2 Days in Taipei: The 11 Best Things to Do in Taipei

Liberty Square in Taipei, one of the best places to visit with 2 days in Taipei
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Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is an exciting city to visit. Taipei has a rich history, fantastic food scene, and temples and skyscrapers aplenty, making it a perfect destination for a quick city break. But with so many potential things to do in Taipei, how should you spend 2 days there?

While it’s a bit short, 2 days in Taipei is enough to get a taste of the city. I would also highly recommend making a day trip to Jiufen if you have an extra half day or day. (Jiufen is about 25 miles/40 kilometers away from Taipei, and about an hour to 15 minutes away by bus.)

In total, I personally spent about 2.5 full days in and around Taipei, including my day trip to Jiufen. I would suggest spending at least 2 days in Taipei, but more if you’d like to visit any museums or do any day trips.

This post covers how I would suggest spending 2 days in Taipei, with 10 things to do. This 2 day Taipei itinerary includes notable landmarks and sights of the city, with enough time to see everything listed.

Depending on how early you get started, how fast you see everything, and how many daylight hours you have, you might be able to fit in a few more things to do while in Taipei.

Day 1

Confucius Temple

The Confucius Temple is a temple dedicated to Confucius. As a Confucian temple, it is decorated in a simpler style than other temples you might see around Taipei.

The Confucius Temple in Taipei was designed after the first Confucius Temple, which is located in Qufu in Shandong province. Qufu is the hometown of Confucius.

Around the Confucius Temple in Taipei

The Taipei Confucius Temple is within walking distance of the next attraction. The two sites are less than a 5 minute walk apart.

Bao’an Temple

Bao’an Temple (also called Dalongdong Bao’an Temple) is a temple focused on folk religion in Taiwan. Built between 1805 and 1830, the temple underwent extensive renovations in the 1990s.

The main hall of Bao’an Temple is dedicated to Baosheng Dadi, aka the Baosheng Emperor, a deified doctor. The rear shrine is dedicated to Shengnong, a legendary emperor and deity of agriculture.

Entering Bao’an Temple

Around Bao’an Temple

Bao’an Temple is well-known for its Baosheng Cultural Festival, which was originally started to celebrate the Baosheng Emperor’s birthday. Today, the Baosheng Cultural Festival is a folk arts festival that includes a parade, traditional folk opera performances, and birthday celebrations for Baosheng Dadi.

Ximending

Ximending is a hip neighborhood in the Wanhua District, Taipei’s oldest area. Ximending has a plethora of shops, restaurants, food stalls, and more. It’s also Taipei’s main area for the LGBTQ+ community.

Around Ximending

One notable attraction in Ximending is the Red House Theater. This historic theater was completed in 1908; it was built during the Japanese colonial era, with a blend of architectural styles. The Red House Theater has been used as a marketplace and movie theater, and is now a center for arts and culture.

The Red House Theater plays host to a variety of performances, exhibitions, and special events throughout the year. In addition, it also features boutique shops selling cool and artisan wares.

The Red House Theater in Ximending in Taipei

The Red House Theater

It’s fun to just wander around Ximending and see the shops and trends in the area. Because of all the restaurants, cafes, and street food vendors, Ximending is also a great place to grab a bite to eat.

So I’d recommend getting a meal or snack around here before heading out to the next destination.

Elephant Mountain

Want some of the best views of the Taipei skyline for free? Go to Elephant Mountain.

Elephant Mountain, or Xiangshan, is a mountain with a height of 600 feet/183 meters. The trail is mostly just stairs up the mountain, but it really doesn’t take that long to climb. And you don’t even have to climb up all the way for fantastic views.

Going up Elephant Mountain

There are various viewing platforms along the trail. And the best part about Elephant Mountain? You get views of Taipei with Taipei 101 in them.

Views from Elephant Mountain

TIP: Time your visit to Elephant Mountain so you can catch both the sunset and the city lighting up! Bring some food with you while you wait for it to get dark and the lights to come on.

Ximending at Night

If you’d like a bit of nightlife, go to Ximending again. Near the Red House Theater, there are numerous bars with outside seating. This area has a relaxed atmosphere, and is LGBTQ+ friendly.

