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Ximending, Taipei, Taiwan – 38 Things To Do + Photos 2024

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Bright lights, big city – Ximending is the cultural heart and soul of Taipei’s Wanhua District, reminiscent of Shibuya in Japan but retaining its own Taiwanese identity.

There are many things to do in Ximending at all hours of the day (Taipei truly is a 24 hour city). Ximending is a weird and wonderful world of entertainment, shopping and food – a true Taipei treat (and the first pedestrianised area ever created in Taipei).

Although Ximending is busy both night and day, if you only have time to visit once during your visit to Taiwan, we’d recommend you go in the early evening to enjoy the neon nights and nocturnal street delights.

From sublime street art to shopping, rainbow roads to cheap street food, this is our guide to the top things to do in Ximending, Taipei (2024):

Things to do in Ximending in Taipei, Taiwan blog post

Things to do in Ximending, Taipei Map

Things to do in Ximending, Taipei

1. The Red House

One of the main tourist draws and best things to do in Ximending (both in the daytime and at night), the Red House is a beautiful red brick building that has served many purposes over the years since it opened in 1908.

The Red House Ximending

Ximending’s Red House now hosts cultural performances, a theatre, plus a fantastic two storey independent retail emporium, chock full of unique and one-off designs by local artists. The stalls at the Red House change every few months to keep it fresh.

Note: that as of our last visit to the Red House in Ximending in early 2024, there were no signs of any theatre performances – the upper level is currently full of pop up stores and selfie stations.

Read more in our guide to the Red House in Taipei >

The Red House Ximending Taipei
The Red House Ximending Taipei

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2. Ximending LBGTQ+ Bars / Taipei’s Gay Capital

By night, the retail side of the Red Brick House gives way to the hustle and bustle of some of Ximending’s best bars and nightlife.

Around the Red Brick House, you’ll find around 10 or so bars, pubs and clubs dotted around the square (plus a couple on the upper levels).

Ximending LBGTQ+ Bars / Taipei’s Gay Capital

The bars around the Red Brick House in Ximending are known as Taipei’s main gay area. Most of the bars around the Red Brick House have late opening hours, good Happy hour drinks prices plus huge terraces and outdoor seating areas. Perfect for people watching, alfresco drinks and for meeting people. 

Ximending LBGTQ+ Bars / Taipei’s Gay Capital

Some of the most popular LGBTQ+ bars in this part of Ximending include G Paradise, Café Dalida, and The Secret Garden (all open until 2am). Note that this area around Red House is incredibly quiet in the daytime except for some gift shops and cafes.

The LGBTQ+ bar area in Ximending is fun and safe to explore at night. Taiwan is one of the most progressive Asian countries – same-sex marriage between citizens became legal in Taiwan on 24 May 2019, the first country in Asia to do so.

YOU MIGHT LIKE: Taipei City LGBTQ History and Culture Guided Tour or Taipei LGBT Day Tour >

Ximending LBGTQ+ Bars / Taipei’s Gay Capital

Looking for cheap Taipei day-trips, attractions or group/private tours? We recommend visiting Viator, GetYourGuide, and Klook!

3. Ximending Shopping and Souvenir shops

Ximending is retail heaven! Although Taipei has lots of superb malls, it is actually nice to roam outdoors around Ximending and browse all the independent stalls (some rather whacky!) plus see some of the brands you might recognise from home like Uniqlo and ABC Mart.

If you are looking for souvenirs to take back home or for yourself whilst in Taipei, you’ll find dozens of souvenir stalls in Ximending.

As there are so many souvenir shops, there is a lot of competition so prices for the likes of cutesy characters, fridge magnets and stickers are all quite low and good value.

souvenir shop in Ximending Taipei

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4. Gachapons galore / Claw machines and amusements

Taiwan (and Taipei in particular) love their amusement machines and arcades. Their current favourite craze is the claw machines, where you can win both practical (iPhones) and novelty gifts. We even once saw a dedicated Ferrero Rocher arcade machine in Ximending!

In most cases, these arcades in Ximending are open 24 hours a day, and many are unstaffed hence why they can always stay open.

Gachapon Ximending Taipei

Whilst in Ximending we saw ‘gachapon’ galore – these are Japanese style vending machines where you put a coin into the slot to get a mystery capsule toy.

These can be found in dedicated gachapon shops and amusement arcades or even just in front of 7-Eleven and Family Mart convenience stores in Ximending.

