Zhongshan and Songshan in Taipei are neighborhoods rich in arts and culture.
Zhongshan and Songshan cover a swathe of central Taipei. The districts are home to a number of museums and galleries, and also include the bohemian Zhongshan MRT Station area, which is known for its cool cafes, quirky boutiques, and distinctive restaurants.
- 1 Grand Hotel (圓山大飯店). This majestic hotel has graced the photograph albums of numerous generations of Taipei tourists. And, although the increase in other attractions may have led to it losing its status as the must-see-destination, this imposing structure, built in the style of a Beijing palace, still manages to attract bus loads of tourists wishing to have their photograph taken outside the main building and in the foyer. The tea rooms on the first floor are a good place to relax and absorb the grandeur of dynastic China. The hills behind the hotel are crisscrossed by a vast network of trails, footpaths, pavilions, and an abandoned military anti-aircraft base and are a popular exercise spot for locals and urban explorers. Getting there: MRT to Yuanshan station, then hop on the free shuttle bus.
- 2 Martyr's Shrine (忠烈祠), 139 Beian Road. Su-F 09:00-17:00. temple memorializing those who gave their lives for the Republic of China (ROC) during its tenure on mainland China and it's later existence on Taiwan. A changing of the guard ceremony is performed at the top of the hour where a military honor guard performs an impressive series of gun twirling and tossing in front of astounded tourists. To get to the shrine take the MRT to the Jiantan Station, then take the Red 3 bus from the same side of the street the rest of the way, get off at the third stop.
- 3 Xingtian Temple (行天宮), Corner of Minquan East Road and Songjiang Road. The temple was built in 1967 and was devoted to Guangong (AD 162-219), a famous deified general who lived during the Three Kingdoms period, and he is an important character in the Chinese classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The temple forbids the killing of animals as an offering, so you will see offerings of only fresh flowers, fruits and tea on the main altar. Many believers feel that this is a very efficacious temple, and it is frequently thronged with people praying for help and seeking divine guidance by consulting oracle blocks. Outside the temple, the underground pedestrian passages under the Minquan - Songjiang intersection are filled with fortune-tellers and vendors who take commercial advantage of the temple's popularity.
- 4 Taipei Cultural Mosque (台北文化清真寺), No. 3, Lane 25, Sec. 1, Xinhai Road, Zhongzheng District. The third mosque built in Taiwan.
Arts and culture
- 5 Miniatures Museum of Taiwan (袖珍博物館), B1, 96 Jianguo North Rd, Sec. 1, ☏ . Tu-Su 10:00-18:00 (last admittance 17:00). This is a small, private museum that is a monument to patient and steady hand. The 40 bulb chandelier, which is the size of grain of rice, is one of the many impressive pieces on display. Transportation from the Main Station on buses 307, 527, alight at Nanjing East Road and the Jian-guo North Road intersection. The museum is in the same building as Thai Airways Adults NT$180, concessions NT$150, children NT$100.
- 6 Museum of Contemporary Art (台北當代藝術館), 39 Changan West Rd (Zhongshan (on Danshui line)). Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. MOCA Taipei is Taiwan's first art space dedicated to contemporary work. The red brick, former Taipei City Hall is easy to locate on an otherwise unexceptional road. Admission NT$50.
- 7 Su Ho Memorial Paper Museum (樹火紀念紙博物館), 68 Changan East Rd Sec. 2, ☏ . M-Sa 09:30–16:30, closed Su and Spring Festival. This museum was founded by Su Ho Chen, one of Taiwan's last few masters of papermaking, and who was killed in 1990 in a plane crash. You can enjoy exhibits about paper, and make your own sheet of paper here. NT$100, NT$180 with paper making.
- 8 Taipei Fine Arts Museum (台北市立美術館), 181 Zhongshan North Rd Sec. 3 (near the Yuanshan MRT Station on the Danshui line), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-F Su 09:30-17:30, Sa 09:30-20:30. The museum displays work of local and international artists. Adult admission NT$30, concessions NT$15.
