Taipei is an absolutely great city for little kids. There’s so much open space, the public transport is clean and safe, plus they get to be fully immersed in Chinese language and Taiwanese culture. Of course, I had no idea any of this was true until I had a little one of my own. And look, here I am now a confident expert writing an article about it!
Below you’ll find some of the special things we’ve done with friends visiting us in Taipei, and also some of the casual, everyday activities we love to do on our own. By the way, I wrote a children’s book about Taipei for kids called Hey Taipei. You’ll recognize some of the same sights within its pages.
National Palace Museum
The NPM sounds daunting, but it’s really not. It’s one of the most scenic places to soak in Chinese culture in the city. Best of all, children aged 17 and under are free. (Here’s more info about tickets.) You can easily spend an hour or two browsing the museum exhibits, just be aware running around is frowned upon by the museum docents (and they shush people a lot). I’d also suggest getting there right after everyone’s eaten, or packing your own snacks to munch on in the gardens. The cafe food options are really not great.
Entry to the Zhishan Gardens outside the museum is included in the ticket price for NPM. The gardens are really beautiful. You can buy fish food at the entrance to feed the carp in the ponds, or just stand by and watch others do it. It’s equally relaxing.
The indoor Children’s Gallery on the B1 level is very stimulating and also free. Kids must be accompanied by adults. There are plenty of hands-on activities, plus a film screening, and the kids-only space means they’re free to run and scream at the same time. We probably spent an hour here.
Huashan 1914 Creative Park
Grouping activities together is priceless when you’re with little kids. A foolproof itinerary for us started with breakfast at Fuhang Soy Milk then a stroll over to Huashan 1914 Creative Park. There’s lots to explore in the renovated industrial complex, but our favorite is the Wooderful store where kids can stare at old-school music boxes and other wooden toys. Next door to the shop is the play center with an entrance fee. Inside there are plenty of games to keep the kids occupied for at least an hour.
After Huashan Creative Park, head to the shiny Syntrend Mall nearby to soak up all things digital. You’ll want to head to the 7th and 8th floors for kids toys, neon lights and entertainment.
Wet Market vs. Night Market
No visit to Taipei is complete without a trip to the night market (my local one is Tonghua Night Market), but for little ones, I think seeing the traditional wet market in the daytime is a worthwhile experience too. Taiwan is well-known for seasonal fruits and vegetables and it’s cool for kids to see produce sold outside of the supermarket. Traditional wet markets typically run from 8am until 12pm, with Monday being a rest day.
Taipei Zoo is massive and extremely good value. Tickets are only 60NT and kids aged 6 and under are free. There’s everything you’d expect in a big city zoo, plus a koala house, a panda house, and a dedicated children’s zoo that I haven’t been to yet. Oh, there’s even a 7-11 inside. It’s so huge I don’t think it would be possible to see the entire zoo in one day.
The Maokong Gondola is right next door to Taipei Zoo, so plan to do these two together. Go on a clear day to see amazing views of the city and spend some quality time in a tight, boxed environment with family and friends. Insider tip: if you’d like to ride in one of the “crystal bottom” gondolas, take it on the way back down. There won’t be a line. Children under 6 are free, children aged 6 to 12 are only 50NT, while regular tickets are 120NT to reach the Maokong station at the very top.
Once you reach Maokong, your mission is to pick a teahouse for lunch. There are dozens of them dotted around the area. Last time I was up there, we ate at Dragon Inn which wasn’t far from the station. Shan Shui Ke Tea House is a little more off the beaten track.
Liberty Square (CKS Memorial Hall)
The CKS Memorial and its surrounding gardens are beautiful open spaces for running around and people watching. Bring a kite or a bubble machine if the weather plays along. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall is another similar site.
TAIPEI 101 Observatory
The TAIPEI 101 Observatory on the 89th floor is a fantastic time for kids. There’s a crazy fast ride in an elevator where their ears pop, then a sky-high view to marvel at. Kids under 115cm are free. Adults are 600NT.
Jianguo Flower Market
The busy weekend Jianguo Flower Market can be packed with people shopping for orchids, cut flowers, gardening accessories and more. There’s lots to see and smell, and the random butterfly to follow. A budget-friendly spot to grab lunchboxes nearby is 池上木片便當 or Ikegami Wood Chip Lunch. Then you can stroll over to Daan Forest Park to eat on the grass.
Let’s admit it, sometimes you just need to get out of the city, and the outlet malls are great entertainment. I’ve been to two outdoor outlet malls near Taipei and both are super kid-friendly. Gloria Outlets by the Taoyuan High Speed Rail station is a more traditional American-style outlet with plenty of baby and kids brands, as well as a Snoopy Play Center. The other option is the Japanese co-owned Mitsui Outlet Park in Linkou. The outlets at Mitsui are smaller, but it’s attached to a standard indoor mall with a food court, restaurants and brands like Uniqlo and Eslite.
For kids 4 and older, KidsAwesome has a well-organized, creative play center with a bubble section, arts center and ball room. It’s not so suitable for toddlers since the older kids really do go wild. Babies and toddlers will enjoy Stay, a play center where parents can BYO food (or have it delivered), and the staff actually play with your kids.
Check the hours before you go. KidsAwesome closes at 5pm most days, while Stay is open until 8pm. At Stay, you pay for 3-hour blocks of playtime.
Shimarisu is a very cute independent bookshop that’s a little oasis in the Zhongxiao Dunhua area. We go to Book Club there, and love the friendly staff who don’t mind kids messing everything up.
The 5th floor of the Eslite Xinyi Store has a children’s bookshop that’s typically quieter than you’d expect. We go pretty frequently so my daughter can touch all the books and run up and down the ramps.
Where do you take the kids in Taipei? Please share!