19 Things To Do in Ximending

Ximending is a youth shopping district in Taipei City home to various shops, bars, movie theaters, and more. Read on to learn whether it’s worth adding to your itinerary.

I’ve visited Ximending at least more than 20 times throughout my years of living here. I want to help you determine whether it’s worth visiting. Hence, I compiled a bunch of recommendations and information.

Tourist Spots Map

19 Experiences You Shouldn’t Miss

Explore all my recommendations and see what you’ll want to add to your Taipei itinerary.

1. Get a Drink at The Red House Theater: Taipei’s Gay Capital

Home to Ximendings LBGTQ+ Bars

red house theater ximending, taipei, taiwan
Chinese name西門紅樓
AddressNo. 10, Chengdu Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
HoursMon–Fri: 11 AM–8 PM
Sat: 11 AM–10 PM
Sun: 11 AM–9:30 PM
Best ForLGBTQ+ travelers & bar lovers.

The Red House historic theater used to serve as a theater that hosted operas, among other functions. Nowadays, it’s an area used to promote the Cultural and Creativity Industry. Many locals will sell handcrafted goods here.

Outside the theater are various gay bars. If you want to experience Taiwan’s LGBT+ culture, the Red House is where you want to go.

At night, the outdoor seating area fills with chatters and laughs. If you want to partake, order affordable drinks or food, depending on which bar you enter.

The hours for the bars around the Red Theater will vary.

Red House Photos

red room 1
red room 2
red room 3

2. Nishi Honganji Temple: Rare Site of a Former Japanese Temple

Nishi Honganji Temple in Taipei, Taiwan
AddressNo. 174號, Section 1, Zhonghua Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
PriceFree entry
Best forHistory enthusiasts

There isn’t much to see here. But if you’re interested in seeing relics from when the Japanese Empire took over Taiwan, the Nishi Honganji Square is a great place to go.

It has a large recast Buddhist bell that’s the only remnant from the temple named The Taiwanese Branch of Jodo Shinshu Honganji School that the government burnt down in 1970.

Other than a seating area and a lot of well-groomed grass, you’ll find a building restored as a traditional tea house. Also, a lot of literature lining the walls that’ll tell you about Formosa’s (Taiwan) history.

3. Watch Street Performers

ximen street performers

No matter where you go throughout the Ximen area, you’ll find crowds circling performers presenting various stunts.

Sometimes, I’ve seen The Joker breakdancing, and others being people who painted themselves silver and act like robots.

If you’re looking for street performers who primarily play instruments, you’ll want to head toward the Xinyi shopping area.

4. Visit Tianhou Temple & Pray for Peace

tianhou temple, ximending, taipei, taiwan
Chinese name天后宮
AddressNo. 51號, Chengdu Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10844
Best forHistory enthusiasts

With donations from immigrant merchants, builders finished the Tianhou, or Ximending Mazu, Temple in 1746, which makes it one of few major temples that are from the Qing Dynasty.

This place of worship is meant for prayers to the goddess, Mazu. And if you want to pray for safety and peace, she’s the deity who you want to visit.

It’s a small temple nestled between regular buildings and apartments, but it’s a temple that you’ll want to cross off your temple exploration list.

5. Explore Shinjuku Plaza

shinjuku plaza, ximending, taipei, taiwan
Chinese name西門新宿
Address108, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District, Xining Rd, 72號之1
Hours12–10:30 PM
Best forFriends & couples

Shinjuku Plaza used to have a lot more stores. Since COVID-19, this designer haven has lost many of its stores.

But if you’re looking for a place with a modern design to get some clothing shopping done, you’ll want to come to Shinjuku—plaza.

You’ll find varying reseller shops that sell designer bags, jewelry, shoes, and other clothes. Or, get your nails done at one of the various nail salons.

At the time of writing, the pandemic has almost faded in Taiwan, things are slowly transitioning to how they once were. So, maybe by the time you come to Taiwan, Shinjuku Plaza will have more shops to see.

6. Admire Graffiti

wall graffiti, ximending, taipei, taiwan

While making your way through Ximending, you’ll notice some “graffiti.” However, once you near American Street, or around Cinema Street, alongside the movie theaters, skateboard shops, bars, and restaurants, you’ll find good graffiti.

