[This post will be updated if new information about places around the station comes available. 🙂 ]
West of Ximen Station
Ximending Pedestrian Area
The popular Ximending pedestrian area stretches from Exit 6 of MRT Ximen Station and includes Emei Street and Section 2 of Wuchang Street. Packed with stores selling a wide variety of clothes, accessories, miscellaneous fashion items, and 3C products, and also many snack vendors and sit-down restaurants, by day the area is bustling, but it really comes into its own at night. As this area is a must-visit place for foreign visitors, there are also quite a few gift stores.
This area was developed as a leisure and shopping district during the Japanese era. Changing with the times while constantly flourishing, it today continues as a pop-culture mecca for youth, showcasing all that’s trendy in clothing, cultural-creative goods, food, and entertainment, attracting travelers from near and far.
Location: Hanzhong Street (漢中街) Emei Street (峨眉街), Sec. 2 of Wuchang Street (武昌街2段)
The Red House (西門紅樓)
This red-brick Western-style complex was built during the Japanese era. Designed by a Japanese architect as Taiwan’s first public market, it features an octagonal front building attached to a cross-shaped building today home to the 16 Workshops. A live-music venue, Riverside Live House, is in the far-rear section.
A creative market is held weekends in the north-side square; the focus is on young designers, their self-created offerings including clothing and accessories, bags and backpacks, and much else. Concerts and outdoor exhibits are also sometimes held, attracting even more people.
Add: No. 10, Chengdu Rd., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2311-9380 (Closed on Monday)
Times of creative market: Sat. 14:00-22:00, Sun. 14:00-21:30
Nishi Honganji Relics (西本願寺)
Add: No.174-1, Sec. 1, Zhonghua Rd., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2708-1000
Eighty-Eightea Rinbansyo (八拾捌茶輪番所)
Located in the Xibenyuan Temple square, in a heritage Japanese-style building with exterior faithfully maintained, premium oolong, green, and black teas sourced from around Taiwan are offered at this teahouse, plus smoked teas blending tea and floral flavors. Tea refreshments are also served, enabling enjoyment of the great taste of traditional pastries along with the superb teas.
Add: No. 174, Sec. 1, Zhonghua Rd., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2312-0845
Movie Street and Taipei Cinema Park
Section 2 of Wuchang Street is populated with numerous upscale cinemas, including Lux Cinema, Vieshow Cinemas, and in89 Cinemax, where colorful posters and huge billboards are used to draw attention. In the 1960s Ximending was home to a collection of about ten movie theaters, with posters, giant billboards, and other eye-catching draws used to entice patrons. The area is today still often used for film-promotion events, and there is an air of rich cinematic culture. Around the spacious Cinema Park, weekends and holidays are busy with a streaming lineup of skateboarding, dance, flea market, and other trendy activities. This is a particularly popular neighborhood for leisure fun with youth.
Locations: Sec. 2 of Wuchang St. (Movie Street);
No. 19, Kangding Rd. (Taipei Cinema Park)
Tattoo Street (刺青街)
Down along Hanzhong Street’s Lane 50 are many tattoo and nail-painting parlors, creating a street of unique avant-garde character. Many young folks come here for tattoo art that declares their personal character. You can also get temporary tattoos, equally intricate and colorful, that fade away completely after a few weeks.
Location: Lane 50, Hanzhong St.
American Street (美國街)
On and around Lane 96 of Kunming Street is a strong cluster of shops selling hip-hop and personalized apparel. Walls and rolling doors are decorated with bold colors, displaying distinctive graffiti art. The location attracts droves of youngsters interested in American cultural trends, especially things related to hip-hop culture.
Location: Around Lane 96, Kunming St.
Costume Street (服裝街)
Along Hanzhong Street and Changsha Street are many shops renting costumes, dance apparel, and performance props, frequented by school cheerleading squads, people needing items for year-end banquet performances, Christmas parties, etc. Items range from ancient Chinese clothing to cartoon characters. Come here to rummage for the most unusual Halloween costume you’ve ever worn.
Location: Around Hanzhong St., Chengdu Rd., and Sec. 2, Changsha St.
(漢中街, 成都路, 長沙街二段)
Fong Da Coffee (蜂大咖啡)
This venerable café, in business over half a century, percolates with rich coffee aromas and deep air of nostalgia. In addition to the ice drip coffees and fancy coffees, coffee equipment is sold, along with such traditional Cantonese-style pastries as walnut crisps, almond cookies, mung-bean cakes, and baked pork cakes.
