Top 12 Things to do in Xian & Best Xian Tourist Attractions 2024

As the ancient capital city for 13 dynasties in China's history, you never have to worry about finding no things to do in Xian. During the past thousands of years' history, ancient Chinese created so many historical and cultural wonders, such as the Terracotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall, etc. Wandering in this ancient city, you feel as you are tracing back a history book of China. While around Xian City, there are also some pleasant natural views, for example, Mount Hua offers more stunning sites about this historic city.

Our travel experts have listed out the best things to do here to help you design a memorable Xian tour.

Xian Attractions Map

Terracotta Warriors

No. 1: Terra-Cotta Warriors

Type: History Museums, Ancient Ruins, Historic Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: 3 hours

The Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses is famed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” which is the best highlight during your Xian tour. It was a funerary project of China first imperial King-Qin Shi Huang whose purpose was to protect his afterlife. Qin Shi Huang commanded craftsmen to start to build his mausoleum in 246 BC soon after Empero r Qin ascended the throne (then aged 13) according to historian Sima Qian (145–90 BC). And the Terra-Cotta Warrior was a part of the mausoleums project.

Mount Huashan

No. 2: Mount Huashan

Type:Mountain, sightseeing place, historical & cultural site, ancient buildings, religious site

Recommended Length of Visit: 1-2 days

Though Mount Huashan is not exactly in Xian city, they are only 2 hours’ drive away and this mountain is totally worth the time. Mount Huashan is one of the famous “Five Mountains” in China and is regarded as the one with the most challenging hiking trail. Imagine yourself clinging to the cliff on a narrow trail while a bottomless abyss is only one step away without any guardrail. That is what you will experience in Huashan. What’s more, Huashan itself is of breathtaking scenery and is the holy land of Taoism.

Xian Ancient City Wall

No. 3: Xian Ancient City Wall

Type: Culture & History, Ancient Building

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 hours

Xian Ancient City Wall is located in the central area of Xian city. It was built when Zhu Yuanzhang started to rule China. Although having experienced more than 600 years, the Ancient City Wall has been preserved well. Xian Ancient City Wall is the most famous one which has a length of 13.74km with an average height of 12m, width of 18m. Along the city wall, there are four huge gates: Changle Gate (east), An Ding Gate (west), Yong Ning Gate (south) and An Yuan Gate (north). Cycling on the city wall is one of the most popular activities.

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

No. 4: Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

Type: Culture & History, Ancient Building, Buddhism

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 hours

"You have never visited Xian without a visit to the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda". That's how a local saying goes. For hundreds years, this great pagoda has always been the symbol of Xian. Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayanta in Chinese) is famous for the great traveler Xuanzang of Tang Dynasty who traveled from China to India to learn the Buddhism and got back to China with many precious Buddhist scriptures. To place these scriptures, Xuan built the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and then translated and taught Buddhism here. By the north side of the pagoda, it is the largest music fountain in Asia for you to admire the fabulous lights and fountain show.

Muslim Quarter Xian

No. 5: Muslim Quarter

Type: Snack Street, Religious Site, Cultural Street

Recommended Length of Visit: 2-3 hours

Want to find the most delicious food of Xian? The Muslim Quarter featured with rich Islamic culture has a numerous number of tasteful snacks along its several streets, such as Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup, Soup Dumplings, and so on. Therefore, you can both please your taste bud and experience the hospitality of local Islamic residents who are the descendants of people from the ancient Arab, Persia, etc. Moreover, since the buildings of Qing and Ming dynasty styles are dotted there with special fancy mosques, it is a great opportunity to appreciate the elegant artistic works and know more about the local culture.

Bell Tower

No. 6: Bell Tower

Type: Culture & History, Ancient Building

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hours

"Great outside and interesting objects inside". That's the impression the tourists who visited Bell Tower had. Xian Bell Tower is one of the symbols of Xian city. It was built on the purpose of alerting some important thing happening, such as attacking. Among all the bell buildings in China, the Xian Bell Tower is the biggest and best-preserved bell tower. A visit to the Bell Tower is strongly recommended to be taken at night, which you can have a florid view from outside. From inside of the Bell Tower, you can have a panoramic view of the whole Xian City. If you are lucky, you would come across an interesting show in the Bell Tower.

