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Xian Travel Guide

Xian Travel Guide 2024

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Located at the center of China, the capital city of Shaanxi Province - Xian, together with Athens, Rome and Cairo, are called as the top four ancient capitals in history. 13 dynasties had settled capital in Xian from the 11th century BC to the 10th century AD, and that is why the UNESCO listed Xian as the World Historical and Cultural City in 1981.

Rich history endows Xian with unique charms as a tourist city. As the home to world-famed Terracotta Warriors and Horses and as the start point of Silk Road, through which China had conducted the most important economy and culture communication with the western world, Xian draws numerous tourists with its enormous historical sites and cultural landscapes, and gives you a chance to explore the ancient China.

Why visit Xian:

  • Terracotta Warriors and Horses - There is no doubt that the Terracotta Warriors and Horses is the highlight of Xian. Buried in the ground for over 2000 years and discovered in 1974, the Terracotta Army not only matters in the art history, showing the highly skilled sculpture area of ancient China, but also fills the archeological blank of Qin Dynasty, presenting the ancient army array and revealing the ancient weapon technology.
  • Ancient Capital - No city in China is like Xian with such abundant history. As the most famous ancient capital city in Chinese history, though the dynastic times had gone, Xian still reserves many historical sites and cultural relics, which are the best way to experience the ancient China, the old and glorious days of China.

Travel News: Visa-free travel in Xian was made possible now! From June 1, 2014, visitors qualified of 51 countries could travel in Xian for 72 hours without visa. Please go and enjoy our 1-3 days Xian tours.

Top Attractions

Xian is rich in various historical sites; however, if you have limited time to visit, the most classic attractions, like Terracotta Warriors and Horses and Ancient City Wall will be your best choice. Check them below for detailed information. If you have more time, you can see all Attractions in Xian for more information of Xian highlighting sites.

Xian Travel Guide
Terracotta Warriors and Horses

They call it the eighth wonder of the world because it is the funerary object of Emperor Qingshihuang (259~210 BC), the first Emperor of China.

Xian Travel Guide
Mt. Huashan

Mount Huashan is especiallly famous as the root of Chinese culture. You will encounter with the world most dangerous hiking trail, gorgeous sceneries, temples...

Xian Travel Guide
Ancient City Wall

The Ancient City Wall is a wonderful testimony to the engineering and construction skills of the ancient Chinese. Walk or bike around the wall is awesome.

Xian Travel Guide
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

The Pagoda was built more than 1,300 years ago. It is the bright pearl on the Silk Road with excellent architectural beauty, precious Buddhist relics, etc.

Xian Travel Guide
Muslim Quarter

The Muslim Quarter is very famous for its rich multiple culture a nd abundant delicious featured Xian local snacks. It is the best place in Xian to take a leisure walk.

Xian Travel Guide
Shaanxi History Museum

Shaanxi History Museum is one of the best museums in China. It is an art palace fully showing Shaanxi history & culture as well as Chinese ancient civilization.

Xian Travel Guide
Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City

As an iconic pedestrian street of Xi’an, Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City is featured with tang-style changeable landscape and jaw-dropping free shows.

Xian Travel Guide
Bell Tower

Marking the geographical center of the ancient capital Xian and enduring more than 600 years, the Bell Tower is the iconic building of Xian.

Xian Travel Guide
Drum Tower

As the sister building of Xian Bell Tower, Xian Drum tower is about 200 meters away from the Bell tower, built in 1380 in the Ming dynasty.

Xian Travel Guide
Huaqing Pool

Huaqing Pool, or the Huaqing Palace, known for its imperial hot springs and the show - The Song of Everlasting Sorrow.

Xian Travel Guide
Great Mosque of Xian

Near the Muslim Quarter, Great Mosque of Xian is a sacred and tranquil Islamic site preserving many ancient architectures in mixed traditional Chinese style and Muslim features.

Xian Travel Guide
Tang Paradise Park

Tang Paradise is China's largest theme park recreating ancient palaces of Tang Dynasty. Pretty garden scenery, dazzling light shows and night performance are the top highlights.

Xian Travel Guide
Hanyangling Museum

Hanyangling Museum is a less-known mausoleum site of Emperor Jingdi of Han Dynasty. The unique pottery figurines in the Underground Museum is same interesting as the Qin Terracotta Warriors.

Xian Travel Guide
Beilin Museum (Forest of Stone Steles)

Located in downtown Xi'an, Beilin Museum, literally the Forest of Stone Steles Museum, is a treasure trove of ancient Chinese calligraphy and stone sculptures.

Xian Travel Guide
Banpo Village (Banpo Museum)

Xi’an Banpo Museum, also known as Banpo Village, is pivotal to understanding ancient Chinese Neolithic Culture and matrilineal society.

