Planning a trip through East Asia? Digging into all the best things to do in Taipei is a must. Although lesser-known than other Asian cities, Taiwan’s capital is filled with exciting tourist attractions, from night markets to ornate temples.
First-time visitor? Start with the basics. Zip atop Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings. Eat Taiwanese food at Shilin Night Market and learn all 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 and what to do? Strap in and plan your trip with this complete guide to all the best places to visit in Taipei, Taiwan!
Searching for more travel tips? Check out all of our other attractions guides and our Taipei Travel Guide for more ideas on where to go, when to visit, what to do & where to stay!
What to see & do in Taipei
Gawk at the city from above at Taipei 101
There’s quite literally no way you can visit Taiwan’s capital without seeing Taipei 101. Rarely a block slips by where you can’t see this magnificent landmark. One of the city’s top points of interest, Taipei 101 is always peeking into your view to keep you on track. But don’t stop there.
Set your sights on Taipei 101’s observation deck. For NT$500, you can hop into the world’s fastest elevator to the top of the iconic building. Check out the world’s largest wind damper. This impressive engineering feat 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. It’ll give you a grander appreciation of the enormousness of the city than wandering the city centre neighbourhoods can.
Taipei 101 is also home to several shops. Even more intriguing, there’s also a smattering of restaurants strewn throughout the building.
Keep scrolling, and you’ll learn about the most famous restaurant at Taipei 101… ;)
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. It’s a great place to start your Taipei sightseeing trip.
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. It features an intricate 8-sided classic design, symbolizing wealth and prosperity.
Inside the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, you’ll find a memorial library and a museum. The museum host various 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. It’s built up with walkways that wind along with the river.
Hot Springs Park is also home to Beitou Hot Springs Museum (closed Mondays) and Beitou Library. In the park, you’ll also find Millennium Hot Springs. This public hot spring is a budget-friendly alternative to the area’s more expensive spas. Come with patience. You’ll no doubt have to queue up to get in.
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! The 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 split 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 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 is complete without a visit to the National Palace Museum. In total, the museum is home to almost 700,000 artifacts. They range from precious jade figurines & bronzes to ancient ceramics. You’ll also find paintings dating as far back as the 7th century.
Most of the artifacts are housed for safekeeping. There are still thousands on public display throughout most of the year.
Unusually enough for Taiwan, the main building of the museum is open seven days a week. (Yes, even Mondays!)
To be sure, the National Palace Museum isn’t the easiest attraction to reach on your trip. But if you’re interested in Chinese history and culture, there’s no substitute for 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. The tour includes visits 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. This trek is 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 are plenty of opportunities to rest along the trail if you need it.)
After you’ve collected a Crossfit-worthy bucket of sweat, savour spectacular views of the skyline. There are several great panorama points on Elephant Mountain.
Want to see the Taipei skyline at its best? Watch the city light up from above on a guided evening hike up Elephant Mountain with the Private Night Tour of Taipei! It also includes an evening visit to Bao’an Temple and a meal & bubble tea on Yongkang Street.
Get spiritual at Longshan Temple
The city’s most famous temple, Longshan Temple is a must-see while visiting Taipei. The temple is more than a historical relic; it’s an 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 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 Longshan Temple has always maintained its grace.
Spend a little time here during your trip to explore the intricacies and the deep symbolism. You’ll emerge with a deeper appreciation of Taipei and Taiwan.
Longshan Temple is located in Wanhua District, one of the oldest areas in Taipei. Elsewhere in the district, you’ll find a handful of other beautiful temples. The well-preserved Qingshui Temple and Bangka Qingshan Temple, located 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 Taiwan. Ximending in Wanhua District is the consumerist heart of the city. And as the neon lights jolt into the sky, it’s one of the most interesting places to see 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 are 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 lookout for Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle. This well-known Ximending culinary hotspot is 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! The walk includes a 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. (Wait. Let’s hold off on that comparison for now.)
Unlike other hot spring areas in Beitou, Geothermal Valley isn’t a good place to take a dip.
The waters here sit near boiling point and are quite acidic. There have been a few incidents with careless visitors here. Enough that Geothermal Valley got slapped with the unfortunate nickname Hell Valley.
As beautiful as it is to gawk at, the name is fitting. Stay clear and admire from afar.
Want to save time and see more? Combine a visit to Beitou with 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. This gorgeous park is 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. 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 long.
