Top 15 Best Things to do in Xi’an, China

What are the top tourist attractions in Xi'an?

Terracotta Warriors of Xian China photo via Pixabay

Bucket List: 15 Best Places to Visit in Xi’an, China

Considered to be the birthplace of the Chinese civilization, Xi’an is one of China’s Four Great Ancient Capitals. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations and home to the famed Terracotta Warriors and Ancient City Wall. In 2019, Xi’an has declared a 144-hour Visa-free Travel Policy, granting international visitors that use Xi’an Xianyang International Airport to enjoy a long visa-free layover in Xi’an and Xianyang if requirements are met.

The best times to visit Xi’an are in the Spring, from March to June, and in the Fall, from September to November. The weather during these times is more comfortable, neither too hot nor too cold. Visitors are recommended to drink more water when in Xi’an, slather up on sunscreen, and bring rain gear because of the frequent rainy days.

Terracotta Warriors

Terracotta Warriors by Aaron Greenwood via Unsplash
Terracotta Warriors by Aaron Greenwood via Unsplash
Terracotta Warriors of Xian China photo via Pixabay
Terracotta Warriors of Xian China photo via Pixabay

The Xi’an Terracotta Warriors is one of the top archaeological finds of the 20th century and the largest underground military museum that exhibits army warriors representing Chinese heritage armies during the Warring States period. It was created by China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, when he ascended the throne and took 700,000 laborers and 40 years to complete the statues.

The museum has three main vaults and an exhibition hall. The first vault exhibits the soldiers and the horses. It is the largest of the three vaults at the size of an airplane hangar. The second vault exhibit army units with archers, chariots, and the cavalry. The third vault is the smallest and represents the command post with 68 terracotta officials. The exhibition hall is called the Exhibition Hall of the Bronze Chariots, the world’s largest and most intricate ancient bronze artifact. Other than soldiers, musicians, acrobats, and concubines were found in the pit.

Location: Lintong District, Xi’an
Operating Hours: 8:30AM to 5PM, Daily
Entrance Rates: CNY 120
*Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Note: Visitors can book a ticket online or buy a ticket at the Ticket Office, located on the right-hand of the north entrance, opposite the Tourist Center

Ticket Office Operating Hours: 8:30AM to 5PM, March 16 through November 15; 8:30AM to 4:30PM, November 16 through March 15

Huaqing Palace

Stone carving Huaqing Pool via Wikipedia cc
Stone carving Huaqing Pool via Wikipedia cc

Located near the Terracotta Warriors, Huaqing Palace is an imperial bathing pool where historic events took place, including the romance between Emperor Xuanzong and his favorite concubine, Consort Yang Guifei, which resulted in the An Lushan Rebellion. Visitors can see the Museum of Imperial Pools with five hot spring pools for the emperor, princes, awarded officials, and Consort Yang Guifei. Other places to see in Huaqing Palace are Nine Dragon Lake showcasing 8 dragon carvings, Furong Garden featuring a traditional garden from the Tang Dynasty, and the Pear Garden where Emperor Xuanzong held recreation events with Consort Yang Guifei.

Location: 38 Huaqing Road, Lintong District
Operating Hours: 7AM to 5PM, March through November; 7:30AM to 6PM, December through February
Entrance Rates: CNY 120
*Rates are subject to change without prior notice 

Xi’an Ancient City Wall

Xi'an Ancient City Wall by S Forgarty via Wikipedia cc
Xi’an Ancient City Wall by S Fogarty via Wikipedia By Virgil Guo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75689655 cc

One of the best-preserved city walls in China, the Ancient City Wall is 13.75 kilometers long and divides the city of Xi’an into the inside and outside parts of the wall. Visitors can walk the entire city wall which can take 4 hours, rent a bike and cycle around the city wall for 2 hours, or join the Xi’an City Wall International Marathon.

Location: Zhongxin District, Xi’an 710001
Operating Hours: 8AM to 10PM, Daily, South Gate; 8AM to 5:30PM, Daily, Hanguang Gate
Entrance Rates: CNY 54
Bike Rental: CNY 45 for normal bicycle, CNY 90 for tandem bicycle, CNY 200 for deposit
*Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Xi’an Bell Tower

Xi'an Bell Tower by Virgil Guo via Wikipedia cc
Xi’an Bell Tower By Virgil Guo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

Located at the center of the city, the tower is a cultural and historic relic, showcasing ancient Chinese architecture. Bell Tower exhibits cultural relics with great significance to the history of Chinese artworks, some of which are more than 1000 years old. There is a replica of the Jingyun Bell made in the Jingyun Period of the Tang Dynasty and the inscribed steles record the history of the renovation of the tower.

