For any trip to East Asia, digging into all the best things to do in Taipei is a must.
Taipei, the exciting capital of Taiwan, is one of the region’s most underrated places to visit. More often than not, the top tourist attractions in Taipei catch travellers off-guard. For a city lacking the fame of neighbouring capitals, Taipei packs a punch. (And, nope, I didn’t see it coming either.)
First-time visitor to Taipei? Start with the basics. Zip atop Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings. Eat Taiwanese food at Shilin Night Market. Learn about the history of modern Taiwan at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Or marvel at the cultural heritage of Taiwan at Longshan Temple. I promise: All will be among the highlights of any Taiwan itinerary.
Need more ideas for where to go in Taipei? Strap in and plan your trip with this complete guide for what to do in Taipei including all the best places to visit in Taipei…
What to do in Taipei
Gawk at the city from above at Taipei 101
There’s quite literally no way you can end your Taipei itinerary without seeing Taipei 101.
Rarely a block slips by where you can’t see this magnificent landmark, one of the top Taipei points of interest, peeking into your view to keep you on track. But don’t let yourself stop there…
The observation deck of Taipei 101 is where most travellers set their sights.
For NT$500, you can hop into the world’s fastest elevator to see the world’s largest wind damper that keeps one of the world’s tallest buildings from toppling over.
The 360-degree panoramic view of Taipei City atop Taipei 101 is magnificent.
Viewing the city from above here is no doubt one of the best things to do in Taipei and will give you a grander appreciation of the enormity of the city than simply wandering the city centre neighbourhoods ever can.
Taipei 101 is also home to a number of shops and, perhaps more intriguing, a smattering of restaurants strewn throughout the building.
Keep scrolling and you’ll learn about the most famous restaurant at Taipei 101 later on… ;)
Want to skip the ridiculous queue? Book your Taipei 101 Observatory Admission Ticket before you arrive!
Learn more about the Generalissimo at National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
No man had a greater impact on modern Taiwan than Chiang Kai-shek. And if you ever wanted to learn more about the Generalissimo, National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is where to do it.
Political opinions aside, the architecture of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is impressive and a great place to start your Taipei sightseeing trip.
SEE ALSO: Taipei Travel Guide
The white facade, overlooking Liberty Square, reflects a simple, uncluttered modern Chinese aesthetic. Atop the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, a royal blue roof adds flair with its intricate 8-sided classic design, symbolizing wealth and prosperity.
Inside the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial you’ll find a memorial library, a museum, and exhibits depicting the history of modern Taiwan. If you have any passing interest in Asian history, be sure to take a quick look.
Walk through Beitou Hot Springs Park (Qinshui Park)
Located to the north of Taipei City, Beitou is one of the most popular day trips from Taipei.
For most travellers, the usual starting point for a Beitou day trip is Beitou Hot Springs Park. The well-manicured public space splits alongside the geothermal river, built up with walkways that wind along with it.
Hot Springs Park is also home to Beitou Hot Springs Museum (closed Mondays), Beitou Library, and Millennium Hot Springs, a budget-friendly public hot spring that you’ll no doubt have to queue up for.
To get here, take the Tamsui-Xinyi Line from Taipei Main Station to Beitou MRT Station. Switch to the Xinbeitou Line, travelling one stop to Xinbeitou MRT Station.
Want to relax in Beitou? Chill out with the Private Beitou Hot Spring & National Palace Museum Tour! Includes a rejuvenating soak and hot spring experience in the Japanese-style baths.
Browse cultural artifacts at the National Palace Museum
When China and Taiwan went splits during the Chinese Civil War, so too did their most precious cultural artifacts. Fearing their destruction, none other than the Generalissimo planned to ship the best of the best off to Taiwan.
Not all of the pieces the Generalissimo earmarked for Taiwan made it here. But the ones that did were worth the hassle.
No understanding of Chinese cultural history could be complete without a visit to the National Palace Museum.
In total, the museum is home to almost 700,000 artifacts ranging from precious jade figurines and bronzes to ancient ceramics and paintings dated as far back as the 7th-century.
Most of the artifacts are housed for safe-keeping, but there are still thousands on public display throughout most of the year.