Drum Tower

No. 7: Drum Tower

Type: Sights & Landmarks, Ancient Ruins

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hours

There is a Chinese saying, “morning bell and evening drum”, which describes the ancient Chinese stroke the bell in the bell tower and beat the drum at the drum tower to announce the time of the day. As the sister building of Xian Bell Tower, Xian Drum tower is about 200 meters away from the Bell tower, enduring over 600 years. This timber-brick drum tower was built in 1380 in the Ming dynasty and is used as a museum now, which displays collections of various drums and cultural relics and the Muslim Quarter is right behind it. .When night falls, the whole drum tower is magnificent and solemn. A spectacular panorama view of the Xian center is just underneath your feet.

Great Mosque

No. 8: Great Mosque

Type: Culture & History, Muslim

Recommended Length of Visit: 1-2 hours

The Great Mosque is a very special place to go in Xian where you can learn much about Chinese architecture and Muslim culture and history in China. It was located in the heart of the old Muslim Quarter, near to the Drum Tower. Unlike other mosques in the world especially in Arab, the Great Mosque of Xian is a group of buildings, including storeys, towers, pavilions, palaces, etc. Although with a Chinese style decoration outside, while inside, the Great Mosque is totally a world of Muslim. There are many Muslim scriptures collection here. And there are often some Muslim festivals and activities held here. On every Friday, there is a "Great Salah" in the Great Mosque. If you want to feel the multi-culture in China, don’t miss it.

Shaanxi History Museum

No. 9: Shaanxi History Museum

Type: History Museum

Recommended Length of Visit: Half a day

With a total area of 65,000 square meters and 8,000 square meters of cultural relics’ zone, Shaanxi History Museum, is the first large-scale modern national museum in China. People called Shaanxi History Museum “Bright Pearl in Ancient Capital and Precious Treasure of China”, for it is an art palace fully showing Shaanxi history & culture as well as Chinese ancient civilization. In 2008, it was awarded as National First Level Museum. With large quantities, complete types, high grade and high value, the collections in Shaanxi History Museum range from the stone-made tools in ancient times to different implements in 1,840 years ago - over 1 million years period.

Grand Tang Dynasty Ever-bright City

No. 10: Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City

Type: Landmark, Themed Pedestrian Street

Recommended Length of Visit: 1~3 hours

Grand Tang Dynasty Evern Bright City (大唐不夜城) stretches from the north of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda South Square to the Tang City Wall ruins in the south, from Cien East Road in the east to Cien West Road in the west. The block is 2100 meters long from north to south and 500 meters wide from east to west. It is the only large-scale Tang-style architecture pedestrian street in the country that is based on the prosperous Tang culture.

Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City is inspired by Tang Dynasty Culture. It has four large squares, four cultural venues and five cultural sculpture groups, such as the Datang Buddhist Culture, making it the first choice for experiencing Tang Dynasty culture in Xi'an. At night, the area is illuminated with bright lights, and the ancient buildings in the light and shadow are magnificent, as if the prosperous Tang Dynasty has reappeared.

Huaqing Pool

No. 11: Huaqing Pool

Type: Sights & Landmarks, Nature & Parks, Ancient Ruins

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 hour ~ 3 hours

Huaqing Pool, or the Huaqing Palace, known as a significant site for many historic events, including the romance between the Emperor Xuanzong and his Consort Yang Guifei, and the Best Tang Dynasty Show, the Song of Everlasting Sorrow is based on this true story and performed here. Besides, the complex of Tang Dynasty styled palace with imperial hot springs, is located at the northern foot of Mount Li and near the Terracotta Warriors. The breathtaking natural beauty and the classic Tang architecture, the historical events, literature works, and imperial love story and its show, made it even better-known.

Hanyangling Museum

No. 12: Hanyangling Museum

Type: Museum, Cultural & Historical Site

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour ~ 3 hours

Located close to Xian Airport, Hanyangling Museum is the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi of Han Dynasty. Less known to tourists, the 2,000 years’ old mausoleum features in serenity and lifelike pottery figurines and special layout, that reveal a unique funerary system and culture different from the Terracotta Warriors of Qin Dynasty. As the best-preserved imperial mausoleum of Han Dynasty in China, it significantly helps people learn and study the funerary system and tomb culture of Han Dynasty.

Tang Paradise

No. 13: Tang Paradise

Type: Sights, Landmarks, Water & Park

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hour ~ 3 hours

Furong Garden (芙蓉园), located at the south bank of Qujiang Lake, once was known as the royal garden for Sui and Tang Dynasties in the history of China. Now, Tang Paradise, built in the north of original site from 2002 and opened in 2005, is a huge modern theme park with the largest scale of Tang-style palaces in China, presenting the glorious Tang Dynasty imperial scenes. It is located in southeast of Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and downtown Xian, and connected with Qujiang Pool Relics Park in the south. While walking in the park, it's easy to overlook the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda.

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