Thanks in part to the Silk Road, Xian has long ranked among the world’s greatest cultural capitals, and it remains a hotbed of multiculturalism and Chinese history. While there’s enough to see and do in Xian to fill a week, a single day is enough to see its main highlight, the Terracotta Warriors. Here’s how to make the most of your day.
Morning: Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the reason most travelers come to Xian in the first place. Get an early start for the hour-long drive to this 2,000-year-old mausoleum complex with its life-size Terracotta army. Learn about how the famous figures were made and about Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who inspired them. After exploring the three excavation pits, don’t miss the exhibition hall where the intricate bronze horses and chariots are housed. Choose a private tour for even more flexibility.
Afternoon: City Sightseeing
Now that you’ve seen Xian’s star attraction, take the afternoon to visit one or two other points of interest. You could walk or ride a bike atop the historic city walls, browse the food stalls and souvenir shops of the buzzing Muslim Quarter, dig deeper into Xian history at the Shaanxi Museum, climb the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, or visit the remains of a 6,000-year-old village at the Banpo Museum. Save time on transportation by combining these into a guided tour, or head out on your own to explore the city.
Night: Dumpling Feast
No trip to Xian would be complete without an evening spent feasting on Chinese dumplings while taking in the song, dance, costumes, and choreography of the city’s famed Tang Dynasty Dinner Show at the Tang Dynasty Palace theater. Alternately, treat your tastebuds to a dinner of succulent street foods—soup dumplings, noodles, savory pancakes, and the city’s signature barbecued meat skewers—during a night tour of the Muslim Quarter.