I had the pleasure of exploring the city of Xi’An last summer so I wanted to write a mini Xi’An travel guide to help with your travel planning. Most people who visit Xi’An only spend 2 or 3 days in the city, specifically coming to see the infamous Terracotta Warriors and then move on. But there is much more to Xi’an than the obvious.
Xian City is located in central China and is the capital of the Shaanxi Provance. Xi’An is on the eastern end of the ‘Silk Road’ and is one of China’s oldest cities. Not only is it one of the oldest cities but it is also the most populous city in Northwestern China.
xi’an travel guide
*I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post including Amazon that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling, coffee ☕️ and let's be real...probably wine 🍷. I thank you in advance.
When to Go to Xi’an
Spring time is a great time to climb Hua Shan and explore the city.
Summer time brings rain.
Fall is a great time to visit Xi’an. The rains have stopped and its not too cold.
If you want to avoid the crowds visit in the winter.
Eating Street Food
Subways and Bike Shares
Double Room in a Mid Range Hotel
Meals in a sit down restaurant
Drinks and a few nights out
High End Hotel
How to Get There:
Arriving by train
How to Get to Xi’an
How to Get Around xi’an
- Metro is efficient
- Within the city walls you can walk and even rent a bike and bike the city walls.
- DiDi, if you’ve read any of my other blog posts about China you’de know it’s a life savor.
WHERE TO STAY in xi’an
Stay inside city walls if you want to be close to delicious food and all the action. Metro stations are conveniently located.
Budget Places to Stay in Xi’An
Xi’an Hantang House
Xi’an See Tang Hostel
Xi’an See Tang Hostel is located walking distance to the South Gate entrance on the city walls and to the subway. This cute hostel featuresa rooftop terrace and is a great place to stay in Xi’an if you are traveling on a budget.
Mid Range Places to Stay in Xi’An
Bell Tower Hotel Xi’an
The Bell Tower Hotel Xi’an is located downtown close to the Drum Tower. Some rooms have views of the Bell Tower and the bus stop for the airport is within walking distance which is a plus in this Xi’an travel guide.
Best Places to Stay in Xi’An for Luxury
Jinmao Hotel Xi’an Drum Tower
Xi’An, China is most famously known for being the city closest to the Terracotta Army. Located about an hour outside of Xi’An is the Terracotta Warriors site/grounds.
The Warriors are displayed in 3 different pits and can you believe that the Terracotta Warriors weren’t discovered til 1974 by local farmers?!?! You can read more about how to get to the site and what to expect here.
Bike the City Walls
Xi’An is one of the few Chinese cities that has its original city walls still standing. Most of the Xian City wall has been restored and it is possible to walk on the wall all the way around it. A common activity to do is rent a bike on top of the wall and take in the views from on top of the wall while peddling around.
*Download a bike share app so you can rent a bike with ease.
Big Goose Pagoda
The Big Goose Pagoda is Xi’An’s most famous landmark and can easily be reached by the metro. Every night the Big Goose Pagoda is lit up and there is a light show which is great to check out.
* Prepare for major crowds especially during the evening as everyone is there to see the light show. The grounds surrounding the Pagoda are well kept and there are concrete “benches” that line the grass where you can sit.
Come early if you want a seat and don’t walk where its roped off. There is security that won’t be hesitate to blow their whistles if you step out of line!
The Muslim Quarter is an area of Xi’An that is a great place to wander. The narrow streets and alleys are crammed with butcher shops, lamp and trinket stores, mosques, street food and much more.
I personally thought this area was dirty and some of the smells that came from this area were unbearable. It’s worth a visit but I would save my appetite for something more local and less touristy. This leads to my next topic.
Go on a Food Tour
When we were staying at Xi’an Hantang House we went on a food tour that our hostel organized. It was walking distance and took us to local markets filled with traditional, authentic and did I mention delicious food! Not only was it tasty, there was also a big variety. I mean Xi’An is known to have more than 128 different types of noodles. This is a great way to meet people especially if you’re a solo traveler.
Bell & Drum Tower
The bell and drum towers are located in the heart of the city, close to the Muslim Quarter. There are performances every half hour from 8-11 and from 2 on. At night the towers light up and its a beautiful sight to see.