12 Experiences You'll Love in Xi'an
Collected by Emily Chu , AFAR Local Expert
Lintong, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
The story of the Emperor Qin reads something like Game of Thrones, with hostages, feuding brothers, wars, and the ultimate unification and creation of what we know as China today. Wanting to protect himself in the afterlife, Emperor Qin created an...
Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
This Shaanxi staple is a must-try while in Xi'an, especially if you're there during the height of hot, sizzling summers. Liangpi, or "cold skin" noodles, are thick cold rice noodles doused with savory sesame sauce and crispy, thin shreds of...
Xi An Zhong Lou, ZhongLou ShangQuan, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China, 710001
The Bell Tower of Xi'an is one of the city's most famous attractions. Cities of Ancient China each had their own bell tower and drum tower, which were used to tell time. Bells were rung at dawn, while the sound of drums signaled dusk's arrival....
80 Nanyuanmen, ZhongLou ShangQuan, Beilin Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China, 710001
You can't talk about Xi'an without talking about biangbiang noodles, a unique Shaanxi food. The character for biang is one of the most complex among noodles, and is achieved by kneading the dough 58 strokes. With all the hype about the giant...
Huajue Alley, Bei Yuan Men Xiao Chi Yi Tiao Jie, Lianhu Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China, 710001
Located in the Muslim Quarter in Xi’an, China is the Great Mosque, the country’s oldest and most renowned mosque. The mosque dates back to 742 AD. From all outward appearances, it looks like a Chinese temple and not a mosque; pagodas have replaced...
Shuyuanmen Pedestrian St, ZhongLou ShangQuan, Beilin Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China, 710001
Xian's art district is called Shuyuanmen, 书院门, and there are some local artists here that sell paper cut art. Paper cutting began as a major art form in Xi'an around the seventh century, which was the city's heyday. People in China place cut paper...
Beiyuanmen Snacks Street, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China, 710061
Going to watch a landscape opera in Xi'an feels like the Chinese version of going to Shakespeare in the Park (minus the dialogue) in New York. The performance is set amidst the ruins of Hua Qing Palace. I went to see The Song of Unending Sorrow,...
66 Defu Alley, DeFu Xiang, Beilin Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China, 710001
Defu Lane is peppered with eateries and bars, but aside from being a good option to enjoy Xi'an's nightlife, it's also home to Fubaoge, a five-story traditional Chinese teahouse. Rest your feet after a long day of exploring and sip hot cups of...
In Xi'an we not only ate dumplings (jiaozi), we learned how to make them. Chef Jin makes about 3,500 dumplings a night, which explains why her super power is to make dumplings lightening fast. Seriously, if you blink you’ll miss it and you...
Nanliu Alley, Zhong Lou Shang Quan, Beilin Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China, 710061
There are many night markets in Xi'an. One of the best is in the ancient city, near to the old Drum and Bell Towers. It's the perfect starting point for an evening walk through town or just a great option for fresh, authentic, and cheap food.
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