Ximending (西門町): Where the cool kids go

Ximending is all about bright lights and crowds.
Still daylight, just getting started.
You need two things to fit in at Ximending (西門町): an edgy outfit and some swagger. What if you only have one or the other, or neither? That's okay, you might not be one of the cool kids, but at least you could come to Ximending and enjoy the atmosphere. It's a place not unlike Harajuku (原宿) in Tokyo, Japan. There are many unique shops and resturants as well as seedier areas which give Ximending a slightly gritty charm. Come to Ximending with an open mind and no objective; you'll be sure to find or see something interesting and leave without disappointment.

The bustling exit 6.
If you want to be ejected right into the thick of things, the best way to get to Ximending is to take the MRT to Ximen station and leave through exit 6. Or, you can begin your evening with a little shopping and food at Shilin Night Market then take bus 250 from Jiantan Station to Ximending. Either way, you will end up in a prime position to start your stroll through this interesting section of town.

The famous Red House Theatre.

One of the most famous attractions in Ximending is the Red House Theatre (紅樓劇場; honglou juchang). It was originally a market but has been used as a theatre for several years now. It's quite impressive; even if you don't get an opportunity to look inside, it's worth walking by. In the area surrounding the theater, there are mostly bars and a few rather shady businesses which may (depending on your interests) tickle your fancy.

Nonetheless, it's not important to visit any specific place in Ximending. One of my favorite things to do in the area is watch the plethora of of street performers. In Ximending, on always has the opportunity to catch a great impromptu show.

This man plays beautiful music.
I've seen him perform in several other districts in the city.
This man was doing interesting poses,
but he would cover his face if people tried to take
pictures without giving him money!
This guy was a pretty good improv rapper.
He used the appearances of people in the crowd
to form his rhymes.
Another great activity to do in Ximending is people watch. It's an area known for interesting people with alternative fashion styles, so it's easy to spot people in unique outfits there.

These two appeared to be having a deep conversation.

This girl is getting a temporary tattoo.
It looks like her friend is waiting for her turn.
Handsome guy in glasses snapped inadvertently.
A little blurry, but he was looking quite dapper.
There are also several places to shop options in Ximending, yet I believe the prices there are noticeably higher than other street shopping areas in Taipei.

A shop selling all kinds of accessories.
I like this shopkeeper's magenta hair.
You can buy all kinds of couples
gifts and trinkets, most of which say
"I love you" or some kind of mushy message.
Sophisca - a cute store.

For all your bondage wear needs.
Would you like to do the town in a shimmery
Hello Kitty dress?
It's just not a shopping area without a Uniqlo.
Cosmetic stores are also a must.
After all that shopping, you might get a little hungry. Thankfully, there are many options for food in Ximending.

This risotto restaurant is a chain, but this is the only
location where the ears of the dog on the sign moves.
The inside is packed!
A cute, fluffy dog sitting at the entrance of a restaurant where
the seats are swinging benches.

Street food is also present in Ximending.
This man is selling 蛋餅 (danbing) or a kind
of savory Chinese pancake.

The machine on the right pressing the pancake
into a uniform shape.

All kinds of skewers.

When you're done eating, you can stroll along the streets again. Here's an idea of what you might see around Ximending at night:
An ad with Astro Boy.

Hardcore Hello Kitty.

A trendy hair salon.
Awesome graffiti!
More food stalls.
Another hair salon, looks high-end.
The Face Shop is another typical shopping district store.
Lights everywhere!
Ximending is a captivating place and a must visit if you'd like a night on the town but don't have a specific activity in mind. It might too stimulating for some and may not jive with everyone's tastes, but it's certainly a unique part of town.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, good to see different point of view visiting Ximending 西門町 in a various way. Actually, I have been to there many times when I was little (may be it is because my place is near Ximending), but from your words and pace of describing the place where I am accustomed to, I am very surprised, really!!!!
    I am sure I will be a reader who always read your blog when I am available.
    By the way, have you ever been to 大稻埕 Dadaocheng? There are many stories there.