Featured Activities

Watch Tang Dynasty Show

Watch Tang Dynasty Show

There are two kinds of Tang Dynasty Shows, the indoor shows and outdoor ones. The outdoor show, Song of Everlasting Sorrow in Huaqing Palace is praised as the Best Tang Dynasty Show, while the indoor show features in two parts: a tasty traditional Xian dumpling dinner and a dancing show.

Mt. Huashan Hiking

Hike on Mt. Huashan

Mount Huashan is located in Shaanxi Province, 120 kilometers away from Xian. It is not only as one of the sacred Taoist mountains in China, but also a very challenging mountain for hiking lovers. Mount Hua is famous for its lofty peaks and steep paths. Some travelers who have walked the Skywalk describe Mount Hua Hiking as the “Most Dangerous Hike in the World”.

Try Local Cuisines in Xian

Try Local Cuisines in Xian

Xian is the terminal city of the Silk Road and got influenced by its large Muslim population. The various cooked wheaten food is renowned in the whole country and the popular cuisines include flatbread in mutton soup, meat burger, dumplings in sour soups, cold noodles, pepper beef ball soup, biangbiang noodles, etc.

Visit Various Historical Sites

Visit Various Historical Sites

Xian has existed since the 11th century BC with former old name of Chang’an (Long Peace). Xi’an’s most glorious time is being the capital of Tang Dynasty (618~907) when it was the most splendid and extravagant city in the world. If you like the ancient history and culture of China, there are lots of sites to explore!

Enjoy Xian Nightlife

Enjoy Xian Nightlife

The nightlife in Xian is vibrant and colorful with amazing Tang Dynasty Show served with the fancy dumpling banquet; it is romantic and peaceful with the largest-scaled musical fountain show at Giant Wild Goose Tower; it is vigorous and relaxing with different featured bars and clubs; it is bustling and exotic with various food and snacks at different night markets.

Try on Traditional Hanfu

Try on Traditional Hanfu

Every corner of Xi'an resonates with history. By wearing Hanfu, you can transport yourself back in time, envisioning the bustling markets and grand palaces of ancient China. It's more than just sightseeing; it's a journey through centuries of civilization, where the past springs to life in vivid detail.

Bike on Ancient City Wall

Bike on Ancient City Wall

Trying biking on the ancient city wall is a must for every tourist who come to visit Xian. The leafy trees and flowers are either right behind the wall or scattered further away. Finishing the ride in 2 hours around the ancient city, you can mark a rectangle on your map as a starting point or a closure for your Xian adventure just right on the city wall.

DIY Terracotta Warrior

DIY Terracotta Warrior

Lintong Tourism Souvenir Research Center, Daqin 大秦 for short, is located near Huaqing Palace and opens to tourists to DIY palm-sized terracotta warrior. Since the artwork you made may be hard to bring home, taking pictures with the warriors you made will still be cool. If you'd like to make a bigger one, the Souvenir Research Center is available to make an appointment with.

Learn Chinese Calligraphy

Learn Chinese Calligraphy

If you are interested in Chinese culture or come with your children, it is a good choice to spend your time by personally learning Chinese calligraphy and traditional paintings. Tangbo Art Museum in the east of city offers classes in English or Chinese such as paper-cutting learning, shadow puppets making, rubbings making, etc.

Weather & When to Go

Xian has a warm temperate semi-humid continental monsoon climate with an average temperature is from 13.1℃ to 13.4℃. There is a clear distinction between the four seasons: warm and windy spring, hot and rainy summer, cool autumn, and cold and foggy winter.

The best time to visit Xian is spring (March to May) and autumn (September to October) for the weather at this time is not too hot or too cold. One thing you need to pay attention is no matter when you visit Xian, please drink more water for Xian is rather dry compared with other southern cities in China. Bring some moisturizer with you in case of need. Rain gears are suggested be prepared for the relatively frequent rainy and cloudy days in Xian. If you visit in summer, you need to prepare yourself with the strong UV; use sun cream or other sun protection equipment to protect your skin from sunburns.

>> see details about Xian Weather & Seasons. | Huashan Weather & Seasons.

Xian Spring Travel

Xian Spring Travel

Spring in Xian is warm and comfortable. Temperature ranges between 6°C / 43 °F and 20°C / 68 °F. Plants grow, and flowers bloom. And it is mostly sunny.It is recommended to wear windbreakers, jackets, sweaters, trousers, long sleeve, sweater, and other clothes to keep warm.

Xian Summer Travel

Xian Summer Travel

Summer in Xian is relatively hot. The average temperature is between 15 °C / 59 °F and 26 °C / 79 °F. It is cool in the early morning and evening but pretty hot in other daytime. Ultraviolet rays are strong. The maximum temperature can reach 34 °C (93 °F).

Xian Autumn Travel

Xian Autumn Travel

Autumn is the best time to visit Xian, and September to November is cool and comfortable. Temperature ranges between 10 °C / 50 °F and 23 °C / 73 °F. But the temperature at noon and at night varies a lot.