- 9 Taipei Story House (台北故事館), ☏ . 09:00-18:00. On the same plot of land as the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, this tea merchant's 19th-century European style house has been converted into a space for telling the story of Taipei and tea. There are permanent exhibits on these subjects as well as visiting exhibitions and the occasional traditional music concert. The patio serves as a tea garden, which offers pleasant views over the Danshui River and beyond. NT$30.
- 10 [dead link] Museum of Jade Art, No.96 First Section of Jianguo North Road, ☏ . A small museum that displays jade art as envisioned by Burmese master craftsman Sofeen Hu. Works like his zodiac symbols and delicate insects are on display.
- 11 Dajia Riverside Park (大佳河濱公園) (The Red 34 bus between the MRT Yuanshan station (Danshui Line) and Dajia Riverside Park.), ☏ . 09:00-18:00. This park is a 12-km-long green belt on the south bank of the Keelung River. One of the beautiful banks in Taipei. Basketball, tennis, and badminton courts are available, as are bicycles for rent. NT$30.
- 12 Zhongshan Fine Arts Park (中山美術公園) (the Red 34 bus between the MRT Yuanshan station (Danshui Line) and Dajia Riverside Park), ☏ . 09:00-18:00. This park is south of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. The open green space and many stabiles are on display in the park. NT$30.
- Children's Recreation Center. It is an amusement park on Zhongshan North Road Sec. 3, nearest MRT station is 'Yuanshan' on Danshui Line. The center was created by city government in 1991. It has old-fashioned rides, folk art museum, IMAX theater and more. This place is great for younger kids.
- 1 Miramar Entertainment Park (美麗華), 22 Jinye 3rd Road (敬業三路22號) (MRT Jiannan, free shuttle buses to the mall from Jiantan MRT Station on the half hour during week days and more frequently at the weekend and on national holidays), ☏ . 11:00-00:00. This up-scale shopping mall in the suburb of Dazhi operates a large Ferris wheel that offers great views over the city. It is especially spectacular at night, when not only the city but also the Ferris wheel is illuminated. The 15-minute ride costs NT$150 on weekdays and NT$200 on weekends. The same complex also houses a 3D Imax movie theater and a multi-screen Warner Village cinema. NT$150 on weekdays and NT$200 on weekends.
- 2 Spot - Taipei Film House (台北之家), Zhongshan North Rd, Sec. 2 (Zhongshan MRT on the green and red lines). Tu-Su 11:00-22:00. The former residence of the U.S. Ambassador has been transformed into an art center that focuses on independent films. In addition to screenings, the house also has great cafes and restaurants that spill out onto balconies and into the garden. The bookstore offers a good selection of hard-to-get art/independent films on DVD, though for other movies, prices are lower at regular DVD rental stores.
- 3 TaipeiEYE (臺北戲棚), No 113, Sec 2, Zhongshan North Rd, ☏ . The venue is recognized for its traditional Chinese and Taiwanese performing arts. Following a tradition that dates back to the 18th century. The 90-minute evening show is a form of Chinese opera that incorporates mime, dance, acrobatics and martial arts. During the live performance, the dialogue and even the songs are translated into multiple languages, including English.
- 1 Blue Monday (星期一古著), No 28-1, Lane 26 Zhongshan North Road, Sec 2 (Exit R7 Zhongshan MRT, turn right, the shop is in a side alley). 14:00-22:00. A second hand vintage clothes store - excellent selection, good prices. NT$200-2,000.
- 2 Breeze Center (微風廣場 Weifeng Guangchang), 39 Fuxing South Rd, ☏ . Su-Th 11:00-21:30, F Sa 11:00-22:00. Sec. 1 (near the intersection with Civic Boulevard).
- Eslite Spectrum (誠品生活), 14 Nanjing West Road (from exit 2 Zhongshan MRT Station, turn right; the store is directly in the right), ☏ . M-Th 11:00-22:00, F-Su 11:00-22:30. Contains bookshop, cafe, restaurants, and stalls specializing in creative household items.
- Eslite Underground Bookstore, Near exit R79, Zhongshan MRT Station (exit MRT ticket barriers, take a left; the bookstore is on the right), ☏ . 10:00-22:00. A section of an underground mall dedicated to books and creative arts.
