. It’s another student area but is much more vibrant than its quieter neighbor. Countless food stalls and hole-in-the-wall restaurants line the network of tiny streets and lanes in the local nightmarket.Like Xinmending, there are also plenty of places to eat out, a few bars (there’s even an Irish bar here), and two cinemas. Like Shida, the proximity of the main campus of NTU (National Taiwan University) lends the neighborhood a feeling of diversity.
Home to the city’s largest park, Daan is a district that has a reputation for housing some of Taipei’s best and most interesting restaurants. It’s here that the many locals and expats spend their Saturday and Sunday afternoons relaxing in one of the many cafés and restaurants on Yongkang Street.
The district is also home to a number of trendy bars serving the latest craft beers. But it’s quite possibly the many sights and sounds of Daan Park that makes this one of the most pleasant areas in the city.