Unusually enough for Taiwan, the main building of the museum is open 7 days a week. (Yes, even Mondays!)
Although it isn’t the easiest attraction to reach on your trip, if you’re interested in Chinese history and culture, there’s no substitute for taking a ride out here.
Want to see it all on a time-crunch? You can’t do much better than the Ultimate Taipei Sightseeing Tour! Hit all the highlights in one action-packed day including a visit to the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101, and Beitou Hot Springs Museum.
Hike up Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan)
There’s no sugar-coating it: In Taiwan’s extreme heat and humidity, clambering up Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan) won’t be easy. For the great views and escaping the chaos, however, it’ll be well worth your effort to tackle one of the must-do activities in Taipei.
From the Elephant Mountain hiking trail entrance, a solid 10 to 20 minutes of stair climbing awaits. (There’s plenty of opportunity to rest along the trail, if you need it.)
After you’ve collected a Crossfit-worthy bucket of sweat, savour some spectacular views of the skyline at one of the many panorama points on Elephant Mountain. This is definitely one of the best places to see in Taipei!
Want to see the Taipei skyline at its best? Watch Taipei light up from above on a guided evening hike up Elephant Mountain with the Private Night Tour of Taipei! Also includes an evening visit to Bao’an Temple and meal & bubble tea on Yongkang Street.
Get spiritual at Longshan Temple
Arguably the city’s most famous temple, Longshan Temple is an absolute must-see while visiting Taipei.
The temple is more than just a historical relic; it’s an (extremely) active place of worship. Unlike most you’ll encounter in Asia, Longshan isn’t affiliated with any major religion.
Chinese folk deities are worshipped here with great fervor. (And with a small donation and a little guidance from other worshippers, you can join in, too.)
What you see here now is hardly the original. It’s been destroyed and rebuilt far more than Taipeiers would like, but has always maintained its grace.
Spend a little time here during your trip to explore the intricacies and the deep symbolism. You’ll undoubtedly emerge with a deeper appreciation of Taipei and Taiwan.
Elsewhere in the district, one of the oldest areas in Taipei, you’ll also find a handful of other beautiful temples. The well-preserved Qingshui Temple and Bangka Qingshan Temple, located just to the north, are worthy of a quick detour.
Catch a glimpse of the future at Ximending
It’s no Shibuya Crossing, but Ximending is as close as you’ll get to it in Taipei.
Ximending in Wanhua District is the consumerist heart of Taipei. And as the neon lights jolt into the sky, it’s one of the most interesting places to go in Taipei for night wanderers.
Even during the day, Ximending is a trendy shopping mecca. It’s especially popular with the well-to-do younger crowd. International brands seem to be a favourite around here. (As a Canadian, I was pleasantly shocked to spot a Roots store in Ximending!)
SEE ALSO: Best Hotels in Ximending
Notable food stalls and restaurants also grace the area.
Keep on the look out for Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle, a well-known place in Ximending that’s one of the best places to eat in Taipei for a quick snack.
Ready to dig into the modern heart of Taiwan? Experience the best of Ximending with a local guide on a Ximending Walking Tour! Includes dinner at the infamously quirky Modern Toilet Restaurant.
Marvel at Beitou Geothermal Valley (Hell Valley)
If Iceland floated over to Asia, it might look something like Beitou Geothermal Valley.
The jade waters, filling the lungs of Beitou with its sulfurous steam, drop a Blue Lagoon vibe. But maybe we should hold off on that comparison for now.
Unlike other hot spring areas in Beitou, Geothermal Valley isn’t the place to take a quick dip.
The waters here sit at almost boiling point and are quite acidic. And after a few unfortunate incidents involving some careless visitors, Geothermal Valley got slapped with the unfortunate nickname, Hell Valley.
As beautiful as it is to gawk at, the name is fairly fitting. Stay clear and admire from afar!
Want to save time and see more? Combining Beitou with a visit to the nearby Yangmingshan on the Yangmingshan National Park and Hot-Spring Half-Day Tour!
Go hiking at Yangmingshan National Park
Looking to escape Taipei on a day trip? Set your sights on the peaceful mountainscapes of Yangmingshan National Park, one of the coolest places to go in Taipei.
