A friendly and alluring city, Taipei is a curious fusion of Chinese, Japanese, Southeast Asian, and American cultural influences. You can explore the charming oddities of the city with the kawaii-inspired cute Japanese cultural nuances, endlessly themed restaurants, breathtaking parks, lively night markets, and its impressively iconic skyline. Taoist temples buzz with offerings and prayers from anticipative disciples. Restored to their former glory, wealthy merchant’s villas provide fascinating museums and pretty shop fronts for visitors. Taipei houses endless heirlooms from tea merchants, creaky Japanese-era mansions, and over 700,000 ancient treasures and imperial artifacts in the National Palace Museum. The city proudly celebrates its history from glorious and tragic days. The Taipei 101 skyscraper was once the world’s tallest building until Dubai’s Burj Khalifa surpassed it in 2007.
Taipei is hip, affordable, child-friendly, and often overlooked as a holiday destination. Transportation is fast, reliable, and cheap; the MRT even provides courtesy umbrellas for rainy days, and a clean, complimentary public loo is always close! Savvy traveling families are beginning to recognize its inimitable charms and are hopping over to the capital of Taiwan for a few days of culture, shopping, endless fun, and delicious food.
Little Steps has explored Taipei and brings you the ultimate guide to some of the highlights for a family-friendly city vacation.
Taipei is a bustling metropolis with a surprising range of hotels that accommodate families comfortably. Airbnb has a range of well-priced apartments and villas throughout the city's popular neighborhoods.
Connected to the world-famous landmark Taipei 101, the Grand Hyatt Taipei is in the cosmopolitan Xinyi district. The neighborhood is dotted with upscale eateries, shopping malls, entertainment facilities, and night markets, making it ideal for visitors. The kids will love the Shaun the Sheep-themed room! Shangri-La Far Eastern has an elegant atmosphere and a sophisticated blend of Chinese and Western styles with much of the décor from the Song Dynasty. With 43 floors, you’ll have spectacular views across the bright lights of the city and the mountains beyond. If you want a break from sightseeing, rest under the sun or swim in the large landscaped swimming pool on the top floor.
Located in the heart of Taipei, DoubleTree by Hilton Taipei Zhongshan offers your family a warm welcome and is close to shopping and entertainment. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls and modern design are juxtaposed with ancient petrified wood artwork. As with every DoubleTree, you'll be welcomed with warm homemade cookies. Choose a room with a spacious living room and extra welcome service to make your stay more memorable. The Grand Hotel Taipei nestles between the Yangming and Songshan mountains and the Keelung River showcasing the prosperity of historical and modern times. Inspired by a palace, the hotel has majestic red pillars and golden tiles, the essence of Chinese culture. The resort has an Olympic-size swimming pool and vast gardens for your children to play in. Finders Hotel is for artistic souls. The hotel is designed with a sense of magic and appears to be a forested wonderland with cleverly placed quirky art throughout. Based in the Zhongzheng District, the hotel is perfect for families with its big movie screen, arcade machines, and a playroom for younger children.
Another firm family favorite is the Marriott Courtyard Taipei, built above the Nangang MRT, HSR, and train stations. The all-day dining experience with authentic specialties from Taiwan, Japan, India, and Europe means you can pop in and out for snacks and meals! Hotel Cozzi Taipei Zhongxiao overlooks one of the most vibrant streets meaning you are right in the heart of all the goings on. Decorated in muted colors, the contemporary hotel is ideal for city-faring families. If you want to spoil your family, the iconic Mandarin Oriental Taipei awaits with its European-style architecture, sophisticated elegance, innovation, and exemplary service. The rooms are some of the largest in Taipei, allowing you and the kids to truly relax after a long day of adventuring. Various dining experiences include the Michelin-recommended Italian restaurant Bencotta and Michelin-starred Ya Ge. The kids will love the 20-meter swimming pool in the peaceful outdoor oasis. Remember to head to the award-winning spa, which spans two impressive floors of pampering for the mind, body, and soul.
