Stuck in the City? Here are Seven Awesome Things to Do in Taipei over National Day Weekend

Also known as Double Ten because it falls on October 10, National Day marks the date of the Wuchang Uprising (武昌起義), an event that led to the founding of the Republic of China (the R.O.C in Taiwan R.O.C). It’s a time of serious Taiwanese pride for some, and for others, just another great excuse for a long weekend. Regardless of how enthusiastic you are about flag raising and military parades, there’s plenty to look forward to over the coming three days, from sky deck symphony orchestras to bar hopping riverside firework shows.

Here Are Seven Awesome Things to do in Taipei over National Day Weekend:

Celebrate from the Roof of Taipei 101

If you’re wondering what is so inspired about visiting Taiwan’s most famous building, consider this — the Taipei 101 Observatory will be finally reopening its doors on Friday, October 8 weekend after closing for almost five months due to the May COVID outbreak. So really, what could be a better way of marking National Day (and, albeit tentatively, waving goodbye to Level Two lockdown) than being one of the first to head up to the 383-meter high viewing area?

Top view from Taipei 101 Observatory. (Photo/Andy)

Numbers will be tightly controlled, you’ll be pleased to hear, with only 200 people per hour being allowed access to the three-story area. So no overcrowding. To really elevate the experience, visit on 10/10 itself, when there’ll be a performance by the Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra on the 91st-floor outdoor observation deck, and a hair-raising air show by Air Force Thunder Tiger Aerobatics Team at 11.35 am. Entrance tickets for the Taipei 101 observation deck cost NT$300 on weekdays and NT$420 on holidays and weekends (discount price during the pandemic).

The air show by Air Force Thunder Tiger Aerobatics Team will take place on National Day at 11:35am this year. (Photo/國防部)

Watch an (Unofficial) Fireworks Display

Only one city gets to hold Taiwan’s official National Day fireworks display each year, and this year, that honor goes to Kaoshiung. But that doesn’t mean you need to go all the way south to celebrate National Day with a bang. Throughout October, Tamsui will be putting on its own unofficial display, with displays at 8.00 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday night over Fisherman’s Wharf.

Catch Up on the Dragon Boat Racing

No, we haven’t got our dates mixed up. Originally scheduled for June, The Taiwan International Dragon Boat Championship will finally take to the water this weekend meaning that you haven’t missed your chance to catch one of the city’s most eagerly anticipated sporting events. Make sure you’re at Dajia Riverside Park on Saturday, October 9 to catch this exhilarating event as teams of up to 50 people race down the Keelung River to the beat of ominous drums. Think rowing, but with a lot more drama. (Read more: Whole World Going Crazy for Dragon Boats! Riding Wind & Wave with Taipei’s Black Tide Dragon Boat Team)

The annual dragon boat championship is postponed to the National day weekend due to pandemic, which gives you another option to enjoy the holiday.

Unlike in previous years, there won’t be any official observation areas to watch the races. But you will be able to quite easily get an unobstructed view of the action from either side of the river.

Hike Locally, and Skip the Crowds

With the summer heat finally dying down and 13 national parks offering half price entrance tickets over the holiday weekend, it’s likely everyone is going to be heading up the hills this weekend. To skip out on the bumper-to-bumper traffic, leave Taroko and Kenting for another, less congested weekend, and instead consider some of the lesser-known trails closer to home. (Read also: 9 National Parks to Visit in Taiwan)

2021 is still the year of the Taipei Grand Trail, a 92-kilometer network of paths and climbs around the capital that you can complete by the end of the year to win a special commemorative towel (personally, we’d just do it for the view). (Learn more about the grand challenge: The Taipei Grand Trail: Discovering the Secret Wildness of the Capital)

Yangmingshan, a part of the Taipei Grand Trail, is always the best hiking spot near Taipei.

Needless to say, completing the entire route in just one weekend is a bit of a big ask. But individual sections of the trail, all of which are easily accessible from the city, make for highly rewarding day hikes. You can find a full breakdown of each of these on the city government website. Our recommendation? Check out the section up Mt. Datun, which starts just 20 minutes out from Beitou MRT (Bus: S6) and offers fabulous views of Taipei and Yangmingshan National park.

Catch the City’s Top Art Exhibitions

Taipei has plenty for the discerning art lover at any time of year, but National Day’s offering of special exhibitions makes this weekend an especially good time to sink your teeth into a little culture. First, on Friday the Tiaotong Paradise Art Festival will be opening at 濕地Venue in Zhongshan, with five (free!) exhibitions by independent local and international artists until October 29. Make sure you squeeze in some time to check out Germain Canon, whose thoughtful work explores the themes of faith and life post-pandemic through the mediums of architecture and ink painting.

Meanwhile, this weekend may be your last chance to check out The Soul Trembles, Taipei Fine Arts Museum’s incredibly poignant retrospective on the 25-year career of Berlin-based sculpture artist Shiota Chiharu. The museum will also continue to mark the centenary of the founding of the Taiwan Cultural Association with Worldward: The Transformative Force of Art in Taiwan’s New Cultural Movement, taking you through the groundbreaking work of Taiwan’s so-called “first generation of local artists,” who helped change Taiwan’s cultural landscape between the 1920s and 1940s.

Seize your last chance to the The Soul Trembles at Taipei Fine Arts Museum this weekend.

Lean into those Holiday Hangovers

This summer was pretty (read: very) dry season on Taipei’s bar scene, and our mixology skills go about as far as rum and coke. So we’re thrilled to see that things are more or less back in action ahead of National Day weekend. At the top of our list is Dongqu, offering bar hopping with a twist of whimsy. We suggest starting off at  P.S. I Love You Bar an eclectic bistro/cocktail spot hidden discreetly hidden behind a Japanese games arcade. Alternatively, boldly go where no bar has gone before at To Infinity & Beyond, a playful venue that stands out for its space-age decor, airlock main entrance, and astronomically good pours. An easy claim to make considering that the place is piloted by bartender Mars Chang, winner of the 2021 World Class Award.

Meanwhile, you’ll find fantastic martinis at Peanut Club, and buckets of old Taiwan nostalgia at 島dao, whose Peachy Island Tea (rum, gin, tequila, vodka, peach liqueur, roselle, and prosecco) has been lingering at the back of our minds since Mid Autumn Festival.

Lastly, don’t forget if you were lucky enough to receive government stimulus vouchers this week (aka if you have an APRC, Taiwanese spouse, or are Taiwanese yourself), then you’ll be able to double your money at all three of these bars over the holiday weekend — just another reason to show up early, stay late, and leave tipsy. (You might also like: A Sip of Spirits: Taipei Bar Culture and Bartending)

Or Maybe You Just Need A Staycation…?