Where to Stay in Xian: 7 Best Areas

Where to stay in Xian

Xi’an is an ancient city in China with a deep, fascinating history. Nestled in the south-central part of Shaanxi province on the Guan Zhong Plain, the city offers a unique blend of historical treasures and present-day charm. 

With so many unique sights and sounds, where to stay in Xian becomes a pivotal part of the plan. Exploring the city is a wonderful experience, but it is crucial that you make the right accommodation choice, which can impact the overall quality of your visit.

In this guide, I will help you choose where to find accommodations in Xian, providing you with the best areas with considerations like proximity to historical sites, convenient transportation, budget, and safety.

Prepare your trip and don´t miss anything in Xian with this guide about the best things to do in Xian.

Where to Stay in Xian: 7 Best Areas

1. Xian City Center, Excellent for First-Time Visitors

Xian City Centre

If it is your first time visiting Xi’an, it’s understandable that you do not know exactly where to go and what to do. There are plenty of choices, making it difficult to decide, especially for shorter stays. 

Here’s where to stay as a beginner: right in the city center. Located at the core of the former endpoint of the Silk Road, the City Center gives you a glimpse into the centuries past with imposing fortifications and a moat, which have surrounded this area since the 14th century.

The Xi’an City Center provides easy access to the city’s top attractions. Plus, public transportation allows you to get to outlying areas.

While here, don’t forget to drop by at some of the best attractions in the area, including:

The Bell Tower: This historic structure is located in the city center of Xi’an. Standing 118 feet tall (36 meters), the Bell Tower was first built in 1384. 

This two-story stately building signals the city’s geographical center with the East, South, North, and West Streets extending from it. The landmark connects the City Walls’ gates from all four directions. 

The Bell Tower is made of wood and still stands proud and strong today, as it is the best-preserved structure of its kind in the entire country.

The Drum Tower: Here is the sister tower of the Bell Tower. You can find the Drum Tower by the northeast of the Bell Tower. Together, they are often nicknamed “the morning bell and the dark drum.” Back in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), the drums were used to tell the running time; other times, they would warn people about emergencies. 

The Drum Tower is older than the Bell Tower, as it was built in 1380 during Emperor Hongwu’s reign (Ming Dynasty). In 1699, it was renovated twice during the Qing Dynasty. 

Today, it has two stories, standing 112 feet (34 meters) and 172 feet (52.6 meters) long. It retains its Tang and Qing Dynasty styles but now has innovative features, such as the absence of iron nails anywhere in the Tower.

The Muslim Quarter: Also called the Huimin Jie, the Muslim Quarter is the hub of the Muslim community in the city. You can find this north of West Street in the city center. The district covers a number of blocks with more than 20,000 Muslim residents. 

The Muslim Quarter has about ten mosques located along Muslim Street. One of which is the Great Mosque situated on Huajue Lane. This mosque is undoubtedly the most popular in the area. 

Muslim souvenirs and halal foods are available everywhere, particularly at the Bei Yuan Men Muslim Market. Head north of the Drum Tower, which will lead you to the mentioned market, which is a great place to go after enjoying the sights in the city center.

The three areas above are not the only ones you can easily access when staying in the Xi’an city center. Take the chance to see and experience some of the city’s best attractions, including the City Walls, Terracotta Army, and Giant Wild Goose Pagoda.

The City Center is an eye-opening destination. It’s a top choice for where to stay in Xian, as it is packed with ruins and museums that highlight the rich history of this ancient city.

You can find many hotels of almost any kind in the city center, including luxury, mid-range, and family-friendly hotels. But don’t let accommodation get the most out of your budget, as there are numerous affordable places to rest your head in with your family, as well.


2. Lianhu, Xi’an’s Residential and Commercial Area with Modern Conveniences

Where to stay in Xian: Lianhu

Right in the heart of Xi’an lies the district of Lianhu, the central haven that combines the city’s rich history and contemporary amenities. You can find Lianhu west of the city center, surrounded by other districts, namely Xincheng, Beilin, Yanta, and Weiyang. 