Located only an hour from Taipei City, this Taiwan national park is the perfect place for a leisurely hike around Taipei. Unlike Elephant Mountain, the trails here are easy to tackle, even for beginners.
The most accessible and popular hike departs from the Visitor Centre to the summit of Qixing Mountain. It’s only about 2.5 kilometres in length.
If you wish to continue further down the trail, you’ll land upon Xiaoyoukeng, a geological marvel where fumaroles puff sulphur into the air.
To get to Yangmingshan National Park, take a ride on the MRT from Taipei Main Station to Jiantan MRT Station. Bus R5 to the park departs every 15 minutes outside the station.
Entertain the kids at Taipei Zoo
Of all the family-friendly activities in Taipei, visiting Taipei Zoo might get you the most brownie points from the little ones.
Taipei Zoo is the largest in Asia, easily putting it among the top points of interest in Taipei.
The variety of animals—originating from all around the world—is astounding. But the true rockstar here, and the animal most likely to elicit mega cheers from the kids, is Yuan Zai, the first Giant Panda born in Taiwan.
Experience the heart of the city at Liberty Square
If Taipei City has a heart, it’s Liberty Square in Zhongzheng District.
Whenever Taiwanese take to the streets in protest or a special guest drops by for a visit, Liberty Square is where it all goes down.
Taipei locals clearly enjoy this public space. Filter in at nearly any time to find Taipeiers making fine use of the space to jog, play mahjong, practice t’ai chi or simply chill out.
TIP: Arrive here at just the right time and you might catch a flag-raising ceremony or military exercises.
Catch the city’s quirkier side at Huashan 1914 Creative Park
Whomever said Taipei was bleak & boring clearly never spent time in Huashan 1914 Creative Park.
Occupying an abandoned winery & sake distillery, the complex reminds us of the quirkier side of Taipei.
The collection of buildings here hosts a mish-mash of rotating museum exhibits, restaurants, shops, cafés, and bars.
Truthfully, it’s one of the more fun & interesting areas to wander around in Zhongzheng and one of the best places to visit in Taipei. It’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: You’ll never know what you’re gonna get!
Want to share your experience with friends at a whim? Stay connected with a 4G Pocket WiFi Rental! Includes FREE pickup at major airports in Taiwan.
Catch at performance at the National Theater and Concert Hall
You may be tricked into believing that the duo of buildings on the west end of Liberty Square are important historical buildings from Taipei’s early history.
Nope. In fact, even I’ve been around longer.
Completed in 1987 in traditional Chinese architectural style, The National Theater Hall and National Concert Hall are fraternal twin performing venues. Despite their relatively young age, these two venues are quite attractive and among the coolest things to see in Taipei.
The stages are graced by performers or all types, ranging from popular local artists to some of the biggest performers on the planet. (Think more Kirov Ballet or Three Tenors, and less Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber.)
SEE ALSO: When is the Best Time to Visit Taipei?
If you’re lucky enough to be in town for a big performance, or a popular festival like the Taipei International Arts Festival or Taipei Film Festival, there’s a good chance the theater or concert hall will be the go-to place.
Want to scoot around without hassle? Pick up a Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass! Includes unlimited use of the MRT, buses, and tourist shuttle routes and FREE admission to 12 tourist attractions.
Chow down at the lesser-known Gongguan Night Market
The colossal Gongguan Night Market, located along the Da’an District and Zhongzheng District border, is one of the biggest and most interesting night markets in Taipei.
With National Taiwan University across the road, the crowd is noticeably more youthful. Perhaps that explains why the flavours here skew more towards trendy Southeast Asian than traditional Taiwanese.
Wandering among the vendors and finding the popular stalls isn’t too difficult. A few specialities to look out for include bubble tea, pan-fried buns and Cantonese-style roasted duck.
Interested in Taipei’s night markets? Discover the lesser-known food stalls and try 12 authentic Taiwanese delicacies on a Taipei Secret Evening Food Tour!
Explore Taiwan’s past at the National Museum of History
I can’t imagine mainland China is overly thrilled that this massive collection of Chinese relics resides at the National Museum of History in Taipei rather than in Shanghai or Beijing.