I love this area’s graffiti art. The artists seamlessly blended the designs with the surrounding environments. Moreover, the colors on these pieces pop, which makes them fascinating to watch while eating.

Artists based most of these designs on pop-culture references.

Shinjuku in Japan has the giant Godzilla head. However, Ximending has a Godzilla made of bricks, spray cans, a car exhaust, wires, and other miscellaneous items.

Most graffiti is in or around American Street. While it sounds like there should be a lot to do here, there isn’t. It’s basically a ghost town with a few apparel shops. Hoping they’ll add more to the street later on.

More photos

wall graffiti, ximending, taipei, taiwan
wall graffiti, ximending, taipei, taiwan

7. Stroll Through Bopiliao Historic Block’s 18th Century Architecture

The Bopiliao Historical Block acted as one of the most prosperous areas in Taipei during the late Qing Dynasty period. During that time, various merchants set up shops in this area. It was also a major area for trading coal.

During Japan’s occupation, the government repurposed this area for better efficiency, which slowly removed the meaning from this area.

During the early 2000s, the Taipei City Government restored this Bopiliao, transforming it into a historical site. As you walk through this spot, you’ll find red brick archways, stone terrazzo flooring, and cement walls that’ll bring you back to the architecture used by various colonialists.

For instance, you’ll find architecture that has influences from modern Western, Chinese Qing Dynasty, and Japanese.

Bopiliao isn’t in the Ximen area. But it’s close to Longshan Temple, which is about an 11-minute walk from Ximending.

8. Read a Book or Get a Drink at Eslite Spectrum

eslite spectrum, ximending, taipei, taiwan
AddressNo. 52, Emei St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours11:30 AM–10 PM
Best forFamilies & friends

Taiwan’s massive book chain, Eslite, has a massive book store that’s also mixed with a shopping mall within Ximending.

Toward the top floor, you’ll find the actual book store along with a drink shop to escape the heat. As for the books, you won’t just find books written in Chinese, but you’ll also find German, French, and English books.

If you want somewhere to binge manga, also do that here.

Or, stroll through the other floors, which have shops like Yankee Candles, clothing stores, and shops that sell other trinkets.

9. Travel to the North Gate

Taipei North Gate (Beimen)
North Gate in Taipei.
Chinese name北門
AddressSection 1, Zhongxiao W Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Best forHistory enthusiasts

During the Qing Dynasty, builders finished the Taipei City Walls, which were massive walls that enclosed the city.

When Japan’s colonialists took Taiwan in 1895, they destroyed the West Gate, which would have been in Ximending, along with the rest of the walls.

However, when the Republic of China (Taiwan) became a part of the country, builders rebuilt the South (Xiaonanmen) and East (Dongmen) gates. Unfortunately, the North Gate (Beimen) was the only gate to retain its original appearance.

How to get there

Take the Taipei MRT to Beimen Station, walk 11 minutes, or ride a YouBike for a few minutes to get to this gate.

What to do here

There isn’t much to do in this area. However, there’s a fair number of stone slabs that’ll describe Taiwan’s history. Also, if you’re in Taiwan during the Lantern Festival, Beimen will host a 3D laser light show every 20 minutes at night.

The light show seems to not have happened the last couple of years due to a certain pandemic. Hopefully, it’ll come back.

10. Explore Ximen’s Cinema Street: Watch a Movie That You Can’t Miss

optimus prime at a movie theater in taipei, taiwan
A statue at one of many movie theaters.

While you can see a movie anywhere, Ximen’s Cinema Street houses more than 20 movie theaters, and it gives you a chance to see what movie theaters are like in other countries.

You will usually find tickets between NT$200–300, which isn’t too bad, especially compared to the states. However, foods inside movie theaters are still expensive and fattening.

11. Try One of the Hundreds of Taiwan’s Claw Machines

a group of claw machines, taipei, taiwan
Claw machines in Ximending.

Taiwan has more than 200,000 claw machine arcades, and Ximending hosts a lot of them [1].

Most blocks, from what I’ve noticed, have carved out buildings with these flashy machines filled with real and counterfeit toys, trinkets, instant noodle packets, and laundry detergent. Yes, you can find interesting items that you could otherwise buy at a supermarket for a lot cheaper.

