(yes this is totally happening right now, in all my nostalgia)
Taipei City Hall is one of the most popular stations. Located on Zhongxiao East Rd in the XinYi District east of "East District" (Dongqu), it is 6 stations down from Taipei Main Station on the Bannan line (blue line). Home to one of the most prosperous areas in Taiwan, it includes Taipei 101 (which will soon have a station of its own, though somehow on the Danshui line), the famous W hotel, and all the classy department stores. Starting from the MRT station, exit 2, you enter into Hankyu mall (and upstairs, the Bus Station that takes you everywhere but Kaohsiung), which also connects underground to Eslite bookstore (which is also a department store with a wonderful food court to accompany). There, you must go up to the ground level (2 flights of escalator) and exist on the side with Aguis B cafe. You'll see a perfect view of Taipei 101. Turn left and enter the first of 4 Shin Kong Mitsukoshis in the area. That is connected (via a 2nd floor bridge) to the luxurious (and usually empty) Bellavita (which has great bathrooms on the 2nd floor, the only thing you can afford to do in the building..). Turn the other direction across the street and there is a bridge to A8. Continue along A8 and you'll hit A9, which is right next to A11. Note: A9 does not have a food court, yes, I have my priorities straight. Continue across another street and it's Vieshow (movie theaters). Cross to the other building (more theaters), continue back behind it and the bridge will continue around the back through ATT4fun (also, no food court, a lot of restaurants though) and then to Taipei 101. And that, my dears, is how to get to Taipei 101 from the MRT station with minimal sun exposure. Follow the street between ATT and 101 for about 10 minutes and you'll hit TMU on the left.
Of course you can always take the free shuttle to 101 or Little bus 7 or blue 5 to get there...(avoid at rush hour)
Aww yeah, I know my stuff.
BTW: Exit 1 will take you across from Exit 2, Exit 3 will be right near the W and Bellavita, Exit 4 is across from Exit 3, by food street (enter by Crown Bakery).
They are not your local Macy's or Nordstrom's. They are usually standalone buildings that sell expensive designer stuff...and less expensive designer stuff. Make up usually on the first floor, food court usually downstairs (B2, B1 tends to be shoes...and cheap(er) clothes), either on the food court floor or under it is a (pricey) supermarket. As you go up there will be womens clothing, mens, athletic, formal, casual, old people, children's floors, and then there is often a floor dedicated to restaurants if they aren't scattered throughout. Basically these things sell everything (but at a higher price than regular stores), and have big sales occasionally (like one in September) where they become packed. Usually the most crowded place is the food court. Hashtag Taiwan life.
Basically, this place is a shopper's heaven if you can afford it, if not, food court galore since there is one in almost every building (at a relatively affordable price, my favorites being 101, Eslite, A11 and A8). It's convenient to get to Keelung and Yilan from the bus station. A great place to go on a hot day (read: free air conditioning, also, Taipei 101 has free wifi, you're welcome), and on a rainy day (you can't get past Eslite from the station, read: crowded food court). You can bring the family, read books in Eslite, shop, eat, "sightsee" aka look at 101. Stare at it. Be in awe of it's majestic beauty. Watch movies... appreciate the modern architecture and random sculptures scattered throughout the area. Etc.
Across Zhongxiao east road, there's a lot of cheaper food options that are pretty good as well. And of course, it is within walking distance to SYS Memorial, and all it's delicious alleys...honestly not too long a walk to Dunhua either. And like a 15 minute MRT ride to Taipei Main.
1. Hankyu closes at 9:30 pm, but is available to walk through to the MRT station afterwards, all other places close at 10 pm
2. Sometime in the evening/night the sushi and other cooked goods go on sale at the grocery stores in the department stores (read: cheaper sashimi)
3. There's a guy with a bunch of "stray" dogs (read: row of golden retrievers chilling there waiting to be pet) between A9 and A11 at night.
4. There are summer concerts in the area by Momo
5. If you need a place to sit and wait for people, Mister Donut has a seating area where you don't need to buy anything, enter by bus station, by exit 2.
6. Semeur bakery (in Bus station, turn left towards Hankyu), has bread on sale after...8 or 9 pm
7. Taipei 101 changes the colors of the lights by day of the week. (eg, Fridays are blue, Sundays are pink/purplish), during the summer they are on from 7-9.
8. Elephant mountain is close by (ask an MRT worker or one of those travel people what buses to take, or just follow the signs and walk there) and you're a 20-30 minute hike away from the best view of Taipei.
9. TMU Mushan dorm roof also has a hell of a view.
10. Dazzling Cafe (Sunshine) is on the 2nd floor of A11. Paul is across in A9.
11. Mr. Brown Coffee in A8 has free wifi. You can get it from Cafe Trico above it.
12. Hankyu also has free wifi in its foodcourt.
13. Exit MRT station Exit 2, towards Saison du Soliel, turn left walk all the way down. Clean, uncrowded bathrooms, you're welcome.
14. Shopping exists in Vieshow, aka NET and places like that (affordable)
15. ATT4fun has a lot of snack places on the first floor (from the outside) such as Irish Potato, Cha for Tea (Ten Ren) etc.
And finally, I wouldn't know from experience, but I know for a fact that they throw a HUGE free concert every New Year's Eve with the biggest names in Taiwan hours before the midnight fireworks and afterwards too. PS, book KTV afterwards since you won't want to brave the MRT crowds afterwards.