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6) Stroll Taipei's First & Best Walking Zone

There's No Place Like Ximending

Ximending Walkable Youth Shopping District

Ximending (西門町) — which is sometimes written as Shimenting and literally means "West Gate District" as it once was a suburb near the historical west gate of the old city — is described commonly as the Shibuya (渋谷区) or Harajuku (原宿) of Taipei, in reference to these youth-centric districts of Tokyo (東京).

First re-launched in 1999 as a walkable, people friendly area and subsequently expanded, it is true that Ximending is one of the places that secondary school students, university students, and other hip, young people (and too many tourists) go to eat, drink, shop, enjoy music and movies, and people watch in Taipei, just as they do in these areas of Tokyo. It is easy to see how someone could make the comparison between Ximending and Shibuya's famed "scramble crossing" intersection from our photo above (Harajuku's Takeshita Street, 竹下通り, on the other hand, has a much different structure).

However, Ximending's main walking areas, described as "Xi Men Walker" when translated into English on signs in the area are much better than most of Shibuya's back streets as the best of Ximending has been purposefully designed for people with more modest scale, street trees, attractive pavers, and helpful signage.


So rather than describe Ximending by comparing it to its colonial occupier, prefers to instead refer to it by what it is, and that's Taipei's first — and best — walking zone. We've mapped out the people-only streets below.

There's so much to see in Ximending — ranging from the famous Red House theatre, music venue, and creative street market to bizarre theme restaurants like the infamous Modern Toilet (Eat toilet themed food out of miniature toilets while sitting on a toilet! Buy toilet themed souvenirs! Huh?) — and plenty of tiny boutiques, street food, and people watching. Go starting in the afternoon on weekends or in the early evening during the week when the area starts to wake up, walk around, enjoy the atmosphere, and find what is wonderful or weird to you.

How to Get Here: Take the Green Line (Line 3, Songshan-Xindian Line) or the Blue Line (Line 5, Bannan Line) to Ximen Station (西門). Exit 6 is best. You will pop up directly in front of the walkable area. On the map below, the fully walkable streets are highlighted in green.

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  • Writing & Photos By Brock Kyle. All Rights Reserved. Verification Published 3 February 2019. Feedback.