It is next to many iconic landmarks like the City Wall and the Bell and Drum Towers. If you would like to know where to stay in Xian, which allows you to immerse yourself in the tales of the past, Lianhu is certainly a good choice.

For many reasons, Lianhu (Lotus Lake in Chinese) is a top-recommended place to stay in the city. It is a residential and commercial area where you can find numerous sights, offering plenty of things to do, from restaurants to amusement parks. 

It is indeed great for families looking for a place to stay in Xi’an, thanks to the quiet atmosphere. Many business owners also prefer the area for their accommodation, as it is excellent for escaping the hustle and bustle of Xi’an or their own cities.

The district also provides restaurants and bars, making Lianhu a good choice for those looking for lively nightlife. The area is connected through the metro, including Bell Tower, An Yuan Men, and Long Shou Yuan stations.

If you are looking for more reasons to stay in Lianhu, here are the top sights that you can find in the area:

Fortifications of Xi’an: You may know this as Xi’an City Wall. The Fortifications of Xi’an is one of the city’s most popular and exciting attractions. For one, it is the most complete city wall in China that still stands fully to this day. 

Another thing is that it can rival many of the world’s ancient military defensive systems, specifically when it comes to size. Located around the city center of Xi’an, the City Wall runs 8.5 miles (13.7 kilometers)

Built in 1370, the Fortifications of Xi’an have four main gates, and you can visit the area by walking, riding a bike, or riding a battery car for sightseeing.

Part of the Muslim quarter also belongs to Lianhu, so you can spend a morning wandering the streets, grabbing a bite to eat or buying something.

You will love wandering through the streets of Lianhu. They are the perfect blend of traditional and contemporary facilities, which include markets and local eateries.

Lianhu district offers a cultural charm that showcases an authentic experience, especially when it comes to food. If you want to savor the local flavors, you will certainly find a combination of local specialties and international cuisines in the area. 

While here, remember to try roujiamo (Chinese hamburger), biang biang noodles, and yangrou paomo (lamb soup with bread).

Indeed, Lianhu District has a delectable array of rich and diverse flavors in the area’s vibrant streets. And if food is at the top of your list, consider the shopping options, such as lively local markets and huge, modern shopping centers.


3. Xincheng District, Where to Stay in Xian for families

Best places to stay in Xian: Xincheng

Perhaps you do not like the busyness of the Xi’an City Center. If so, you may want to check the Xincheng District. This area is just east of the city center and at the east end of downtown Xi’an. 

It is known for being acentral residential area. Just like the other places in this list, Xincheng District is in proximity to numerous main attractions in the city. 

It is not only ideal for tourists looking for a quiet and safe area, but it is also ideal for families with children.

There are so many things you can do while in Xincheng District. It is particularly famous due to the Xincheng Plaza, a prime shopping destination. Not only that, you will also find Renmin Square, which gives you plenty of things to do, such as visiting gardens and courtyards. 

Although quite popular, the square is relatively quiet even during the weekdays, making it an ideal place for a relaxing afternoon with your family or a romantic stroll with your loved one.

It is also easy to access Xincheng District, thanks to its connections to two metro stations, An Yuan Men and Xi’an. These two stations will let you get to other interesting areas in the city. 

You will also find different hotels in the area, from luxury to affordable, as well as hostels.

Here are more reasons why Xincheng is an outstanding choice for where to stay in Xian:

You can visit the Daming Palace National Heritage Park: This palace was built during the Tang Dynasty’s Emperor Taizong (599-649). 

You can eat at local and inexpensive restaurants: Xincheng District gives you access to street foods in the Muslim Quarter. Try the yangrou paomo and lamb kebabs. If you’re searching for something sweet for dessert, look for osmanthus cake.

While in Defu Lane, the teahouse snacks are a must, along with local desserts and other street food. For local restaurants and eateries, there are so many options to give a try, such as the De Fa Chang Dumpling Restaurant, where you can taste different dumplings with various fillings. 

Another is the Xi’an Restaurant in Jie Fang Road, where Shaanxi-style dishes are a fan favorite, which include liangpi and yangrou paomo. For halal options, head to Shu Yuan Men Muslim Restaurant, where they specialize in hand-pulled noodles, cumin dishes, and lamb skewers.