The artifacts here are quite stunning. And even if you’re not an art- or history-buff, you’ll probably appreciate the intricacy and craftsmanship of what’s on display.
Whether you decide to pay the NT$30 entrance fee (not open Mondays!), the building, an architectural masterpiece itself, is worth a gander.
Chill out in Taipei Botanical Garden
Anyone who needs a break from the busy streets, would do well to find this little gem beside the National Museum of History.
There’s no place in the city like Taipei Botanical Garden. Although originally established for research, the garden now stands as one of Taipei’s favourite escapes from the urban buzz.
If you need ideas for what to see in Taipei, walking along the boardwalks and trails is truly impressive. They’ll transport you through everything from a bamboo garden, rainforestesque jungle, exotic flowers, and a lotus pond.
Get the latest gadgets at Guanghua Digital Plaza
Keeping up with the latest electronic gadgets is easy: pop into Guanghua Digital Plaza.
Within the six-storey building you’re bound to find whatever technology you’ve been craving, even if not necessarily at the bargain-basement prices you would expect.
Before the new space-age building popped up, the marketplace was a little more traditional. Today there’s less opportunity for bargaining since prices are, as in Western countries, posted. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to grab yourself a few perks!
A little intimidated by the chaos of Guanghua Digital Plaza? Visit with a guide on the Taipei City Highlights Tour! Also includes a visit to the SOGO Fuxing Department Store and admission to the TaipeiEYE Chinese Opera show.
Grab breakfast at Dongmen Market
Dongmen Market is one of the few places in Taipei that starts frying up its traditional Taiwanese street food goodies at the crack of dawn rather than twilight.
This small traditional market isn’t necessarily worth a special trip, but if you happen to be fighting off jet lag early in the morning in Zhongzheng District, grabbing a breakfast at Dongmen Market with the locals is a great little detour.
Unless you speak and/or read Chinese, ordering will be a bit of a challenge. If in doubt, go with a traditional Taiwanese breakfast treat like an oyster omelette. You can’t go wrong here!
Want to experience Taipei’s most authentic cuisine? Explore with your tastebuds on a Private Food Tour of Taipei, a full-day tour covering everything from breakfast to evening snacks!
Eat silky xiaolongbao at Din Tai Fung
Eating at Din Tai Fung in Taipei 101 is one of those life-affirming experiences that teaches you the harsh lesson that every Chinese takeout dumpling you’d ever eaten at home was bumbling mess.
In case there was ever any doubt, yes, the silky-smooth dumplings here are worth waiting in the permanent line-up for.
Even if you hobble to the gates as the restaurant is opening up for lunch, the queue can be staggering. Wait it out. You’ll thank me.
Want to get pampered and fill your belly with xiaolongbao? Get a 50-minute Chinese foot massage followed by a mouth-watering dinner on a Din Tai Fung & Luxury Massage Tour.
Get a history lesson at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Not many men are revered on both sides of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and People’s Republic of China (China) divide. Sun Yat-sen is one of them.
And if you decided to visit Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, you will learn just how important this leader was to China on both sides of the strait.
Getting to the memorial hall only involves a short northwest detour from Taipei 101.
Even if you aren’t interested in packing in a quick history lesson, wandering around Zhongshan Park, where the hall is located, is a nice break from the hustle of Xinyi.
Need to get around easily? Pick up a ticket for the Hop-On Hop-Off Taipei Bus Tour including stops at all the top places to visit in Taipei!
Get creative at Songshan Cultural & Creative Park
At one point, someone decided that the pollution from industrial progress in Taipei was doing enough to clog the lungs of Taipeiers and shut down a cigarette factory.
What followed was regenerating the abandoned grounds into Songshan Cultural & Creative Park, a creative hub that’s Xinyi’s answer to Huashan 1914 in Zhongzheng.
Taipei City built the complex to spark creativity and innovation. And it looks like it’s doing a fine job.
In it, you’ll enjoy scoping out its trendy art galleries, rotating exhibitions, and event spaces. (Maybe a walk here might even inspire a little spark of your own.)
