Thanks to the many ancient dynastic relics of the capital, Xi'an has become a huge tourist destination. The entertainment industry has grown accordingly. The large Muslim Hui Chinese population adds a distinct cultural twist to the otherwise Han city, and Xi'an's universities—popular with foreign students as well as Chinese—contribute to an up-to-date and fun nightlife scene. Recap a perfect day visiting the city's excellent sites and museums over a few drinks or catch a performance, whether traditional or contemporary, at one of a growing number of venues.
Bars & Clubs
The nightlife scene in Xi'an is lively and always changing. New bars and clubs open monthly, from posh lounges to no-nonsense dives. Defu Xiang (Défú Xiàng, 德福巷) and Dong Dajie (Dōng Dàjiē, 东大街) are two downtown streets lined with bars, clubs and restaurants. A longtime club in the area is 1+1 Nightclub (Yī Jiā Yī Jùlèbù, 壹加壹俱乐部) where students, locals and visitors dance and down overpriced cocktails.
Many restaurants and hotels stage performances of traditional dance, music and song geared toward the tourist crowds. The most popular of these takes place at the Tang Dynasty Restaurant (admission includes dinner). If you're looking for something a bit more local and low key, the Shaanxi Grand Opera House (Shǎngē Dàjùyuàn, 陕歌大剧院) at 165 Wenyi Bei Lu (Wényì Běi Lù, 文艺北路) performs weekly and a traditional dinner is served for about half the price of the Tang Dynasty. Xi'an also has a growing underground music scene. Rock club 8 1/2, located off Nan Dajie (Nán Dàjiē, 南大街) among several coffee houses, hosts the largest names in Chinese rock as well as showcasing local bands and musicians.
Museums & Galleries
Xi'an has one of the country's greatest collections of history on display in beautiful buildings reflecting China's ancient architecture. The most impressive museum in Xi'an is the Shaanxi History Museum. There are more than 400,000 items on display in a well organized, traditional Tang Dynasty-style building. The Forest of Steles Museum, an old Confucian Temple, contains the country's largest collection of engraved stone steles.
Festivals & Events
One of the most significant festivals, Tomb Sweeping Day, is celebrated in April, with locals gathering at the Huangdi Mausoleum to honor their ancestors. The Xi'an City Wall International Invitation Marathon brings in athletes from all around the world. If you're unable to time your trip around a festival, the Great Mosque's several daily prayer services (held in Chinese) are worth witnessing (quietly and respectfully), and it seems as if there's always something to celebrate in the Muslim Quarter, which is noisy and bustling well into the night.
Located at the foot of the Li Shan (Mount Li) lies the tomb of China's first Emperor—Qin Shi Huang—whom the Terracotta Warriors were built to protect in the..
A popular spot for its cool breezes and panoramic views of the area's ruggedly beautiful countryside, Li Shan (Lí Shān, 骊山) was once favored by Tang Dynasty emperors..