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Meet You in Zhongshan: The Ins and Outs of Taipei’s Coolest Neighborhood

Meet You in Zhongshan: The Ins and Outs of Taipei’s Coolest Neighborhood
执事们的沉默(彩色条漫)(境外版)

▲A bustling area, Zhongshan District was selected as one of the “Top 40 Coolest Neighborhoods in the World” by Time Out magazine. (Photo・Mike Sung)

Author

Jonathan Kaplan

前往美國參展 昇達科、鐳洋攻低軌衛星

Photographer

病癒投入自然農法 種出療癒7色米

Mike Sung, Jeremy Kuahn, Two Three Comedy, RVLT Taipei, Fifi Lee, Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government

Scooters and taxis zip down Nanjing East Road (南京東路) well after midnight, after Metro Taipei has closed for the night. They make their left or right turns into the streets and alleyways of Zhongshan (中山), their destinations close at hand: a late-night bistro, an understated izakaya, a buzzing shisha lounge, or a hip speakeasy.

Across from Linsen Park (林森公園), patrons of a 24-hour dim sum restaurant sit with their backs to the windows overlooking the road, stealing glances across the room at the various tables of night-owl musicians and bar staff who frequent the place. It’s one of a thousand scenes playing out every night, and one of the reasons why in November 2023, esteemed British cultural publication Time Out named Zhongshan as one of the “Top 40 Coolest Neighborhoods in the World.” This rare honor isn’t bestowed upon any other place in Taiwan this time, making the achievement even more unique. If you’re keen to learn for yourself what makes Zhongshan so hip, you’ll just have to get right into it.

浆价持续走扬 华纸首季营收 有望翻身

Urban Origins

高雄機廠遷潮州環差過關 加強領角鴞棲地營造

In the late 1800s, as Taipei blossomed from a trading town into a full-fledged city, Zhongshan became the new urban center of development. Factories, schools, and residences quickly emerged in the district. Later, during the Japanese era (1895-1945), the neighborhoods were laid out in an orderly, easily-navigable grid. Members of the ruling elite settled into the area in stately homes, and around them sprang up the residences and shops of local merchants, tradespeople, professionals, and their families.

彰县文化志工表扬 44人获奖

▲Eye-catching graffiti on the wall of one of many unique coffee shops in Zhongshan. (Photo・Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government)

The Japanese influence on Zhongshan is apparent to this day. Izakayas and ramen shops line the alleyways north of Changan West Road (長安西路). Street scenes look like they could have been lifted wholesale from Osaka or Tokyo. Listen attentively and you’ll hear plenty of Japanese being spoken as you walk around — the area remains popular with tourists and business travelers from Japan. But Zhongshan is not Japan. It is uniquely Taiwan, with its identity forged in the crucible of history, reconfigured endlessly by the people who live and work there. The district’s name itself is a tribute to the founder of the Republic of China, Sun Zhongshan, known commonly in the West as Sun Yat-sen.

Getting There

Setting off from MRT Zhongshan Station, you can go to Nanxi Shopping District to experience the trendy and exotic shopping environment of Taipei. Next to Nanxi is Chifeng Shopping District, which is technically located within the Datong District but often seen as an extension of Zhongshan with its intersecting alleys.Going further westward leads to another popular tourist magnet of Taipei — Dadaocheng, where you can bear witness to Taiwan’s historical and cultural development.

Zhongshan is a cluster of coffee shops, restaurants, galleries, historical sites and creative markets, and is popular with young tourists for both shopping and taking pictures in the area’s many stylish locations.No matter your approach, you will be met by neighborhood gems.

「疑似」儿虐调查 北市议员怒中央带风向

▲Xinzhongshan Linear Park is dotted with many installation artworks. (Photo・Mike Sung)

达根之神力 小说

With its Japanese background, modern amenities, chic style, and cozy vibes, Zhongshan is an obvious destination for intrepid travelers looking for a unique experience of Taipei. Surely you will find your own favorite sights, bites, and sips, but the following recommendations should serve as a helpful starting guide to anyone eager to see what’s on offer.

Daytime in Zhongshan

During the day, Zhongshan bustles with commerce,

主导电动车市场 比亚迪董座:忧喜参半

and likewise boasts numerous literary and artistic attractions. Between the historical sites and adorable shops, you’ll find no shortage of places to explore.

梵克雅宝百年传承 登上艺术殿堂

Xinzhongshan Linear Park & Zhongshan Underground Book Street

一周盤前解析/AI 鏈、重電股 擇優布局

心中山線形公園 & 中山地下書街

屏东工厂大火!内政部启动灾害事故调查会

Running north-south along the route from MRT Shuanglian Station to Zhongshan Station, Xinzhongshan Linear Park is an oasis of aesthetic urban design. Perfect for people-watching or a casual stroll, the landscape transforms along the way, mixing greenery and architecture with views of the surrounding neighborhood. Dotted with funky urban art that changes throughout the year, the park is a hot gathering spot for young families and fashionable local youth to meet with friends and enjoy some fresh air. On weekends, there is a charming outdoor market for local crafts and fashion goods.