Like gachapons and cute capsule toys? Read our guide to the best gachapons in Japan >

Check out our brand new website!
We have launched a dedicated Taiwan site – visit us at Taiwanderers.com >

5. Ximending Night Market

Taiwan (and Taipei in particular) are renowned for their night markets and Ximending is no different.

That said, unlike say nearby Raohe night market or Shilin night market, Ximending’s night market is more of a ramshackle affair – night time street vendors pop up around various streets, and there is a small dedicated area of about 20 stalls on Lane 50 near ABC Mart (more on this later).

There are also a few street vendors who sell their wares using trestle tables and blankets – most of our cartoon socks bought to use on the remainder of our Taiwan adventures were purchased here. There are lots of lottery ticket sellers to be found in Ximending too.

YOU MIGHT LIKE: Shilin Night Market Food Walking Tour in Taipei >

Ximending Night Market

6. Pop Mart Ximen Flagship Store

Pop Mart is now in Ximen! Newly opened in late December 2023, Pop Mart’s Ximen branch opened to much fanfare with huge queues around the block.

We visited Pop Mart Ximen in early 2024 just after it opened (thankfully there were no queues this time) and we can confirm this is an incredible building themed like a cinema, with Pop Mart figures and collectibles over four floors including a dedicated Mega Space Molly showroom.

Seriously, the design of this building and the way all the toys are displayed is nothing short of superb.

PopMart Ximen Flagship Store Taipei

Famous for their cute and quirky collectibles and blind-boxes, Pop Mart’s new Ximen branch is their flagship store and their third in Taiwan.

The first floor is dedicated to exclusive Pop Marts and mystery / blind boxes, floor two is PopBean and various merchandise plus their is even a broadcast studio and VIP lounge on the third level.

PopMart Ximen Flagship Store Taipei

There are huge Pop Mart dolls to pose with on every level plus a customizable area where you can create your own unique PopBean figurines or frames – the highlight for us was the Mega Space Molly floor which kind of felt like a modern museum.

Pop Mart Ximen flagship store is open from 11am daily until 10pm Monday to Thursday, and until 10.30pm Friday and Saturday.

Please note there is a second smaller ‘Ximen Pop Mart Roboshop’ on Google Maps but it is a vending machine!

Check out more photos of the flagship Pop Mart store in Ximending in our guide >

PopMart Ximen Flagship Store Taipei

7. Wannian Building

A myriad of market stalls and small independent shops, the Wannian Building is your go to place for gachapon stores galore, retro clothing and cool toy shops – it very much reminded us of our time spent in cool Tokyo neighbourhoods like Shinjuku or Akihabara.

Wannian Building ximending Taipei

Spread over several levels with a cheap food court in the basement, the Wannian Building market in Ximen is a good place to geek out. There are amusement arcades, a huge collection of claw machines plus an entertainment centre (Tom’s World’s on level 5).

Wannian Building ximending Taipei

Across 5 stories of shopping, you can get cool toys, smart looking sneakers, cracking comic book stores and much more. It has to be the largest concentration of gachapon stores in Ximending, if not Taipei. One of the most inviting stores we discovered was 8_n_bomb, chock full of play-things, models and fashion goods.

Wannian Building ximending Taipei
Wannian Building ximending Taipei

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8. Starbucks Ximending

Shock! Horror! Ximending has a Starbucks! Whilst we aren’t saying this is the best coffee shop in Taipei, the Starbucks branch in Ximending is HUGE inside and located in one of the most historic buildings in the Wanhua District, so it is quite a unique Starbucks.

Starbucks Ximending

There is seating over several floors (watch out for the steep steps) and this Starbucks is a good place to people watch, especially if you get a window seat on one of the upper floors, that look directly down onto the main Ximending shopping street.

And if you are a collector of Starbucks cups, they have a huge range of Taiwan / Taipei branded Starbucks mugs, some exclusive to the Ximending branch.


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9. Themed 7-Eleven stores in Ximending

We all know that Taiwan is famous for its sheer number of 7-Elevens, in fact as of early 2024 there are around 7,000 7-Eleven branches in Taiwan – now that is a lot of Slurpees!

However, unique to Taiwan, there are now over 100 themed / character 7-Elevens, particularly in Taipei. Did you know there are over 20 themed 7-Elevens in Taipei including a Heineken themed 7-Eleven, Peanuts 7-Eleven, Ultraman 7-Eleven plus even a Maseratti themed 7-Eleven?

