National Taichung Theater, Taiwan – A Complete Guide

If you plan on visiting Taichung, Taiwan soon, you might be asking yourself: Should you visit the National Taichung Theater? I wasn’t sure what to expect. After all, you need to buy show tickets to enjoy a theater, right? Well, yes and no. There is plenty to do in this theater without tickets. In fact, the theater should really be called a museum with a theater. You can easily spend hours inside and the admission is free. While here, you’ll get to view art exhibits, peruse unusual souvenir shops, enjoy facilities such as a play area, a cafe – and more. On my list of things to do in Taichung, the theater is very near the top. The National Taichung Theater is delightful, and you should definitely visit it if you are coming to Taichung, Taiwan.

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How Do You Get To National Taichung Theater?

If you are staying by Taichung Station, it is easy to get to the National Taichung Theater. From the station, take one of the following buses: 309 shuttle, 324, 75 or 27. Remember, you’ll need an Easy Card to take a bus in Taiwan. You can purchase and refill this card from any convenience store (such as a 7-11). The ride is about 45 minutes. If in doubt, check to google maps set for public transport option.

The most convenient area to stay in Taichung is Taichung Station. These are hotels next to the station:

Also Read: The complete Taichung Travel Guide

On A Day Trip from Taipei To Taichung:

If you are taking a day trip from Taipei to Taichung, take the high-speed rail from Taipei’s Main Station to Taichung HSR Station (NOT to Taichung Railway Station). The HSR trains are twice as fast, and a better choice for a day trip. From the high-speed station, take the 161 bus directly to the theater.

National Taichung Theater, Taiwan - Daytime view of the fountains.

How Much Time Do You Need To Visit National Taichung Theater?

The building is huge. In addition to the sheer size of the space, there is so much to do inside. Art exhibits, unique souvenir shops, an outdoor roof space, a cafe, and a restaurant will all keep you busy for hours. Even if you are not seeing a show, leave yourself at least 2 to 3 hours to explore the National Taichung Theater. The best time to visit is during midday when Taichung’s heat is at its worst. This public space is a delightful and cool refugee, and you probably will not want to rush out.

History Of The National Taichung Theater

National Taichung Theater officially opened in 2016. However, you can trace the idea for the theater back to the Japanese occupation of Taiwan in the early 20th century. Originally composed of a few scattered villages, Taichung became one city under Japanese rule. At the time, the government wanted to create a model city here. They invested heavily in infrastructure and developed the arts. As a result, Taichung was nicknamed the Kyoto of Formosa, for its beauty and art culture. It makes sense that this city, arguably the most beautiful in Taiwan would be home to the thriving opera house – the National Taichung Theater.

Things To Do in National Taichung Theater

The first floor of the National Taichung Theater is dominated by a large souvenir shop. This store is designed as an exhibit for local artists. Here you can find unique, handmade goods not available anywhere else.

The unique souvenir shop inside National Taichung Theater.
The large souvenir shop on the first floor is designed to highlight work by local artists.

The large cafe dominates the second half of the first floor.

The cafe inside the theater.
The first-floor cafe is a great place to relax with a cup of java.

The second floor of the National Taichung Theater hosts the Play House and the Grand Theater, where many performances take place. Even if you do not have tickets, you can walk through here to enjoy the architectural grandeur.

Second floor of National Taichung Theater - architectural detail.
The second floor of the National Taichung Theater
Grand architecture, National Taichung Theater.
The second floor of the National Taichung Theater

As you rise past the third and fourth floors (which are open for performances only) you’ll notice the impressive staircase.

Staircase inside the National Taichung Theater.

The fifth floor is home to the children’s play area and the Tutu Gallery.

The children's play space in the National Taichung Theater.
Children’s play area – third floor of the National Taichung Theater.

The Tutu gallery is a space where artists can present interactive and audiovisual work, such as this light exhibit. Entry is also free.

Tutu Gallery, National Taichung Theater
Tutu Gallery, National Taichung Theater

The fifth floor of the National Taichung Theater is also the home of the theater’s high-end restaurant – VVG Food Play. Reservations are suggested.

VVG Food Play Restaurant.
VVG Food Play Restaurant

The open concept book store (VVG Book Play) completes the fifth floor.

VVG Book Play Store
VVG Book Play store

From here, proceed to the sixth floor to the rooftop. This is an open air space and a garden.

Skygarden - National Taichung Theater.
Skygarden – National Taichung Theater, Taiwan.

Things To Bring With You

You don’t need to bring much to the National Taichung Theater. I would, however, suggest you bring a sweater or a sweatshirt. The cool air starts to feel chilly after a few hours.

Taichung Packing List:

Nearby Attractions

Maple Gardens are located right next door to the theater. The gardens are an ideal place to stroll as the sun sets. To learn more about the Maple Gardens as well as other things to do in Taichung, check out “Things To Do in Taichung.”

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