If you wish to continue further down the trail, you’ll land upon Xiaoyoukeng. At this geological marvel, you’ll witness fumaroles puffing 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 little ones. The zoo is the largest in Asia, easily putting it among the top points of interest in Taipei.
The variety of animals at Taipei Zoo—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 goes down.
Locals clearly enjoy this public space. Filter in at any time of day. You’ll find Taipeiers using the space to jog, play mahjong, practice t’ai chi or simply chill out.
PRO 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
Whoever said Taipei was bleak & boring clearly never spent time in Huashan 1914 Creative Park. The complex occupies an abandoned winery & sake distillery, reminding us that city indeed has a quirkier side.
The collection of buildings hosts a mish-mash of rotating museum exhibits, restaurants, shops, cafés, and bars. Huashan 1914 is one of the more fun & interesting areas to wander around in Zhongzheng and one of the best places to visit in Taipei. Like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: You’ll never know what you’re gonna get here!
Catch a performance at the National Theater and Concert Hall
You may be tricked into thinking the duo of buildings on the west end of Liberty Square hail from Taipei’s early history.
Nope. Not even close.
The National Theater Hall and National Concert Hall are fraternal-twin performing venues. The buildings were completed in 1987 in traditional Chinese architectural style. Despite their young age, the venues are attractive and among the coolest things to see in Taipei.
The stages are graced by performers of all types. They range 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, there’s a good chance the theater or concert hall will be the go-to place. The Taipei International Arts Festival and Taipei Film Festival are also hosted here.
Chow down at the lesser-known Gongguan Night Market
The colossal Gongguan Night Market is one of the biggest and most interesting night markets in Taipei. It’s located along the Da’an District and Zhongzheng District border
With National Taiwan University across the road, the crowd here is often youthful. The flavours here skew more towards trendy Southeast Asian than traditional Taiwanese.
SEE ALSO: How to Spend the Perfect 48 Hours in Taipei
Wandering among the vendors and finding the popular stalls isn’t too difficult. A few specialties to look out for include bubble tea, pan-fried buns, and Cantonese-style roasted duck.
Explore Taiwan’s past at the National Museum of History
I can’t imagine Mainland China is thrilled by the massive collection of Chinese relics at the National Museum of History in Taipei. (Surely, they’d prefer to hold them in Shanghai or Beijing, no?)
And who’d blame them? The artifacts at the museum are stunning. Even if you’re not an art lover or history buff, you’ll appreciate the intricacy and craftsmanship of the displays here.
Whether you decide to pay the NT$30 entrance fee, the building is an architectural masterpiece. It’s worth a trip out for a gander.
The National Museum of History is closed on Mondays.
Chill out in Taipei Botanical Garden
Need a break from the busy streets? Seek out the Taipei Botanical Garden. This little gem sits beside the National Museum of History.
There’s no place in the city like Taipei Botanical Garden. Originally established for research, today, the garden stands as one of the city’s favourite escapes from the urban buzz.
If you need ideas for what to see in Taipei, walking along the boardwalks and trails will impress. They’ll transport you through a variety of scenes. You’ll walk past a bamboo garden, rainforest-esque jungle, exotic flowers, and a lotus pond.
Get the latest gadgets at Guanghua Digital Plaza
Want to keep up with the latest Taiwanese electronic gadgets? It’s easy: Pop into Guanghua Digital Plaza. Within the six-storey building, you’re bound to find whatever technology you’ve been craving. (Although probably not at the bargain-basement prices you might expect.)
Before the new space-age building popped up, the marketplace was more traditional. Today, there’s less opportunity for bargaining. In Guanghua Digital Plaza, prices are, as in Western countries, posted. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to grab yourself a few perks!
Intimidated by the chaos of Guanghua Digital Plaza? Visit with a guide on the Taipei City Highlights Tour! The 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 a rarity in the Taipei market scene. It’s one of the few places in Taipei that starts frying up traditional Taiwanese street food goodies at the crack of dawn rather than at 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, grab breakfast at Dongmen Market with locals. It’ll be a tasty & memorable detour.
Unless you speak and/or read Chinese, ordering will be 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! This full-day tour covers everything from breakfast to evening snacks.
Eat silky xiaolongbao at Din Tai Fung
Eating at Din Tai Fung in Taipei 101 is a life-affirming experience. It teaches the harsh lesson that every Chinese takeout dumpling you’d ever eaten at home was a bumbling mess.
