National Palace Museum
Home to the world's largest and arguably finest collection of Chinese art, this vast hoard covers treasures in painting, calligraphy, statuary, bronzes, lacquerware, ceramics, jade and religious objects. Some of the most popular items, such as the famous Jadeite Cabbage, are always on display – although check first that it's not on loan to the southern branch in Chiayi.
There are controversial plans to partially or even wholly close the museum in 2020 for three years' refurbishment.
Shilin Night Market
Taipei's most famous night market is hugely popular with travellers – and many young locals – who come to enjoy the carnival of street-side snacking, shopping and games. In 2011, the government moved much of the action inside a covered market: the food vendors were relegated to the basement, while clothing, toys and games were given ground level, diluting all the fun. However, there are still lanes and lanes full of food stalls outside, and they retain the original buzz.
Dedicated to the worship of Matsu, this 1927 reconstruction of the original 1864 design sits at ground central for Shilin Night Market. It's worth a visit (even if you aren't already in the area to snack) in order to examine the masterful cochin ceramic panels above the arched doors in the main hall, as well as the exquisite stone and wood carvings throughout.
National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine
This large shrine marks the memory of almost 400,000 soldiers who died for Taiwan (mostly within China). The bulky complex, built in 1969, is typical of the northern 'palace-style' architecture popularised during Chiang Kai-shek's reign. The hourly changing of the guards is a popular attraction, especially with Japanese tourists. It takes almost 20 minutes for the white-clad soldiers to march from the gate to their posts in front of the memorial, giving plenty of time to get a good photo.
Shilin Official Residence
For 26 years, this two-storey mansion and its elaborate Chinese- and western-style gardens were part of the official residence of Chiang Kai-shek and his wife Soong Mei-ling. Today the entire estate is a lovely public park (open 8 am to 5 pm Tuesday to Sunday), often with flower exhibitions. The house, though interesting enough, merely displays the rather humdrum domestic life, and middlebrow tastes, of the Chiangs. The free audio guide is more than a little obsequious about the house's master and mistress.