Urban exploiation

Article by XIANEASE

The Xi’an claim to fame is obviously its history, the palaces and pagodas and what have you. While that’s all wonderful and impressive, sometimes it’s great to get a different perspective on the city. Instead of digging around for ancient history, you could instead dig into Xi’an’s modern history. If you know where to look, you can find abandoned buildings, repurposed factories, splashes of street art and even more surprises. We’re here to give you a leg up on your urban exploration of this great city and help you see a side you didn’t know existed.

Muslim District

This one kind of seems like a “duh” suggestion, but how much have you really explored the Muslim District? Have you found the Great Mosque? Have you eaten barbecue in a back alley that’s thousands of years old? Have you found the infamous, twice-a-week Bird and Flower market (between 8am and noon on Thursdays and Sundays)? Or have you just gotten as far as the Drum Tower and then complained about all the tourists? There’s always more to discover in this unique and amazing part of the city, and autumn will be a great time to seek out some of those secrets.

Address: North of Xicang Road (西仓路北侧)
Hours: 8:00am – Noon (Every Thursday and Sunday)4-1

Da Hua 1935

The biggest name in this trend of industrial culture sites, Da Hua 1935 used to be an enormous textile factory and now is a sprawling facility just sitting there, hoping that tourists will show up. There’s a lot dedicated to the history of the factory but there’s a lot of empty space perfect to wander around in. If you’d like a goal to work towards on your visit to Da Hua 1935, you might consider attending a concert there or trying out a nearby restaurant, or even making your way to the very back of the area to find an archery range.

Address: No.251 Taihua South Road (太华南路251号)4-2

Banpo International Art Zone

Let’s start off in the east of the city with the Banpo Art District. It’s a bit of a haul on the subway, but once you’re off it’s just a short walk to this gauze-factory-turned-artsy-place. There are a few businesses around, such as cafés, offices for business in creative industries, photography and dance studios; what you’ll really be doing here is getting lost among the corridors of the old gauze factory, seeking out murals and statues and graffiti.

Address: No.238 Fangxi Street (纺织城纺西街238号)4-3

Laogangchang Design Creative Industrial Park

Hidden near the Xi’an Architecture and Technology University is a defunct steel mill that’s trying to find new life. Since it was acquired in 2002 by the Xijian University Science and Education Industry Group, development has been slow but steady, with the aim of developing an area like Beijing’s 798. It’s rather unknown even today, and though a few businesses and a bar or two have moved in, you’ll still have plenty of space to roam around and soak in all of Laogangchang’s industrial stylings.

Address: No.109 Xingfu South Road (幸福南路109号华清学院内)4-4

Question or comments about activities around Xi’an contact us at editorial@xianease.com