Check out our guide to all the themed 7-Eleven stores in Taipei >

Ximending is home to several themed 7-Elevens in Taiwan including:

Lay’s Themed 7-Eleven

In the heart of Ximending entertainment district near the Cinema Park, you’ll find a Lay’s Crisps themed 7-Eleven. It is easy to spot by the bright yellow branding running through the store, plus on the bright neon sign outside.

Lay’s Themed 7-Eleven Ximending

Inside the Lay’s 7-Eleven, you’ll find themed dining tables, Lay’s memorabilia on the walls plus the biggest Lay’s potato chips section ever. Locals genuinely make special trips here to stock up on those harder to find Lay’s potato chip flavours; we saw people leaving the store with big bags full of potato chips.

The Lay’s 7-Eleven is located here >

UK readers: Lay’s potato chip are the international version of Walker’s crisps – equally tasty just slightly different branding and way more flavours.

Read our guide to all the Thailand 7 Eleven Lay’s potato crips flavours here >

Sanrio / Hello Kitty Themed 7-Eleven

A cute kaleidoscope of cartoon characters, Ximending’s other themed 7-Eleven is a homage to Hello Kitty and her Sanrio chums. Bright pink on the outside with huge characters to greet you, this has to be one of the most charming cafes and shops in Taipei.

Inside the Sanrio 7-Eleven, you’ll branded tables, heaps of Sanrio merchandise plus all the usual 7-Eleven food and drink. Better yet, there is big Hello Kitty inside the store, a perfect place to grab a snack and take some selfies.

There are two Sanrio themed 7-Elevens in the Ximending area, one here (the larger of the two) and one here (slightly smaller).

Read more in our guide to Taipei’s Hello Kitty Sanrio 7-Eleven stores >

Sanrio / Hello Kitty Themed 7-Eleven Ximending

7-Eleven Open DreamWorld / Hanzhong Store

You can never have enough 7-Elevens in Ximending right?

Another cute and charming character themed 7-Eleven in Taipei, this particular 7-Eleven store not only features the Open Dreamworld characters both inside and out, but you can also create and customise your own T-shirts using the instore print area.

One of the coolest and most creative things to do in Ximending!

7-Eleven Open DreamWorld / Hanzhong Store Taipei

Choose which Open Dreamworld character(s) you want on your T-shirt and then wait a few minutes whilst the 7 Eleven staff print it out for you – a very unique souvenir from Ximending (better than all those fridge magnets eh).

Our favourite part of the 7-Eleven Open DreamWorld store is the huge DJ booth with a cute character playing the decks and bright flashing lights. Definitely one of the more interesting places to grab and eat a 7-Eleven toastie in Taipei!

7-Eleven Open DreamWorld / Hanzhong Store Taipei

10. Korean Photo Booths

Talking of selfies…one of the newest things to do in Ximending which seems to have cropped up a lot in the last few years are Korean photo booths.

Korean Selfie Booths in Ximending Taipei Taiwan

These are often brightly painted small shops where you can borrow clothes and props and then pose for selfies or take photos in booths for a small fee.

Often the photo booths in these Korean selfie booths allow you to print out stickers as a lasting reminder.

As of 2024, there are over half a dozen Korean photo booths open in Ximending including Plan B Studio and Joy & Ray Perfect Photobooth – expect large queues at the weekends.

Read more in our guide to the Korean photo booth trend >

Korean Selfie Booths in Ximending Taipei Taiwan

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11. Ximending Street Entertainment

Taipei has over 60 official areas for street-performers to entertain, but the busiest we saw by far was the one right in the centre of Ximending, where the four main pedestrianised areas congregate.

We were enthralled most nights by the local street-performers who queue up one after another to entertain in heart of Ximending.

From tight-rope walkers to knife throwers (plus a lot of singers), you can see a dazzling array of talent every week (all free but donations into a hat are expected). This is definitely one of the best things to do in Ximending.

During one visit to Ximending, we also came across a street painter who created incredible works of art before our eyes, using cans of spray paints and home made tools. A huge crowd gathered as he created a colourful canvas (only stopping occasionally to dab the ash away from his cigarette).

Street-performers are required to get an official permit to entertain here so the only thing we don’t like in Ximending is the rise of ‘begpackers’. These are backpackers with limited funds who busk / beg, taking away potential income from local performers.


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12. Eslite Spectrum Ximending

A smart looking shopping centre in the heart of Ximending (with a hotel on the higher floors), Eslite Spectrum Ximending is famed for its beautiful book shop which has row upon row of novels, comics and literature (the Eslite Bookshop here also has many English language sections if you want to buy a new book to read whilst in Taipei).

