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Top Things to Do in Xian

For travelers, Beijing exemplifies Chinese culture, Shanghai illustrates the new China and Xi’an stands for China's long history.

As the ancient capital of 13 dynasties, Xi’an has plenty of sights and interesting places which will unfold its history to travelers. Xi’an was the starting point of the Silk Road leading to the West. If this is your first time to visit China, plan your fun trip from Xi’an.

What to see in Xian?

Terracotta Warriors Museum

Terracotta Warriors Museum

As one of the eight wonders of world heritage, The Terracotta Warriors Museum is top on the list in your travel plans. The Terracotta Warriors were placed in the burial pit for Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of China, and they are about 1.5 km away from the tomb of Qin Shihuang.

There are three pits you will visit:

Pit #1 is the largest, with more than two thousands foot-soldiers in an airplane-hangar-sized building.

Pit #2 is a smaller building with more categories of soldiers such as archers and cavalry. It also has the most detailed displays of several warriors in glass cases, through which you can see the warriors face to face, close-up.

Pit #3 is the smallest, with 68 terracotta figures, many without head.

You are suggested to know more about the Terracotta Army before your visit.

  • Admission: 150 Yuan/person from Mar.1-Nov.30 and 120 Yuan/person for Dec.1-Feb.28
  • Opening Hours: 14: 8:30 am-5:30pm during Mar.16-Nov.14; 8:30am-5pm between Nov.15-Mar.15

Recommended Xian Terracotta Warriors Tours:

Xi'an City Wall

Xi'an City Wall

The Xi'an City Wall located in the center of the city and has 4 gates. They are the Changle Gate (East Gate), An Ding Gate (West Gate), Yong Ning Gate (South Gate) and the An Yuan Gate (North Gate). Each gate has a fortified watchtower. The wall was built in the Ming Dynasty, from 1374-1378. The wall is 13.7 km long in total.

Walking on the City Wall is a great way to see the contrast between modern Xi’an and the ancient city. The view of the city is especially good at sunrise and sunset. Biking on the City Wall could be a highlight and a cool experience and is very popular with foreign travelers.

  • Add: City Center, Beilin District, Xian
  • Tel: 029-7234918
  • Admission: 55 Yuan
  • Opening Hours: 8:00-22:00 during spring and summer; 8:00-19:00 during autumn and winter

Recommended tours including Xian City Wall:

Shaanxi Historical Provincial Museum

Shaanxi Historical Provincial Museum

Want to know more about China? Shaanxi Historical Provincial Museum is an excellent place to learn about early Chinese history in a few hours.

The museum houses up to 370,000 relics, ranging from simple stoneware, used by the ancient society as beautiful artworks and weapons, delicate bronze ware from the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, vivid pottery men from army dynasties, gold and silver ware and tomb murals from the Tang Dynasty – each tell their own piece of history. No wonder it is known as The Grand Hall of Chinese Civilization. Four hours visiting time are recommended.

  • Add: NO 91, Xiaozhai Donglu, Yanta District, Xian
  • Tel: 029-85254727
  • Admission: Free
  • Opening Hours: 9:00-17:30(closed on Monday)

Recommended tours including Xian City Wall:

Tomb of Emperor Jingdi (Hangyang Ling)

Mt. Huashan

Mount Huashan is located some 240 kilometers away from Xi'an, approximately a two and a half hour drive. It is one of the five sacred mountains in China. Mount Huashan is well-kown for its sheer cliffs and plunging ravines. It is the most dangerous mountain in China for climbers.

The mountain has five peaks, among which the most famous three are Sunrise Peak (East Peak), Lotus Flower Peak (West Peak), Falling Goose Peak (South Peak). There are two trek options:

  • Short Trek: Take the cable car to North Peak and trek to the Canglong Ridge to have a taste of riskiness. Then you could take the cable car down the mountain from North Peak.

  • One-day-trek: Take the cable car to North Peak and hike over Canglong Ridge and pass East Peak to get to the South Peak, where you can walk on the narrow cliffside plank. Then take the cable car down the mountain from West Peak, all the while surrounded by amazing nature and silence.
  • Add: Zhangjia Bay, Zhengyang Town, Weicheng District, Xianyang City
  • Tel: 029-86032883
  • Admission: 180 Yuan/person for March to November and 100 Yuan/person for other months.
  • Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 between Dec.1-Feb.28 and 7:00-19:00 during Mar.1-Nov.30
Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is in the Ci'en Temple, 4 km from the city center. Built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty, it was to house Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures which Buddhist scholar Xuan Zang brought back from India. The top of the pagoda provides a good view of the city. Two hours would allow enough time for a good visit.

Behind the pagoda is a large musical fountain. It is especially spectacular at night, with colorful lights enhancing the display. It has become one of the top places for locals and travelers to spend a summer evening. The fountain performs at 12:30 pm and 8:30 pm on weekdays, and every 2 hours from noon onwards on weekends and public holidays.

  • Add: South end of Yanta Road, Outside the Heping Gate, Xian
  • Tel: 029-85527958
  • Admission: 50 Yuan
  • Opening Hours: 8:00-17:30 from Mar.16-Nov.14 and 8:00-17:00 during Nov.15-Mar.15
Great Mosque in Muslim Quarter

Great Mosque in Muslim Quarter

The famous Muslim Quarter in Xian contains the Great Mosque. As the starting point of Silk road, there the descents of the Muslim businessmen have made Xian their home and this Mosque was built as their place of worship. Built in 724 in the Tang Dynasty and restored for several times, most buildings in the Great Mosque are the Ming-Qing style and in 4 courtyards. Stone steles and ancient trees are scattered over the different courtyards.

