The Line of Your Dreams:A Xianease Guide to Subway Line 3

Article by XIANEASE

After years of delays and commute-crippling traffic disruptions, Xi’an Metro Line 3 has finally opened, linking the disparate northeast and southwest of the city via a J-shaped route that also takes passengers through Qujiang in the southeast. While at the end of the day we realize that, in its purest form, it is no more than a white-and-pink-colored cylinder coursing through a kilometers-long tunnel, its impact on travel throughout the city should not be underestimated. With 26 stops on a track that stretches to 39.1 kilometers in length, Line 3 represents a new era of public transportation for Xi’an. No longer do you need to wait for buses stuck in city traffic, nor to harangue a taxi driver to take you to the far reaches of the city that neither of you are too familiar with. The southern and eastern parts of the city are now linked in a way they’ve never been before, and this opens up a lot of possibilities for discovery, leisure and mischief along the train’s route.

There’s obviously a lot at play here, and we can’t say that our guide will be definitive or comprehensive. Our goal is to merely to orient you with something you might not be too familiar with, highlight a few of its better aspects and help you get around and discover Xi’an just a little more easily. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.


The Line 3 terminus stations are Yuhuazhai (鱼化寨), in the southwest, and Baoshuiqu (保税区) in the northeast, and the track runs in a kind of a wonky-looking J-shape that bends near the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔). There’s really not a lot going on at either terminus because they’re in either developing or more industrial areas; however, you might want to keep those stops in mind if you live more southwesterly or northeasterly than that. You can at least get on the line and save yourself a buttload of cash on a taxi that’ll spend most of its time (and fare) sitting in traffic.

Transfers to the other completed lines exist at Xiaozhai (Line 2) and Tonghuamen (Line 1). Fares for all lines have increased with the opening of the new line, and are now as follows:


Yuhuazhai (鱼化寨)

Zhangbabeilu (丈八北路)

Yanpingmen (延平门)

Where is it?
Gaoxin District, at the intersection of Keji Road and Fenghui South Road (the southbound counterpart to the northbound and more famous Tangyan Road)
What’s there?
It’s a commercial area, as opposed to a residential or industrial area, which means it’s just about the only part of Gaoxin that has useful or interesting things in it. That includes a few great restaurants, like Isola del Nord, Izakaya Sushi, Light-Cal and more, and it’s a mere hop, skip and a jump away from the Branley Hotel on Fenghui South Road and the Shangri-La on Keji Road. It’s also close to a couple of malls and a Lotus Supermarket, if you need to do any shopping.
Anything else?
This stop is named after a historical area, one that existed centuries ago when the Xi’an city walls encompassed a much larger area. There was a gate at that spot to allow you into the city called (you guessed it) Yanping Gate.

Kejilu (科技路)

Taibainanlu (太白南路)

Jixiangcun (吉祥村)

Xiaozhai (小寨)

Where is it?
The intersection of Xiaozhai Road and Chang’an Road, directly south of the Tiyuchang and South Gate.
What’s there?
All the Xiaozhai stuff you’d expect: malls to buy expensive crap, markets to buy cheaper crap, a glut of restaurants, a smattering of places to do things (KTV, archery, VR games, arcades, etc.) and a couple other little secrets for more exploratory foreigners. Also a transfer to Line 2.
Anything else?
The transfer to Line 2 is really great for getting downtown, or even to the high-speed train at Beikezhan, but the path between trains is a bit labyrinthine. Follow the signs until you start seeing red trains or, failing that, if you have the courage to travel during rush hour, just find a way to have the sea of commuters carry you to the transfer platform.

Dayanta (大雁塔)

Where is it?
At the northern edge of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda square.
What’s there?
The Pagoda, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, for starters. There’s also the Westin Hotel, some restaurants, like Xian Brewery and Ganges, a bunch of places to buy some Xi’an-related swag, the Concert Hall, the Art Museum, like 40 Starbuckses and more. All things considered, it’s one of the most developed and best maintained areas of Xi’an, so if you haven’t had the chance to at least stroll through, consider doing so.
Anything else?
Going to Qujiang used to be a frustrating trap from which few laowai ever returned in a timely manner, but having a station here means that it’s now about a million times more convenient to go. Beware though, on high-traffic days there have been some closures, which means the problem isn’t totally dealt with (for example, this station was closed on December 24th, which is “Peaceful Night” [平安夜] here and kind of a big deal). Also, in the future this will be a transfer station to Line 4, which will run north-to-south, nearly parallel to Line 2.

Beichitou (北池头)

Qinglong Temple (青龙寺)

Where is it?
The intersection of Yanxiang Road and Qinglong Road.
What’s there?
The Qinglong (“Green Dragon”) Temple. It’s nearly 1500 years old, but remained relatively unknown until the 1960s, when it was restored. Qinglong is considered sacred in Shingon Buddhism because its founder was trained there before returning to Japan, so this beautiful temple attracts both tourists and pilgrims alike.
Anything else?
That connection to Shingon Buddhism may or may not have something to do with the one thousand sakura trees that can be seen blossoming annually in early spring (March/April).

anxingmen (延兴门)

Xianning Road (咸宁路)

Where is it?
The intersection of Xianning Zhong Road and the East 2nd Ring Road.
What’s there?
This stop drops you about a block away from Xingqing Park and Jiaotong University. If you live around here or come here often, this is about the best you’re going to do until more lines open.
Anything else?
Universities are usually hotbeds of activity, from shops to restaurants and most everything in between. You might be surprised by what kind of stuff you can find here.

Changle Park (长乐公园)

Where is it?
Huzhu Road Interchange.
What’s there?
Changle Park shares a lot of similarities with the other parks across the city—trees everywhere, concrete paths, big giant pond in the middle, etc. But there are a couple of interesting touches, particularly the pool tables sitting under a canopy waiting for you to play. If you’re over parks, one of the city’s largest e-bike and scooter markets is nearby on San Ta Road.
Anything else?
If you buy a scooter then you don’t need this guide anymore, in which case turn to the middle of this issue and start using one of our maps of the city.

Tonghuamen (通化门)

Where is it?
The intersection of Changle Zhong Road and Jinhua North Road.
What’s there?
If you like to keep your haggling skills sharp, the Xi BeiQing Gong shopping center is nearby. It’s a pretty down-and-dirty, proper Chinese market, but they also have essentially anything you can imagine. Even if you don’t want to argue over the price of stuff, it’s worth a walk through just to see what kind of crazy nonsense is going on in there. Also, Tonghuamen Station is a transfer to Line 1.
Anything else?
With a giant market like Qing Gong, you can expect a smattering of hole-in-the-wall stores and restaurants. This stop is definitely recommended if you’ve been losing touch with what’s happening in the streets of Xi’an.

Shijiajie (石家街)

Hujiamiao (胡家庙)

Xinjiamiao (辛家庙)

Where is it?
The intersection of Jinhua North Road and Xuanwu East Road.
What’s there?
Not a whole lot, we just thought you would all be interested to know that there’s a second Metro Supermarket in town and it’s right about here.
Anything else?
Metro Supermarkets, despite having shelves and shelves of crap just aching to be purchased, still require a membership.

Guangtaimen (广泰门)

Taohuatan (桃花潭)

Chanbazhongxin (浐灞中心)

Xianghuwan (香湖湾)

Wuzhuang (务庄)

Guojigangwuqu (国际港务区)

Shuangzhai (双寨)

Xinzhu (新筑)

Baoshuiqu (保税区)