Xi'an, home to the Terracotta Warriors, enjoys the laudatory title of 'Living History Museum', because of its abundant historical and cultural relics.
It's not as big and modern as Beijing and Shanghai, but it will impress you with its collection of precious heritage sites, some tracing back to 3,000 years ago.
If you are planning a tour of Xi'an, read on to get the best from your time and some tips on planning the itinerary.
The Best Things to Do
The main attractions of Xi’an are its historical sites, delicious food, and Muslim culture. Some of the activities that we would recommend include:
- Visit the Terracotta Army: It is one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world, and one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century.
- Cycle or walk atop the ancient City Wall: Pedaling along these very old battlements provides both a great view of Xi'an.
- Admire an ancient Buddhist pagoda: Big Wild Goose Pagoda is indeed a place of peace, tranquility, and meditation in the middle of a bustling metropolis.
- Learn about China's history at Shaanxi History Museum: Regarded as “the pearl of ancient dynasties and house of Chinese treasures”, the museum is one of the four largest museums in China, with over 370,000 historical items.
- Taste the food in the Muslim Quarter: A hub of the Muslim community in Xi’an City, it is a great place to taste Muslim food and buy souvenirs.
- Night activities: Enjoy the night scenery around the Bell Tower, take part in a Tang Dynasty Dinner Show, stroll on the ancient Big Wild Goose Pagoda Square and watch the music fountain performance…
- 1-Day Xi'an Highlights Tour
- 4-Day Xi'an and Huashan Mountain Tour
How Long to Stay: 2–4 Days
It depends on your schedule and your interests. Usually, people spend 2–4 days there.
|Days||Most Recommended Attractions||Sample Tour for Inspiration|
|1 full day||Terracotta Warriors, the Ancient City Wall||Xi’an Highlights Tour|
|2 full days||Terracotta Warriors, the Ancient City Wall, Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Muslim Quarter||Essence of Xi'an Tour|
|3 full days||The above plus a Mount Hua adventure OR more historical sites like Qianling Mausoleum, Maoling Mausoleum, and Famen Temple||Xi’an Highlights and Mount Hua|
|4 full days||Extend to Luoyang for the Longmen Grottoes and Shaolin Temple OR extend to Pingyao Ancient Town||Tailor-made according to your interests|
If you have your own travel ideas, just contact us and our travel advisors will tailor-make a Xi'an tour for you.
- 2-Day Essence of Xi'an Private Tour :Make a terracotta warrior, and try original local food. Experience the soul of the ancient city in two days at your own pace.
The Best Time to Go
Xi’an has four distinct seasons; summer is very hot and winter is freezing. See more on Xi'an Weather.
The best times to visit Xi’an are spring and autumn, which boast comfortable temperatures and relative freedom from the crowds and rain showers of summer.
The peak season is from May to mid-October when the prices for hotels and flight tickets are higher. You should prepare to spend significant time waiting in lines and to hear the noise of big tour groups of Chinese visitors.
We recommend that you book well in advance if you plan to visit during these Chinese holidays:
- China's summer holiday season (July and August)
- Labor Day (May 1–3)
- National Day (October 1–7)
- Spring Festival (late January or early to mid February)
How to Get to Xi'an
Xi'an has an international airport: Xianyang Airport. It has flights from Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul, Singapore, San Francisco, Bangkok, and Tokyo.
As Xi'an is located in the heart of China, it takes no more than 3 hours to fly to Xi’an from most major Chinese cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guilin, and Lhasa.
Many visitors travel to Xi’an after their trips to Beijing or Shanghai. Bullet trains are increasingly becoming a viable, quick option. See more on Xi'an Transportation.
Getting a Visa… or No Need to Get a Visa?
You may enjoy 6-day visa-free access to Xi’an if you take an international transfer via Xi’an Xianyang International Airport. Read more on Xi'an's 144-hour visa-free policy.
If you plan to visit other destinations in China, you need to apply for a China visa.
There are all levels of hotels in this large city, which can meet most requirements. However, the standard and range of facilities is generally significantly lower at local hotels outside the city, e.g. near Mount Hua.
It is very easy to find a hotel in Xi’an, ranging from 5-star hotels to youth hostels. It is most travelers’ first choice to stay in the city center due to the superior geographical location and the convenient transportation.
Some hotels recommended by our local specialists:
- 5-star hotel: Wyndham Grand Xi’an South
- 4-star hotel: Grand Noble Hotel
Famous Local Food You Should Try
Praised as 'the capital of table delicacies', Xi'an is rich in delicious local and foreign food.
The most famous local food is the "two banquets and two soups of Xi'an" - Shaanxi snacks banquet, the dumpling banquet, lamb soup with pita bread, and pig colon soup with bread.
Muslim Snack Street is a great Muslim food hub, where you can find various kinds of Muslim food, such as skewers of lamb, chicken wings, quail eggs, bowls of noodles, mutton soup, and green bean custards.
Beilin District (碑林区) in Xi'an is a food paradise, where the majority of local restaurants are located.
Read The Top 10 Dishes You Should Try in Xi'an.
Discover Authentic Xi’an with Us
Our specialists have journeyed to every corner of the city and uncovered the best things to see and do. They can use their first-hand knowledge to help plan your trip to Xi’an.
Take a minute to fill in a form, and we will begin to create your own trip, or you can find some inspiration from our following sample itineraries.
- 3-Day Essence of Xi'an Tour: See all the must-sees of Xi’an and learn how to make terracotta warriors.
- 3-Day Xi’an Discovery by High-Speed Train from Beijing - including the Terracotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and Great Mosque
- Xi'an Ancient Relics Tour
- Xi'an Highlights Tour