On the upper level of the Eslite bookshop, there is a cheap as cafe and coffee shop that is popular with students and their study time.

Eslite Spectrum Ximending Taipei

On the lower levels of Eslite Spectrum Ximen, you’ll find several big brand name shops like legendary Japanese fashion and furniture chain Muji. We also saw an Adidas outlet when we visited plus the Canadian clothing store Roots (nice, eh!)

On the second floor, you can get cheap as Japanese udon noodles from Marugame – plus their tempura is top notch! A tasty way to spend some time in Ximen!

Eslite Spectrum Ximending Taipei
Eslite Spectrum Ximending Taipei

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13. Modern Toilet Restaurant (now reopened in 2024)

A toilet themed restaurant you say? One that promises ‘crappy’ food and a dining experience like no other – time to ‘poop’ on over to Taipei, literally one of the ‘…sh*ttiest things to do in Ximending (but in a very good way!)

Welcome to the Ximending Modern Toilet restaurant, where diners sit on a toilet bowl to eat at their ‘convenience’.

The Modern Toilet in Taipei has two different branches (another Taiwan Modern Toilet Restaurant can be found in nearby Shilin) but the ‘flagsh*t’…sorry…flagship branch is in Ximending. Talk about ‘flushed’ with success!

This Ximen Modern Toilet branch was temporarily closed during 2023 but it reopened in early 2024.

We thought the Modern Toilet restaurant experience in Taipei was such a peculiar yet fun night out that we’ve written a dedicated blog post about Modern Toilet >


Click here to read our Top things to do in Taipei, Taiwan blog post!


14. DON DON DONKI Ximen Store

Japan’s favourite discount store comes to Ximending in Taipei!

Originally known as Don Quijote in Japan where it has dozens of stores all over the country, Don Don Donki (as it is branded in Taiwan) opened their first Taiwan store in Ximending in 2021.

Located over several stories and open 24 hours a day, DON DON DONKI Ximen Store is easy to find as you’ll be bombarded with the surprisingly catchy ‘Don Don Donki’ theme tune as you get close to the front entrance.

One of the key similarities between all Don Don Donki stores (other than low prices) – is that they have speakers at every entrance blaring out the same ditty on repeat; it must drive the poor staff insane.

Their iconic and cute character Donpen can also be found in cartoon statue form outside the store, including sitting on the bench by the Don Don Donki food kiosk outside (which is also one of the cheapest places to get food in Ximending).

Specialising in cheap Japanese imported goods and foods, DON DON DONKI Ximen is quite unique as there is special Taiwan Don Don Donki merchandise (e.g. you can buy a a bag with Donpen outside the famous Jiufen tea house).

On the top floors, there are also several restaurants including a Korean fried chicken place.

You might like – Everything you wanted to know about Don Quijote stores in Japan >

P.S. If you are a fan of all things Don Don Donki then come and join our Don Don Donki Facebook group >


15. Tattoo Street

If you want a more lasting souvenir from Taipei, you could always head to Tattoo Street in Ximending.

There are several tattoo shops located in one covered lane, all of which have menu boards and approx prices outside – on our last visit, one tattoo shop was proving particularly popular as it had a rather cool cat out front drawing attention from passers by.

Ximending Tattoo Street
Ximending Tattoo Street

Very hipster in nature, most of the staff along Ximending’s Tattoo Street understand English and there are also several fashion and jewellery stores nestled amongst the tattoo shops. So if you want to get inked in Taipei, Ximending has a good choice of tattoo shops to choose from.

To find Tattoo Street in Ximending, just keep an eye out for the huge golden statue (a bit like a giant Oscar statue TBH) that is holding a massive tattoo needle – quite the Taiwan tourist attraction!

Ximending Tattoo Street

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16. Rainbow Six Crossing

At the main intersection near to the Red Brick House, one of Ximending’s most popular spots is the Rainbow Six Crossing (named as it is next to exit No.6 of Ximen MRT Station).

Close to the LGBQT+ bars and main gay area of Taipei, the Ximending rainbow crossing was unveiled in late 2019 to celebrate that Taiwan had became the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage earlier that year.

The whole area around Ximending’s Rainbow Six Crossing has huge billboards and neon displays, similar to Shinjuku in Japan or Piccadilly Circus in London.


17. Ximending Street Art in America Street

Explore Ximending’s America Street (Lane 96) and you’ll discover a whole world of street art and magnificent murals.