If the weather is good, it’s a lovely place to chill and grab a drink. Many of the bars also have seating with umbrellas and/or some indoor seating should the weather be more unpleasant.

Besides the bar area around the Red House Theater, there are plenty of restaurants, shops, and other activities open into the evening.

Day 2

Liberty Square

So the next few sights are next to each other and are all famous Taipei landmarks. So even if you don’t spend much time exploring them, they are still very much worth a visit!

Liberty Square, also called Freedom Square, is an enormous public plaza measuring over 2,500,000 square feet/240,000 square meters (pictured at the top of this post). Surrounding the square are the National Theatre, National Concert Hall, and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, on the south, north, and east, respectively.

On the west end of the plaza is Liberty Square Arch, an iconic landmark of the city itself.

Liberty Square Arch from a few angles

Liberty Square also functions as a public gathering place, hosting official events and festivals and serving as a general meeting place. It’s also been the site of public demonstrations and protests.

National Theatre and National Concert Hall

The National Theatre and National Concert Hall are two performing arts centers where all kinds of performances, festivals, and events take place. Local and international artists alike perform in these venues.

National Theater (left) and National Concert Hall (right)

Both centers were built with a classical Chinese palace architectural style, with bright yellow roofs and red pillars.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is a massive monument memorializing Chiang Kai-shek, the divisive military and political leader, finished in 1980.

There are 89 steps up to the hall, 89 being the age Chiang was when he died. Inside, the main hall houses a large statue of Chiang. The ground floor of the hall holds a museum dedicated to Chiang’s life. There are also exhibition halls that regularly hold exhibitions.

The outside of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Inside Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

It is at this point in my own itinerary that I went on a day trip to Jiufen. However, you can fit in the activities I did on Day 3 now.

Taipei 101

Taipei 101 was the world’s tallest building from 2004 to 2009, and is now the world’s 11th tallest building. The skyscraper is 1,667 feet/508 meters tall.

The “101” of Taipei 101 comes from its 101 floors above ground (it also has an additional 5 floors in the basement). Taipei 101 has observation decks on its 88th, 89th, and 91st floors, all at a height of around 1,246 feet/380 meters and above.

Taipei 101, day and night

Views from Taipei 101

Interestingly, Taipei 101 has the largest wind damper in the world. This is a giant ball that helps stabilize the tower and reduces movement from things like wind and earthquakes. The damper was even turned into a mascot called the Damper Baby.

Damper (left) and Damper Baby (right)

You can also visit the observation deck on the 101st floor, which has an outdoor component. The tickets that include the 101st floor are a lot more expensive though (approximately $19.50 USD vs. $97.50).

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung is a world-famous restaurant chain originating in Taiwan whose specialty is soup dumplings, or xiao long bao. The Hong Kong branch of Din Tai Fung has even been awarded a Michelin star.

Xiao long bao are small buns typically steamed in bamboo steaming baskets. The buns are packed with fillings like meat (traditionally pork) or seafood, as well as soup.

Xiao long bao in a basket at Din Tai Fung

Fresh xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung

TIP: Xiao long bao will be very hot when you first take them out of the basket. So first put the bun on your spoon and wait a few minutes. You can relieve some of the heat by poking a hole in it with your chopstick or biting off the top of the bun, releasing some of the broth onto your spoon.

There is a branch of Din Tai Fung in the basement of Taipei 101. So if you’d like to try Din Tai Fung in a convenient location, eat at the Taipei 101 location before or after visiting the observation decks.

Shilin Night Market

End your day with one of the best things to do in Taipei: the Shilin Night Market. This particular night market is one of the biggest night markets in Taiwan.

Shilin Night Market has two sections, a food section and a shopping section. The food area is a foodie’s paradise, with hundreds of food stalls offering up buns, noodles, oyster omelettes, bubble tea, stinky tofu, and beyond.

Around Shilin Night Market

The other section has stalls with clothing, bags, electronics, trinkets, souvenirs, and more. There are also carnival-style games at the market.

Shilin Night Market can be a bit touristy, but its size and buzzing energy do make it a sight and experience to behold.

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