Add: No. 42, Chengdu Rd., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2371-9577
MoeHime Maid Café (萌姫女僕咖啡館)
This is a unique café offering a menu of anime, cosplay, and board games. Anime themes are replete, from menu to foods to waitstaff attire. At each table there is a magic wand; simply wave it and a fair maiden in costume will appear to serve you. The rice omelets and waffles are the most popular dishes. When your food comes the staff will decorate the sides of your plate and the food itself with “graffiti” using ketchup or chocolate. The café also periodically brings out seasonal new food and drinks based on anime characters, along with themed souvenir merchandise.
Add: 6F, No. 127, Hanzhong St., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2388-1816
Flora Salon (芙蘿拉造型攝影沙龍)
Taiwan’s first Lolita-themed photography salon satisfies whatever your fancy, classical to sweet to fantasy, providing all attire, hair styling/accessories, makeup, and adornment needed for its studio photography. The studio engages in all types of modeling design and collocation to meet customers’ needs. Reservations are required.
Add: 6F-2, No. 67, Chengdu Rd., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2388-6556 (closed on Tuesday)
Ha Ha Toy Store ( 形整人玩具店)
This venerable shop has all needed for playing jokes and tricks, with over 2,000 types of item in stock. There’s everything from Taiwan-style red envelopes and magic-trick props to foreign-style festival decoration materials, costume-ball items, and a wide variety of specialty gift items. The owner has a passion for a good joke or gag, and loves explaining his store’s offerings and giving test demos. If looking to get into a little fun mischief, this is the place to come.
Add: 2F, No. 21, Sec. 2, Wuchang St., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2361-8801
Wannian Building (萬年大樓)
This historical market building in Ximending has been witness to local memories created for multiple generations of young Taiwanese. The B1 level has a food court with many “hidden-away” sellers of good, reasonable fare. On the first floor you will find clock/watch and cosmetics shops. The other floors form a grand emporium of trendy clothing, sport shoes, watches, perfumes, games, models, toys, comics, magazines, and much else, offering unbeatable one-stop shopping. Many foreign tourists make a point to come here for treasure-hunting.
Add: No. 70, Xining S. Rd., Taipei City
Simon Tian Bu La (賽門甜不辣)
With a history of more than half a century, the tianbula (tempura) in this old shop is made with carefully selected fish. It is paired with oily tofu, fish sticks, fish balls, and radish, and is sprinkled with the proprietor’s specially made sweet soy sauce. A sip of the boiled fish bone soup is a flavor that both young and old will never forget.
Add: No. 95, Xining S. Rd., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2331-2481
Lau Tian Lu (老天祿滷味)
Soy-braised food treats are a popular gift purchase at Ximending. Lau Tian Lu’s offerings are made with a secret stew containing more than ten Chinese medicinal herbs. The savory, aromatic duck tongue, duck wings, duck gizzards, crispy pork intestine, chicken feet, chicken wings, and dried beancurd are all big hits with tourists.
Add: No. 55, Sec. 2, Wuchang St., Taipei City
(台北市武昌街2 段55 號)
Tel: (02) 2361-5588
Ya Rou Bian (鴨肉扁)
With a Ya Rou Bian (“Duck Meat” Bian) signpost hanging outside, the produce inside is good and chewy in taste goose meat. The restaurant serves fresh tasty soup and delicious smoked goose meat. It has stood strong in Ximending for decades and for tired window-shoppers there is no harm in popping inside to eat a bowl of rice noodle soup or goose meat to restore physical strength.
Add: No. 98-2, Sec. 1, Zhonghua Rd., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2371-3918
Ay Chung Flour-Rice Noodle (阿宗麵線)
Offers smooth red thin noodles paired with fragrant, chewy soy-braised intestine and shaved-fish soup. Add your chili sauce, black vinegar, and garlic to taste. Though there is no seating this eatery still attracts many customers, who eat squatting or standing in the entryway, affording a curious spectacle.