Ximending Street Art

Although Taipei’s laws around graffiti are not too strict, many of the murals are sanctioned by the Taipei Youth Art Centre, whereby local business owners are contacted to see if they’ll allow an artist to complete a piece on their blank walls.

Given the lax laws, Taipei is awash with street art but the alleyways around Ximending are some of the best areas to see a highly concentrated area of superb street art.

Ximending Street Art

18. Snow King Ice Cream

Definitely one of the n-’ice’-st things to do in Ximending, Snow King is a family run ice-cream parlour that has been creating the most extraordinary flavours since 1947. 

A tasty Taiwan treat, Snow King has produced hundreds of different ice-cream types over the decades. A newspaper article on the wall here dating back to 1993 said they’d created 300 flavours by the 1990s so who knows how many there have been since.

Snow King Ice Cream Taipei

On our visit to Snow King, you could try unusual ice cream flavours such as pork floss, kidney bean, peanut and taro. We opted for basil ice cream and passion fruit ice cream (190 NTD / Taiwan Dollars per scoop).

The basil was incredible and so rich. On our next visit, we intend to try the Taiwan beer ice cream flavour!

Some of the more unusual / interesting ice cream flavours previously available at Snow King include sesame oil chicken, wasabi, chilli Pepper and kinmen kaoling.

Snow King Ice Cream Taipei

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19. Ximending Movie Cinema Street (Wuchang Street)

Ximending’s movie theatre history comes full circle here – in the 1950’s, Ximending was known as the theatre district for Taipei and a collection of movie theatres (including an impressive IMAX theatre that can be found here).

Ximending Movie Theatre Street

There are around 15 cinemas in the area, but the biggest concentration can be found here along Ximending movie theatre street (Wuchang Street). Most of the movies are shown in their original language, with mandarin subtitles.

Please note that the famous Landmark Cinemark Ximen Theater closes down in late March 2024 after 25 years and will return in a ‘new form’ in 2026.


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20. FUFU CatCafe

‘Feline’ like a fun thing to do in Ximending?

Taipei only has a handful of cat cafes – the best known cat cafe and pussy parlour to visit in Ximending is the FUFU Cat Cafe, which opened in 2017.

Very good value compared to other cat cafes, FUFU Cat Cafe charges $50 NTD per 10 minutes or $500 NTD for 100 minutes which includes a drink (unlike other cat cafes, you don’t have to purchase a drink if you don’t want).

Other snacks (human and cat treats) can be bought additionally.


Try this – Ximen tours and local activities with GetYourGuide >


21. Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodle

A very popular and iconic stall with long queues of hungry locals waiting to purchase a take away tub of Taiwanese flour rice noodles (served with gravy and pig intestines!).

Ay Chung Flour Rice Noodle Ximending

The queues move pretty quickly as they only sell the one dish. We were not huge fans of the dish but the price is so cheap at 30TWD for a small tub that you may as well try it!

YOU MIGHT LIKE: Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle at Ximen voucher from Klook >


22. Taipei North Gate / Cheng’en Gate

A short walk from the main entertainment district of Ximending, Taipei North Gate is a historical landmark dating back to the 1880s (built during the Qing Dynasty era) and located in Beimen North Gate Square.

A National Monument of Taiwan, the two storey North Gate is the best preserved of the Taipei City Wall gates and is free to visit (note you can only access the exterior). The Taipei city gates were built originally as a measure of prosperity, to encourage others to build homes in Taipei City.

Nearby in Beimen MRT Underground station, you can also see various ancient relics and artifacts in glass cases that were uncovered when the station was being built.


23. Lane 50 Food Market

Looking for some late night snacks or street food in Ximen?

Head on over to Lane 50 Night Market (next to the Emei Street ABC Mart footwear store) serving up everything from beef noodle bowls (120 TWD) to fresh cheese corn (100 TWD) and candied strawberries.

This popular street food market on Ximen’s Lane 50 is open day and night (between 12pm to 11:30pm) and has around 20 or so stalls.

Lane 50 Food Market Street food in Ximending

The steam billowing from the hot food stalls is very enticing and as well as Taiwan food like radish cake, fried chicken and soy milk, you’ll also find several Korean food stalls selling everything from spicy tteokbokki rice cakes to Korean hotdogs.

This street is also full of gachapon vending machines galore – even if you aren’t hungry, this area of Ximending is very photogenic and well worth a visit, especially at night.