Getting hungry touring Xinyi? Join fellow foodies on a Small-Group Xinyi Walking Food Tour! Includes a walk through Songshan Cultural and Creative Park where you’ll sample soup dumplings and some oh-so-yummy pineapple cake.
Browse indie art at Red House Theater
The historic Red House Theater is one of Taipei’s finer redevelopment stories. Within years, this turn-of-the-century Japanese-built market house transformed from a derelict eyesore to one of the most important cultural venues and creative hubs in Taipei.
Much like Huashan 1914, the Red House Theater appeals to Taipei’s artistic community. Drop by this must-visit Taipei attraction to browse works from independent artists, catch a performance, or simply enjoy a coffee in an ultra-hip atmosphere.
Catch a glimpse of the past at Bopiliao Old Street
Dating back to the Qing Dynasty, Bopiliao Old Street is one of the few Taipei points of interest that haven’t been completely swept up by modern development.
It couldn’t have been easy in Taipei’s building boom. But surprisingly enough, the government chose history over economics, and did a remarkable job restoring Bopiliao to its former glory.
Although the architectural styles here aren’t so uncommon elsewhere in Taiwan, within Taipei, there aren’t many parallels. Wandering around here will channel a less-industrialized past, seemingly lifetimes ago.
If you’re interested in a mini-history lesson on the area, the Heritage and Culture Education Center of Taipei can fill you in on all the details.
Ready to explore the Taipei of yesteryear? Hop onto the Western Taipei One-Day Walking and MRT Tour! This full-day tour visits Wanhua’s coolest “old” attractions including Bopiliao and the 100-year-old Wang Tea Shop. Ends in Ningxia for a tasty evening Taiwanese food snack.
Visit “Snake Alley” on Huaxi Street in Wanhua District
Not long ago, Huaxi Street Night Market was the type of carnivalesque sideshow that either drew visitors in for the freakshow or completely scared them off.
These days, it’s, thankfully, is a little tamer, but probably still less savoury than you’d hope for your first Taipei night market experience.
Yes, the “snake alley” moniker still holds. But unless you’re fascinated by weird foods (and are not above risking a swift bout with salmonella) you’d probably enjoy sticking to more traditional meals here more.
A little intimidated by Snake Alley? Let a guide handle the logistics and recommend which Taiwanese delicacies you should try on a Longshan Temple and Bopiliao Historical Block Tour!
Eat to your heart’s content on Guangzhou Street
Guangzhou Street Night Market is favoured by native Taipeiers over neighbouring Huaxi.
It’s the more traditional of the two, relying more on quality & flavour of the food than on sleazy gimmicks to attract the crowds.
On the whole, the dishes here are cheaper and more flavourful than its neighbour. Whether that’s just a function of finally regaining your appetite after seeing, God knows what, deep-fried next door, I can’t say.
A famous dish to try here is glutinous rice in pork intestines. It tastes better than it sounds, and looks worse than it tastes. (But if it’s okay with you, I’ll stick to my bubble tea.)
Chow down at Shilin Night Market
No visit to Taipei is complete without a evening out in Shilin Night Market. Whether you go for the tasty flavours or to wage war against your claustrophobia, it’s always a wild ride at the most famous night market in Taipei.
Choosing among the myriad of vendors, stretched across numerous city blocks, can be overwhelming.
Besides all the delicious Taiwan food delights, my personal pick for dessert is the Oreo milkshakes near the southern entrance. Not exactly authentic, but it washes down all the pork sausages and oyster omelets just fine.
Is the chaos of Shilin too intimidating? Let a local tour guide show you the ropes on a guided Hidden Shilin Street Food Tour!
Entertain the family at the National Taiwan Science Education Center
Unless otherwise afflicted with an incurable love of science, most independent travellers would give the National Taiwan Science Education Center a miss. For family travellers, however, visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in Taipei when you need a break from temple-hopping and food-hunting.
The exhibits cover all things science from math and physics to chemistry and earth science. It evens seems to be “foreigner-friendly,” with plenty of English translations peppered along the way within the fun & entertaining exhibits.
Wander about the humble Confucius Temple
As the focal point of Confucian worship in the city, Confucius Temple deserves a quick look, if only for comparing its austere and humble features to other temples.
