What is there to see in Taichung?
There’s a lot to see and do in Taichung city these days. But you wouldn’t know it if you only checked the guidebooks. Even the Lonely Planet only shows the biggest attractions, but ignores a lot of important sights.
It seems to me like the way they describe Taichung is like what it was 20 years ago – just a transit point to other destinations like Sun Moon Lake. Taichung is packed with great attractions, cool things to do, charming cafes, street food, night markets, and temples.
I’ve been living in Taichung City since the year 2000, so I know the place like the back of my hand. I can help you discover the best museums, temples, markets, hotels, restaurants, parks, shopping areas, nightlife, and other great attractions in town. At the bottom of this page, you’ll find a map with all the tourist attractions listed here.
The two main reasons why I’ve lived in Taichung for so long, are the good weather and relative proximity to everything in Taiwan. OK, I have to be honest, there are two other reasons: my wife is from here, and Pizza Rock‘s office is also in TC.
The Middle City 台中
The middle city, or the “city in the center” is exactly what Taichung means. By the way, the proper way to spell Taichung in roman Pinyin is Taizhong. Tai (for Taiwan), zhong = center, middle
Popular Taichung Attractions
Rainbow Village – 台中彩虹均村
Rainbow Village is Taichung’s newest and hottest attraction! This colorful compound of old military houses was made famous within few months, thanks to thousands of photos and videos being uploaded and shared on social media. Now, this “attraction” is featured in travel guidebooks such as Lonely Planet, and other popular ones in Japan, China, and other Asian Countries. The whole place was painted by Mr. Wong, a very old KMT veteran who can be seen at the village on most days.
It’s a bit out of the city center, in a pretty uninspiring area. To get to Rainbow Village, take bus #27 from Taichung Train Station.
Address: Lane 56,Chun An Road, Nantun District, 台中市南屯區春安路56巷
National Taichung Theater
The building design of the National Theater alone brings hordes of people to its ground to marvel at the curved lines of this architectural feat. If you are in Qiqi 七期 area, the ultra-modern skyscraper district of Taichung, you must visit the popular and iconic structure, which is also home to the Opera House. It will provide you with some of the best photo ops during your trip to the city – guaranteed!
The area near the National Taichung Theater is also home to two of the most popular malls in the city: Mitsukoshi 新光三越, and Top City. They are only three minute walk away from here, and are right next to each other, on Taiwan Boulevard 台灣大道.
This area of Taichung is modern and has some of the nicest parks and sidewalks where it’s really pleasant to stroll around. Quite a few restaurants and cafes have opened in this neighborhood the past few years.
Chinese: Táizhōng Guójiā Gējù Yuàn 臺中國家歌劇院
Address: 101, Section 2, Huilai Road, Xitun District
Check programs and events on the National Taichung Theater’s website.
Audit Village (Shenji New Village)
Located just north of the Art Museum, this use to be a residential housing neighborhood for civil servants. It has been turned into a cute pedestrian-only hipster area full of workshops, art studios, cafes, and stands that sell crafts and gifts. It’s a cultural hub where young creative minds, artists, craft-lovers meet on weekends to hold pop-up markets. It’s a warm and welcoming space where you can wander around the stalls, enjoy coffee or craft beer, feel the vibe of the city.
Chinese: 審計新村 Shěnjì xīncūn or 小蝸牛市集 Xiǎo wōniú shì jí
Address: No.8, Aly. 4, Ln. 368, Minsheng Rd., West Dist.
Donghai University – Luce Memorial Chapel
It is said that I.M. Pei (Luce Memorial Chapel’s architect) had praying hands in mind when he designed this striking landmark. The tent-like structure is located within the appealing grounds of Donghai University, about 8km west of the new downtown area.
Donghai is one of my favorite places in Taichung to walk in nature. The campus is like a massive forest with beautiful tall trees, ponds, creeks, meadows, and birds. Tunghai Art Street and Tunghai Night Market are also worth exploring.
Xiangshang Market – 向上市場
Xiangshang traditional market is not an actual tourist attraction and you won’t find it listed in guidebooks, but it’s worth a visit if you want to experience what daily life is for many local Taiwanese.
I have brought many friends and first-time Taichung visitors here and everyone seems to find the experience memorable. The busy market offers lots of good photo ops. I have personally been buying my veggies there since 2000, and I still enjoy the hustle and bustle found on weekends when hundreds of people gather at Xiangshang’s narrow streets and alleys to buy fruit, veggies, meat, clothes, and snacks.
Hours: 8:00am to approximately 12:00 noon is when the market is at its busiest.
Wether or not you’re interested in China’s most famous philosopher doesn’t really matter. The simple sight of this massive architectural marvel is worth the trip. Every year, on September 28, a ceremony is held at dawn to honor the sage and it’s a good opportunity to witness ancient Chinese rituals. The temple was completed in 1976.
