1. Hit National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
A great way to start your Taipei trip on a high note is to drop by the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Dedicated to the controversial leader of Taiwan’s Nationalist Party, the memorial hall features a bronze Lincoln-like statue and an informative museum that gives you a sneak peek into his life. Try to arrive here at dawn, so you can see or join the locals and practice tai chi in the plaza, which is also a popular place for national celebrations. After finding your inner zen, enjoy the eye-catching Chinese ponds and serene gardens that surround the memorial hall in Taipei, before the museum open its doors.
- Address: No. 21, Zhongshan South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
- Opening hours: 09:00 to 06:00 PM daily
- Contact number: +886 2 2343 1100
2. Enjoy the panoramas from Elephant Mountain
Want to get a breathtaking overlooking view of Taipei? A word of advice, make sure to include Elephant Mountain to your list of places to visit and things to do in Taipei. Billed as one of the best attractions in Taipei, this vantage point will enthrall you with its awe-inspiring cityscape panorama. For an unforgettable visit, run up to the summit, before sunset or sunrise, and admire the beautiful hues and views over the Taiwanese capital.
- Address: Lane 150, Songren Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei, Taiwan
3. Be mesmerized by the charms of Jiufen Old Street
Are you a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s movies? Then, a visit to the ethereal Jiufen Old Street is an absolute must! A former gold mining area in the Japanese period, this mountainous town is jam-packed with scenes and sights that will remind you of Hayao Miyazaki’s award-winning animated film – Spirited Away.
Be swept away into bliss with the town’s blend of Taiwanese and Japanese aesthetics, as you go on a sightseeing trip, exploring its quaint restaurants, cafes and food stalls.
- Address: Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
- Opening hours: 24 hours a day
- Contact number: +886 2 2960 3456
4. Unwind at Daan Forest Park
Need a quick break or some quiet time in the midst of your Taipei vacation? Inspired by NYC’s Central Park, Daan Forest Park is truly a refreshing oasis that will give you a refreshing respite. Dann Forest Park is an impressive 64-acre land packed with all the qualities of an awesome urban park, featuring a skating rink, ponds and pavilions. Plus, it’s got a jungle gym, an amphitheater as well as a playground with swings.
- Address: No. 1, Section 2, Xinsheng South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
- Opening hours: 24 hours daily
- Contact number: +886 2 2700 3830
Photo credit: Flickr/2015-07-31 11.31.55/pang yu liu/CC-BY
5. Soak up the atmosphere of Taipei’s night markets
Taipei, often praised for its eclectic cuisine, has definitely become synonymous with cheap goodies and street eats like beef noodles, dumplings and stinky tofu. Although street vendors are available throughout the day, it’s best that you save your appetite for the colorful night markets in Taipei, where you will find a carnival-like ambiance and an assortment of small eats (xiao chi). To enjoy the best night markets that the city has to offer, explore Shilin’s small alleyways, Raohie Street and Huaxi Street.
6. Feel the energy of Ximending Youth shopping district
They don’t call Ximending Youth shopping district as the “Harajuku of Taipei” for nothing. Pulsating with life and youthful vibe, the streets of this Taiwanese district are flanked with a medley of vibrant bars, restaurants and fashion shops. Established as a recreation center during the Japanese period, this district is now a bona fide tourist attraction in Taipei, and a favorite among local youngsters. Here you’ll also find many boutique cafes and eateries so you can take a break from shopping! Don’t miss out on the famous Ah Zhong Mian Xian!
Photo credit: mimi23388
7. Check out Taipei Expo Park
Originally, the Taipei Expo Park was designed for international floral exhibits. Today, though, it’s used as a host for a variety of events that need an artsy and large open space, such as art exhibitions, open air film screenings and lantern sculpture festivals. If, however, there’s no event held during your visit, spend some time cherishing it and enjoying the visual delights, like its flower decorations and green spaces. Alternatively, you may have a picnic and spend a couple of hours taking in the serene atmosphere.
- Address: No. 105, Section 3, Xinsheng North Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10491
- Opening hours: 24 hours daily
- Contact number: +886 2 2585 0192
_Photo credit: Flickr/Expo Park Taipei Lantern Festival/Jirka Matousek/CC-BY_
8. Head to Dalongdong Bao’an Temple
No list of the best free things to do in Taipei is complete without the inclusion of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage site – Dalongdong Bao’an Temple. Known as a folk religion temple in Taiwan, this sacred spot will appease your eyes with its gorgeous murals, sculpted statues and marvelous ancient architecture. Moreover, one of the best times to visit this lovely temple is during the Baosheng Cultural Festival, which normally starts from April and ends in May.
- Address: No. 17, Lane 49, Bao’an Street, Datong District, Taipei City
- Operation Hours: 6:30am to 10:30pm daily
9. Visit Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Built as a tribute to the founder of the Republic of China, this free Taipei attraction showcases displays that highlight Sun’s accomplishments. As you wander around the hall, you’ll get to see a performance mall, an audio-visual center, a multimedia theater, lecture halls, a 10,000-square-foot exhibition center as well as a library with more than 300,000 books. Not to mention, the building is located in Chung-shan Park – a sprawling place with decorative historic walls, a performance area, an exhibition space and gardens.
- Address: No. 505, Section 4, Ren’ai Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
- Opening hours: 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
- Contact number: +886 2 2758 8008
Photo credit: Flickr/Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall/カメラマン/CC-BY