Worshipers to the Great Mosque 5 times a day and it can be crowded at peak times but provides a fascinating insight into the daily life of the people. A dress code applies.

  • Add: NO 30,Huajue Alley, Northwest of Drum Tower, Xian 西安鼓楼西北隅化觉寺巷30号
  • Tel: 029-87272541
  • Admission: 25 Yuan during peak season and 15 Yuan during low season.
  • Opening Hours: 8:00-19:00
Gao Courtyard

Gao Courtyard

There are 2 famous Gao Courtyards in Xian. One is at NO 42, Xinglong Alley and the other at NO 144, Beiyuanmen Street. Beiyuanmen is a food street for Muslim food and also where Gao Courtyard is located. Built in over 400 years ago, the courtyard is in the Ming Dynasty style with 86 rooms (56 rooms are opened to the public). It is a post and panel structure.

The Goa Courtyard was the private mansion of Gao Yuesong, a famous and important official during the Ming Dynasty. A plaque hung on the entrance gate was a gift from the emperor and say 榜眼及第 "the third most important place in China". Seven consecutive generations the Gao family were important officials during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The courtyard contains many traditional, special items and furniture from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. A tea house in the courtyard provides tea and chance to rest. Shadow play puppets perform every day for about 10 minutes and is worth seeing.

  • Add: NO 144, Beiyuanmen Street, Xian
  • Tel: 029-87232897
  • Admission: 15 Yuan
  • Opening Hours: 8:30-22:30
Bell & Drum Towers

Bell & Drum Towers

The Bell and Drum Towers are 2 towers in the city center of Xian. The Drum Tower is located west of the Bell Tower and was built 4 years earlier than Bell Tower. There was once a huge drum in the Drum Tower but this has disappeared over time.

The Drum Tower has drums performances at 9:00 am, 10:00 am,11:00 am, 14:30, 15:30 and 16:30. The clock in the Bell Tower strikes 24 times at 9:00 am, 12:00 and 15:00. Every day at 18:00 is the special performance. This is a famous and traditional custom in Xian called Morning Clock and Evening Drum.

  • Add: South end of Beiyuanmen Street, Xida Street, Xian
  • Tel: 029-87274580
  • Admission: 35 Yuan for each.
  • Opening Hours: 8:30-21:00 for Apr.1-Oct.31 and 8:00-18:00 between Nov.1-Mar.31

Tailor-make your trip there:

What to do in Xian?

Tang Dynasty Show

Tang Dynasty Show

The tang Dynasty is a must-see for every foreign visitor to Xian so try not to miss it. The show features Tang Dynasty Music and Dance complete in authentic costumes. The show highlights the 8 most popular dances depicting life from the period - the imperial palace, folk, spring outing or in the battlefield. The spectacular showcases the music and many music instruments as well as dance. A dumplings banquet is also available.

  • Add: The Tang Dynasty, No.75 Chang An Road, Xi'an
  • Tel: 029-87822222
  • Admission: 220 Yuan for the show and 550 Yuan for the show plus the dinner.
  • Show time: 20:30-21:40 Dinner Time: 18:30
Vintage Sidecar Motorcycle

Vintage Sidecar Motorcycle

Vintage Sidecar Motorcycle is the most popular way to see Xian, especially the off-the-beaten parts which larger vehicles cannot reach. Most of the tours would include a local lunch.

  • Add: Room 020805, Tianjingyuan, Xi'an
  • Tel: 15021112451

We can arrange vintage sidecar service in Xian:

What and where to eat in Xian?

Liangpi (Cold Noodles)

Liangpi (Cold Noodles)

Liangpi is a special street food in Shaanxi Province. Local families make Liangpi in summer. It is flavored with sweet, hot and sour spices.

Recommended Restaurant:

  • Weijia Liangpi Yanping(Dongguanzheng Store)
    Add: West side, NO 39, Dongguanzheng Street, Xian
    Tel: 18700595190
    Price range: $2-$3
Biangbiang Noodles

Biangbiang Mian (Biangbiang Noodles)

Biangbiang Mian is a very special noodle which can be a meter long. The big noodle reflects the bold and forthright character of local Shaanxi people. One noodle mighte be enough for small eaters!

Recommended Restaurant

  • Biangbiang Mian (Dongyi Road Store)
    Add: Dongyi Road, Xian
    Tel: (029)87431987
    Price range: $3-$4
Paomo (Shredded Cakes in the Broth)

Paomo (Shredded Cakes in the Broth)

Paomo, is shredded cakes in the mutton or beef broth and is a staple. The broth is sticky and soft with a good smell. After having Paomo, a bowl of Gaotang (soup-stock), is considered an enjoyable thing for locals.

Recommended Restaurant

  • Laomi Jia Dayu Paomo
    Add: NO 127, Xiyang Market, Beilin District, Xian
    Price range: $4-$5
Muslim Quarter (Huajue Alely)

Local Food Street: Muslim Quarter (Huajue Alely)

Huajue Muslim quarter is the biggest in Xian and also very famous in China. It refers to Huajue Alley. It has many Muslim food stalls mostly run by Hui minority people. It also has many souvenirs, pick up and remember to bargain.

  • Add: Lianhu District, Xian(near the Bell&Drum Tower)

Tailor-make Your Trip to Xian:

If you want to visit these attractions above or any other palces that you are interested, China Travel can tailor-make a tour based on your needs and requirements, which can save your time, money, and trouble. Please feel free to tell us your tour ideas! >> Tailor a Tour Now!

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