You can discover the Xi’an City Wall Changle Gate: The City Wall is part of a Tang Dynasty structure, which was first constructed in1370. It took eight years to finally finish the wall. 

On top of the City Wall are ramparts installed every 131 yards, extending from the main structure. These ramparts were for the soldiers to see enemies trying to gain access by climbing up the wall. 

The Changle Gate is the East Gate, which is one of the four main gates of the City Wall. It is an essential gate as it surrounds the historic center of the city. 

Situated on the eastern side (hence the name), Changle Gate is a part of the rectangular fortification that borders the old city of Xi’an. It has historical significance, just like the rest of the City Wall, as it dates to the Ming Dynasty. 

Xincheng District is a vibrant place with different hotspots to learn about, from historical sites to modern amenities to cultural attractions. 

It is close to other areas mentioned above, allowing you to visit the top destinations in the city, such as the Bell and Drum Towers, the Muslim Quarter, the Great Mosque, and the Shaanxi History Museum.


4. Beilin, My Favorite Place to Stay  in Xian


Beilin is my favorite place to stay  in Xian. It has everything and is close to everything

If you want to stay in a place where history whispers through the paved streets and walls that showcase Ming Dynasty styles, Beilin is the answer. This area is a treasure trove where you can journey through time, thanks to the existence of the Beilin Museum.

Beilin is one of the districts in Xi’an located in the south. It borders Gaoling to the northeast, Xianyang to the northwest, Chang’an to the southwest, and Baqiao. It is also located south of the districts of Xincheng and Lianhu. 

Therefore, whatever attraction you want to visit near those mentioned areas can be easily reached when you stay in Beilin.

One of the best things about Beilin is that it is a residential area, giving you plenty of advantages to enjoy. Compared to a more commercial or tourist-centric place, Beilin provides an authentic local experience. 

You get to observe local customs and interact with other residents, making it easier to immerse yourself in the rhythm of the small district.

Another reason why you may want to stay in Beilin is because it offers a quiet and relaxing atmosphere, especially compared to commercial districts. However, this does not mean that Beilin does not have facilities and amenities to offer. 

In fact, you can find different hangouts, such as restaurants, bars, and shopping centers in this location.

Of course, Beilin has a number of attractions, too. Some of the ones that you can find here are the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, a multi-story building built for religious purposes. It is believed that this structure is between 707 and 709 years old, as it was constructed during the Tang Dynasty.

But perhaps the most known lure in the area is the Stele Forest, which is also known as the Museum of Beilin. As the name implies, it is a museum where you can find mostly steles that have historical significance in Xi’an. There are also sculptures and books in the museum. 

The Beilin Museum was first established in 1087, making it one of the oldest structures in the country. It was built during the Northern Song Dynasty.

The museum’s construction was primarily aimed at holding, preserving, and displaying two important classic manuscripts. These were the Thirteen Classics and Classic on Filial Piety.

Thanks to its connections to three metro stations, you can get to the Beilin District easily. Access the area and other nearby places via the South Gate, Yong Ning Men, or Provincial Stadium. 

Beilin has plenty of luxury hotels to choose from, along with inexpensive inns and backpacker hotels.


5. Yanta District, Great Choice for Those on a Budget

Where to stay in Xian: Yanta

Yanta District is among the 11 districts of Xi’an. It borders other districts, namely Chang’an to the south, Weiyang to the north, and Beilin, Lianhu, and Xincheng to the northeast. 

This diverse area offers plenty of vibrant activities and sights, including historical, cultural, and contemporary attractions. Some of the must-see discoveries here are the following:

Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Also known as the Dayan Pagoda, this pagoda is an important part of the Buddhist religion and was built during the Tang Dynasty in 652 AD. 

Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty ordered its construction to serve as a place to hold Buddhist scriptures and artifacts. These documents were from India and brought to the city by a monk named Xuan Zang. 

The name of the pagoda came from a legend related to the monk’s journey. In this story, a wild goose guided Xuan Zang to the area where the Big Wild Goose Pagoda stands today.

Da Ci’en Temple: This Buddhist temple is close to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Also called the Great Mercy Temple, Da Ci’en was built in 648 AD by the same emperor of the Tang Dynasty above. 