And it’s free to enter, so there’s little reason you shouldn’t wander into Datong District to check it out.
Inside the temple, you’ll discover interactive displays (in English, too!) that teach you about Confucius and Confucian values.
It’s no wonder you’ll often find school groups on educational field trips here.
Ready to dig deeper in to Taiwan’s cultural heritage? Join in on the Small-Group Vintage Taipei Day Tour! Includes a visit to the Confucius and Bao’an temples as well as traditional textile and tea shops.
Marvel at the ornate designs of Bao’an Temple
The Taiwanese folk religion neighbour of Confucius Temple, Bao’an Temple features a façade that captures your attention immediately.
It’s more ornate than most temples around Taipei, and, undoubtedly, one of the most striking in the city.
Compared to Longshan, Bao’an receives far fewer visitors. (In fact, when I visited, it was almost entirely devoid of tourists.)
Just remember, that this is an active place of worship, not a tourist attraction. Respectful behaviour is a must.
If all the temple-hopping in Dadaocheng and Datong has got your stomach growling, take some time to head over to nearby Dihua Street for some cheap & delicious street food and great local restaurants.
Nearby Dihua Street is also one of the most happenin’ places to celebrate Chinese New Year in Taipei.
Love wandering around historical areas? Join in on the Dadaocheng Religious Worship Culture Day Tour! Includes stops at Datong’s two most beautiful temples and a walk down the atmospheric Dadaocheng Old Street & Dihua Street.
Eat yourself into a frenzy on Ningxia Road
With my accommodations only ten minutes away by foot in Zhongzheng, I slipped into Ningxia Night Market quite a few times during my visit.
Popular with local, Ningxia is still quite busy. But what I loved was how it’s a little easier to navigate, and, more importantly, easier to escape from than other Taipei night markets.
For the most part, the market extends down just one road: Ningxia.
Vendors here jangle all the best Taiwanese street foods in front of you including fried chicken, oyster vermicelli (my personal favourite here—yum!), and that nasty little beast of a snack, stinky tofu.
Oh, and let’s not forget bubble tea ;)
Too confused with all the choices? Let a local guide walk your tastebuds through a myriad of local snacks on a Ningxia Food Tour!
Take a breather at Da’an Forest Park
New York has Central Park. Taipei has Da’an Forest Park. Citizens have affectionately dubbed Daan Forest Park the “Lungs of Taipei.” Now, it would be hard to imagine the city without it.
Like the Botanical Garden in Zhongzheng, Daan Forest Park is a welcome escape from Taipei City. Taipeiers love wandering the walking paths and animal-spotting within the park’s twenty-six acres of greenery. You’ll love it, too.
Think fresh air and eating are a good combo? Clear your lungs and fill your belly on the Private Full-Day Yongkang District Walking and Food Tour! The tour begins with a pleasant walk through Daan Forest Park and includes a Michelin-starred lunch at Din Tai Fung.
Shop among the millennials at Shida
Unlike other night markets in Taipei, Shida Night Market is geared more towards shoppers than foodies.
With a slew of Shida’s vendors scurrying elsewhere after a change in regulations, many young entrepreneurs swooped in to set up shop and peddle the latest fashions.
Nowadays, like Ximending and Gongguan, Shida is a favourite among hip millennials for a fun evening on the hunt for bargains.
That’s not to say that you can’t find a tasty meal here. Keep on the watch here for pan-fried dumplings (sheng jian bao), a thicker and more filling dumpling than the more common xiaolongbao (streamed dumplings).
Want to experience Taipei in a breeze? Work up a sweat and an appetite while learning about Taiwanese history on a 2-Hour Amazing Taipei City Discovery Biking Tour! The tour sweeps through Da’an and Yongkang including a stop at Yongkang Street for bubble tea and dumplings in Shida.
Experience traditional Taiwanese fare on Linjiang Street
You’ll quickly see Tonghua Night Market (Linjiang Street) is a little less flashy than other Taipei night markets. And that’s precisely why I think you’ll love it.
The flavours here are varied, ranging everywhere from sweet to savoury.
