The 12 Best Things to Do in Xian

Once the starting point for the ancient Silk Road, Xian City is a treasure trove of history and culture.
Situated in the North-Central region of China, Xian is the capital of the Shaanxi Province and holds immense significance as the birthplace of Chinese civilization.
With a population of around 13 million people, Xian boasts a rich heritage spanning thousands of years, making it one of the most popular places to visit in China.

Things to Do in Xian
Things to Do in Xian

In this blog post, Dolma will explore the top things to do in Xian, from iconic attractions to hidden gems. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, or a nature enthusiast, Xian has something to offer for everyone.

Unearth the Secrets of the Terracotta Warriors

Terracotta Army
Terracotta Army

The Terracotta Warriors are undoubtedly one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in history.
These life-size warriors, chariots, and horses were made to guard China’s First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in the afterlife.

A visit to the Terracotta Army will take you back in time as you explore the pits and learn about the incredible craftsmanship behind these ancient statues.

Consider joining a guided tour for a better experience and understanding of the Terracotta Warriors’ history and significance.
Experience the ancient art of warrior-making by visiting a nearby cave dwelling. Learn traditional techniques from 2,000 years ago firsthand.

Cycle or Stroll Along the Ancient City Wall

Xian City Wall
Xian City Wall

The Xi’an Ancient City Wall is not only the largest but also one of the best-preserved ancient city walls in China. Built during the Ming Dynasty, this impressive structure divided the city into inner and outer parts and served as a defense system.
Today, it offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the history of Xian and enjoy panoramic views of the city.

Rent a bike or take a stroll along the 13-kilometer-long wall, and marvel at the ancient architecture and surrounding scenery.
Don’t forget to admire the craftsmanship that went into building the wall, with its base made of earth, quick lime, and glutinous rice extract.
Get a panoramic view of the city from the top, including lively bar streets and well-known shops.

Marvel at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the most iconic Buddhist pagodas in China and a must-visit attraction in Xian.

Built during the Tang Dynasty, this structure was created to store Buddhist materials brought from India by the monk Xuanzang.
The pagoda showcases Chinese traditional architecture with layered brick construction and visible seams between each layer.

Climb the pagoda and enjoy the panoramic views of Xian from the top. Take in the solemn appearance and simple style of the pagoda, which serves as a reminder of China’s rich religious history.

Indulge in a Food Adventure on Muslim Street

Muslim Street, also known as Huimin Street, is a food lover’s paradise. Located in the heart of Xi’an, this bustling street is lined with a wide array of food stalls and restaurants, offering a diverse range of flavors and culinary delights.

With a wide range of options, including roujiamo and cold noodles, there’s a dish to suit every taste.
Embark on a gastronomic journey and sample the local delicacies, as you wander through the vibrant atmosphere of Muslim Street.

Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and aromas of this vibrant food market and discover the diverse culinary traditions of the Hui ethnic people.

Experience the Ancient Hanfu Costume

The Hanfu, or Han clothing, is the oldest traditional attire of the Han ethnic people in China. Xi’an, a significant capital city in the Han Dynasty, allows you to witness the charm of Hanfu.
Try on these intricately designed garments and immerse yourself in the ancient culture of China.

Dressed in Hanfu, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time, as you stroll through the streets of Xi’an. Capture the essence of this ancient dynasty and take home memories of a truly unique experience.

Immerse Yourself in History at the Shaanxi History Museum

Xian is known for its historical sites and relics. The Shaanxi History Museum is a must-visit for those interested in China’s ancient culture.
One of China’s top 10 museums, it holds an extensive collection of artifacts from prehistoric times to the Qing Dynasty.

Explore the halls filled with large bronze wares, and exquisite golden carvings, and learn about the ape-men who roamed the region thousands of years ago.

A visit to the Shaanxi History Museum is like stepping back in time, as you walk through the exhibits that tell the story of China’s past.
Admire the craftsmanship of ancient artifacts and gain a deeper understanding of the culture and traditions that shaped the region.

