12 Best Things to Do in Xi’an, China

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Discover the top 12 best things to do in Xi’an, China. From the awe-inspiring Terracotta Army to the ancient city walls, immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant culture of this fascinating city. Find out the must-visit attractions and experiences for an unforgettable journey.

Introduction: Embrace the Timeless Charm of Xi’an

Xi’an, an ancient city in China, holds a captivating allure that spans over millennia. With a history dating back more than 3,000 years, this enchanting destination is steeped in cultural heritage and offers visitors a glimpse into China’s imperial past. From remarkable archaeological wonders to bustling marketplaces and delectable cuisine, Xi’an promises a rewarding and memorable experience. Let’s delve into the 12 best things to do in Xi’an, China, and discover the secrets of this captivating city.

1. Terracotta Army: Witness History Unearthed

The Terracotta Army stands as one of the most astonishing archaeological finds in the world. Discovered in 1974, this life-sized clay army was buried with China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, to protect him in the afterlife. Each soldier is unique, representing the might of the Qin Dynasty. Marvel at the grandeur of this ancient army, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and experience the wonder of history unearthed.

2. Xi’an City Wall: Walk Along the Ancient Fortifications

Step back in time by visiting the Xi’an City Wall, an iconic structure that surrounds the city center. Built during the Ming Dynasty, this ancient fortification is among the best-preserved city walls in China. Rent a bicycle or take a leisurely stroll along the 13.7-kilometer-long wall to enjoy panoramic views of the city’s modern skyline and ancient architecture.

3. Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Explore Buddhist Heritage

Delve into the spiritual side of Xi’an by visiting the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Originally built during the Tang Dynasty, this seven-story pagoda is a symbol of Buddhism’s influence in China. Ascend to the top for breathtaking views of the city and explore the surrounding temple complex, which exudes tranquility and architectural beauty.

4. Muslim Quarter: Indulge in Culinary Delights

Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter is a bustling hub of activity, offering a sensory delight for travelers. Wander through the vibrant alleys and try an array of delectable street food, including lamb skewers, spicy roujiamo (Chinese burger), and sweet persimmon cakes. Don’t miss the chance to explore the Great Mosque, a harmonious blend of Islamic and Chinese architectural styles.

5. Huaqing Hot Springs: Relax in Natural Splendor

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a trip to Huaqing Hot Springs, a historical bathing site that dates back to the Tang Dynasty. Surrounded by picturesque gardens and scenic landscapes, the hot springs offer a rejuvenating experience. Immerse yourself in the soothing waters and bask in the serenity of this historical retreat.

6. Bell and Drum Towers: Admire Ancient Timekeeping

The Bell and Drum Towers are iconic landmarks in Xi’an, once used to keep time in the ancient city. Climb to the top of these towers for panoramic views and witness the traditional bell and drum performances. The towers also house fascinating exhibitions that delve into the city’s history and culture.

7. Shaanxi History Museum: Unravel the Past

For history enthusiasts, the Shaanxi History Museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits that showcase China’s ancient past. Explore galleries filled with intricate bronze ware, pottery, calligraphy, and more, dating back thousands of years. Gain profound insights into the region’s cultural evolution and artistic achievements.

8. Giant Wild Goose Pagoda: Discover Buddhist Scriptures

Another notable pagoda in Xi’an is the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, constructed during the Tang Dynasty to house Buddhist scriptures brought from India. Marvel at its architectural splendor and learn about its historical significance as a center for translation and learning. The nearby square hosts a beautiful water fountain show, perfect for an enchanting evening experience.

9. Tang Paradise: Relive the Tang Dynasty

Step into the glorious past of the Tang Dynasty at Tang Paradise, a theme park that recreates the grandeur of this golden age. Explore magnificent palaces, beautiful gardens, and enjoy captivating performances showcasing traditional music and dance. Don’t miss the nightly musical fountain show, a mesmerizing spectacle of lights and water.

10. Forest of Stone Steles Museum: Epitaphs and Artifacts

Home to a vast collection of stone steles with ancient Chinese calligraphy, the Forest of Stone Steles Museum offers an immersive encounter with history. The museum houses over 3,000 steles, including valuable epitaphs, classic texts, and literary works from various dynasties, providing a glimpse into China’s cultural heritage.

11. Beilin Museum: Explore Ancient Tablets

The Beilin Museum, also known as the Stele Forest Museum, holds an exceptional collection of stone tablets engraved with Confucian classics, poems, and historical documents. Admire the skillful calligraphy and immerse yourself in the literary accomplishments of ancient scholars, making it a must-visit for those interested in Chinese literature and culture.

12. Huashan Mountain: Conquer the World’s Most Precarious Hike

For the adventurous souls, a trip to Huashan Mountain is a thrilling experience. Known as one of China’s Five Great Mountains, Huashan offers exhilarating hiking trails and breathtaking views from its peaks. The Plank Walk on the South Peak, secured to the cliff face, is a heart-pounding challenge that rewards with an unparalleled sense of accomplishment.


Q: What is the best time to visit Xi’an, China?

A: The best time to visit Xi’an is during spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is pleasant and comfortable for sightseeing.

Q: How can I travel around Xi’an?

A: Xi’an has an efficient public transportation system, including buses and the metro, making it easy to navigate and explore the city’s attractions.

Q: Are English signs available in Xi’an?

A: While English signs are increasingly common, it’s helpful to carry a pocket-sized English-Chinese phrasebook or use translation apps for smoother communication.

Q: What are some authentic Xi’an dishes to try?

A: Don’t miss the opportunity to savor local delicacies like Biang Biang noodles, Xi’an dumplings (Jiaozi), and Yangrou Paomo, a hearty mutton soup.

Q: Is the Terracotta Army located far from the city center?

A: The Terracotta Army is located about 40 kilometers east of Xi’an’s city center and can be easily reached by bus or organized tours.

Q: How much time should I allocate to visit the Terracotta Army?

A: To fully appreciate the site, allocate at least half a day to explore the three main pits and the accompanying museum.

Conclusion: Unforgettable Memories Await in Xi’an

Xi’an, with its captivating historical sites and vibrant culture, promises an enriching journey filled with unforgettable memories. From marveling at the Terracotta Army’s grandeur to exploring ancient city walls and savoring delectable local cuisine, this city offers a delightful blend of the old and the new. Embrace the timeless charm of Xi’an and immerse yourself in the wonders of this extraordinary destination.

Remember, there’s so much more to explore in Xi’an beyond these 12 best things to do. Let the city’s secrets unfold before you as you embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

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Upendra Yadav is a seasoned Data Analyst with a passion for exploring new places and immersing himself in different cultures. With a curious mind and an eye for detail, Upendra delves deep into the history, people, and cuisine of the places he visits, and brings his experiences to life through his writing.. His work has been featured in various travel blogs, where he shares his insights and recommendations for fellow explorers. Through his writing, Upendra aims to inspire others to venture beyond their comfort zones and discover the hidden gems of the world. When he's not analyzing data or traveling to new destinations, Upendra can be found indulging in his other hobbies, such as photography and trying out new recipes. He is currently working on his next travelogue, where he hopes to take his readers on a journey to even more exciting and lesser-known destinations.