劲嘉股份实控人乔鲁予三年三度被立案并留置

▲Xinzhongshan Linear Park is perfect for leisurely strolls, offering an urban oasis filled with aesthetic designs. (Photo・Mike Sung)

Descend beneath the linear park to the Zhongshan Underground Book Street (中山地下書街) to explore the world of books, stationery, and cultural products. Pick up a novel and ease into the climate-controlled environment at your leisure.

打了个大喷嚏竟差点没命 医揭主动脉「爆」裂原因

▲Zhongshan Underground Book Street brings art into residents’ daily lives. (Photo・Mike Sung)

健和兴美国产线 Q2拚小量生产

Back above ground, the streets and alleys that intersect the park are brimming with cute cafés, bakeries, and boutiques.

Tsai Jui-yueh Dance Research Institute

蔡瑞月舞蹈研究社

Taiwan is a nation in love with movement, and the art of dance is broadly popular. On any given weekend you can see groups of youths practicing moves across the city. Considered the mother of modern dance in Taiwan, Tsai Jui-yueh was a pioneer in her art, and the Dance Research Institute carries on her work to this day, serving as an important educational base for young talent. The wooden building was once the residence of Japanese officials, and is now open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

米其林星光加持新餐厅

▲Once a dormitory for Japanese officials, the wooden structure of Tsai Jui-yueh Dance Research Institute now proudly stands to display Ms. Tsai’s dancing records and videos. (Photo・Mike Sung)

为什么英国本地人不读研?

▲Once a dormitory for Japanese officials, the wooden structure of Tsai Jui-yueh Dance Research Institute now proudly stands to display Ms. Tsai’s dancing records and videos. (Photo・Jeremy Kuahn)

NBA》又是绝杀!阿德巴约大号三分球帮助热火力拔活塞

Coffee Dumbo

登波咖啡

With its cool retro interior and obvious passion for coffee perfection, Coffee Dumbo is one of the best cafés in town, located south of MRT Shuanglian Station just beside the Linear Park. Settle in for a phenomenal cup and a cinnamon roll and steep in some of the best flavor and style Zhongshan has to offer.

▲The style of Coffee Dumbo blends retro and modern influences. (Photo・Mike Sung)

輝達GTC大會回歸實體舉辦 聚焦黃仁勳演講等4亮點

SPOT Taipei Film House

光點臺北

竹科萬坪廠房標售 估算價值逾10億元

Screening some of Asia’s greatest films in an American colonial style mansion, SPOT Taipei Film House is unique among movie theaters as it was previously the Embassy of the US. Now an elegant, intimate setting for the cinematic arts, it is an unforgettable place and well worth a visit. Check their website for viewing schedules and ticket information.

▲SPOT Taipei Film House, a two-story, western-style building, was once the US ambassador’s residence. (Photo・Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government)

嫌市容像贫民窟「房子买不下手」 有壳族推1区:未来趋势

Dongkyo Bakery

「超萌大雪山」塞爆汽車後排!一隻薩摩耶就占3座位 網笑:該換一台休旅車了

東橋商店

This inventive bakery produces some of the city’s favorite sweet buns, distinctively Taiwanese in style and flavor. The enduringly popular purple sweet potato variety, apart from looking just like an actual purple sweet potato, is an instagrammable favorite: tear it open to reveal the actual sweet potato filling. Be sure to grab a variety to power your adventures around the neighborhood.

NBA》正处生涯巅峰?吉米巴特勒:我在高中更具统治力

▲Hot, fresh sweet potato bread on offer at Dongkyo Bakery. (Photo・Jeremy Kuahn)

斗 羅 大陸 4

1月外币存款余额 连三降

Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei

不再是台湾独家制造?外媒爆台积电CoWoS技术也考虑赴日

臺北當代藝術館

U23世界杯》「会连你的份一起打」 陈圣平一席话又逼哭罗𬀩捷

A short walk south of MRT Zhongshan Station, MoCA showcases artwork from Taiwan’s contemporary artists in clever, illuminating, and sometimes provocative exhibitions. MoCA’s architecture stands out from its surroundings, its red brick arches and wings hinting at its original purpose: an elementary school, built during the Japanese era, now continuing to serve the interests of the public. Step inside and immerse yourself in the creative visions of remarkable artists. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm, and admission costs NT$100.