You’ll need to pay NT$10 ($0.35) for an attempt at these addicting money-sucking machines.

If you make the right choice and buy an EasyCard, you don’t have to exchange banknotes for change. Most claw machines will allow you to pay with your smart card.

12. Take a Picture at a Korean Photo Booth Studios

korean photobooth in Ximending, Taipei, Taiwan
Outside the Ximen MRT Station (Exit 1 I think)
Avg. PriceNT$200 per session
Best forCouples & besties

Remains of former businesses in Ximending transformed into Korean photo booth studios. These studios host many photo booths with access to props such as hats, eyewear, and other “cute(sy)” accessories.

I don’t know whether the staff sanitizes this stuff. Consider spritzing it with sanitizer.

And I don’t recommend any particular stand. I’ve noticed these appear out of nowhere recently. You’ll see them everywhere.

13: Sing at PARTYWORLD Karaoke

Partyworld Ximending
North Gate in Taipei.
AddressNo. 55, Section 1, Zhonghua Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100
Best forCouples, friends, & families

PARTYWORLD is a karaoke television (KTV) place for folks to rent rooms and choose among Japanese-, Mandarin-, and English-language songs. Many room rentals also include unlimited finger foods and non-alcoholic drinks.

The amount paid depends on the number of people in your party and the time you rent. Different price points based on the number of people are as follows:

  • 1–6
  • 7–10
  • 11–12
  • 13–15
  • 16–18

Let’s check out a couple examples. Rent on Monday at 2 AM for 16 people. You’ll pay NT$2,144 an hour. Rent on a Monday at 7 AM and pay NT$440 an hour for a group of 5 people.

14: Get Some Ink at Ximending Tattoo Street

AddressLane 50, Hanzhong St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, 108
Hours most stores open11 AM

Tattoo street has various tattoo and piercing shops. And that’s it. From what I understand, this street isn’t home to any famous tattoo artists.

Tattoos aren’t looked down upon in Taiwan like in Japan. Whether the tattoo artists speak English will depend on the store chosen.

15. Find Action Figures at Wannian Building

wainian building
Chinese name萬年商業大樓
AddressNo. 70, Xining Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, 108
Best forCouples, friends, & families
HoursTue–Sun: 11:30 AM–10 PM
Monday: 2:00 PM–10 PM

This building’s full of shops that sell action figures, cell phones, software, and clothing. However, this store’s more focused on locals and offers nothing significant. Unless you’re after Japanese figures (e.g., Nendoroids) and won’t visit Japan anytime soon.

There’s not much to do here. It’s mainly a place that’ll help you escape the heat.

Many folks like the food on the basement floor, though. They have various traditional Taiwanese restaurants. None of them stand out enough for me to make a specific recommendation.

But it’s a great place to get lunch.

16. Get a Taste of Japan in Don Don Donki

don don donki 2
Address108, Taipei City, Wanhua District, Section 2, Wuchang St, 58號1-3樓
Best forCouples & friends

Don Quijote is Japan’s biggest discount store and is commonly found nationwide. Taiwan has 2 of them; one in Ximending and the other by the technology mall.

For some reason, it’s named Don Don Donki here. Don’t be confused when seeing the names.


It has 3 floors full of discounted electronics, snacks, foods, and other stuff from Japan. Though the Don Quijote stores in Japan have a much more comprehensive selection, it’s a great place to explore while in Ximending. Whether you want discounted stuff from Japan or to relax in an air-conditioned building.

If you’re claustrophobic, you won’t like this store. It’s always crowded, and the aisles are narrow.

17. Snap a Photo at Rainbow Six Crossing

ximen rainbow six
  • A great spot to take a photo.

The Rainbow Six rainbow painting sits outside Exit 6 of the Ximending MRT station. It symbolizes Taipei’s respect for human rights.

There’s no other history or significance behind this landscape.

It’s usually crowded with people. However, most folks are respectful and don’t stand over the painting. Giving you a chance to take a picture.

