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The Perfect Weekend in Xi'an

Xi'an is the historical heart of China. Walk along the Old City Wall, and imagine yourself in the Tang Dynasty. The city feels especially enchanted when the lanterns light up and street musicians play traditional music on street corners. Xi'an's food is enough to win over the most reluctant visitor: biang biang noodles, a regional specialty, and street food in the Muslim Quarter, and all the sweet desserts.
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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...
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Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
Want to know more about Taoism? About 70km west of Xi'an, in Tayu Village, is the Louguantai Temple, where it's said that Lao Tze, the founder of Taoism, wrote the Tao Te Ching and set the fundamentals for the religion. Built over two thousand...
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Hongying Rd, Beilin Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China
An interestingly curated museum, the Forest of Stone Steles Museum (also called the Steles Forest or Beilin Museum) focuses on displays of steles (commemorative slabs), epigraphs, and stone sculptures from throughout history. The museum's...
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91 Xiaozhai E Rd, QuJiang ShangQuan, Yanta Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China, 710061
Built in the grand architectural style of the Tang Dynasty, the huge Shaanxi History Museum offers a comprehensive overview of the history of the ancient capital. The museum houses over 370,000 precious relics unearthed in Shaanxi Province....
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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...
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1 Ci'en Rd, QuJiang ShangQuan, Yanta Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is a very cool historical site to visit in Xi'an. It was built in the seventh century to house Buddhist scriptures, statues, and other relics that were brought back to China by the Buddhist scholar and traveler Xuanzang....
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China, Xian Shi, Yanta Qu, DaTang TongYiFang, 西安大雁塔南广场西侧 邮政编码: 710061
The Underground Palace is one of the strangest places I have ever visited. We stumbled upon it by chance while wandering along the west side of the wall around the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. Despite not knowing what it was, we bought tickets and...
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Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
There are a number of old neighborhoods in Xi'an that are lovely to explore on foot, especially between the Bell Tower and the Great Mosque, and west of the South Gate. Wandering around, you'll see old houses and stumble upon amazing stonework and...
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There's a little bar area south of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, two blocks east of the Westin. The bar scene in Xi'an isn't as boisterous, by Western standards, as in other cities. That being said, if you're in the area and want a beer, this is a...
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127 E 1st Rd, ZhongLou ShangQuan, Xincheng Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China, 710005
Muslim noodle restaurants are ubiquitous all over China, but Xi'an, with its large Muslim population, has a far better class of them. Most restaurants have photos of the various dishes on the wall, and all you have to do is point. My personal...
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China, Shaanxi, Xian Shi, Yanta Qu, GaoXin ShangQuan, 高新区科技路徐家庄附近(近白沙路) 邮政编码: 710065
Delhi Darbar is an excellent Indian restaurant in Xi'an. I usually order palak paneer and malai kofta when trying a new Indian restaurant, because unlike curries, it's really hard to make these without fresh ingredients. (In China, you either need...
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1 Ci'en Rd, QuJiang ShangQuan, Yanta Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China
Northern China has some of the most amazing tasting yogurts. Since we don't have any decent yogurt in Shenzhen, I pig out every time I go north. Stalls and shops around Xi'an sell really cool drinking yogurts. This stall was on the west side of...
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China, Shaanxi, Xian Shi, Yanta Qu, GaoXin ShangQuan, 高新一路 邮政编码: 710065
This is a slightly odd place. It's in the middle of a commercial area, with no restaurants in sight. If you get to the right block, it's actually behind a large building. You have to knock and be let in like a speakeasy. Once inside, it's a pretty...
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China, Shaanxi, Xian Shi, Weiyang Qu, 范家南村54号 邮政编码: 710016
The Muslim Quarter of Xi'an is famous for its vendors of dried fruits and nuts. These aren't just any old packs of nuts. They are of the finest quality, selected and dried by hand. A pound of shelled walnuts goes for the equivalent of around $10....
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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...
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Qujiang Shangquan, Yanta, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China, 710061
This is a great little market directly across the street from the Westin and south of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. It's oriented towards visitors and tourists, so there are lots of cheap souvenirs. However, there are also plenty of cool, locally...
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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...