Visit this district close to the historic western gate of the Old Taipei City to see how much this city has progressed since the days of the Qing Dynasty.

Ximending is a place where anything goes, according to the latest trends in Japanese pop culture. Come here to mingle with trendy locals and perhaps feel inspired to change your own looks before visiting one of the many pubs and clubs. You can also visit one of the district’s many theaters for a more classical evening out.

“Ximen” means “West Gate” and “dīng” means “district,” so Ximending indicates the area around the old city gate of Taipei west of downtown. An older variation of the name is “Hsimenting,” which you may see on local signs. Today Ximending includes not only Seimon-chō, but also Wakatake-chō and Shinki-chō.

No longer resembling the old Taipei in any way, Ximending is now an entertainment, design and fashion hub that attracts a younger, more outgoing crowd.

The district is also known as “the Ximending Pedestrian Area” because it was the first pedestrian mall in Taipei and the largest in Taiwan. The mall was first established under Japanese rule, more than a century ago. While vehicles may now enter the district, on weekends and national holidays the streets are still for pedestrians only.

Grab some sushi, have fun selecting a new wardrobe, or buy some anime souvenirs or tech gadgets. If you’re not into Japanese cuisine and entertainment, then go see a Taiwanese show. There are some 20 theaters in the area and street performers are always around as well.

Go clubbing or bar hopping to mingle with the more flamboyant Taipei locals. The neighborhood is home to the historic Red House Theater from 1908, which marks the heart of the LGBT district in Taipei.

Ximending is located in the northeastern part of the Wanhua District in Taipei. It’s easy to get here because many of the city buses connect on Zhonghua Road in Ximending. Exit 6 of the MRT Ximen Station along the Songshan-Xindian and Bannan lines will put you right in the heart of the district as well.

Take care when visiting at night because, with all those crowded clubs, shops and markets around, this is one of the few spots in Taipei where visitors are warned about pickpockets and street crime.

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