This temple is actually older than the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which was later built to house the scriptures. Da Ci’en was originally constructed to honor Empress Wende, the emperor’s mother. It also served as the place to pray for her health and well-being, including when she moved on to the afterlife. 

Later on, it became a part of Buddhist culture and is now a place of worship. 

Visiting the temple allows you to explore the main hall and courtyard. You can also stroll the surrounding gardens, where you will see beautiful flowers and plants, plus intricate carvings and vibrant decorations. These elements showcase the Tang Dynasty style.

Tang Paradise: This cultural theme park is another creation that originated from the Tang Dynasty, the golden age in Chinese history, and has ties to the country’s cultural and economic achievements. 

Tang Paradise first opened its doors in 2005, representing the prosperous designs of the Tang Dynasty, with Chinese architecture, water features, and gardens

The biggest highlight, however, is the Tang Palace replica, which was the imperial residence of the emperors back in the dynasty period. You can visit the palace complex and see the traditional style up close.

Shaanxi History Museum: A major institution in Xi’an is the Shaanxi History Museum, which was established in 1991 in the southern part of the city. It is currently one of the biggest museums in the country. 

Today, it is where the treasures of the Shaanxi can be found, holding more than 370,000 artifacts of the province’s history. These artifacts span from prehistoric times to the newer dynasties in the country, particularly in the city and Shaanxi. 

You can find collections that cover a variety of aspects, ranging from culture to politics and art. The most notable items, however, are the bronze wares of the Shang and Zhou dynasties. They show the artistry of the ancient civilizations and how they took advantage of certain technologies during their time.

Qujiang Pool Park: Also called the Qujiangchi Site Park, the Qujiang Pool Park is a scenic park that you can find in the Qujiang New District. The theme park was constructed based on the pool itself, which was a historical part of the Lotus Garden. 

This garden was important during the Tang Dynasty. Today, the park preserves the imperial garden, which has lush greenery, calm ponds, and impressive flowers. The Qujiang Pool Park was damaged over the years, which was why the site required renovation.

Its transformation paved the way for the area’s modern facilities, including a recreational space and water features like streams and fountains for visitors to enjoy without affecting its historical charm.

Yanta District has everything you can ever want to see in Xi’an, making it a good choice for where to stay in Xi’an. Because of the proximity of the attractions, you can save on public transportation costs. 

Additionally, the Yanta District is where you can find numerous affordable accommodation options, including hostels and budget hotels. The area also has a vibrant street food culture, providing you with many local eateries that will not break the bank.


6. Weiyang, A Relaxing Spot for Tourists and Businesspeople


If you are trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of your busy lifestyle, head to Weiyang. Although it is a business district, it offers plenty of things to do that will make you feel like you are in a quiet rural area. 

Plus, there are many hotels in the district, allowing you to choose the best place to rest your head in. 

Transportation is also not a problem as it is connected to several subway stations. You can easily get from one place to the next without needing to drive long distances.

As it is a business hub, Weiyang has an ideal location, which is in proximity to essential transportation methods. It also boasts well-developed infrastructure, such as modern office buildings and business parks. 

Apart from that, the district is home to the world-famous Weiyang Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Weiyang Palace was once a brilliant palace in the city of Xi’an. It is historically significant, having served as the administrative center of the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC to 9 AD). The palace was also where the emperors and other royal dignitaries resided. 

The palace has been in existence since 200 BC. Even though the Han Dynasty died, the Weiyang Palace continued functioning as the city’s political center. It served a total of seven other dynasties that followed.

Another reason why the Weiyang Palace is extremely popular is due to its role during Zhang Qian’s rule. The great diplomat set off for other countries from the palace’s façade. Then, the great Silk Road was developed before the palace was deemed useless during the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907). 

The Weiyang Palace fell into disuse simply because there were new palaces emerging where the emperors decided to reside. Unfortunately, the palace was damaged as time went by, mainly because it lost its importance. Nevertheless, the Weiyang Palace still stands today. 

