Every year, lifestyle publication and city guide experts Time Out make a list of the world’s coolest neighborhoods. Consulting the results from their city living index, insider info from people local to these places, as well as expert knowledge from their team of editors around the globe, they compile a list highlighting the world’s must-visit neighborhoods, the 2020 edition of which they released last week. However, this year, this is easier said than done, with many neighborhoods suffering at the hands of COVID-19 lockdowns. That being said, a rare upside of a year where many of us have spent the majority of our time closer to home than we perhaps normally would is that our local neighborhoods have become as big a part of our lives than ever before. As well as taking into account the usual criteria of culture, affordability, food and drink offerings etc., according to Time Out, “this year, more than ever, they (the selected neighborhoods) are the areas where people, community and businesses have helped each other through shared tribulations: places that represent the soul of the city.”
We’re pretty happy to say that Taipei has received some recognition this time around, specifically the vibrant area of Gongguan . While there was no Taiwanese representation on Time Out’s most recent list of the world’s best cities, Taiwan and Taipei gets a much deserved nod in the latest neighborhoods rankings, with praises being sung about Taiwan’s coronavirus response; the public’s proactiveness in particular. (Read more: Coronavirus update: Taiwan in October)
Gongguan came in at 30th on the list of 40 neighborhoods, the top three being Esquerra de l’Eixample (Barcelona), Downtown Los Angeles, and Sham Shui Po (Hong Kong) respectively. There were special mentions of the NTU campus, riverside park, The Poutinerie & Snack Shack, Mo Chao’s bubble tea, Thai restaurant Sara Thai, and, of course, the popular night market. Gongguan even ranked in ahead of neighborhoods of more international repute, such as London’s achingly cool Soho area and the bustling Bandra West in Mumbai.
What’s Fun in Gongguan?
The aforementioned are just the tip of the iceberg, with other places around Gongguan that can’t be missed being Riverside Music Cafe (公館河岸留言), where you can take in some of the city’s best live music, and James Joyce Irish Bar, the best place in Taipei for a Guinness.
⬆︎⬇︎Riverside Music Cafe (up) and James Joyce Irish Bar (bottom).
There is also Gongguan Waterfront Plaza (公館水岸廣場), which at night is a hive of activity with students, locals and people from all walks of life coming through to eat and drink at the many bars and food stalls under the bridge by PIPE Live Music.
Also, be sure to take some time to visit Treasure Hill Artist Village (寶藏巖國際藝術村) down by Xindian River, full of studios, exhibitions and public art works. (Read more: Taipei: a museum without walls)