Taipei is the absolute definition of a melting pot with cuisine that draws upon Hakka, Chinese, Fujian, Cantonese, and Japanese flavors. Dining out is hugely popular, tasty, casual, fun, and cheap! Sample snacks from one of the many night markets, such as Wanhua's Huaxi Night Market, which serves traditional braised pork rice, Taiwanese spring rolls, salty rice pudding, oyster omelets, and crispy tempura or share delicious dishes at a traditional Taiwanese rèchao serving tempting stir-fries. The night markets tend to open in the late afternoon. Did you know Taipei invented the cat café before it became an international phenomenon? Many of the cafés don't allow children, but there is a smattering that does.
Head to the narrow pedestrian lane and Raohe Street Night Market for Taipei's spin on green onion and fried egg pancakes, fluffy yet crispy and more often than not sold from the humblest food carts; there is usually a queue of hungry diners waiting for their fill. Keep your eyes peeled for an aging pancake chef, you'll know you've found perfection. Wander through the fragrant markets and try different dishes from the various stalls or join Taipei citizens feasting on the famed black pepper buns and stinky tofu fries. As you enter Raohe Street under the ornate archway, you'll find Fuzhou Pepper Buns, one of the most well-known street food stalls that serves a delicious snack called hu jiao bing, or pork pepper buns. Another must-try is the grilled squid; many stalls sell similar sizzling dishes.
Shilin Night Market is Taipei's most famous night market. It is hugely popular with young locals and international travelers who flock to experience the carnival vibe of street-side snacking, shopping, and fairground games. Shilin is north of the city center, an affluent residential area at the foot of Yangmingshan National Park, which is home to the National Palace Museum, so it's perfect for post-history snacks! If the kids want something sweet, the ice cream wraps will be a winner! Outside the covered market are lots of stalls to wander around for more food, toys, clothing, and cheap souvenirs.
Taipei is famed for its themed cafés with everything from Hello Kitty and Alice in Wonderland to Moomin, Rilakkuma, and Gudetama; your young ones are sure to take toilet humor to another level in the Modern Toilet Restaurant! The kids will love boba cha or bubble tea, a drinks craze that Taiwan gifted to the world. Found at endless Instagram-worthy roadside stands, the shaken tea, milk, sugar, and fibrous tapioca pearls are poured over ice and served with a giant straw. They'll probably also find delight in the shaved ice mango desserts.
In 1972, mom-and-pop restaurant Din Tai Fung served its first xiao long bao, delicious steamed pork dumplings filled with piping hot soup. The trend continues today and is probably the most famous food in Taiwan. The first shop on Xinyi Road still sees queues around the block attesting to the quality of this famed dish, wonton soup, braised beef shank, and pork cutlets with egg-fried rice. Make sure you get there early to avoid those endless queues of hungry locals.
Explore the Little Steps guide to the top family-friendly restaurants in Taipei for more information!
First off, to get a good feel of the city, head to the viewing observatory at the top of the 509.2-meter skyscraper, Taipei 101. The tower takes its name from the impressive 101 floors, the top floor of which is a super-exclusive VIP club accessible by invitation only. Ensure you buy your ticket online to avoid the snaking queues and whiz straight up to the 89th or 91st floors in the super-high-speed 60.6 kilometers per hour elevator to admire the views of the city and the mountains beyond. Start your educational visit on the 88th floor, where the kids can appreciate the vast 660-tonne steel wind damper designed to make the tower typhoon and earthquake-proof. The giant 5-meter pendulum swings to offset the movement of the building from high winds and tremors; it’s the largest in the world. Taipei 101 houses world-class stores, including Armani, Versace, Cartier, and Yves St Laurent.