- 3 Lovely Taiwan (台灣好), 18-2, Lane 25, Nanjing West Road (exit R7 Zhongshan MRT, turn left; the store is on the road running parallel to the MRT lane), ☏ . 12:00-21:00. A shop specializing in Taiwanese hand-made goods.
- 4 Miramar Entertainment Park (美麗華百樂園), No. 20, Jingye 3rd Road, Zhongshan District, ☏ . A standard shopping center with the usual merchandise. It houses the only IMAX theatre in Taiwan as well as the Miramar ferris wheel which offers great views of Taipei city.
- 5 Raohe Street Night Market (opposite the Songshan Administration Center, at the intersection of Sec. 4, Bade Rd. and Fuyuan St). This well-organized night market, attracts tourists from both overseas and across the country.
- 6 Shuangcheng Street Night Market, Shuangcheng Street, Zhongshan (close to Zhongshan Elementary School MTR, next to the Aloft hotel). 24 hours. Small and popular with locals. Have different stalls during day and night hours.
- 1 Shijie Vegetarian Restaurant (世界素食館), No 9, Alley 6, Lane 40, Changan West Road (exit R4, Zhongshan MRT Station, double back, cross Changan West Road; the restaurant is a few minutes walk on the left), ☏ . A very traditional family run Chinese vegetarian restaurant. Amazing food. Very little English spoken, but photographs of dishes on menu.
- Tandoor Indian Restaurant (坦都印度餐廳), 10, Lane 73, Hejiang Street, ☏ .
- Xian Ding Wei Restaurant (鮮定味), 67 Changan East Rd Sec 1 (總店) (near MRT ZhongShan Station, just take a taxi to go, should cost you around NT$100 max), ☏ .
- 2 Addiction Aquatic Development, No. 18, Alley 2, Lane 410, Minzu East Road, ☏ . Daily 06:00-00:00. If you are craving fresh and super affordable seafood, sashimi and sushi, this fish market is the place to indulge. Includes ten different foodie areas, including an outdoor grill joint, sushi bar, and gourmet grocery.
- 3 Blossom Rena Vegan Cafe (貝多蕾納), No. 26-1, Section 3, Zhongshan N Rd, Zhongshan District (from Minquan West Road MRT Station, walk east along Minquan West Road, turn left onto Zhongshan North Road; the restaurant is a five-minute walk on the left), ☏ . 11:30-21:00. Innovative vegan cuisine. Natural, minimalistic decor. Helpful and fast service.
- Macrobiotics (井町), 26, Alley 49, Chifeng Street (from Exit 4 of Zhongshan MRT Station, continue in the same direction - towards Shuanglian; the restaurant is a two-minute walk on the left), ☏ . 11:30-14:00, 17:30-21:30. A Japanese-style vegetarian fast food restaurant. Quick and efficient service. Tasty meals.
- Thai Star, Fu Xing N. Rd. Alley 231 #2, ☏ . Shrimp Toast, Beef Stew, Chicken, Papaya Salad are most famous dishes!
- 4 Tien Hsiang Lo (天香樓), B1, 41 Minquan East Rd, Sec. 2 (the Landis Taipei Hotel), ☏ . Authentic Hangzhou cuisine. Reservations are recommended.
- Ching-Yeh Aoba (青葉餐廳), 10, Lane 105, Zhongshan North Road Sec. 1, ☏ . The most famous Taiwanese restaurant in Taipei, beside the Zhongshan North Road.
- 5 Mitsui Japanese Cuisine (三井日本料理), 30 Nong-an St, ☏ . The best Japanese cuisine in Taipei.
- 6 Shabu Sen (鮮), 63, Minquan East Road, Sec. 1, ☏ . This place serves great Japanese/Taiwanese style hot pot dishes. It is a family run restaurant. The environment is clean and refreshing. The owner Ms. Chiu hand picks her ingredients daily from the market. Try the Kobe beef pot and mushroom pot. The price is very reasonable with well selected ingredients. English menu available.
- 7 Ruth's Chris Steak House (茹絲葵), 2F, 135 Minsheng East Road, Sec 3, ☏ . Perhaps Taipei's best-known and best American steakhouse.