18. Cosplay at Costume Street Ximending

ximen costume store
  • Cost to rent: NT$400–1,000 per day

Ximending’s Hanzhong Street (漢中街), or costume street, is a great place to rent costumes for the day. Whether you’re cosplaying at a convention, dressing up for Halloween, or want to strut around Ximending in an Iron Man costume.

I don’t recommend doing this. Because Taiwan is hot and humid. You’ll become super hot in the costumes. And out of the 20+ times I’ve visited Ximending, I’ve never seen anyone rent a costume.

Most costume rentals will range from NT$400–1,000 per day. Actual rates will vary by store. And you’ll need to leave your ID or passport with the shop owner for collateral.

19. Balance Your Yin & Yang With a Knife Massage

Knife massages, or daoliao, are precisely as the title states. A specialist will use 2 butcher cleavers to massage different parts of your body to direct the flow of chi (energy). This form of Chinese medicine suggests directing your chi’s flow will help promote relaxation and stimulate your body’s circulation.

I’ve heard good things about the Light Program Red House knife massage in Ximending. Their massages range from NT$1,500–1,800.

While it looks like your massage specialist will chop you to bits, I have yet to hear any stories of people murdered in these places.

Ximending Visitor Information Center: Visit to Rest & Find More Information

ximending visitors center, Taipei, Taiwan
North Gate in Taipei.
AddressNo. 45, Hanzhong Street, Wanhua District, Taipei
Hours1:00–10:00 PM
Phone Number02-2388-5255

Ximending recently (at the time of writing) opened a 4-story information center with a police station. The intention of this place is to give tourists an “oasis” to relax and learn more about the surrounding area.

What to do Here

  • Locker rental
  • Tourist books
  • Relax in an air conditioned room
  • Restrooms
  • x2 free device charging stations
    • Each has 1 USB 2.0 port & 1 type B electrical port
  • Speak to police
  • Basic tools for bicycle repair
  • Baby care rooms
  • Water dispenser
  • English- & Mandarin-speaking staff

How Do I Get There?

You can reach Ximending Pedestrian Area by taking the Taipei MRT Blue or Green Line to Ximen Station.

If you’re around the National Immigration Agency in Taipei, reach the Pedestrian Area by walking or renting a YouBike within 10 minutes.

Are There Souvenirs to Consider?

Ximen doesn’t have any noteworthy souvenirs. But if you want to get your mitts on some trinkets while you’re exploring, I encourage you to visit the souvenir shops.

You’ll find plenty of cool-looking keychains and magnets of Taiwan’s various destinations. 


I don’t recommend buying souvenirs from those destinations. Instead, support the locals by buying from stalls that sell handmade stuff, or from vendors in the Red House Theater.

You can find plenty of great trinkets and such while visiting the places they originate.

What’s There to Buy?

Here’s what I recommend buying:

SouvenirWhere to Get it
Phallic cakesYou’ll see stores with phallic signage outside.
Tailored suitsNo. 53號, Section 2, Hankou St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, 10842
Pineapple cakeBuy Chia Te Bakery’s pineapple cakes from any souvenir shop
Magnet or keychainAny souvenir shop
PostcardsHandmade goods stands or Eslite
Sun cakesRed Sakura: No. 49, Chengdu Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, 108
Taiwan flag or flag pinWing Tai Gift Shop (永大禮品行): No. 196, Section 1, Zhonghua Rd, Wanhua District, 108

A note about the flag shop. None of the owners speak English. Bring Google Translate and tell them what flag you want. Or whether you want a pin. From there, they’ll ask what size flag.

Don’t get the large flag unless you want something that’ll fill your entire wall. I recommend asking to see all the flag sizes. Each flag will have stickers that label their dimensions in centimeters.

Where to Buy Clothing

It depends on what you’re buying clothing for. Do you want affordable clothes? Shop from NET (Taiwanese brand) or random shops selling discounted clothing. 2nd Street is a second-hand chain that sells discounted clothing for men and women.

I recommend shopping there. Whether you’re on a budget. Sometimes they have great things.

To get clothing to protect you from the heat, I recommend Uniqlo. It’s a Japanese clothing chain that sells AIRism clothing, which is great for wicking sweat. This line always keeps me a bit cooler on hot and humid days.

Though, you’ll have stinky clothing. I recommend carrying fabric spray to combat the smell of body odor.

