Taipei: Ximending

Ximending, dubbed the Haraujku or Myeongdong of Taipei, is the hub for the capital’s youth culture, where many students go to spend their time. Although area is not very large, it is concentrated with a variety of places to visit and relax, including numerous cafes, karaoke parlors, movie theaters and hair salons. On the weekends, there is a popular local artist market near the Red House Theater, and often times, Taiwanese artists have album signings or hold mini-concerts throughout the Ximending area. Here, there are plenty of things to do, and below is our guide on how to best experience this neighborhood.

 

WHAT TO DO

Shopping

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One of the most popular things to do at Ximending is shopping. The area is populated with a variety of shops and malls, most of which are affordably priced. You can find everything from clothes and shoes to beauty products, and even suitcases to stuff everything into. For the finest shopping, visit the Eslite malls–there are 3 branches within walking distance from each other. Each features different local Taiwanese brands, such as 7 Crash, Kinaz and Overkill, as well as international brands like Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger and M.A.C.

Photo by Charles Lee

Longshan Temple and Snake Alley (龍山寺)

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Many Taiwanese people, especially the older generation, practice worship at Longshan Temple, one of the oldest areas of Taipei city, located one MRT station over from Ximen. The temple is also open to the public, and in the evening, many surrounding streets become bustling night markets that run along Guangzhou Street. A traditional Chinese gate located at the entrance of Huaxi Street– dubbed “Snake Alley– is only a block away. The area used to be the notorious red light district of Taipei when prostitution was legal. Here, you can try many unique and unusual delicacies like snake blood, snake meat, and turtle soup to name a few.

Photo via beautifulcataya

Bars and Shops near Red House Theater (西門紅樓)

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Directly across the street from the Times Square-esque crossing of Ximending is the Red House Theater, a western-styled building completed in 1908. There’s a thriving alternative and LGBT-friendly night scene in this area, perfect for those who don’t want to trek out to Dongqu or Xinyi District. The bars and cafes in this part of Ximen often have a large outdoor patio seating area, quite difficult to find elsewhere in Taipei. It’s also a great place to relax and meet different kinds of people.

Photo via Take18


WHERE TO EAT

Tian Tian Li (天天利美食坊)

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Tian Tian Li serves some of the most delicious Taiwanese foods and snacks and is a favorite for locals and tourists alike. Their most notable dishes are the oyster omelette that is pan-fried to perfection and the flavorful minced pork rice. This restaurant is always packed during lunch and dinner as it is conveniently located within the main pedestrian area of Ximending. The flavors and prices are hard to beat, thus making Tian Tian Li the perfect introductory course to Taiwanese food.

Tainan Tantsumien Seafood Restaurant (台南擔仔麵海鮮餐廳)

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An upscale restaurant in Snake Alley, Tainan Tantsumien Seafood Restaurant began as a humble noodle stand. Customers can choose from the fresh selection of seafood right in front of the restaurant or order off the prix fixe menu. For a memorable dining experience like no other in this part of Taipei, this restaurant is a great way to taste a variety of seafood dishes prepared using different techniques.

Photo via Tainan Tantsumien

Snow King Ice Cream (雪王冰淇淋)

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You haven’t had ice cream until you’ve tried some of the 73 flavors of ice cream offered at Snow King Ice Cream. At the top of the menu you’ll find nut-based ice creams and fruity sorbets. On the bottom, there’s the liqueur ice cream, vegetables, and “other” flavors, including “tofu” and “braised pork knuckle”. Since the ice cream here is made from natural ingredients, not all flavors are available year round, but there are always endless flavors to choose from, ones that can’t be found anywhere else.

Photo via 雪王冰淇淋

WHERE TO STAY

New Riverview Suites

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With clean, spacious rooms and helpful staff, the New Riverview Suites are located perfectly in the Ximending area.

Just Sleep

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Just Sleep does exactly what its name implies, providing comfortable beds and simple rooms perfect for relaxing in after a late night out shopping.

Green World Hotel Zhonghua

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Situated two minutes away from the Ximending shopping district and the MRT station, the location of Green World Hotel is perfect.

image via Agoda

Feature Photo by Andy Enero

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