Aside from the Weiyang Palace, there are more places to explore in the district, including the following:

Weiyang Lake Amusement Park: A fun place for you to spend time in the afternoon with your family and friends or alone. There are fun rides that are great for everyone, including young children and older adults. 

The Weiyang Lake Amusement Park is one of the oldest amusement parks in the country. It opened in May 1997, giving an area for Xi’an’s citizens to play and enjoy with their kids. 

Chanba National Wetland Park: This park is a relatively new development in the city. The local government has always exerted efforts in turning Xi’an into a greener and more sustainable location. 

This park is situated in the Chanba Ecological District. It is designed with an emphasis on preserving the city’s ecological resources while promoting sustainability. Chanba National Wetland Park aims to provide ample green space for locals and residents alike. 

Daming Palace: Also known as the Daming Palace National Heritage Park, this archeological site is in Xi’an’s Weiyang District (part of it is also located in the Xincheng district). 

It is a historically significant cultural heritage park, which was once a royal palace complex that existed during the Tang Dynasty. It was considered one of the most magnificent palaces in the entire ancient China. 

Construction began in 634 when Emperor Taizong was at the height of his reign. However, it was not completed for a long time, as it required the aid of subsequent rulers. 

The Daming Palace was quite popular because of its architectural splendor. The complex had the vast Hall of Supreme Harmony, along with the Hall of Splendid Happiness. Both of which served specific functions for the imperial court.

The Weiyang District is close to subway stations, including the Daming Palace West and the Shi Tushuguan Station. It is crossed by line 1 of the city metro, making it an excellent choice if you want to know where to find accomodations in Xian. 

Weiyang lies in the north of the city, with the Xi’an North Railway Station located in the district. This high-speed train will get you to your destination without any problems. Additionally, it is located near the airport.


7. Lintong District, Easy Access to the Terracotta Warriors


Numerous tourists visit Xi’an for one reason: to see the Terracotta Warriors. If you are in the city to see the impressive structures with your own eyes, Lintong District is a good choice where to find accomodations while staying in Xian. 

Therefore, if you are specifically in the district to see the sculptures, you will find them about 22 miles (35 km) from the city center.

In order for you to get to the Terracotta Warriors, you need to visit the Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site Museum. From there, you will find the Lintong Museum, which will provide extra insight into the district.

The Terracotta Warriors are not the only sight to behold while in the district. You should not fail to visit the Lishan National Forest, which is just nearby. Here are more reasons why you should consider staying in Lintong District during your stay in Xi’an:

History: If you are interested in history, you will love that several parts of the district have historical significance. There are ancient sites in Lintong, such as the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, which serves as the burial site of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. 

An interesting fact about this emperor is that he was the one who ordered the creation of what’s now known as the Terracotta Army. The reason for building the sculptures of warriors, horses, and chariots had something to do with his belief in the afterlife.

He wanted soldiers to protect him from his enemies after his death. He was also responsible for building the Huaqing Palace, a hot spring located in the area.

Scenery: The district offers natural scenery, such as hills and rivers. If you want a more tranquil environment rather than a busy and noisy location, this is where you should stay in Xi’an.

Culture: You will surely love the opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonderful culture of the city. In Lintong District, you can find glimpses of local daily life, cuisine, and persevering traditions as you interact with the residents.

Recreation: You do not have to go anywhere else to experience fun recreational activities, such as hiking, biking, and nature walking

If you enjoyed your time visiting the Terracotta Warriors, you will also have a lot of fun visiting Huaqing Pool. Just 18.6 miles (30km) east of the city center, the pool is just beside the Army. That means you do not have to travel far and wide to reach this intriguing location. 

The hot spring features the Imperial Pools of the Tang Dynasty, along with other structures, such as the Frost Flying Hall and the Nine Dragon Lake. The attraction also includes the Five-Room Building, Mount Li, and Pear Garden.

The supply of accommodation is minimal. For accommodation near Litong, your best bet is to look in the neighbouring Baqiao district.


There you have it – the top choices on where to stay in Xian. Selecting the area is crucial, as it will help you determine where to go and how to get to the destination. 

In reality, this decision is more than just the accommodation; it helps shape the whole experience of your time and visit to this beautiful and historically rich city.

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