- 8 Wang Steak House (王品台塑牛排), 169 Nanjing East Rd Sec 4, ☏ . An upscale chain steakhouse known for its signature "Wang steak".
There are a large number of cafes in the alleys and lanes around Zongshan MRT Station (between Nanjing West Road and Minsheng West Road - near MRT exit R7).
- GaBee, No 21, Minsheng East Road, Section 3, Alley 113. Probably the best cafe in Taipei for coffee lovers. Winner of the 2008 Barista championships, they take coffee and latte art very seriously. The waffles are excellent too.
- Libo Cafe, 12, Lane 42, Section 2, Zhongshan North Road (a two minute walk from exit R79 at Zhongshan MRT Station - close to the Taipei Zhongshan Sports Center), ☏ . M-F 07:30-19:30, Sa 09:00-19:30, Su 09:00-19:00. A rustic and cool cafe. Excellent coffee and cakes. Fast and friendly service.
- 1 [dead link] Recall Cafe (芮可餐廳), No 34, Lane 42 Zhongshan North Road, Sec 2, ☏ . 11:00-22:00. A pleasant cafe offering standard cafe food, desserts and coffee. Friendly and helpful staff.
- 2 Wooden Sounds and Garnet Cru (響板), 23, Lane 26, Section 2, Zhongshan North Road (from exit R7 of Zhonshan MRT, turn right; the cafe is a two-minute walk from the exit), ☏ . 14:30-22:00. Excellent no-nonsense coffee. Warm ambiance and distinctive decor set to electronic music. Simple, straightforward cakes available, but no meals. Good selection of teas.
There are a large number of bars hidden in the warren of lanes off Linsen North Road, many themed to attract Japanese male clientele.
- 3 Standing Room, 508 Changchun Rd. M-Sa. It is the standing style bar and restaurant with a traditional Japanese hors d'oeuvres, with world wide classic beverages. Its perfect location to have the quick dinner and drink for a busy business person. "Happy Hour" everyday open-20:30.
- My Place Bar & Restaurant, No.3-1 Lane 32 Shuang Cheng St, ☏ . Still going strong after 30 plus years. Serves great food, has two bars, pool table, and shows live sports on multiple screens. There is outside seating for smokers. One of the premier bars in Taipei for watching the upcoming World Cup. Happy Hour selected beers $100, special draught beer $100 all night.
- 4 The Brass Monkey, 166 Fuxing N. Rd, ☏ . Great atmosphere with live sports shown on big screens. There’s always something going on - it’s never a regular night. Friendly staffs are ready to serve you with good food and a wide selection of drinks. Go have a dance on their famous Thursday ladies nights.
- 1 Donghwa Hotel, No.156, Sec 4, Nanjing East Rd, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Good value hotel that provides guests with a warm and homey experience.
- 2 [formerly dead link] Happy Family Hostel 1 & 2, 2, Lane 56, Zhongshan North Road Sec. 1, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Happy Family is an old favorite in the city and it's managed by the very friendly and helpful John Lee. Dorm: NT$400, Single: NT$700, Cheaper rates are available for long term stays.
- Homey Hostel (紅米青年旅館), 7F, No. 180, Changan West Road, Zhongshan District (exit R4, Zhongshan MRT Station, double back; walk along Lane 18, Nanjing West Road; turn right on Changan West Road; the hostel is a few minutes walk on the left), ☏ (09:00-21:00), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00 - reception desk open from 08:30-22:30. Outside these times, self check-in, check-out: 11:00. A clean and modern hostel. Friendly and enthusiatic staff. Free wifi. Free breakfast.
- 3 Jiantan Overseas Youth Activity Center (劍潭海外青年活動中心), 16 Zhongshan North Road, Sec.4, Zhongshan District (nearest MRT 'Jiantan' on red line, take Exit 2 and walk south for 500m), ☏ . A pleasant HI-accredited hostel with gardens and the best view of the Grand Hotel in town, also convenient for Shilin Night Market and the Fine Arts Museum (both within walking distance) and the National Palace Museum (a 15 minute journey by taxi/bus). Coin laundry, Internet access, convenience store on site. The facility is primarily a youth activity center catering to groups, so it is often full during school vacations and at weekends — book ahead. Twin room: NT$2,200-2,500, Double room: NT$3,200, Six single beds: NT$4,500.