Lane 50 Food Market Street food in Ximending

24. Taipei Cinema Park

A colourful creative hub and meeting place with incredible street art and cute cafes, Taipei Cinema Park is the largest public park in Ximending.

Taipei Cinema Park

A former gas works dating back to the 1930s, the site fell into disrepair for many years before becoming a cool neighbourhood park and Art Plaza.

On the weekends, you’ll find craft and street food markets here at Taipei Cinema Park plus there are a couple of permanent restaurants and cafes. Best of all, the street art here is superb (including a dedicated graffiti wall – Lane 96) plus aerial walkways so you can enjoy the art from above.

Taipei Cinema Park

25. Hot Star Chicken 

Another VERY popular stall with Taiwanese youngsters – they sell huge spicy chicken schnitzels (the size of your face – seriously!).

In the latest 2024 Netflix Taipei episode of Somebody feed Phil, Phil Rosenthal is seen wandering the streets of Ximending eating a large Hot Star fried chicken!

Hot Star Chicken Taipei

26. PARTYWORLD ZhongHua Karaoke

Time to let off a little steam after traipsing around the streets of Taipei all day – PARTYWORLD KTV is the go-to place in Ximen for karaoke. With dozens of private booths, sing to your heart’s content without fear of anyone hearing you (unless you are a pretty good singer).

Private booths are charged on an hourly rate (prices vary depending on the time of day) and they sometimes do special tourist discounts at PARTYWORLD if you show your overseas ID or passport. 

There is an extensive food and drink menu (note there is a minimum spend on food and drink on top of the karaoke booth hire). English and Japanese songs are available as part of the karaoke song selection.


27. Nishi Honganji Temple / Bell Tower

Once Taiwan’s largest Japanese style temple during the Japanese era, the Nishi Honganji temple (called Xibenyuan Temple in Chinese) was alas destroyed by a fire in 1975.

Now a Bell Tower stands near the original site atop a small hill – this area is a very peaceful place compared to the rest of the usually busy Ximen district.

The Bell Tower recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, having been built in 1922. The large bronze bell was cast in 1901 and lost in WWII – the current bell was made according to the style of bronze bells at that time.


28. Eighty Eightea Rinbansyo Tea House

A postcard picture perfect place to enjoy Taiwanese tea, Ximen’s Eighty Eightea Rinbansyo tea house was a former head priest’s residence, a remnant from the days of the Nishi Honganji Temple.

At Eighty Eightea Rinbanso, as well as enjoying tea in a sumptuous setting, you can enjoy dessert platters and Japanese tea sets. Their fruit waffle is highly recommended.


29. Uniqlo Ximen

Ximen’s Uniqlo store has six storeys plus a Uniqlo flower shop on the first floor as you enter.

In addition to the usual Uniqlo high quality clothing like thermals, winter jackets and jeans, the Ximen Uniqlo also has a special fourth floor with a personalised clothing section (‘UTme!) where you can create your own designs and see them printed before your very eyes.

Uniqlo Ximen DESIGN YOUR OWN T SHIRT

Customising your own Uniqlo bags or tops using the tablets is really simple plus it has designs and embroidery icons that are unique to Taipei like a cartoon Ximen Red Brick House.

Uniqlo Ximen is open Monday to Sunday from 11am to 10.30pm. There is a tax refund counter on the top floor too.

Uniqlo Ximen

30. Taipei Tianhou Temple

Dedicated to Mazu, the Goddess of Mercy, the Taipei Tianhou temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Ximen, albeit quite small inside.

On our visit, there was a steady stream of worshippers paying their respects plus an array of lit up red lanterns hanging from the temple roof – there was also a menagerie of plastic zoo animals in the temple like a roarsome lion and an elephant.

The Taipei Tianhou Temple attracts many tourists including many Japanese visitors as it enshrines the Japanese Buddhist Grand Master Kobo-Daishi and is the only temple in Taiwan to do so.

Taipei Tianhou Temple

31. Shinjuku Plaza / Kicks Centre

Although many travel guides refer to Shinjuku Plaza as a ‘must visit’ thing to do in Ximending, we think these may be referring to it in pre COVID times as today, it is a mainly empty and very run down shopping centre.

Shinjuku Plaza / Kicks Centre Ximending Taipei

When we visited Ximen’s Shinjuku Centre, all but a handful of shop units were empty and vacant, and the building was in need of some TLC; it was just quite forlorn and faded.

On the second level, the only shop still trading was one solitary T-shirt kiosk – we aren’t sure if Shinjuku Plaza will be around much longer.

