Taipei has an incredibly vibrant cultural life, with a daily feast of exhibitions, shows, gigs, plays and traditional performances. Performance groups such as U-Theatre, Cloud Gate and Han-Tang Yuefu, all based in the city, are world class. The best way to buy tickets is to approach the venue directly or visit one of the ERA ticket offices located in Eslite or Kingstone bookstores. You can also download an English order form from ERA’s Chinese website (wwww.ticket.com.tw; scroll down to the end of the page).
Taipei is one of the world’s best places to see various styles of Chinese opera – it’s not unusual to have ten or more productions running each month in various locations – while Western classical and Chinese music, especially nanguan is usually performed somewhere in Taipei year round and the standards are generally high.
Taipei is also loaded with cinemas, most of them packed at the weekends. All the major Hollywood movies arrive in Taiwan soon after their US release dates and are rarely dubbed into Chinese: Ximending is where you’ll find the older and larger screens – check times in local English newspapers.
Contemporary and classical art is booming in Taipei, too, with numerous galleries, museums and shops displaying everything from traditional Chinese paintings to installation art and glass sculpture.