- Travel Talk Taipei Backpackers, 2F, No.96, Sec.2, Minquan E. Rd., Taipei city (5 minutes from Hsing Tien Kung MRT station.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00-21:00, check-out: 11:00. The international airport bus stop & city bus stop is just right in front of the hostel. There are famous temple (Hsing Tien Kung), traditional morning market, local food shops, future teller shops and foot massage & spa stores around. From NT$400/night.
- 4 [dead link] Check Inn, 253 Songjiang Road, Zhongshan District (a one-minute walk from Xintien Temple MRT Station.), ☏ , ✉ Hello@checkinn.com.tw. A minimalist and chic hotel in the centre of Taipei. 24 hour reception. Cafe. NT$5,000 +.
- 5 First Hotel (第一大飯店), 63 Nanjing East Road, sec. 2, ☏ . Ten-story hotel that has received mixed reviews due to the poor customer service and somewhat shabby rooms.
- Hotel B (台北碧瑤飯店 - Baguio Hotel), 367 Bade Road, sec. 2, ☏ . Cozy and well equipped hotel at a reasonable price, located at the heart of Taipei. Renovated in 2009 with brand new rooms and friendlier services.
- 6 Les Suites Ching-Cheng Hotel (台北商旅慶城館), 12 Chingcheng St (a one-minute walk from Nanjing Fuxing MRT Station (Muzha line)), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: from 3pm, check-out: before noon. A small and very comfortable hotel. Excellent service - the manager is very kind and will help you find good local restaurants and places to visit.
- The Leofoo Hotel (六福客棧), 168 Changchun Rd, ☏ . Aging, although solid choice for those on a budget with clean and comfortable rooms.
- The Riviera Hotel, 646 Linsen North Rd., TaipeiI, 104, ☏ . The Riviera Taipei hotel is a boutique hotel adjacent to Taipei Expo Centre
- 7 [dead link] Ambassador Hotel Taipei (台北國賓大飯店), 63 Zhongshan North Rd, Sec. 2, ☏ . While the outside façade may look old and dated, the interior sparkles with fresh, modern colours and features. The bathrooms are big and clean and tiled with marble while the room is well equipped and maintained. Although there are non smoking floors, there is the distinct smell of cigarettes in the air so be aware.
- 8 Grand Victoria Hotel (維多利亞酒店), 168 Jingye 4th Rd, ☏ . Near the Miramar Entertainment Park.
- 9 Regent Taipei (晶華酒店), No 3, Lane 39, Section 2, Zhongshan North Road, ☏ . Sophisticated top end hotel that displays elegance throughout its rooms and building. Large rooms, helpful staff and wonderful amenities.
- 10 The Grand Hotel (圓山大飯店), 1 Zhongshan North Road, sec. 4, ☏ . US$100 up.
- 11 The Landis (亞都麗緻大飯店), 41 Minquan East Rd, Sec. 2, ☏ . One of the city's most luxurious hotels, the Ritz has a comfortable sophistication that everyone can enjoy. Each of their 100 rooms is equipped with the most modern technology like temperature and humidity control, phones with dataports for fax or modems and voice mail service and cable TV. Guests can also dine in two of the most famous restaurants in the city at their hotel, the Tien Hsiang Lo and Paris 1930, both serving fresh, tasty cuisine.
- 12 The Sherwood Hotel (西華飯店), 111 Minsheng East Road, Sec. 3, ☏ . Five-star European hotel situated in the business district. Staff can be overly attentive but speak good English. The gym, pool and sauna are open until 22:00 each night and are very clean.
- [dead link] The Westin Taipei (台北威斯汀六福皇宮), 133 Nanjing East Road, Sec. 3, ☏ . Great for business travellers, this 5-star hotel is well equipped for business functions with expansive meeting space and a business center offering secretarial support and translations. Eight restaurants and a hotel piano bar are the perfect way to unwind after a day of busy meetings.