That said, we quite liked how a lot of the empty shops had become mini galleries displaying works of art for sale – the highlight on our visit was Wrong Galleries Top Gun II: Maverick air helmets.

Shinjuku Plaza / Kicks Centre Ximending Taipei

32. Kakao Friends Ximen Pop-Up – until 31 August 2024

South Korea’s cutest cartoon characters now have a temporary pop-up in Eslite Spectrum, the famous bookstore.

From Ryan the Lion to Choonsik the Cat, Con the Crocodile to Frodo the Dog, you’ll find all the Kakao Friends here, both in terms of huge cartoon models or rows upon rows of branded products. Everything from phone cases to plushes, clocks to airpod chargers.

Kakao Friends Ximen Pop-Up Eslite Spectrum

The Kakao Friends Ximen pop-up can be in the Eslite Spectrum Ximen basement area and it runs until 31 August 2024 (open daily from 11:30am to 10pm)

Love Kakao Friends? Check out our guide to Gangnam in Seoul featuring a huge Kakao Friends flagship store


33. Driftwood (Taihu Brewing Bar)

As there are so many things to do in Ximen, it can be tiring work trying to do it all – so take some time to kick back, relax and enjoy some craft beer at Driftwood bar.

Located on Kunming Street next to the Papa Whale hotel, Driftwood is one of the best craft beer bars in Taipei serving craft on draft from Taihu Brewing.

Driftwood (Taihu Brewing Bar) Taipei

As you’d expect, this Driftwood Bar has several wooden tiki huts inside and is a great place to sup good quality beers from Taiwan’s largest craft beer brewer, Taihu Brewing. If you can’t decide what to drink, go for one of their tasting flights where you can sup a sample of craft beers. Cheers!

Read more about the best craft beer bars in Taipei >


34. The best brownies in Taipei

Looking to get your chocolate fix in Taipei – then look no further. We’d recommend the brownie store near the Red Brick House – Mr Brownie, home to dozens of incredible brownie flavours (like, SO MANY different flavours from raspberry to matcha) – plus they have several mystery brownie flavours.

Some of the more decadent and interesting brownie flavours at Ximen’s Mr Brownie include lime mint brownies, French Rose brownies plus marvellous mojito brownies. Take our money now!

Prices for decadent chocolate brownies at Mr Brownie cost from 45 NTD to 60 NTD (around £1.50) as of 2024 so very good value.

Mr Brownie Taipei
Mr Brownie Taipei

35. Beef Noodle Soup

Whilst in Taipei, one of the most delicious things to do in Ximending is try the local speciality dish, beef noodle soup. As it so happens, one of the best loved and most popular beef noodle soup restaurants is located in the Ximending district.

We visited Fuhong Beef Noodles Restaurant one Saturday afternoon and were lucky enough to get a table straight away without queuing. We were the only tourists in the Fuhong Beef Noodle shop – most locals slurped away at their noodles whilst watching the news on the big TV and peeling garlic cloves. 

Fuhong Beef Noodles Taipei

As it quite a small space inside Fuhong Beef Noodles, it can get very cosy in there as you share tables – luckily, the chap next to us was very friendly telling us to add pickled cabbage to our beef noodle soup. He also mentioned that the soft drinks were free from the vending machine at the front (bonus!) and that you can get free soup top-ups. So we did!

The beef noodles at Fuhong are melt in your mouth marvellous, with handmade noodles and soft, super juicy slices of beef – and it was only around $70 NTD for a medium sized dish – no wonder it is so popular.

Fuhong Beef Noodles Taipei

Incidentally, if you like this dish, easily the best beef noodle soup dish we tried in Taipei was at Liu Shandong Beef Noodles, around a 10-minute walk from the main Ximending entertainment district.

The beef noodles were spot on (the broth had such depth and the handmade noodles were amazing). Although double the price of Fuhong Noodles (around $170 NTD a bowl as at March 2024), it is so worth it.

Be prepared to queue though – we even sat next to a local Taiwanese man who said he’d been coming here regularly for years and it was THE best beef noodles in Taipei – we definitely agree!

YOU MIGHT LIKE: Taipei Night Market Michelin Food Tour in Ningxia Night Market >

Liu Shandong Beef Noodles Taipei
Liu Shandong Beef Noodles – a few minutes walk away from Ximending

36. Sushiro Sushi

A Japanese style sushi conveyor belt restaurant that was located next door to our hotel (Green World Hotel).

