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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

events/exploreTaipei: i strongly recommend HUASHAN 1914 CREATIVE PARK

No. 1, BaDe Road, Sec. 1

MRT: Shandao Temple or ZhongXiao/Xinsheng station

hours: most shops/cafes don't open until 11AM but open until late

Free to explore/ $-$$ for eats and exhibits


kid friendliness: yes

visit reviewed: 12/28/2014

Over the past few years, I've found myself at Huashan 1914 Cultural Park more and more. Not only has it grown over the years, it is constantly changing so there's always something to explore. What is Huashan Cultural Park and what's inside?

In 1997, a Taiwanese theater company discovered an abandoned wine & sake factory and was drawn to staging plays there. It grew into a cultural art center as local artists and the creative community used it over the years as a work space, and it became official in 2005-2007 when they restored it and it became Huashan 1914 Creative Park. The collective of buildings provides space for rotating exhibits and events, restaurants/cafes, as well as concert/music venue Legacy and SPOT Theater which shows many independent films and hosts various local film festivals.

Sometimes you might chance upon some very cool exhibits.  On this weekend in December, there was a Le Petit Prince exhibit, Aranzi exhibit, Beatles exhibit, and Sony Playstation.. Usually there's an entry fee and sometimes some are open to the public for free, like this Sony Playstation 20th anniversary event. The exhibits usually feature a number of installations and photos and take about 10-30 minutes to walk around, depending on how thorough you want to read everything and how crowded it is. TEDxTaipei has also been held here for the past few years.

The Beatles exhibition and other ones are running from December to March 2015 so if you want to have a leisurely gander then I recommend going on a weekday morning, when it will be least crowded.

We came for the Sony 20th Anniversary exhibit and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was freeee. 

Who remembers playing all of these? Man, has gaming and consoles come a long way. 

A little walk down memory lane and the history of Sony Playstation products.

Ahead of its time? Could have been the iPod? Haha.

1994 was a good year!

The main place people were waiting in line for was this little mock living room area where they set up various TVs and games and consoles from different years.

Back outside, you might find some areas of booths for local artists and crafts, as well as shops.

If it's your first time, you can find a red kiosk and take a look at the restaurants guide for the thirteen or so cafes and restaurants, including Alleycats, Trio Cafe, Deja Vu, Casa Della Pasta, VVG Thinking, and Fab Cafe which I posted about recently. There are two sections to the Huashan, divided by a parking lot, so don't forget to explore both sides if you have enough time. 

The first time I went to Huashan, I was looking for VVG Thinking, which is on the other side of the parking lot which is mostly art galleries, cafes and restaurants in towering red brick buildings. The towering chimney is part of the boiler room for the old plum wine/rice wine/red wine factories and distillery.

Repurposed areas like Huashan and the Songshan Cultural Park in the Xinyi District remind me a bit of 798 Art Zone in Beijing, both taking previously industrial spaces and transforming them into cultural hubs and creative spaces for the community. Restaurant and cafe owners like VVG's Grace Wang play a role in that as well, as the Wall Street Journal noted in their article about how Taipei is "Asia's Answer to Portland, Oregon."

And if you're in the Huashan area and you are a gadgets person, just across the street from Huashan is Guanghua Digital Plaza, as well as the new electronics mall and surrounding streets of gadgets, electronics and accessories. When I left my camera battery charging cord in LA, my dad guided me through a few random shops where I picked a replacement AV cord for a few US dollars. Not the easiest areas to explore if you don't speak Chinese or know what you want, but good if you're looking for something like Fry's Electronics in Taipei.


Linda said...

Wonderful photos. Thank you so much for sharing this tour.

Anonymous said...

Hi, great blog post! I'll be visiting Taipei this Oct and will definitely check out Huashan Creative Park. How many hours will you recommend spending here? I'm just wondering so I can plan my itinerary accordingly.

Thank you in advance! :)

joanh said...

you're welcome! Thanks for reading

joanh said...

Thanks! I'd say 1-2 hours should be plenty unless there are several exhibits you want to check out. Be sure wander to both sides and there's also a newly opened electronics mall and older shops across the street you can explore too

Anna said...

Which night market is closest to Huashan exhibit?