TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — While night markets are on every tourist’s must-see list when they come to Taiwan, creative parks — cultural and recreational developments often found in the old industrial areas of cities — are far too often overlooked.
When it comes to night markets, the street food is unmatched — and yet they have seen a decline in visitors over the last few years. Taiwanese youth favor mutedly chic hangouts; suffice to say, creative parks are a steadily growing trend.
Creative parks are a core feature of the environments that young urbanites move through in Taiwan. At their heart, these parks are made to cultivate and promote Taiwanese talent and culture.
The multi-purpose parks tend to resemble more localized and casual versions of gallery districts. Most have been built upon old industrial structures like factories or warehouses and have been remodeled as artistic and commercial spaces.
Huashan 1914 Creative Park, a popular gathering place in Taipei, began its life as a former Japanese winery more than 100 years ago. In recent years, it has become a venue for art exhibitions, performances, shops, cafes, restaurants, murals, and semi-permanent installations; the park showcases a different side of Taipei, a more relaxed feel than night markets but less stifling than museums.
People leisurely strolling at Huashan 1914 Creative Park. (CNA photo)
Unlike night markets, these parks are open all day long and can cater to larger crowds. While night markets have lost some of the fast-paced excitement they once had, these spaces are a haven for local artists and designers, filled with quirky stores and stunning exhibitions as well as live theater and film.
Songshan Culture and Creative Park, which is built at an old Japanese tobacco factory, features a large outdoor bazaar showcasing products from promising local artists and designers. With lovely architecture that serves as a background for many photo shoots, the park offers beautiful outdoor spaces between its exhibition halls, bookstores, and cafes.
Pier 5 at Dadaocheng Plaza in Datong District is another trendy local hub growing in popularity. All these places have a similar ambiance that makes them stand out from the malls and street markets as their own category.
These art spaces breathe life into the numerous historic structures scattered across Taiwan and have repurposed them into imaginative focal points. The creative parks offer a wonderful juxtaposition of Taiwan’s rich history alongside its youthful energy.