In case there was any doubt, yes, the silky-smooth dumplings at Din Tai Fung 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
Few men are revered on both sides of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China (China) divide. Sun Yat-sen is one of them. And if you decide to visit Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, you’ll learn 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 history lesson, wander around Zhongshan Park. This small 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! It includes stops at all the top places to visit in Taipei.
Get creative at Songshan Cultural & Creative Park
Songshan Cultural & Creative Park is one of Taipei’s most interesting attractions. Built upon an abandoned cigarette factory, this creative hub is 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.
At Songshan Park, you’ll scope out trendy art galleries, rotating exhibitions, and event spaces. And who knows? A walk here may even inspire a creative spark of your own.
Getting hungry touring Xinyi? Join fellow foodies on a Small-Group Xinyi Walking Food Tour! The tour includes a walk through Songshan Cultural and Creative Park. You’ll sample soup dumplings and 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. This turn-of-the-century Japanese-built market house sits among the city’s most recognizable landmarks. And the path wasn’t easy. Once a derelict eyesore, the theatre has transformed into one of the most important cultural venues & creative hubs in Taipei.
Much like Huashan 1914, the Red House Theater appeals to Taipei’s artistic community. Drop by this must-visit attraction to browse works from independent artists. You can also catch a performance or simply enjoy a coffee in an ultra-hip atmosphere.
Catch a glimpse of the past at Bopiliao Old Street
Bopiliao Old Street dates back to the Qing Dynasty. It’s one of the few historic Taipei points of interest left unswept by modern development. It couldn’t have been easy in Taipei’s building boom. Surprisingly, the government chose history over economics. And it did a remarkable job restoring Bopiliao to its former glory.
The architectural styles here aren’t uncommon elsewhere in Taiwan. Within Taipei though, there aren’t many parallels. Wandering around the Bopiliao Historical Block channels the city’s less-industrialized past. (It seems like lifetimes ago.)
Interested in a mini-history lesson on the area? The Heritage and Culture Education Center of Taipei can fill in 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. You’ll get a look at Bopiliao and the 100-year-old Wang Tea Shop. The tour 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 a carnivalesque sideshow. The market either drew visitors in for the freakshow. Or it completely scared them off. Huaxi Street is a little tamer these days. But it’s probably still less savoury than you’d hope for your first Taipei night market experience.
Yes, the “snake alley” moniker still holds true. But unless you’re fascinated by weird foods (and are not above risking a swift bout with salmonella), give the “exotic” stuff a pass. You’ll be far happier sticking to the more traditional meals here.
Intimidated by Snake Alley? Let a guide handle the logistics and get recommendations for what to eat 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 markets. Guangzhou Street relies more on the 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 only from 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 an evening out in Shilin Night Market. Whether you go for the tasty flavours or to wage war against your claustrophobia, it’s a wild ride at the most famous night market in Taipei.
Choosing among the myriad of vendors stretched across several city blocks can be overwhelming.
Besides all the delicious Taiwan food delights, don’t miss out on Shilin’s sweets. My personal pick for dessert is the Oreo milkshakes near the southern entrance. Not exactly authentic, but it washes down 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 afflicted with an incurable love of science, you’ll likely pass on the National Taiwan Science Education Center. For family travellers, however, visiting this museum is a must. It’s a great break from temple-hopping and food-hunting for the kids.
The exhibits here cover all things science. From math and physics to chemistry and earth science, it’s all here.
National Taiwan Science Education Center is even “foreigner-friendly.” English translations are peppered alongside 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. Even if you visit only to compare its austere & humble features to other temples, it’s worth the detour.
Confucius Temple is also free to enter. 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). They’ll teach you all about Confucius and Confucian values.
Unsurprisingly, you’ll often find school groups on educational field trips here.
Ready to dig deeper into Taiwan’s cultural heritage? Join in on the Small-Group Vintage Taipei Day Tour! The tour includes a visit to the Confucius and Bao’an temples. You’ll also pop into traditional textile and tea shops.
Marvel at the ornate designs of Bao’an Temple
Bao’an Temple is the Taiwanese folk religion neighbour of Confucius Temple. It features a façade that’ll capture 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 devoid of tourists.)
Remember: 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 got your stomach growling, head over to nearby Dihua Street. The street hosts many cheap & delicious street food vendors and great local restaurants.
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! It includes stops at Datong’s two most beautiful temples. You’ll also get to enjoy 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 locals, Ningxia is still quite busy. What I loved was how it’s 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. You’ll find favourites like fried chicken and oyster vermicelli (my personal favourite here—yum!). And, of course, 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 26 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. You’ll also get 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. After a change in regulations, a slew of Shida’s vendors scurried elsewhere. 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. It’s a great destination for a fun evening hunting for bargains.