▲MoCA Taipei exhibits a wide variety of contemporary artworks. (Photo・Mike Sung)

Chifeng Street

赤峰街

You will definitely be charmed by the shops lining Chifeng Street. Just a minute’s walk from MRT Zhongshan Station, the chic shops on this sweet little street and its connecting lanes draw patrons from across Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and beyond.

▲Chifeng Street is a paradise for hipsters to hang out. (Photo・Mike Sung)

Known as “Iron Street,” Chifeng Street used to mainly sell automotive parts and hardware in the past. However, these scrap metal parts and auto repair shops have transformed into retro photo studios, vintage clothing shops, independent bookstores, and coffee shops. The renovation of old buildings adds an artistic ambiance and infuses Chifeng Street with a blend of retro and modern vibes. From hot coffee to cool fashion, with dessert along the way, Chifeng Street is a great place to spend a whole day.

Zhongshan After Dark

Zhongshan takes on a different allure after the sun goes down. The urban vibe turns cool and easy, and the fragrance of marvelous cuisines drift down the breezy lanes. Jump into the buzzing atmosphere and chill charms of one of Taipei’s top nightlife neighborhoods, embracing the captivating allure of diverse cultures from around the world.

Party Team Bistro

打鐵町49番地

我有神级无敌系统

Izakayas, those wonderful Japanese parallels to the “gastropub,” dot the Taipei landscape as odes to the joy of Japanese food and drink. No two are the same, but Party Team Bistro stands above the crowd for its fun, funky ambiance, at once cool but not pretentious. The food is seriously good, however, in particular the yakitori boldly advertised on the facade. Sake is the drink of choice, but cold Kirin beer is always on tap. Have fun!

前往美國參展 昇達科、鐳洋攻低軌衛星

▲Party Team Bistro is an izakaya with a strong Japanese vibe. (Photo・Jeremy Kuahn)

Two Three Comedy Club

23喜劇俱樂部

One of Taipei’s best-kept secrets is its growing international comedy scene, and Two Three Comedy Club is its home base. An unassuming door on colorful Linsen North Road (林森北路) leads down to the underground club, where English and Chinese language stand-up comics take the stage to poke at the ordinary and absurd to audiences’ delight. A cozy bar serves snacks, cocktails, and fine craft beer from Taiwan’s 23 Brewing Company. English open mics are every Monday and Wednesday at 9:30pm, with ticketed performances frequently on Fridays. Check their Facebook page for details.

▲Two Three Comedy Club was the first bilingual comedy club in Taiwan, pioneering the stand-up comedy industry in the city. (Photo・Two Three Comedy)

嘉县 一言不合打死邻居 嫌称病想减刑责

Luckstar Banquet Hall

吉星港式飲茶

犯罪组织化 5个少年犯 就有1个涉诈

This 24/7 dim sum joint is an oasis of flavor and timeless style. Across from the southern boundary of Linsen Park, just head up to the 2nd floor and wait to be seated. This popular spot sees all kinds of guests, from business folk in formal attire, partygoers, drunk comedians, tired taxi drivers, and curious travelers. After a night spent soaking in the culture, vibes, and revelry of Zhongshan, nothing hits quite like some hot tea and steaming shrimp shumai. Bon appétit!

▲Luckstar Banquet Hall is open 24/7, 365, welcoming all walks of life. (Photo・Fifi Lee)

AMAX受惠辉达GTC大会、波力入空巴供应链 营运有戏

RVLT Taipei

臺VLT

A new branch of the wildly popular RVLT Singapore, RVLT Taipei is a blast of a wine bar. Located a short distance from central Zhongshan, it’s well worth a quick Uber ride. Serving up creative and delicious takes on bar food, paired with over 150 curated bottles of the world’s most delectable wines, RVLT is devoted to providing enjoyable drinking experiences, recommending drinking a bottle of wine rather than merely a glass. Customers can enjoy the exclusive wine list with friends in a relaxing space. This nightlife spot has won over both locals and international travelers alike. Don’t be surprised if the whole place spontaneously breaks out in song.

▲RVLT Taipei offers customers a brand new experience of enjoying luxury, exotic delicacies. (Photo・RVLT Taipei)

▲RVLT Taipei offers customers a brand new experience of enjoying luxury, exotic delicacies. (Photo・RVLT Taipei)

There is, of course, so much more for you to discover in Zhongshan. And really, that’s the coolest part of all. From the quotidian street scenes and unexpected surprises that pop up from around the corners, to the people you meet along the way, and the flavors, art, and music of the city, the neighborhood is yours to explore. At once holding onto its heritage and eagerly embracing the future, Zhongshan, like Taipei itself, is a place in constant flux. The best thing to do, of course, is to enjoy it while you can.

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