On the street food side of things, you’ll do well to seek out the market’s well-known fried shrimp balls, boar sausages, and red bean cake.
Craving the delights of eastern Taipei? Experience the best of the east on a Private Evening Walking Tour to Taipei 101! Your tour includes a ticket for the 101 Observatory, a dumpling dinner at Din Tai Fung, and a foot massage at Tonghua / Linjiang Street.
Savour in the sweetness at Yu Chocolatier
Taipei is justifiably famous for its food, but chocolate? A visit to Yu Chocolatier might convince you otherwise.
This small café serves up some of the best chocolate in Taiwan, combining the sophistication of French chocolate-making with distinctively Asian flavours like tropical fruits and tea.
Check out the museums of Taipei Expo Park
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Taipei Expo Park is.
At one end is Yuanshan Park, an area filled with well-tended gardens and Maji Maji Square, an international hawker centre; at the other, two top museums: Taipei Fine Art Museum and Taipei Story House.
Even further afoot, you’ll get to check out Xinsheng Park, home to Lin An Tai Historical House and Museum and pavilions left over from the 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition.
At any rate, whatever your interests you can find a reason to spend some time here.
Want to get here easily? Grab tickets for the Taipei Double Decker Bus Tour! This hop-on-hop-off bus tour stops at 23 different Taipei attractions along two routes covering the entire city.
Peruse the Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Welcome to one of the largest modern art collections in Asia! If you have any passing interest in art, you’ll appreciate strolling through the six-storey Taipei Fine Arts Museum.
Admittedly, art is not my thing. But the design of the building itself—especially when lit up un the evening—is outstanding and worthy of the walk.
Eat pepper buns on Raohe Street
I’m not sure where Raohe Night Market falls among the most popular with Taipeiers. If my observations are correct, I would imagine it’s high up there.
I remember Raohe Night Market for two things: dense crowds and pepper meat buns. Of course, there’s more to it than that.
PRO TIP: For some amazing evening views, walk the riverside just north of the market to check out Rainbow Bridge, spanning the Keelung River.
Some local favourites to try out here, besides the pepper meat buns near the main entrance, include oyster noodles, herbal spare rib soup, and Taiwanese-style tempura.
Can’t wait to explore Raohe Night Market? Dig into the best of Songshan District on the budget-friendly Private Taipei Nights & Lights Tour! Includes a visit to this eclectic market where you can fuel up with all its best Taiwanese snacks before finishing off your evening near in Xinyi.
Worship Mazu at Ciyou Temple
For visitors to Raohe keen on sightseeing in Taipei, Ciyou Temple is a lovely surprise. Gracing the space just to the right of the main gate, this beautiful temple is dedicated to Mazu, a Chinese patron goddess said to protect fishermen and sailors at sea.
The architectural details here are stunning, especially when lit up. It’s not hard to get lost in its intricacies.
(Just try not to block the sidewalk as you gawk at it—this is a busy corner!)
Shop at Core Pacific City (Living Mall)
If humans colonized Mars, I’d expect its first shopping mall to look something like Core Pacific City, or the Living Mall as many Taipeiers call it.
The unmistakable dome adorning the mall’s façade has become a Taipei landmark. And even if you aren’t interested in shopping, it’s worth taking a look at if you’re in Songshan District.
(Visit in the evening if you can—the lighting is spectacular!)
Although it’s fallen out of fashion in recent years, Core Pacific City remains one of the better places in Taipei to shop. Businesses are spread out over 15 above- and underground floors.
Not that there’s ever a shortage of food in Taipei, but in addition to the 400 stores, there’s over 80 restaurants at the Living Mall to tempt your taste buds.
Zip up the Maokong Gondola
In spending so much time exploring the streets, one of the best things to do in Taipei might just be zipping up the Maokong Gondola.
As you climb 4.3 kilometres along the Maokong Gondola cable car line, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of Taipei City, the surrounding mountains and even a mountaintop temple! Splurge on a “crystal cabin” if you want to feel as if you’re floating miles above the forest.
Arriving in Maokong, there’s ample opportunity for hiking through tea plantations and up into the hills.