Location: Intersection of East Street and West Street in Beilin District, Xi’an
Operating Hours: 8:30AM to 10:30PM, April 1 through October 10; 8:30AM to 6PM, October 11 through March 31
Entrance Rates: CNY 30
*Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Xi’an Drum Tower

Drums at the Xi'an Drum Tower at night by BrokenSphere via Wikipedia cc
Drums at the Xi’an Drum Tower at night By BrokenSphere – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, cc

Located near its sister tower, Xi’an Bell Tower, Xi’an Drum Tower has 24 drums on the north and south sides of the tower, representing the 24 solar terms of the Chinese lunar calendar. Like the Xi’an Bell Tower, the Xi’an Drum Tower is a cultural and historic relic itself and exhibits cultural relics which are more than 1000 years old.

Location: West of Bell Tower at West Street, Lianhu District, Xi’an
Operating Hours: 8:30AM to 10:30PM, April 1 through October 10; 8:30AM to 6PM, October 11 through March 31
Entrance Rates: CNY 30

*Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Mount Huashan

Mount Huashan by Fei Xie via Unsplash
Mount Huashan by Fei Xie via Unsplash

Mount Huashan is one of the five sacred Taoist mountains in China with spectacular sceneries and dangerous hiking trails. Visitors can visit Yuquan Temple where most Taoist activities of Mount Huashan are held.

Mount Huashan has five peaks: Cloud Terrace Peak, Jade Maiden Peak, Sunrise Peak, Lotus Peak, and Landing Wild Goose Peak. The hiking trail starts from Cloud Terrace Peak, the lowest of the five, and can be ascended from the Huashan Village or by a gondola, then towards Jade Maiden Peak. From there, hikers can go left to Sunrise Peak or right to Lotus Peak. The route to Landing Wild Goose Peak is not for the faint-hearted. To reach the highest peak, visitors can take a gondola. Then, a foot-wide plank walkway is a path to the summit. This plank walkway is attached to the steep rock supported by a chain. The infamous plank walkway is called the Huashan Plank Walk or the Changkong Plank Trail.

Location: Huashan Town, Huayin City, Weinan City, Shaanxi Province
Operating Hours: All day, West Gate; 7AM to 5PM, East gate
Entrance Rates: CNY 160

*Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Great Wild Goose Pagoda

Great Wild Goose Pagoda by Mick Haupt via Unsplash
Great Wild Goose Pagoda by Mick Haupt via Unsplash

The Great Wild Goose Pagoda, also called the Dayan Pagoda, is one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China built to study Buddhist scriptures. Visitors can climb to the top of the pagoda and get a beautiful view of Xi’an City and the Music Fountain Square, the largest musical water fountain in Asia. The Pagoda shows traditional Chinese architecture, built without any cement. This historic and cultural site has faced earthquakes and wars and continues to stand to this day.

Location: Daci’en Temple, South Yanta Road, Xi’an
Operating Hours: 8AM to 6PM, Daily
Entrance Rates: CNY 80

*Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Shaanxi History Museum

Shaanxi History Museum by Jesse via Wikipedia cc
Shaanxi History Museum By jesse – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

Shaanxi History Museum is one of the most important museums in China. Visitors can explore the First Exhibition Hall which exhibits the history from the Prehistoric Times to the politics and economics of the Qin Dynasty. The Second Exhibition Hall shows the cultural and religious relics social development of China. The Third Exhibition Hall displays the rich history of the Shaanxi Province. The Exhibition Hall for Treasures of Great Tang presents one of the most powerful dynasties in China’s history, the Tang Dynasty.

Location: 91 Xiaozhai East Road, Yata District, Xi’an
Operating Hours: 9AM to 5:30PM, Tuesday through Sunday
Entrance Rates: Free, Reservation is required

*Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Hanyangling Museum

Burial figures in the Han Yang Ling Mausoleum by Brucke Osteuropa via Wikipedia cc
Burial figures in the Han Yang Ling Mausoleum By Brücke-Osteuropa – Own work, Public Domain, cc

The Mausoleum of Emperor Jingdi of the Han Dynasty, Hanyangling Museum is an underground museum of the emperor of the Han Dynasty, his wife, officials, dynastic clan members, commoners, and slaves. The Burial Pits of Emperor Jingdi is the most famous exhibition hall in the museum, with 81 underground tunnels and showcasing the vehicle system of the Western Han Dynasty. The South Gate Tower was first erected in the Shang and Zhou Dynasty on the highest level and the largest scale in China.

Location: North Xian Suburb, Zhangjiawan Village, Zhengyang Town, Weicheng District, Xianyang
Operating Hours: 8:30AM to 6:30PM, March through November; 8:30AM to 6PM, December through February
Entrance Rates: CNY 70

*Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Xianyang Museum

Xianyang Confucian Temple via Wikimedia cc
Xianyang Confucian Temple via Wikimedia cc

Xianyang Museum displays cultural and historic relics from the Qin and Han Dynasties, including 3000 painted Terracotta Warriors of the Western Han Dynasty and tri-colored glazed potteries of the Tang Dynasty. The museum has nine exhibition halls, each containing artifacts from the Qin and Han Dynasties. These include potteries, paintings, calligraphies, and a bronze Buddha statue of the Ming Dynasty.