That’s not to say that you can’t find a tasty meal here, too. Keep on the watch here for pan-fried dumplings (heng jian bao). It’s a thicker and more filling dumpling than the more common xiaolongbao (steamed 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. It includes 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 less flashy than other Taipei night markets. And that’s why you’ll love it.
The flavours here are varied, ranging everywhere from sweet to savoury.
For street food, 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. It combines the sophistication of French chocolate-making with Asian flavours. (Think chocolate with tropical fruits or 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, you’ll find two top museums: Taipei Fine Art Museum and Taipei Story House.
Even further afoot, you’ll get to check out Xinsheng Park. The park is home to Lin An Tai Historical House and Museum. You’ll also see 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.
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 stroll 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 amazing evening views, walk along the riverside north of the market to check out Rainbow Bridge. This bridge spanning the Keelung River is at its finest at night when lit up.
Start with the pepper meat buns. The most famous stall in Taipei is parked near the entrance. You can’t miss it. Follow the queue.
Other local favourites to seek out here 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! The tour includes a visit to the eclectic market. Fuel up with all its best Taiwanese snacks before finishing off your evening near Xinyi.
Worship Mazu at Ciyou Temple
For visitors to Raohe keen on sightseeing in Taipei, Ciyou Temple is a lovely surprise. This beautiful temple graces the space to the right of the main gate. It’s s 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. (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. Even if you aren’t interested in shopping, it’s worth taking a look at if you’re in Songshan District.
PRO TIP: Visit Core Pacific City 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 aside from the 400 stores, there are over 80 restaurants at the Living Mall to tempt your taste buds.
Zip up the Maokong Gondola
After spending so much time exploring the streets, get a breather away from the city by zipping up the Maokong Gondola.
The Maokong Gondola cable car traverses 4.3 kilometres to its upper terminus. As you climb, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of Taipei City and the surrounding mountains. You’ll even see a mountaintop temple on the way!
PRO TIP: 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. Various trails skirt through its tea plantations and up into the hills. The trails are surprisingly well-marked. 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 can still get quite hot up here!
Hiking trails not calling out to you? A must-have experience in Maokong 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 offer up remarkable treats 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. After housing a list of rulers almost as long as a list of Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriends, 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 are hardly as diverse as what you’d find elsewhere. If you happen to find yourself wandering about in Tamsui, though, it’s a fantastic place for a snack.
Watch the sunrise at Lover’s Bridge
Travelling to Taipei as a couple? Seeking out Tamsui’s most clichéd activity of watching the sunrise at Lover’s Bridge is non-optional. (Just ask any one of the hundreds of pairs sharing your view!)
Lover’s Bridge itself gives off a funky futuristic vibe. After dark, it’s one of the coolest things to see in Taipei. Watch as it springs to life in the evening in a technicolour blaze. It’s no wonder that 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 truly definitive answer for where to stay in Taipei. Get your accommodations search started with these top-rated hotels…
- Roaders Hotel: This unique boutique hotel is wedged between Taipei Station and Ximending. It’s fashioned upon an American wild west & road-tripping concept.
- Hotel Relax 5: This 3-star hotel is one of the city’s top mid-range hotels. It shows off cozy modern rooms and is just steps away from the main train station.
- The Okura Prestige: This supremely luxurious hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in Taipei. It features 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 all the best Taiwan’s capital offers on these hand-picked tours…
- Taipei by Night Tour: This exciting evening tour slips into some of the top Taipei tourist attractions. It includes a sampling of dumplings at mouth-watering Din Tai Fung. You’ll also get to experience a spiritual awakening at Longshan Temple and visit bizarre Huaxi Street. End with a towering look at Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest building.
- Private Taipei Night Tour: This evening tour flashes some of the city’s best night scenes. The tour includes stops at the breathtaking Bao’an Temple and a local market in Datong. You’ll also get to hike up Elephant Mountain to watch the skyline twinkle under the 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 places to see. You’ll also enjoy excursions outside of the city to Yangmingshan National Park and Beitou Hot Springs. Tour ends at the granddaddy of all the night markets, Shilin.
- Taipei Half-Day Tour: This 3-hour half-day tour focuses on Taipei’s cultural attractions. It 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! The tour includes a taste of 5 different local dishes.