Xi'an Travel Guide

Xi'an (Chinese name: 西安), formerly romanized as Sian, is the capital of Shaanxi Province, located in the northwest of China, in the center of the Guanzhong Plain. As the eastern terminal of the Silk Road and the site of the famous Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty, the city has won a reputation all over the world. Through more than 3,000 years’ history, including over 1,100 years as the capital city of ancient dynasties, the city has been endowed with an amazing historical heritage.

Xi’an, Rome, Cairo and Athens share the reputation of being the top four ancient capitals in the world. The development of Xi’an was much slower but it has accelerated in the 21st century. The first subway in Xi’an was opened in 2011, making Xi’an the ninth city with an underground rail system in China. The city of Xi'an has re-emerged as an important cultural, industrial and educational center of the central-northwest region and as the leading city of China’s Western Development Drive Program since the 1990s. Visitors marvel at the many historical sites, all with modern and convenient facilities.

4-Day Xi'an Weather Forecast

Day Night Description Temperature

The Best Time to Visit Xi'an

Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are best seasons to visit Xi’an. The temperature is mild and comfortable, and good for outdoor activities such as riding a bike on the city wall and climbing The Hua Mountains. Summer is very hot and winter is close to freezing. The Terracotta Warriors and Horse Museum is a good place to visit all year round as it is indoors.

What to see in Xi’an

Must-Sees

The Terracotta Warriors and Horse Museumthis is why you come to visit Xi’an! Qingshihuang Ying Zheng was one of the most ambitious and aggressive emperors in the history of China. He conquered others and wanted to continue to defend what he had gained after his death, so he was buried with soldiers and war horses. The current exhibits in the museum are only the tip of the iceberg. As new terracotta armies are being discovered year by year, no one has been able to predict just how many warriors and horses are still beneath the soil.

Shaanxi History Museum – The museum was built in 1983 and has over 370,000 ancient relics on display in the museum. The oldest exhibit in museum was made a million years earlier than the most recent one with the least history. It is like walking through a history book, telling the world about the highlights of every period of China. Every exhibit in the museum was discovered in Xi’an and its nearby areas.

Mount Hua – Mount Hua is 120 kilometers to the east of Xi’an. It is one of the Five Sacred Mountains in China, along with Mount Tai in Shandong, Mount Heng in Shanxi, Mount Song in Henan and Mount Heng in Hunan, all of which are part of a Taoism holy land which was worshipped by emperors of past dynasties. The mountain is renowned for its natural vista of steep and narrow pathways, precipitous crags and a high mountain range.

Other Tourist Attractions in Xi’an

How Far is Xi’an from Major Cities

Xian transportation - Domestic cities to Xian
Cities Distance to Xi’an (km) By Air to Xi’an By High-Speed Railway to Xi’an
Beijing 1120 2hrs 10m 4.5hrs
Shanghai 1509 2hrs 40m 7hrs
Guangzhou 2176 2hrs 45m 9hrs
Shenzhen 2172 2hrs 50m 9hrs
Hong Kong 2160 3hrs Transfer from Shenzhen or Guangzhou, about 12 hours
Hangzhou 1444 2.5hrs 6hrs
Nanjing12082hrs5hrs
Zhangjiajie10521.5hrsNo direct High-Speed train. Traditional train about 15 hours
Chengdu8421.5hrs4hrs
Lhasa28643hrsNo direct High-Speed train. Traditional train about 33 hours
Luoyang387No direct flight1.5hrs

Xi'an Food

xian famous snacks, roujiamo Shaanxi Sandwich (Roujiamo)

Shaanxi Sandwich (Roujiamo)
“Roujiamo” means putting meat between two baked pancakes. The meat can be mutton or beef, but it can never be pork, because many people in Xi’an are Muslims. The baked pancakes are a little bit tough as people like to chew to fully enjoy the flavor. The meat is well stewed with rich-flavored sauce, which is made with over 30 condiments.

Cold Noodles (Liangmian)

The cold noodles in Xi’an are soft, smooth and elastic. Normally cold noodles are a mixture of noodles, wheat gluten, cucumber and pepper sauce. Wheat gluten is the most appetizing ingredient in noodles, so that noodles with more wheat gluten are more expensive. During the Qing Dynasty, a merchant made cold noodles for the Emperor in Beijing. The Emperor liked the noodles very much and so awarded the noodles the title of Royal Noodles.

Crumbled Flatbread in Mutton Stew (Yangroupaomo)
“Yangrou Paomo”, crumbled flatbread soaked in mutton stew, is the most popular nutritious meal throughout northwestern China, especially in Shaanxi Province. The mutton stew is highly seasoned with over 13 flavorings imported from western Asia. When it is cold in winter, this will surely warm you up. Both the Lao Sun Jia and Tong Sheng Xiang restaurants strongly recommended laces for visitors to try this.

Xi’an Restaurants

Xi’an Fanzhuang

The almost 100-year old restaurant is your first choice for dining in Xi’an. It serves all kinds of famous Shaanxi snacks and noodles. The must-try dish is Gourd-Shaped Chicken.

Grandmother’s Impression
The Grandmother’s Impression is located on the Xiwu Road. Fried Pork, Beef and Fish are the most frequently ordered dishes in the restaurant. Their juices and desserts are also very popular. It is one of the most popular dining places for locals and visitors as the food is delicious and it is inexpensive.

Muslim Street
Every local in Xi’an loves the delicacies available along Muslim Street. There are over 300 different kinds of snacks on the street. Most of the foods on the street are prepared by the Muslims, such as roasted mutton and beef, noodles, dumplings and pastries.

What to Buy in Xi’an

shadow play Props for Shadow Play

Farmers’ Paintings

The most renowned Farmers’ Paintings in Xi’an are from the Hu County. The farmers in Hu County express their wish for a bumper harvest by painting pictures. The content of the paintings might show a farmer who is working in his fields, happy children or satisfied diners. Anything that can make them happy may appear in the paintings.

Props for Shadow Play
Tourists often want to buy props after seeing a shadow play show. The props for shadow play can be found in lots of small art shops in Xi’an. They make good gifts for children.

Models of Terracotta Warriors
The Terracotta Warriors are the real draw card for Xi’an, and miniature models of them make a great souvenir from China. The models are often even more exquisite than the real ones.

Nightlife in Xi'an

Defu Lane
Like the Sanlitun in Beijing and Xintiandi in Shanghai, Defu Lane is a bar street in Xi’an. The lane was part of the royal city in Tang Dynasty. There were lots of old houses in Defu Lane, and in 1993 the government redeveloped the lane to become a cultural street. From that time on more and more bars emerged.

Once Lost Here
This restaurant is located near the college city and so many students spend their evenings here. The bar is a very relaxing place to be. For those who have all but forgotten their college days, it is a great place to revive those memories.

Moon Key Bar

This Rock and Roll bar is a wonderful place for those who are still young at heart to relieve their stress and melancholy while rocking to some loud music.

Tempo Bar

This is a Jazz bar. At the bar customers can stand up and sing the songs themselves accompanied by brilliant musicians whose repertoire includes every song their customers want to sing. The excellent sound quality and light effects add to the ambience of the venue.