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Things to do in Xian

Things to do in  Xian

Welcome to Xian

Xian—pronounced ""see-an""—is a cultural melting pot of Muslim architecture, Ming-era temples, and extravagant tombs. Encased by the Xian City Wall (Chengqiang), the city moves to a modern rhythm and promises travelers excellent street food and a healthy dose of Chinese history. First-time visitors head straight to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museums, as well as other main sights including the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayanta), Xian Museum and Small Goose Pagoda (Xiaoyanta), the Bell Tower (Zhonglou), and the Muslim Quarter. Beyond the city, Mt. Huashan is a popular day trip for hikers, and China’s super-speed bullet trains make far-flung cities such as Chengdu, Beijing, and Shanghai accessible.

Top 10 attractions in Xian

#1
Terracotta Warriors Museum (Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum)

Terracotta Warriors Museum (Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum)

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The 1974 discovery of thousands of life-sized Terracotta Warriors near Xian was one of the archeological sensations of the 20th century. The figures date from 210 BC and were meant to guard the first emperor of China in the afterlife. Today the UNESCO-listed Terracotta Warriors Museum (Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum) ranks among China’s top attractions.More
#2
South Gate (Yongningmen)

South Gate (Yongningmen)

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Topped by a substantial archery tower, the South Gate (Yongningmen) stands high above the 39-foot-high (12-meter-high) Xian City Wall. Many city-wall tours start here, with bicycles and chauffeur-driven golf carts available to rent. The structure is particularly spectacular when the tower and the fortifications are illuminated at night.More
#3
Tomb of Emperor Jing Di (Hanyangling)

Tomb of Emperor Jing Di (Hanyangling)

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The Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum might be Xian’s most famous archaeological site, but it’s not the only one. Confucian Emperor Jing Di’s burial place comprises burial pits where visitors can walk above ongoing excavations, as well as a museum with some 40,000 excavated miniature clay figures of animals, warriors, and officials.More
#4
Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayanta)

Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayanta)

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Built in 652, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayanta) is one of Xi’an’s oldest structures. While its form follows the typical pagoda style of several successive levels, it lacks the decorative frills typically associated with such buildings in China. Within you’ll find Buddha statues and religious relics brought from India along the Silk Road.More
#5
Tang Dynasty Show

Tang Dynasty Show

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The Tang dynasty was a high point in Xian’s long and illustrious history. If you don’t mind forgoing a little historical accuracy in the name of entertainment, the Tang Dynasty Show evokes the color and spectacle of this golden age through traditional instruments, intricate costumes, set designs, and fine Chinese cuisine.More
#6
Shaanxi History Museum

Shaanxi History Museum

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Xi'an is of inestimable significance in the history of China, having long been a cultural powerhouse and capital of numerous dynasties. The Shaanxi History Museum, a modern building echoing classic Tang Dynasty architecture, offers a time-traveling tour of the city and its surrounding province.More
#7
Xian Great Mosque

Xian Great Mosque

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One of the city’s most fascinating sights, the Xian Great Mosque has a history dating back to the eighth century. It blends classically Chinese architecture with Islamic tropes to great effect. Rocky gardens decked with upturned roofs surround the 1,000-capacity prayer hall, which is open only to male worshippers. A pagoda does duty as a minaret.More
#8
Banpo Village

Banpo Village

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Banpo Village, a well-preserved archaeological site in the Yellow River Valley, dates back more than 6,000 years. Thought to be one of the oldest human settlements in China, this Neolithic village once comprised a defensive moat and about 45 circular mud-and-wood thatched houses—predecessors of later Chinese architecture.More
#9
Bell Tower (Zhonglou)

Bell Tower (Zhonglou)

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The word “tower” doesn’t quite do justice to the enormous structure of the Xian Bell Tower (Zhonglou) rising on an imposing square base to a series of terraces and three graceful pagoda roofs. Originally built in 1384 during the Ming Dynasty, it has become a symbol of Xian thanks to its stellar views and classic Chinese architecture.More
#10
Huaqing Palace

Huaqing Palace

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During the Tang dynasty, over 1,000 years ago, Huaqing Palace (Huaqing Hot Springs) was a popular retreat for emperors who ruled from the city of Chang’an (now Xian). Today, the site is home to a lake, restored pavilions, five hot-spring pools, and a hill with a Taoist temple. It also offers cultural shows on summer evenings.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Xian

How to Spend 1 Day in Xian

How to Spend 2 Days in Xian

How to Spend 2 Days in Xian

How to Spend 3 Days in Xian

How to Spend 3 Days in Xian

Top activities in Xian

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Recent reviews from experiences in Xian