A must-see during your stay in Taipei is the National Palace Museum, a world-class museum with an extraordinary collection of eclectic treasures once kept by generations of ruling emperors from the Forbidden City, an imperial palace complex in the heart of Beijing. Inspired by a Nothern Chinese palace, the museum is home to hundreds of thousands of historical relics making up the world's most comprehensive and precious collection of Chinese artifacts and artistic achievements spanning 5,000 years. In World War II, nationalist troops seized the most important pieces to prevent invaders from ransacking China's national treasures. The museum provides Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Korean language guides and museum-related literature.
Founded in 1738 by Han immigrants from Fujian, Longshan Temple has served as a municipal guild, self-defense center, and house of worship. It is one of the city's top religious sites and a prime venue for exploring Taiwan's vibrant folk faith and unique temple arts and architecture. As with many temples across Taiwan, Longshan Temple has been rebuilt multiple times after its destruction by earthquakes, typhoons, and even bombing during the last few days of World War II.
Huashan 1914 Creative Park was initially constructed in 1914 and has had several purposes, including a winery and sake plant. It's now repurposed into an impressive venue for art and cultural exhibitions and performances. The park has numerous eateries, art galleries, cultural and creative stores, and performance spaces, making it the heart of arts in Taiwan. You'll find rotating exhibitions of photography, illustration, film and animation, product and furniture design, and music festivals.
In the Zhongzheng District, the palatial Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is in beautiful sprawling grounds that the kids will love to explore, play hide-and-seek and take pleasure in spotting giant koi fish in the ponds. Head to the fourth floor on the hour to see the impressive changing of the guards’ ceremony between 9 am and 5 pm each day. Various exhibitions, such as The World of Tim Burton, run annually. To unwind from an eventful day, catch the metro to the Xinbeitou MRT station and head to the Beitou Hot Spring, a lush thermal valley home to 1,200 species of plants, 110 genera of birds, and 160 varieties of beautiful butterflies in the Yangminshan National Park. Dip your toes in the hot water or submerge your body for a soul-invigorating experience.
Taipei is a shopper’s dream! Its many department stores, markets, and little alleyways snake around the city, filled with exclusive boutiques and shops. You'll be spoilt for choice! The Taiwanese are a fashionable crowd, so it's never testing to find great local or international products, whether a memorable souvenir, a pair of shoes, clothing, accessories, or homeware. Ensure you keep your eyes peeled for the wooden Taiwanese postcards adorned with local landscapes and other appealing designs; they are much prettier than a fridge magnet and are perfect token gifts for your friends and family.
From the Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station, you’ll find the Xinyi district brimming with family-friendly malls, including the Japanese department store Shin Kong Mitsukoshi which houses major international labels and an exciting range of Japanese vegetables and spices in the basement-level supermarket. It has two expansive floors dedicated to children's fashion, toys, indoor and outdoor playgrounds, craft workshops, a restaurant with a fun play area, and a kid's hairdresser. If you want to stock up on an array of Mandarin and English books, pop into one of many stores of the largest book chains in Taiwan, Eslite; there are various craft workshops in the Xinyi branch.
If you are looking for traditional gifts, wander along Dihua Street in Dadaocheng. You'll find everything from tea sets, Chinese lanterns and paintings, Taiwanese cakes, and religious paraphernalia such as ghost money and incense. At the end of Zhongxiao East Road, check out the Jianguo Jade Market, the largest in Asia that stocks endless jade treasures in various colors, including green, lavender, ice, red, yellow, white, black, and grey. Taiwanese tea is the most sought-after in the world. You can find sweet, nutty, smoky, floral, fermented Pu'er, black, green, white, and blue variations across the city. Make sure to sample their Qingxin Oolong; it's delicious! For the best tea experience and all the tea regalia you can imagine, while away some time in Lin Maosen and explore its inimitable collections of tea.