Shin Sei Green Waterway
If you’re in the old part of Taichung, near the train station, you should check out the historically significant Shin Sei Green Waterway, also called Lyu Chuan Canal. Walking around here is very nice, especially at night. On both sides of the waterway, you can see some interesting and typical Taiwanese architecture from the 70s and 80s, where practicality was the main drive behind design. The area is going through a slow revitalization and it seems like more restaurants and cafes are opening here, as rent prices are unreasonably high in newer parts of the city. Miyahara Ice Cream Shop is along this canal.
The Taiwanese like to make things BIG! And their places of worship don’t escape that tendency. At Baojue Temple, Milefo, the giant smiling Buddha, sits on a hollow pedestal that is also used as a meeting chamber.
The Green Belt – Calligraphy Greenway
Walking along the Green Belt between the Science Museum and the Art Museum is one of the nicest things to do in Taichung, especially on a sunny day. Along the way, you’ll pass restaurants, cafes, and one of the cities biggest park (People’s Park) as well as Eslite Park Lane Mall where the best bookstore in town is found.
The Green Belt is also called Calligraphy Greenway, it’s filled with beautiful trees, sculptures and artwork, and also a couple of giant Chinese calligraphy tablets near the Art Museum.
Taiwan Museum of Art
This art museum exhibits both Taiwanese and foreign art in a modern building located along the green belt. The plaza in front of the museum is always very lively and it’s a good place to observe taichi practitioners around 6am. The walk from here to the Science Museum along the Green Belt is highly recommended and will be a highlight of your trip to Taichung.
2 Wuquan West Road
Tue-Sun, 9am-5pm; admission free; UBus #75
Check exhibitions, collections, events on the Taichung Art Museum website
National Museum of Natural Science
If you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss the Science Museum. It has interactive exhibits, an Imax Space Theater, and a life-sized dinosaur reconstruction. Even if you’re not traveling with kids, the area around the museum is nice and quiet. Great place to enjoy nature in the city. The walk to or from the Art Museum along the Green Belt is beautiful.
1 Guanqian Road, Taichung
Tue-Sun, 8am-5pm; admission adult/kid NT100/50, Imax NT70/30; city bus #88, 103
National Botanical Garden
Like the Science Museum, the garden isn’t the most exhilarating attraction in town for adults and is probably more engaging for kids. Still, this landmark has great surroundings to chill out and the tropical rainforest in the covered area looks quite real. For some, the architecture might be worth the tripin itself.
Located behind the Science Museum
Tue-Sun, 8am-5pm; admission adult/kid NT20/10
Fengchia Night Market
Considered by many as being the best night market in Taiwan for the variety and quality of its street food, cleanliness, cheap prices, and friendliness of the vendors. Be sure to reserve one night for Fengchia, you won’t regret it!
Maple Garden (aka Mapple Valley) is a nice little oasis on the edge of Qiqi District, where the famous National Theater is located. I mostly recommend this park for photographers who want to show what kind of contrast Taichung has – nature vs. city. It is a sort of symbol for Taichung, as the battle between old and new, cutting-edge replacing traditional, seems to be the main theme in town these days.
Taichung’s Folklore Park is an old Taiwanese mansion built in ancient Chinese-style architecture. This is one of the only places in the city where you can view this kind of classical design. There is a park in front of the mansion, and for that reason some travellers consider it as a good option if travelling with kids.
Address: 73, Sec. 2, Lushun Rd., Beitun District
Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm, closed on Monday
This is where the city was born. If you find yourself in the old downtown area, come by to see the two iconic pavilions, rowboat, or just people-watch while walking on tranquil tree-lined paths. (1km north of the train station)
Stressed out about an upcoming exam? Don’t be! Join dozens of Taiwanese students who come here every day to ask the God of literature for divine help in passing tests… and while you’re in the area, take a look at Taichung’s oldest temple.
Nantian Temple – God Of War
If you’re a photo enthusiast, you’ll enjoy shooting the 48m-high God of War seated above a tiger on Nantian Temple. The red-faced, red handed deity is said to be worshiped by rebels and criminal gangs. This place is not a must, only visit if you happen to be in that area. (daily 6:30am-10pm; Ziyou Rd, East district; admission free; city bus #33)
Taichung Second Market
Established during the Japanese colonial era, Taichung’s Second Market 第二市場 is one of the best places in the city to witness “real” traditional Taiwanese city life the way it was 30 years ago. My mother in law still goes there to buy veggies and meat before cooking for a family gathering on birthdays, Chinese New Year, and other holidays. This market is still popular for fabric.