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Xian terra cotta warriors
mikehG9984TC, Dec 2019
Xian Terracotta Warriors and City Wall Private Day Tour
Tour guide was excellent, very knowledgeable and spoke and understood English very well, Noble was excellent, would definitely use him again as a tour guide in Xian.
star-5
Excellent tour
rebeccaasanto, Nov 2019
Mini Group Xian Day Tour to Terracotta Army, City Wall, Pagoda and Muslim Bazaar
What's more the timing and attractions were all perfect.
star-5
Amazing site and fabulous guide!!!
Gillian G, Oct 2019
All Inclusive Private Half-day tour to the Terracotta Warriors
At the last minute my friends and I decided to fly to Xian to see the Terra Cotta Warriors.
star-5
Snow was a wonderful tour guide! I...
Valerie S, Sep 2016
Private Customizable Terracotta Warriors Full Day Tour
I highly recommend this tour as the perfect way to see the highlights of Xian, with a delicious lunch and friendly, knowledgeable guide.
star-5
What an awesome trip to Xian!Glad we...
Kalpana_M, Sep 2016
Xi'an Private Day Tour: Terracotta Warriors and Big Wild Goose Pagoda
She was well versed with English n knew her city well.
star-5
Great way to see all Xian, was...
Howard J, Apr 2014
Xi'an Full Day Sightseeing Tour - Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Ancient City Wall
Great way to see all Xian, was picked up on time at Hotel by tour guide.
star-5
Excellent day out with a wonderful...
Barry J, Oct 2010
Terracotta Warriors & Horses plus Banpo Ruins Essential Full Day Tour from Xi'an
Excellent day out with a wonderful tenglish speaking our guide.
star-5
Great tour of Xian
Jonathan_B, Jun 2019
Private Tour:Terracotta Warriors,City Wall,Great Mosque&Big Wild Goose Pagoda
On to the star attraction of the warriors, again his knowledge along with the sight we had travelled 6500miles to see made it a day we will never forget.
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Private Xian Day Tour with Michelle
MichaelVictor_H, Jun 2019
Terra cotta Warrior City Wall and Muslim Food Street Private Tour
She is very knowledgeable about the history of Xian and is fluent in English.
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Loved the Terracotta Warriors
todd_j, Dec 2018
Private Customizable Terracotta Warriors Full Day Tour
We were there specifically to see the Terracotta Soldiers.
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The tour of Xian was amazing. I was...
Adam N, Aug 2018
Private Tour: Customize Your Day in Xi'an
I was able to see so many beautiful sights, including the Terra Cotta Warriors, the City Wall, the Muslim Quarter, and the Great Mosque.
star-5
I had a private tour in Xian for a...
HAITAO_W, Jul 2018
Private Xi'an Tour: Terracotta Warriors, Hanyangling Museum, Cave Homes
I would like to recommend Michael and this tour to everyone who is going to visit Xian.
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Having taken several of these...
MITALI S, Sep 2017
Xi'an Full Day Sightseeing Tour - Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Ancient City Wall
For this particular tour, I got Lily who was very knowledgeable and spoke good English.
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Great tour with Amy! She was...
Christine C, Mar 2018
Terracotta Warriors & Horses plus Banpo Ruins Essential Full Day Tour from Xi'an
She was informative and spoke excellent English.
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We had a wonderful, perky, and...
Ramn_S, Jan 2017
Private Tour: Customize Your Day in Xi'an
Having toured the Terra Cotta Warriors the previous day, we chose to see the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Small Wild Goose Pagoda and Xian Museum, Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque, and the Xian Ancient City Wall.
star-4
An impressive experience to the...
MARIA_W, Jun 2016
Xi'an Private Tour: Terracotta Warriors and Ancient City Wall Bike Tour
Our tour guide, very experienced and fluent in English and very knowledgeable about the warriors and her city - Xian.
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Our guide, Nancy, was great! She...
Bridgette H, Nov 2017
Private Customizable Terracotta Warriors Full Day Tour
She then wrote down directions to some of the other sites we wanted to see while we were in Xian.
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good day tour of xian. if you are in...
kishlaya m, Dec 2017
Xi'an Full Day Sightseeing Tour - Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Ancient City Wall
if you are in xian and have some time apart from terra cotta army, you can take this your to visit prominent sites in xian.
star-5
This is our first time in XiAn. We...
thiti w, Oct 2016
Private Tour: Customize Your Day in Xi'an
On that day, we visited Terra Cotta museum and HuaQing hotspring historical resort.
star-4
Overall, we were very happy with this...
Carole N, Apr 2007
Terracotta Warriors & Horses plus Banpo Ruins Essential Full Day Tour from Xi'an
The bus was comfortable and air-conditioned, and the itinerary covered all of the important sights we wanted to see in our brief visit to Xian.
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All about Xian

Time Zone
CST (UTC +8)

People Also Ask

What is Xian famous for?

Once the capital of China, Xi’an is famous for the Terracotta Warriors, an army of thousands of clay figures buried alongside China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. It’s also known for its 40-foot (12-meter) city walls, its vibrant Muslim Quarter, the Tomb of Emperor Jing Di, and elegant pagodas and temples.

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How many days do you need in Xian?

Between tombs, temples, mosques, pagodas, museums, the city walls, the hot springs, the Terracotta Warriors, and the delicious street eats, it would be easy to spend a week in Xi’an. Most travelers manage to hit the highlights—the walls, the warriors, the Muslim Quarter, and the main downtown sights and museums—in 2–3 days.

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What are two interesting sites in Xian?

The most famous site in Xi’an is the Terracotta Warriors Museum: open pits display the warriors still standing proud as when they were first interred. But the 14th-century Xi’an City Wall, stretching 8 miles (14 kilometers) around Xi’an’s old city, is truly impressive, whether you’re hiking or biking.

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Is Xian worth visiting?

Yes. The Terracotta Warriors are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city itself holds UNESCO status. Xi’an marked the eastern end of the historic Silk Road so inside those historic city walls nestles a fascinating and diverse culture that’s particularly noticeable in the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque.

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What language do they speak in Xian?

Everyone in Xi’an speaks standard Mandarin Chinese, the official language of China: it is too far north for Cantonese to be useful. You may also hear local dialects, particularly Guanzhong dialect, but travelers are not expected to understand these.

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How do you pronounce Xian?

In Chinese, “x” makes a sound similar to “sh”. “Xi” in Xi’an is pronounced like the name of President Xi, which sounds similar to the English pronoun “she”. The “an” has a long “a” as in the “ah” sound. So you pronounce Xi’an “She-Ahn”.

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