The Calligraphy Greenway is a shady, green strip of land running from the National Art Museum up to the Natural Science Museum with plenty to see and do along the way. In the planning for some time, it’s cool and shady in summer, it’s perfect for seeing all the following places along the way. Youbikes can be hired from the art museum and dropped off at its end. See Google maps for locations.
National Art Gallery
The ‘Art Museum’ as it’s locally known features plenty of styles and is free to enter. Three floors display art galleries ranging from calligraphy to national themes and abstract art. Most exhibitions are tailored toward Taiwanese painters, so don’t expect much international work. There’s a tea shop in the basement, a large play area for kids, and a reading room for some quiet time. The area around the ‘museum’ has plenty of statues and abstract works. A lot of locals come to picnic and relax here making it busy, particularly on weekends.
Audit Village 小蝸牛市集
Similar to Guangfu Village in Wufeng, Audit village* is a piece of well preserved history a few minutes walk from the art museum. Once a series of dormitory blocks for Japanese provincial government staff, today the space practices a wide range of expression. Artist studios and workshops compete with cafes and bars for customers through their own personal brands of showmanship. The entire project is one of several attempts by the Taichung government to create interesting civic spaces for the population and by and large it works. Certainly worth including when walking the Calligraphy Greenway walk from the National Art Museum to the Natural Science Museum. Weekend markets throughout the space really draw the crowds. (Read reviews) Opening hours are midday to early evening.
Located just north of the Art Museum a few minutes walk off the Calligraphy Greenway on Minsheng Road. If you’re on Yingcai road, take a left on Minsheng Rd and you’ll see it shortly on your right.
*Also called Shenji New Village (審計新村) or Lole Market.
Fantasy Story 范特喜綠光計畫
An eclectic collection of quirky shops, handicrafts, and restaurants spread over three streets. the main area of Fantasy Story is on Zhong Xing (Jong Shing) 1st lane in a disused former water facility. Rather than tear it down, the building was re-purposed into a creativity center. Comprising two floors, the space features every kind of studio imaginable from DIY umbrella design and pop-up book stores, to leather workshops and cozy cafes. There’s also a great little wood-carving shop upstairs that features samples of almost every kind of wood on the island. While not every shop owner speaks English, undoubtedly this is a great place to buy souvenirs from bags to pottery to confectionery, and try your hand at local handicrafts with a plethora of DIY workshops on both levels. It’s civic spaces like these, where shop owners are given free-range to really express themselves, making Fantasy story more a collection than a single narrative. There are a few shops on Xiangshang Road (“Shang Shang”) and Meicun Road Lane 117, though they are not worth spending the time to find. Opening hours for most shops are 12.00 till 7pm.
Go down Zhongxing road to the east of Calligraphy Greenway and look out for Meicun Lane 117. Continue down Zhongxing Rd to the intersection with Xiangshang North and Zhongxing 1st Lane.
Civil Square (Caowu Square) (台中草悟廣場)
Strolling or biking along the Greenway, you’ll soon encounter a large open space populated by picnicking locals. While it gets busy on the weekends with handicraft markets and live performances, there are plenty of restaurants nearby and coffee shops suitable for people watching. A nice place to relax if you’re staying in the area. Check out the website for a program of live performances. Electric bikes can be hired here for a minimum of $300 for three hours.
This place is also known by the moniker ‘Slow Village‘ which features a collection of over a hundred shops of design, creativity, green-living and DIY. Personal chopstick making is popular here – choose your own wood, carve, and lazer etch your own designs.
CMP Block Museum of Arts
It’s easy to feel Taichung’s sense of self-reinvention at the CMP Block Museum. As a ‘living museum,’ the area teams with creative, interactive exhibits attracting huge crowds on the weekends and feature a number of events throughout the year. The area is one in a long list of reinvention projects that is turning Taichung into a cultural hub in Taiwan, which in itself is worth experiencing. And if the crowds or summer heat tire you out, there are plenty of cafes and eating facilities in the ESlite department store just nearby. (need photo of buried car here)
Robot Station (Restaurant)
If you’re in the vicinity of the National Art Museum and want a bite to eat, Robot Station is a novel little venue. Hundreds of robots rule the roost here and the large robot commander standing out back adds great atmosphere. A nice place to eat with plenty of souvenirs options to take away.
Taichung City Park
There are many events held along the upper section of Calligraphy Greenway approaching Taichung City Park especially from Friday to Sunday. At the weekend, this stretch can be particularly busy as a bustling congregation of vendors, musicians and tourists jostle for space. Markets often spring up along the section just north of the park between Gongyi Rd and the National Science Museum. There’s a great little second-hand bookstore just next to 7-11 on the corner too with an excellent selection of used English and Chinese books called Molly’s Bookstore. Call into the nearby Parklane Department store for a stylish collection of local and international brands, ESLite bookstore and some welcome air-conditioning in the summer months.
Taiwan’s National Museum of Natural Sciences
The museum comprises six areas including Space IMAX Theater, Life Science Hall, Chinese Science Hall, Science Hall, Botanical Garden, and Global Environmental Hall. It also includes the 9/21 Earthquake Museum ten kilometers away in Wufeng, south of Taichung. There are around 30 regular exhibitions as well as larger international ones. The Space IMAX theatre is the largest and most digitally advanced in Taiwan.
The Botanical Gardens
At the extreme end of Calligraphy Green way lie the botanical gardens in Taichung are the largest of their kind in Asia. They feature an entire tropical ecosystem including 800 species of plant, various fish, butterflies and a large functional water clock. Its purpose is to represent the floral diversity of Taiwan in one place. Bottom-line, it’s cheap to enter and, if working, taking the elevator up past the waterfall to the sky walk around the top of the glass dome is certainly worthwhile.
Beyond the Botanical Gardens
If riding a bike, a bicycle path runs beyond Taichung Botanical Gardens along a quiet green section of Yude Road to Zhong Zheng Park. Youbikes can also be left here. This is a rather large park in Northern Taichung and doesn’t see many tourists. Zhong Shan Hall, a national performing arts theater, is also nearby.