I also recommend buying tailored suits.

suit store in Ximending, Taipei, Taiwan

It cost me NT$4,222 ($137) for a tailor to custom-make a suit jacket and pants. These also included decent-quality metal buttons. Not all the folks here speak English, though. And it’ll take 1–2 weeks for them to craft your suit.

That timeframe was when I told them I urgently needed the suit for a wedding. This isn’t the best option for a tourist in Taiwan for a week or 2.

Here’s an address for one of the suit shops: No. 53號, Section 2, Hankou St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, 10842

Make your way down this street and you’ll gradually see more similar shops. Venture into each one and check out what each tailor offers. Compare their pricing, fabric choices, custom buttons, and other additions.

Restaurants in Ximending

This post would be too long if I included my recommendations. Instead, I listed them in a separate guide.

What Is There to Do Nearby?

Here are some things to do near Ximen:

Activity/PlaceWalking DistanceTo Do
National Taiwan Museum14 min.Natural history & more
Presidential Office Building14 min.President’s office
2/28 Peace Park14 min.Various displays
Taipei City Mall18 min.Shop
List of things to do near the Ximending pedestrian area.

Head east to the National Taiwan Museum, president’s building, and the peace park. Head north, and you’ll reach Taipei Main Station (Taipei City Mall). It’s quicker to take the Taipei MRT to there, but walking is healthier.

So long as the weather’s not burning you alive. Or it’s not raining buckets.

Upon reaching Taipei Main Station, you’ll have a transfer station to the Taipei Metro Red Line, the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) and High Speed Rail (HSR) stations. And you’ll have plenty of attractions near there like:

Or why not take the Red Line to Taipei 101, Tamsui, or Xianshang (Elephant Mountain)? Continue down the Blue Line, and you’ll reach the technology malls, the infamous Simple Kaffa, and Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.

It’ll take you fewer than 20 minutes to reach the above destinations from Ximending. But you’ll need to choose your hotspots wisely to build the best itinerary. I’d dedicate a separate day to Taipei 101, Tamsui, and the tech. mall.

Each destination has plenty to do around the area, which could result in a day trip.


The name of this shopping area came from its location outside Taipei’s west gate. In Mandarin Chinese, 西 (xi) means west. Whereas, 門 (men) means gate or door.

When Japan occupied the island nation, they transformed a road into a business and entertainment hub. One of the first buildings they constructed was the Red House Theater, which I’ll mention later in this post.

Over time, Ximending became an infamous theater street and a haven for scalpers. But as eastern Taipei became popular, the crowds began migrating away from the youth district.

In 1999, Taipei’s government created the Ximending Pedestrian Zone. They wanted to assess its popularity to see if it could improve the shopper’s atmosphere.

Fast forward to now.

Ximending passed its test. It remains as one of the more popular areas in Taipei City.

What is Taipei’s Ximending Youth District?

Ximending (西門町), Shi-men Ting, or Ximen, sits within Taipei’s Wanhua District and serves as Taipei’s young people’s shopping district. Many also call this area the “Shibuya” or “Harajuku” of Taipei. Both of these nicknames stem from youth districts in Tokyo, Japan.

What can you do in Ximending?

It’s a source of subcultures, clothing, Taiwanese and Japanese culture, street food, pubs, clubs, and various activities.

The Ximending Pedestrian Area doesn’t draw crowds until the evening, when everyone gets off work and out of class.

rainbow road, ximending, taipei, taiwan
Ximending entrance.

While Taipei doesn’t have much crime, I recommend securing your belongings. That way, you could deter potential pickpockets. Since you’ll find yourself moving through crowds, thieves have a perfect opportunity to snatch someone’s belongings.


Are Ximen and Ximending the Same?

People use Ximen and Ximending interchangeably to refer to the Ximending Pedestrian Area. When people mention Ximen, they may also refer to Ximen Station, a metro station on the Taipei Metro’s Green and Blue line.

What Is Ximending Known For?

Ximending is known for its graffiti areas, movie theater street, custom-tailored suits, and outdoor-mall-like atmosphere.

What Time Does Ximending Close?

Most businesses in Ximending will close around 10 PM (22:00).