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 tiny monster of my own. And look, here I am now, a confident expert writing 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 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 for kids, but it’s really not. 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). For a dedicated space devoted to running and screaming, the Children’s Gallery is on the B1 level.
I strongly (like, adamantly) suggest going to NPM right after everyone’s eaten breakfast or lunch, or packing your own snacks to munch in the gardens. Let’s just say the cafe options aren’t 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 around and watch others deal with that responsibility.
Grouping activities together is priceless when you’re with little kids. A foolproof itinerary for us starts with breakfast at Fuhang Soy Milk then a stroll over to Huashan 1914 Creative Park for Wooderful Land, located next to the Wooderful Life shop.
Wooderful Land is a play center with ball tracks, an indoor flying swing (it’s amazing) and even a little bowling alley. Everything there is wood and therefore analog, meaning the entire environment makes kids watch, listen and feel. Kids under 90cm are free, everyone else is 450NT. The later you go in the day, the cheaper your ticket.
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.
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 while floating through air.
Insider tip: if you’d like to ride in one of the “crystal bottom” gondolas, take it on the way 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.
Let’s admit it, sometimes you just need to get out of the city, and 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 four 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 up to four years of age will enjoy Stay [樂待親子共融空間], a play center where parents can BYO food (or have it delivered), and the staff actually play with your kids. It’s a gamechanger.
We also love Little Sun [信誼小太陽親子館] which is full of Montessori-style activities and a huge ball pit. Staff are totally on top of cleanliness and hygiene. I would know because my daughter had a little pee accident from all the excitement.
Check the hours and prices 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. Definitely call ahead to make a reservation for both Stay and Little Sun.
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 up the bookshelves.
The 5th floor of the Eslite Xinyi Store has a children’s bookshop that’s typically quieter than you’d expect. We go a few times a month so my daughter can touch all the books and run up and down the ramps laughing hysterically. Be aware there’s a big toy store on the same floor that you’ll pass by on the way to the bathrooms.
A bit further out is the Tsutaya inside Nangang CityLink. The carpeted kid’s section has a shoes-off policy and the stair-style seating invites kids to browse and sit for a while. Love this space, but it’s a bit of a trek.
If you’re okay with eating rice and other foods in the shape of bears, there are two locations of Rilakkuma Cafe in Taipei. One on Zhongxiao E. Road and one near Zhongshan Station. Turns out we were not okay with eating bears, but the cafe was adorable anyway.
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, seeing the traditional wet market in the daytime is worthwhile too. Taiwan is known for seasonal fruits and vegetables and the wet markets are a chance for kids to see produce sold outside of the typical supermarket environment. Traditional wet markets typically run from 8am until 12pm, with Monday being a rest day.
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 lunch spot is 池上木片便當 or Ikegami Wood Chip Lunch. Take your lunchboxes and stroll over to Daan Forest Park to eat on the grass.
TAIPEI 101 Observatory
Of course, kids fall in love with the TAIPEI 101 Observatory on the 89th floor. 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.
Here are some more Taipei guides: