Among Taiwanese, Dihua Street (迪化街) is synonymous with pre-Lunar New Year shopping expeditions during which dried fruits, nuts and other treats are bought by the bagful. For tourists, the street's colonial-era architecture and traditional stores make it a year-round attraction.
The northern part of the street will delight photographers, who can zoom in on baroque details such shields, laurels and the ginseng embossments which decorate the exterior of no. 71 on the street's Section 1. The herbal medicine clinic it houses has been in business since 1875. The single most intricate facade is perhaps no. 114's, while no. 34 stills bears the name (A.S. Watson & Co) of the foreign firm once based there.
Yongle Market (永樂市場, open daily 9:30am-6pm), near the southern end of Dihua Street, is one of the better places in Taiwan to get tailor-made Chinese garments such as a qipao, a kind of dress better known in the West as a cheongsam.
From Taipei Main Railway Station, take the MRT's Red Line northward to Minquan West Road Station, then transfer to the Orange Line. Travel west one stop to Daqiaotou MRT Station, leave by Exit 1 and walk westward along the main road for about 400m.