The place was always packed with a long 2 hour waiting time, but we popped along one mid afternoon on a weekday and managed to get seated straight away. The sushi was really delicious and fairly cheap!

Things to do in Ximending in Taipei, Taiwan blog post | SUSHIRO Taipei Zhonghua
Sushiro

37. Costume Street Ximending

Once choc a bloc with dozens of costume hire shops and novelty fashion stores, it is fair to say that Costume Street has definitely seen better days. On our visit we found Costume Street only had several such stores – if anything, there were more chain restaurants than costume shops.

Costume Street Ximending

That said, if you are in need of a fun costume or novelty night time wear to explore Ximen, walk on by Costume Street and browse the brightly colour clothing rail. You can rent everything from dance outfits to traditional Taiwanese dresses or even Halloween outfits and cartoon character costumes!


38. Far Eastern Mall (closed)

If you want a little retail therapy whilst in Ximending or need to shop undercover on a rainy day, Far Eastern Mall is a short walk from the Ximen entertainment area.

Whilst not the most glitzy or glamorous of shopping malls in Taipei (it has been around for 50 years), it is a good place to explore with several floors of fashion, soft furnishings and food and drink places.

To note that Far Eastern Mall closed in 2023 for a five year rebuilding programme, meaning it will be bigger and brighter with a fresh new look and more fashionable concessions.


Check out our ultimate Taiwan food guide blog post >


Found this Ximending article useful?


Portable WIFI and Sim Cards

Having a pocket WIFI device was super handy during our trip. We pre-ordered one online with Klook and collected/dropped off the device at Taipei airport.

The rental cost was pretty cheap at only £2.85 per day, and we were both able to connect our phones to it. 

Alternatively you can pick up a 4G Taiwan SIM card from the airport in Taipei – click here to pay for one in advance with Klook.


Ximending Accommodation

We would highly recommend basing yourself in the Ximending district during your stay in Taipei. Here are some highly rated accommodation suggestions for all types of budget in Ximending!

Backpacker

Hostel accommodations that come highly rated include:

Meander Taipei Hostel
Highly rated hostel that offers a number of tours and fun events. Check out prices and availability for Meander Taipei Hostel Ximending.

Angels Hostel Taipei Ximen
Excellent hostel with dorm rooms. Check out prices and availability for Angels Hostel Taipei Ximen.

Space Inn Hengyang
Quirky space themed hostel with highly rated facilities. Check out prices and availability for Space Inn Hengyang.

Ximen Wow Hostel
Excellent hostel located in the middle of the Ximending district. Check out prices and availability for Ximen Wow Hostel.

Mid range

If you are looking for something mid range then these hotels are in excellent locations with great reviews:

Green World Hotel
Clean and comfortable hotel in a great location. Check out prices and availability for Green World Hotel.

CityInn Hotel Plus – Ximending Branch 
Quirky rooms a 5-minute walk from Ximen MRT Station. Check out prices and availability for CityInn Hotel Plus – Ximending Branch.

Just Sleep Ximending 
Nicely designed rooms a 2-minute walk from Ximen MRT Station. Check out prices and availability for Just Sleep Ximending.

Swiio Hotel Ximending
Awesome decor and located in the heart of Ximending. Check out prices and availability for Swiio Hotel Ximending.

Hotel Relax 3
Stylish hotel with buffet breakfast Check out prices and availability for Hotel Relax 3.

Treat yourself!

Alternatively if you are looking for something more special then treat yourself to a stay at one of these beautiful hotels in Ximending:

WESTGATE Hotel 
Contemporary rooms a 1-minute walk from Ximen MRT Station. Check out prices and availability for WESTGATE Hotel.

Inhouse Boutique
Quirky boutique hotel located 350 yards from The Red House. Check out prices and availability for Inhouse Boutique.


How to get to Ximending 

The MRT metro subway system in Taipei is super easy to use, clean and cheap and Ximending can be reached by using exit 1 or 6 at Ximen Station on the green and blue lines!

There is also an extensive network of buses too that go to the Ximending district.

Ximen MRT Station exit 1

The two best options for payment to use Taipei’s public transport are:

  1. EasyCard – the card costs costs NT$100 but saves 20% on regular fares. It can be topped up at metro stations and convenience stores like Family Mart and 7-Eleven.
  2. Taipei Pass – unlimited rides on the MRT and buses and can be purchased from MRT customer service counters for either one day, two days, three days or five days.

Uber taxi’s are also available – download the Uber app to your phone.


Other Taiwan blog posts you might like


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