The trails are surprisingly well-marked, so it’s unlikely you’ll get lost unless you choose to go off path. Be sure to carry a lot of water. Even with the breeze and elevation, it still gets quite hot up here!
If the hiking trails are not calling out to you, a must-have experience here is to drop into one of the teahouses perched along the plantations for fresh tea with a view.
Want to see Maokong without hassle? Rub elbows with other tea lovers on the small-group Tea of Taipei Tour! The tour includes your gondola ticket and a visit to the Bagua Tea Plantation.
Savour in ah-gei at Tamsui Old Street
Travelling around Taiwan, places like Tamsui Old Street aren’t exactly rare. Nonetheless, if you’re popping out to Tamsui, Old Street is a great place to take a stroll.
As with sorting out where to go in Taipei in general, the biggest reason to come to Tamsui Old Street is for the food.
The vendors here truly offer up some remarkable stuff like ah-gei, a famous Tamsui stuffed tofu snack, and fish ball soup. Kids, if scared off by all the weird foods, will dig the fun carnival games scattered along the boardwalk.
Indulge in Taiwan’s colonial past at Fort San Domingo
You’ve probably already guessed that Fort San Domingo isn’t named after a famous Taiwanese war hero.
The history of Fort San Domingo is as complicated as any, and after housing a list of rulers almost as long as a list of Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriends, there’s no doubt it deserves at least a short walkthrough.
For the spectacular mountain and river views alone, Fort San Domingo is worth the trek.
Eat among the sunrise crowd at Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf
Once again, food’s the word at Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you’ll find much of what you’d expect in any self-respecting Taiwanese culinary marketplace.
The offerings here hardly as diverse as what you’d find elsewhere. If you happen to find yourself wandering about in Tamsui, it’s a fantastic place for a grabbing a snack.
Watch the sunrise at Lover’s Bridge
Seeking out Tamsui’s most clichéd activity of watching the sunrise at Lover’s Bridge with your significant other is almost non-optional. (Just ask any one of the hundreds of pairs sharing your view!)
Lover’s Bridge itself gives off a funky futuristic vibe, but truly one of the coolest things to see in Taipei when springs to life after dark in a technicolour blaze. No wonder it’s a favourite shooting location among Taiwanese soap opera directors!
Where to stay in Taipei for sightseeing
With the top tourist attractions spread around the city, there’s no true definitive answer for where to stay in Taipei. Get your accommodations search started with these top-rated hotels & places to stay in Taipei…
- Roaders Hotel: A unique boutique hotel wedged between Taipei Station and Ximending that’s fashioned upon a American wild west & road-tripping concept.
- Hotel Relax 5: One of the top mid-range hotels in Taipei, this 3-star hotel shows off cosy modern rooms just steps away from the main train station.
- The Okura Prestige: A supremely luxurious hotel featuring palatial rooms and a delightful rooftop pool with epic views.
Recommended sightseeing tours
Want to get the most out of your trip? Before you get started planning out what to do in Taipei, don’t miss out on the all best that Taiwan’s capital offers by checking out these Taipei tours..
- Taipei by Night Tour: An exciting evening tour slipping into some of the top Taipei tourist attractions including a sampling of dumplings at mouth-watering Din Tai Fung, a spiritual awakening at Longshan Temple, a visit to nearby bizarre Huaxi Street, and a towering look at Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest building.
- Private Taipei Night Tour: Another evening tour that flashes some of the city’s best night scenes with stops at the breathtaking Bao’an Temple, a local market in Datong, and a hike up Elephant Mountain to watch the skyline twinkle under moonlight.
- Ultimate Taipei Sightseeing Tour: Get the full Taipei experience on this action-packed full day tour. Including stops at some of the most interesting things to see in Taipei as well as excursions outside of the city to Yangmingshan National Park and Beitou Hot Springs. Tour ends at the granddaddy of all Taipei night markets, Shilin.
- Taipei Half-Day Tour: A 3-hour half-day tourist focusing on Taipei’s cultural attractions. Also includes entrance to the National Palace Museum.
- Ningxia Food Tour: Chow down on some of the best food in Taipei at one of the city’s tastiest night markets on this drool-worthy tour! Includes a taste of 5 different local dishes.