Xian Winter Travel

Xian Winter Travel

Winter in Northern China is usually cold and dry. And there is no exception in Xian. Daily temperature is between 0 °C / 32 °F and 12 °C / 54 °F. The extreme temperature can drop down below -10 °C. The snowscape is very beautiful here.


It's very convenient to get to Xian, with airplane and train (including high speed train) being all your choices.

To travel around Xian City, you can take city bus, taxi, subway or our Licensed Private Car. At present, Xian has opened 4 subway lines. Line 1 and Line 2 form a cross and their intersection is located in the city center. For information about Xian transportation, please check How to Get There & Around Xian.

Xian Airport Xian Railway Station Xian Bus Station Xian Metro

How to Get to Xian

Xian Xianyang International Airport, located 25km from Xian City, the airport is the largest air traffic hub in northwest area of China. 269 airlines connected Xian with major domestic cities as well as some cities around the world, like Paris, Sidney, Seattle, Frankfurt, Singapore, Tokyo, and Seoul, etc. >> Learn more about Xian Airport and Flights

Normal trains or high speed trains are also great choices to get to Xian. There are two railway stations in Xian: Xian Railway Station and Xian North Railway Station. Xian Railway Station connects Xian with all capital cities and municipalities in China. While Xian North Railway Station, 20km from the Xian Xianyang International Airport, mainly serves high speed trains. The fastest high speed train from here to Beijing West Railway Station is only about 6 hours. Other high speed trains to other cities, like Shanghai, Wuhan, Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, Luoyang, Lanzhou, Tianshui Mount Huashan, Jiayuguan, Zhangye, and so on are also very quick and convenient.

Get from Xian to Terracotta Warriors

Terracotta Warriors is located at the north of Lishan Mountain, Litong District, Xian City. It is a little bit far from Xian downtown (about 40km) and is about 66km to the east of Xian Xianyang International Airport.You can always take a bus from Xian downtown, Xian airport, Xian train stations to get there.

Get from Xian City to Terracotta Warriors | Get from Xian Airport to Terracotta Warriors | Get from Xian Train Stations to Terracotta Warriors

Get from Xian to Huashan

Xi'an is only about 123km away from Mount Hua in Huayin city. With the operation of high speed trains, now people are able to transfer between these two places in just 40 minutes.

Get from Xian to Huashan Scenic Area | Huashan Cable Car


For most cases, you can not finish visiting all the highlights in Xian within one day. Do you wonder where to stay in Xian? Most tourists will choose to stay overnight in the city center, especially in Beilin District. Because most of the attractions in Xian are located in or very close to Beilin District, like Ancient City Wall, Muslim Quarter, Drum Tower and Bell Tower, Great Mosque, etc.; and it’s also very convenient to get to the railway station or the airport from the city center. There are many hotels in and around this area. For luxurious experience, international brands like Hilton, Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, etc. are available. Local five-star hotels like Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square are also excellent choices. Youth hostels with local features are also popular among young people for their budget price and unique environment. For detailed accommodation information, please check Xian Accommodation.

Xian Maps

To help you learn better about Xian's location, attractions, etc, we have collected following tourist maps which are latest, downloadable and printable. View more Xian maps >>

Other Destinations near Xian

Since the running of High Speed Train to and from Xian city, it's very convenient to get to Luoyang (1.5hrs) and Pingyao Ancient City (3hrs) and other hot destinations in China from Xian North Railway Station to have more fun.

Chinese Name: 西安

Chinese Pinyin: Xīan

English IPA: /'ʃi'ɑn/

Population: 8.46 million

Language: Central-Plains Mandarin & Xian Dialect

Tel Code: 029

Zip Code: 710000

Time Zone: (UTC+8)

Plan Your Xian Tour

For a classic Xian tour, it normally costs 2 – 4 days, and you can choose the most interested attractions to visit. Except the most famous Terracotta Warriors and Horses, you can also visit Xian Ancient City Wall, Drum Tower and Bell Tower, Muslim Quarter, Shaanxi History Museum, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Great Mosque, etc.

The transportation between Xian and Beijing, Shanghai or Chengdu is very convenient, so these cities are suitable to be the last or next destinations after your Xian tour. It’s also doable to take side trips to Luoyang (about 1 day) and Mount Huashan (about 2 days) from Xian. Luoyang, famous for Longmen Grottoes and Shaolin Temple, is only 1.5 hour by high speed train from Xian. While Mount Huashan is closer to Xian, only about a half hour’s high speed train will take you there.

All itineraries and side trips can be customized privately, so please feel free to contact with our travel consultants if you have this kind of need.

Travel with China Discovery

We have helped many global travelers enjoy their memorable trips to Xian for the past few years. Among them, a special team of over 50 VIPKID teachers from North America traveled with us to see their dear studends in China with amazing experience in Xian and shared us their special travel story! Travel with China Discovery to create your wonderful Xian trip memories!

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