Shi-Da Night Market (師大夜市)
Located in arguably one of the most trendy neighborhoods in Taipei, Shi-Da Night Market unfortunately is only a shadow of what it once was. After some rezoning efforts by the city government, the market is now more compact and quaint, rather than busy and seemingly endless.
Shi-Da stands for National Taiwan Normal University (師範大學), shortened to 師大 in Chinese, pronounced Shī Dà.
This area of the city is well known for its alternative and trendy style, housing several rock bars, cafés, and restaurants around the area.
Similar to other markets in Taipei, Shi-Da offers a wide selection of night market food, however, Shi-Da also has a large selection of cheap clothes from stylish boutiques, all of which are owned and operated by young entrepreneurs looking to establish themselves. Shopping here is a good way to support the local fashion community, as well as get a good deal on some new designs hard to find elsewhere.
The university has a large Mandarin training center (learn more here) and a popular foreign exchange program, drawing many foreign students to live in this area. It, along with Tianmu in Shilin District, is arguably the most English-friendly area of Taipei.
Take the Red/Green Line to Taipower Building Station (台電大樓). After leaving Exit 3, make a right turn, then make another quick right to reach Shi-Da Road (師大路). The market is located along both Shi-Da road and in the alleys off both sides.
What happened to Shi-Da Night Market? Long story short, neighbors were becoming concerned with the market's rapid expansion and the noise associated with the market's seemingly unending growth. The city government stepped in to enforce proper licensing and regulation, and many of the vendors left. This doesn't mean that the market is empty, however, just many of the unlicensed pushcart operators have moved on to other markets in the city. Shi-Da is still a great place to walk around and browse, and has returned more to its roots of a student hangout.
To learn more information about Shi-Da's Mandarin Training Center as well as other language centers around Taipei City, click here.