Address: 87, Section 2, Sanmin Road, Central District
Wufeng Lin Family Mansion
The Lin Family Mansion and Garden in Wufeng is the former residence of one of the five wealthiest and most influential families who immigrated from mainland China in the 19th century. The history of this place is long and complicated, the reason you want to get here is not. You want to walk around and take pictures. It is by far one of the most photogenic ancient buildings in Taiwan proper. The complex construction started in 1864, during the Qing Dynasty. Most people combine a trip here with the 921 Earthquake Museum. Entrance is 250NT$ per person.
Chinese Name: Wùfēng Lín Jiāzhái Yuán 霧峰林家宅園
Address: Minsheng Road No. 42 and 28 Laiyuan Road No. 91
Tuniu Hakka Cultural Hall
This old, rebuilt Hakka three-section compound ( sān hé yuàn 三合院) is not on the usual list of things to do in Taichung, because it’s a bit out of town, in Shigang District. It’s also not a very popular attraction because there isn’t much English information available. So why include it here? Because it’s very colorful and photogenic, and it’s one of the only ancient building which has this kind of architecture in Taichung City.
Some parts of the buildings were destroyed during the 921 earthquake, but subsequently fixed by the government. There’s a pond in front of the front gate, and the best pictures can be taken from the other side – which I didn’t do. Next time…
Tuniu Hakka Cultural Hall 土牛客家文化館
Address: 10, Decheng Lane, Fengshi Rd, Shigang District
Address in Chinese: 422台中市石岡區豐勢路德成巷10號
If you’ve had enough of the city and the pollution, or feel like going for a quick hike / hot spring, consider Dakeng, Taichung’s most popular hiking destination. The Dakeng Scenic Area is home to 10 trails, beautiful forests, a hot spring resort, a campground, and some fine Chinese temples. Read more about Dakeng here.
Map of Taichung Attractions
Info About Taichung
Where is Taichung?
Taichung is located right in the middle of the island on the west coast where the High-Speed Railway (HSR) runs from Taipei to Kaohsiung. The normal train (TRA), highways, public and private bus lines can also take you everywhere around Taiwan with relative ease.
Which District to Stay in Taichung?
Taichung is a very large city and, unfortunately, if you don’t have your own scooter or car, it can be a challenge traveling around using public transportation. So I always tell people to find a place to stay as centrally as possible. That means sticking to the area around the Green Belt / Calligraphy Parkway in the West District.
To be more precise, I wouldn’t want to be further than 1km away from the corner of Gongyi Road and Zhongming South Road. Everything within this radius is considered to be within THE ZONE. This area is walkable and safe. This is where you’ll find the highest concentration of restaurants, cafes, bars, attractions in Taichung.
Best Food in Taiwan?
There is a saying that if a restaurant can last for 3 years in Taichung, it will be able to do well in other cities around the island. This implies that Taichung locals know good food. There is also this unspoken agreement that Taichung restaurants set the highest standard in Taiwan. Some of the most famous chains were born here, Wangping, Chun Shui Tang…
Food is obviously another reason why tourists love Taichung. Due to the large amount of foreigners that now call Taichung home, there is an ever-growing selection of international restaurants that serve everything from Greek to Indian at reasonable prices. The central Taiwanese metropolis also has a vibrant nightlife, and tons of modern cafes.
Taichung’s weather is not as wet as Taipei’s up north, and not as hot as Kaohsiung down south. The Central Mountain Range also protects the city from the powerful typhoons that hit the island every summer. Overall, Taichung gets much less rain and wind than other parts of Taiwan.
Pollution in Taichung
Pollution in Taichung was a serious issue between 2014 and 2018. Skies were grey, visibility was bad, PM 2.5 readings were through the roof, and residents were seriously concerned for their health. Luckily, the past 2 years (I’m writing this late 2020) things have been better and you no longer need to wear a mask when going outside. We still have some days when air isn’t super clean, but overall, it’s definitely improved and clear skies are the norm again.
Check out availability and prices for accommodation in the city. You should make a reservation if you plan on coming here on a weekend or holiday. Book a hotel in Taichung now!
- Hiking, Camping, Hot Spring in Dakeng
- Taichung Restaurants
- Transportation, bus, train, HSR
- Best place to rent a scooter in Taichung
- Shopping Malls
- Shopping Guide
- Organic Food Stores Map
- Info and pictures about the air pollution crisis in TC
Places of interest near Taichung:
Lugang: temples, ancient Chinese culture
Changhua: gateway to Baguashan, a nice Confucius Temple
Baguashan: A giant Buddha sculpture (22m-high), temple
Sun Moon Lake: Taiwan’s biggest lake
Dakeng: Hiking trails
Sanyi: Wood sculpting, tea, countryside, Hakka food