Conquer Mount Hua

For adventure enthusiasts, a trip to Xian wouldn’t be complete without conquering Mount Hua. Mount Hua, a sacred Taoist mountain in China, is famous for its stunning cliffs and natural beauty.
Embark on a challenging hike to the summit and be rewarded with awe-inspiring views of the surrounding landscape.

If you prefer a less strenuous experience, you can take a round-trip cable car ride to enjoy the scenery along the way.
Whichever option you choose, Mount Hua promises an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

Visit the Drum and Bell Towers

The Drum and Bell Towers are two iconic landmarks in Xian that offer a glimpse into the city’s ancient past. The Bell Tower, located in the center of Xian, is an architectural marvel with arched gateways and stunning views of the city.
The Drum Tower is China’s largest tower of its kind, located across the square. It is known for its intricate studs and bronze rings.

As night falls, both towers come alive with colorful lights, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. Take a stroll around the towers and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this historic area.

Muslim Quarter: A Foodie Paradise

Indulge in the vibrant flavors of Xian at the Muslim Quarter, a bustling neighborhood known for its delicious street food and rich cultural heritage.
Explore historic streets with a variety of food options. Follow delicious smells to find your culinary journey.

Explore the diverse culinary offerings, from lamb skewers and spicy noodles to steamed buns and sweet desserts.
Don’t worry if you don’t speak Chinese; most stalls and restaurants have pictorial menus, making it easier to navigate the tantalizing array of dishes.

Join an evening food tour in the Muslim Quarter for a memorable foodie experience. Enjoy sampling the top treats. Let your taste buds guide you through this gastronomic paradise.

Indulge in a Dumpling Banquet

No visit to Xian would be complete without indulging in a dumpling banquet. Dumplings are a staple food in Xian and are loved by locals and visitors alike.

Join a local family and learn the art of dumpling making as you create these delicious treats yourself. From shaping the dough to filling it with various ingredients, you’ll discover the secrets behind these delectable delicacies.

Afterward, sit down to a dumpling feast and savor the fruits of your labor. The host will demonstrate various dumpling styles and share stories about the cultural significance of dumplings in Chinese cuisine.

Explore the Hanyang Tomb

The Hanyang Tomb, also known as the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi, offers a unique insight into the ancient burial customs of China.
The mausoleum near Xian is a small kingdom with detailed statues of animals, servants, and soldiers.

Experience the artistry and craftsmanship of the past as you stroll on the glass walkway, marveling at the small clay warriors with their enigmatic smiles.
Discover the tomb’s construction techniques and delve into ancient China’s history and culture.

Great Tang All-Day Mall: Shopping and Entertainment Extravaganza

Embrace the vibrant atmosphere of the Great Tang All-Day Mall, a pedestrianized street located near the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda.
Experience the splendor of the Tang Dynasty while walking amidst intricately adorned buildings showcasing the golden era of Chinese history.

The mall offers a plethora of shopping opportunities, from boutique stores to souvenir shops, where you can find unique gifts and mementos. As night falls, Chinese lanterns light up the street, filling the air with the smell of delicious food.
The atmosphere is enchanting. Explore the lively street, indulge in local delicacies, and soak up the festive atmosphere.

Plan Your Trip to Xian

How to Get to Xian City

To reach Xian, you have two primary options. You can either fly to Xian from one of China’s international airports or take the high-speed bullet train, which offers a convenient and scenic journey.

Where to Stay in Xian

For a central location within walking distance of major attractions, consider staying within the walls of Xian’s Old City. The Bell Tower Hotel and Sofitel Legend Hotel are excellent options that provide comfort and easy access to the city’s landmarks.


Xian offers a treasure trove of unique experiences that will captivate your senses and immerse you in the rich history and culture of China.

From the awe-inspiring Terracotta Warriors to the vibrant Muslim Street, there’s something for everyone in this ancient city.

Embark on a journey of discovery and create memories that will last a lifetime as you explore the best things to do in Xian.

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