Taipei Fine Arts Museum
The first museum in Taiwan dedicated towards contemporary art, Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) is a pleasant 10 minute walk from Yuanshan station. TFAM offers a mix of exhibitions at any one time – the most notable one currently ongoing is leading Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s The Serenity of Madness, a solo show examining a variety of his works across different mediums and is a must-see.
No. 181, Section 3, Zhongshan N Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10461
Pon Ding is quite an established name in Taipei’s publishing scene – rare for the city, it’s a huge multi-use space spread out over three storeys that contains a bookstore, cafe and gallery. Visit here for a wide variety of local artists and designers’ works, trinkets that make for a stylish gift or simply sip some oolong tea while perusing any of the titles they stock.
No. 6, Lane 53, Section 1, Zhongshan North Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10441
Those interested in design books should definitely not miss out on Wildflower. A short walk away from Pon Ding, this independent zine specialist has a no-photo policy hence our lack of visual representation.. Even by Taipei’s standards, this is a rare gem of a space that supports both local and international artists and illustrators that you won’t find anywhere else and it also doubles up as a tiny exhibition space regularly. They stock the wackiest, most random zines and tchotchkes (think a dildo-shaped torchlight), so it’s a great spot to stock up on one-of-a-kind gifts as well. Unique to Wildflower is the fact that they also have a section dedicated to LGBT books and titles – happy shopping.
No. 7, Lane 69, Section 1, Chengde Road, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan 103
There’s a thriving culture of independent bookstores in Taiwan and Moom Bookshop is a haven if you’re into art, design and photography books. The owners have immaculate taste in picking out tomes by the likes of legendary street photographers Saul Leiter and Daido Moriyama, as well as independent zines, and photobooks on esoteric topics such as architecture in the Soviet Union. It also serves as a small exhibition space from time to time.
No. 16, Alley 8, Lane 251, Section 3, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10654
Treasure Hill Artist Village
This settlement was originally a village founded by former military veterans but it’s since become a dedicated community for the arts in recent years. Many of the old residences (several still remain as houses) have been converted into small galleries, artist studios, residency spaces for international artists and charming bookshop/cafes that don’t feel like Instagrammed-to-death commodities. Located on a gentle hillside, the village is a 15 minute walk from Gongguan station, a bustling area popular with students as there are several universities nearby. Though it’s so near to the city, visiting the village has the effect of being cocooned away; head here for a peaceful retreat.
No. 2, Alley 14, Lane 230, Section 3, Tingzhou Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan
Summer Savage is a tiny shack nestled on a road corner which only serves coffee – and it’s some of the best and most interesting to be found in Taipei – think sicilian frappes, which mixes coffee with lemon. It’s not really the kind of joint where you can hang out for hours (more on that later) – but what it lacks in food and space, it more than makes up for it in charm and some pretty excellent coffee.
No. 1, Lane 330, Songjiang Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10491
Cafe Megane (Japanese for “glasses”) is a long-standing favourite. It’s located in a quiet residential area (read: there aren’t plenty of hipsters trooping about), the menu is plain old honest-to-goodness comfort food (toasty warm ongiris) and there’s plenty of reading materials for design-types to indulge in. I first discovered this space about five years ago and recently made a return and it was pretty comforting to find that hardly a thing has changed. In a fast-moving world, that’s a rare commodity. Be sure to check out their washroom, where the owners have hung a giant poster of auteur Wong Kar Wai’s classic piece Happy Together.
No. 6, Lane 52, Siwei Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106