Location: 72 Youyi W Rd, Beilin, Xi’an
Operating Hours: 9AM to 5PM, Daily except for Tuesdays
Entrance Rates: CNY 30 for the Exhibition Hall for Treasures of Great Tang Dynasty; CNY 300 for the Exhibition Hall for Mural Paintings of Tang Dynasty

*Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Stele Forest – Beilin Stone Museum

Beilin Stone Museum (Forest of Steles) by Gary Tood via Wikimedia cc
Beilin Stone Museum (Forest of Steles) By Gary Todd from Xinzheng, China – Beilin Stone Museum, CC0, cc

The Beilin Museum focuses on the displays of stone steles, epigraphs, and stone sculptures from past dynasties. The Beilin Museum has seven exhibition halls, each of which displays stone steles carved from the different dynasties with poems and local historical information written on them. Visitors here can take courses on Chinese calligraphy.

Location: 15 Sanxue St, Beilin, Xi’an
Operating Hours: 8AM to 6PM, Daily
Entrance Rates: CNY 65

*Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Tang Paradise Park

Tang Paradise park by Shirkarni via Wikipedia cc.jpg
Tang Paradise park By Shirkarni – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

The Tang Paradise Park is based on the original Tang Paradise. Now, it is a theme park with beautiful garden scenes and evening shows. The park has 14 different types of cultural districts including imperial palaces and buildings to provide visitors with the brilliance of the Tang Dynasty. Visitors can appreciate the beauty of the rich greeneries in the park and have a taste of the Tang Paradise. It was said that the park has an aroma, thanks to the incense burnt along the walkway, giving first-time visitors an impressive experience of the Tang culture.

Location: 99 West Furong Road, Qujiang New Area, Yanta District, Xi’an
Operating Hours: 9AM to 10PM, Daily
Entrance Rates: CNY 120

*Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Great Mosque of Xi’an

Great Mosque of Xi'an by Ovedc via Wikimedia cc
Great Mosque of Xi’an By Ovedc – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, cc

Xi’an Great Mosque is one of the most important and largest mosques in China. The mosque represents traditional Chinese architecture in the four courtyards the mosque and Islamic art displayed on the walls of the mosque.

At 6,000 square meters, the mosque is divided into four courtyards. A wooden arch that can be traced back to the seventeenth century and three chambers on either side of the arch displaying preserved furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties are located in the first courtyard. The second and third courtyard has a stone arch with two steles and writings from distinguished ancient calligraphers. The fourth courtyard is a prayer hall that can accommodate over a thousand visitors.

Location: 30, Huejue Alley, Beiyuanmen, Lianhu District, Downtown Xi’an
Operating Hours: 8AM to 9PM, Daily
Entrance Rates: CNY 25

*Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Muslim Quarter in Xi’an

Muslim Quarter in Xi'an by chensiyuan via Wikipedia cc
Muslim Quarter in Xi’an By chensiyuan – chensiyuan, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

The Muslim Quarter in downtown Xi’an is popular for the Muslim cultural atmosphere and a large amount of local Xi’an snacks and dishes. The Muslim Quarter is part of the Muslim Food Street, a collective name for different streets known for their Muslim population. Locals consider the Muslim Quarter as one of the best food scenes in Xi’an. Around the Muslim, Quarter are preserved historic buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties like The An’ s Courtyard and the Great Mosque.

Location: Beilin District, Xi’an
Operating Hours: All-day
Entrance Rates: Free

Sample Xi’an Snacks and Cuisine

Chinese Hamburger
Chinese Hamburger

Xi’an has been the capital city of over a dozen different dynasties, inheriting the culture of Chinese cuisine for centuries. In addition to being a Silk Road terminus, the presence of the Muslim population has added richness and variety to the snacks and dishes in Xi’an.

Best enjoyed at the Wei’s Liangpi Restaurant, Cold Noodles are a classic and traditional Chinese noodle dish originating from Shaanxi Province. The Pita Bread Pork Sandwich, sometimes called the Chinese Hamburger, is popular in the Shaanxi region using pita bread and other 30 special ingredients. Lamb Kabobs or Xi’an Kabobs are popular snacks sold in the Muslim Quarter which are small pieces of mutton skewered in iron sticks and either baked or grilled. Other snacks and dishes that visitors can enjoy in the Muslim Quarter are the Pepper Beef Ball Soup, Sticky Rice Cake, Braised Sheep’s Hooves, and Baked Naan Bread.

Our Top Hotel Picks for Xi’an, China



Booking.com

Xi’an, China Travel and Tour Packages

Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of cheap Xi’an, China hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more updates about new package tours and tourist spots in Xi’an, China? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

Also read:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.