One of my favorite places to spend an evening in Taipei is the Xinyi District. Not only is it home to the famous Taipei 101, it's also filled with tons of interesting art exhibitions.
(The ever-present Taipei 101)
(Check out these awesome sculptures. I don't know what they're waiting in line for, but they sure look cool!)
Oh, and did I mention that it's a shopper's paradise? There are almost half a dozen giant shopping malls clustered together in this part of town, and they are all worth a visit.
(Feel free to indulge yourself, just take it easy on that credit card!)
My personal favorite is the ESLITE chéng pĭn 誠品. Each floor has something to peruse, whether it be the latest in trendy clothing or handmade crafts, DIY stands, food or other delicacies, there is something for everyone. And then there is the bookstore which is open until 1am. That's what my fiancé and I usually go for. And then there's the food!
(a shot of some of the surrounding department stores, and the entrance to ESLITE)
Most of the food courts in the different shopping centers will feature pretty similar selections, but as far as dessert goes, I highly recommend the shaved-ice bào bīng 刨冰 stand right by the escalator as you enter the food court in B1. It's awesome! Despite it being autumn, we have still been getting a lot of hot weather lately. When it is still this hot this late into fall, Chinese people call it qiū lăo hŭ 秋老虎, which translates to fall tiger.
(L: waiting in line to get some shaved-ice R: choose your toppings)
(It tastes like sweet snow, and it melts in your mouth!)
(Do you want a bite?)
If you go on a Saturday, then you are in for a treat! Walk through the underpass in the B1 area and over to the băn jí 阪急 department store (it would also be convenient or you to start your evening here, as it connects to both the Taipei City Hall MRT Station as well as the respective bus station). There are tons more great restaurants in the food court here, and you have to stop by my favorite Japanese store, Muji wú yìn liáng pĭn 無印良品, before leaving. The bus station is upstairs, so take the escalator up and then walk outside and then up the stairs onto the rooftop square. There is a TGI Fridays here, as well as a Starbucks xīng bā kè 星巴克 and an NY Bagels(The home of the best American style breakfast I've had to date in Taiwan), but that's not why we're here. Just take a look around you, you should be in the midst of the jumble of stalls that makes up Taipei's newest Art Market!
(L: This is where I take the bus back to Zhongli R: an outside shot of the bus station, now let's head upstairs)
(L: NY Bagels, the best place for an American breakfast in town R: checking out the market)
The market features many unique and handmade products shŏu gōng pĭn 手工品, so take a look around and if anything catches your eye, then buy it! While some of the price tags may be a little higher than you'd expect, remember that the goods are handmade and try to support our artistic community. Plus there is usually a band playing live, so take a seat and let the rhythms soothe your feet!
(Well, I couldn't decide what to buy…but I made a new friend!)
(L: A stand selling Taiwan Beer. I don't drink, but don't let me stop you. R: Take a seat and let the music do the rest!
So there you have it! Enjoy your relaxing day in Taipei.
How To Get There:
Take the MRT to Taipei City Hall MRT Station. Many buses go here as well, both in Taipei and from other cities. It's really easy and convenient.