Paying tribute to the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, the multi-award-winning Ningxia Night Market in the middle of Minsheng West Road, Nanjing West Road, and Chongqing North Road has endless handcrafted mini sky lanterns in a kaleidoscope of pretty colors, perfect for a souvenir or two. The lanterns' colors convey pertinent messages; red promotes health and peace; yellow, money and wealth; orange, love and marriage; magenta, attraction and popularity; and pink, bliss and joy. The Taiwanese believe that hanging lanterns brings good luck and protection to your home.
Taipei 101 has everything you could dream of under one colossal roof. It's got the best 'craving' food court in Taiwan, with imported wine, beer, cookies, chips, and Swiss chocolate!
Remember that it is customary to haggle; it's common practice to ask for a 20 percent discount at the beginning of your negotiations.
Taipei is home to numerous parks and family-friendly activities and adventures! If your kids are keen horticulturalists, pop into the Jianguo Flower Market under the Jianguo Overpass and explore the endless flowers, orchids, and bonsai trees. The market is only open at weekends between 9 am and 6 pm. To run off some excess energy, nicknamed the 'lungs of Taipei,' Daan Forest Park is a forested ecological park bursting with maples, ficus, cajuput, camphor, and other indigenous trees, peppered with pretty flower beds and a playground featuring slides and a sandpit. Established in 1908, 2-28 Peace Memorial Park was Taiwan's first urban public park. Eponymously named after the 2-28 incident in 1947, a pivotal event in modern Taiwanese history when protestors fought against corruption and repression in the city. Today, the locals appreciate the plentiful ancient trees, pavilions, pretty pathways, bandstands, and shrines to escape the urban landscapes. In the center of the park is a memorial and museum dedicated to the event.
You and the kids can enjoy exciting programs and skits during the weekends and holidays. The government-built Taipei Children’s Amusement Park has plenty of rides for your little ones to enjoy, including a dragon boat, spinning tea cups, a Ferris wheel, bumper cars, a pirate ship, and a drop tower. Various museums are around the city, such as the National Taiwan Science Education Center, Taipei Astronomical Museum, New Taipa Yingge Ceramics Museum, KidsAwesome Children's Museum of Tapei, Taiwan Insect Museum, and the Discovery Center of Taipei.
During inclement weather days, Taipei has an array of fun, clean and affordable playrooms such as Play Space, a creative and welcoming hideaway for children up to 6 in a little street in Daan with a sheltered sandpit, beautiful wooden toys, and an imaginative dressing-up zone. Hape Playcentre is in Taipei Living Mall; they produce eco-friendly wooden toys that your little ones can enjoy. There is a white sandy play area with climbing structures, make-believe areas with gorgeous kitchen sets, doll houses, puzzles, train sets, and other toys. Older kids will love scaling walls and boulders in various classes at the T-Up Climbing Gym.
Kids love the pint-sized Miniature Museum of Taiwan dedicated to pocket art from 16th-century German court nobles. The world-class collection of small works of art miniaturized to one-twelfth of real objects, including dollhouses, room boxes, stories, and accessories. The art form is exquisitely produced by well-respected artists worldwide. It contains hundreds of delightfully created pieces under strict international standards.
Tips And Tricks For Traveling With Kids To Taipei
Taipei has a sub-tropical climate, so the best time to visit is in the more temperate months between October and April. The city can be hot and sticky from June to September. It's worth noting that much of the city closes during the Chinese New Year. Public transport is highly efficient, clean, affordable, and stroller-friendly. The MRT system covers most of the city, and children under 6 travel completely free! You can purchase an EasyCard at metro stations and most local convenience stores, and it is easy to top them up when necessary. Remember that you can also use the card to pay for entrance to the zoo and rides at Taipei Children’s Amusement Park. Taxis are very easy to find and cheap! Few drivers speak English, so ensure your destination is saved to your phone, ideally in Chinese. You'll find baby changing facilities, breastfeeding rooms, and children's toilets in most shopping malls, some of the larger metro stations, and the airport. Terminal 1 is small but has a fabulous Hello Kitty playground for the kids.