Taiwan’s largest and longest underground shopping mall, Taipei City Mall is located underneath Civic Boulevard, just to the north of Taipei Railway Station, and extends all the way along to Tacheng Street to the west of the Station. The Mall is connected to Taipei Railway Station, Taipei High Speed Rail Station, the existing MRTS (Mass Rapid Transit System) network, and the planned Taipei – Taoyuan international Airport Mass Rapid Transit line; the Mall is also connected to Taipei Bus Station. Taipei City Mall has a total length of 825 meters, with 28 entrances/exits, and its own dedicated car parks (parking lots). Overall, the Mall is extremely convenient to get to.
This is the first and foremost structured underground boulevard in Taiwan, divided into 4 different sections of fashion, sundries, electronics, and food. An all-covered recreational centre where weather is never a worry.
Aiming for an international standard, the Taipei Main Underground facilitates benches and escalators, as well as updated music and bright lighting, providing its customers the ultimate comfort and style in shopping. The main highlights of this shopping streets were:
1) Top quality bargains for anime merchandise
While Taipei City Mall is large (or in this case, long) and offers a number of miscellaneous shops and services including traditional massages, the main draw of the mall can be equally divided into just three categories, one of which is Japanese anime and manga (the other two will be revealed later because it’s nice to have a bit of mystery in life).
Anime fans and otakus, take note! A third of Taipei City Mall is fully dedicated to Japanese anime and manga culture. While you can find shops selling anime merchandise throughout the premises, the most concentrated area can be found between the Y15/16 and Y21/22 sections of the mall.
Collectible anime figurines, posters, T-shirts, DVDs, manga…you can find all of these in Taipei City Mall at competitive prices. The key here is to not rush into making a purchase. Look around a little because chances are you’ll find a merchant selling the exact same item at a slightly lower price if you’re patient enough to visit other shops nearby.
2) Live performances by locals
Needless to say, Taipei City Mall is more crowded during the weekends than any other time, and that may be one of the reasons why it’s better to visit the mall on a Saturday afternoon. You will find that there are more activities going on during that time.
At both ends of the mall, you will more than likely find local artistes putting on stage performances either for exposure or for a charitable cause. Though they may still be relative amateurs, their performances are top quality and are sure to keep you tuned in.
You will also find local artists (note the difference in spelling!) at some of the open spaces of the mall. These are usually arts students there to earn a little pocket money by drawing caricatures for paying customers. Though I did not get one done myself, I can say that the quality of the sketches are top notch and definitely worth your time! It’s also fun to have a little conversation with them during the process.
3) Affordable local souvenirs and wacky T-shirts
Of course, when it comes to buying clothes and fashion accessories, you can’t really go wrong with a trip to the Wufenpu District in Taipei. But for those who aren’t planning to go there but would still like to get their hands on a wacky and fun souvenir T-shirt from Taiwan, Taipei City Mall is the answer.
Although much more limited in choice compared to the main shopping districts, there is an array of souvenirs and T-shirts to choose from at Taipei City Mall, all of which come at reasonable prices. There are graphic T-shirts such as the typical ‘I Heart Taiwan’ designs and some less orthodox ones. There are also cute socks and scarves available.
You will also find trinkets such as necklaces and other miscellaneous souvenirs to choose from. Not a bad option when you’re about to leave Taipei and realise that you haven’t had a chance to get souvenirs for the folks back home yet!
Taipei City Mall, while lacking the majestic appeal of other shopping complexes, is certainly a nice place where you can easily spend a couple of hours at while waiting for your next transit (it takes only 10 minutes to get from the mall to the main platforms). Do note however that the mall only opens at 11 a.m. and ceases operations at 9.30 p.m.
How to get there:
By Taipei MRT (台北捷運):
Take any Taipei MRT line to Taipei Main Station, take escalators down to the next floor and follow the signs (about 1 minute walk from Exit 1 North (北一門) of Taipei Main Station (台北車站)).
Taipei Main Station (Zhongxiao Exit) 14, 5, 202, 202(Shuttle), 205, 212, 212-StraightLine, 218, 218-StraightLine, 22, 220, 220-StraightBus, 232, 232-SubLine, 246, 247, 253, 257, 260, 260(Shuttle), 262, 262-UntreadLine, 265, 265-R, 265-L, 265(Shuttle), 274, 276, 299, 299(Shuttle), 307, 310, 39, 39-NightBus, 49, 527, 539, 604, 605, 605-SubLine, 605-XinTaiWuLine, 652, 659, ZhongXiao New MainLine, BL1
P/s: If you are taking the Hop-On and Hop-Off bus, you may also stop beside Taipei Main Station and walk into Taipei Main Station. The Underground Shopping Street is located under the main station. Try to look for the escalator in front of the McDonalds shop hidden at the side of the mall.