Add: No. 8-1, Emei St., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2388-8808
Chengdu Starfruit Ice (成都楊桃冰)
Opened in 1966, Chengdu Starfruit Ice sells shaved-ice treats. Using the best fruits strictly selected from around Taiwan, it crafts starfruit ice, salty-plum ice, pineapple ice, starfruit soup, pineapple soup, and other items, each a wonderfully tasty sweet/sour dance, enticing countless ice-treat lovers.
Add: No. 3, Chengdu Rd., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2381-0309
Three Coins (1 star Michelin)
(米其林一星 ── 大三元)
Honored with a star in the Michelin Guide Taipei, this venerable eatery offers Cantonese dishes infused with Taiwanese ingredients. Its signature dish is lobster simmered in chicken consommé, the meat delicious with firm texture. The aromatic baked seafood in papaya, a bestseller for 30 years, features half-cut papaya sourced from Pingtung County, stuffed with fish, shrimp, and other seafood delectables, covered in cheese, and baked.
Add: No. 46, Hengyang Rd., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2381-7180
Xin Qianye Shabu Shabu
Add: 7F, No. 52, Emei St., Wanhua District, Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2331-7288
East of Ximen Station
Animate Taipei Store (安利美特台北總店)
A pilgrimage site for fans of Japanese anime, this is Taipei’s first Animate outlet, with everything from anime magazines, light novels, albums, and video games to doujinshi (fan-created amateur anime). The on-site Animate Café provides takeaway drinks, and also offers limited-edition beverages in concert with anime campaign launches.
Add: B1, No. 39, Sec. 1, Zhonghua Rd., Taipei City
Long’s Shanghai Restaurant (上海隆記菜飯)
This venerable eatery, in business over 60 years, offers classic side dishes and, as its signature dish, rice with eel and vegetables. The eel is first deep-fried and then grilled, rendering the eel ultra-tender. The dish is served with slowly simmered rice and vegetables, a perfect taste combination. Another fine selection is the braised silver carp roe with scallions, crispy and delicious.
Add: 1, Ln. 101, Yanping S. Rd., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2331-5078 (closed on Sundays)
Chengzhong Market (城中市場)
Born in the Japanese colonial period as a commercial street satisfying the everyday needs of Japanese customers, great tastes await down local alleys. At “Laopai Niurou Lamian Dawang (老牌牛肉拉麵大王),” only the freshest yellow beef is used, accompanied by delightfully chewy hand-rolled noodles. The tender, richly filled wontons at “Little Zhou’s Knife-Cut Noodles” are acclaimed. The hundred-plus Cantonese-cuisine dishes at “Yang Cheng Xiao Shi,” and old-style snack treats such as thick squid soup with shacha sauce and beancurd pudding, are foodie favorites.
Location: Ln. 46, Sec. 1, Chongqing S. Rd., Taipei City
Taoyuan Street–“Beef Noodles Street”
(桃源街 — 牛肉街)
In days gone by Ximending was Taipei’s busiest commercial district. Nearby Taoyuan Street was choc-a-bloc with shops selling beef noodles, qiangguo (lit. “grab pot”) noodles, meat and veggie wontons, steamed buns, etc. Beef noodles was undisputed king, leading to the nickname “beef noodles street.” The unique old-time flavors are today still enjoyed at such familiar old places as “Old Wang’s Beef Noodles,” “Zhao Family Vegetable and Meat Wonton King,” “Three Flavors Fragrant Wontons and Steamed Buns,” and “Taoyuan Street Authentic Shandong Beef Noodles.”
Location: Taoyuan St., Taipei City (台北市桃源街)
Taipei Zhongshan Hall (台北中山堂)
Built in 1936, the distinctive exterior is Spanish Moorish. Built as Taipei’s public assembly hall, the facility was once a key government venue for receiving foreign dignitaries. Today a cultural-arts performance space, the 4th-floor Le Promenoir Coffee offers fine coffees, cultural-arts performances, and a relaxed, refined ambience.
Add: 98, Yanping S. Rd., Taipei City
Tel: (02) 2381-3137
Lao Shandong Homemade Noodles
Tel: (02) 2389-1216
Add: B1, No. 70, Xining S. Rd., Taipei City
Niu Dian Beef Noodles
Tel: (02) 2389-5577
Add: No. 91, Kunming St., Taipei City
Further reading on other sites:
A Style Alike: ACME Breakfast CLUB
TripZilla: Things to Eat in Ximending: 14 Foodie Hot Spots in Taipei’s Vibrant Youth District