As well as the cultural entertainment options listed below, Xi'an also has a fairly lively nightlife scene; the best place to sample this is Defuxiang Bar Street (Defuxiang Jiuba Jie), northwest of Nan Men, where there are plenty of different bars to choose from.

The Performing Arts

Two companies perform Tang-style banquets and musicals to entertain visitors. The competition for the group-tour dollar is fierce.

Catching Chinese Shadows -- Piying was the staple entertainment of rural Shanxi before karaoke. Puppets are carved from leather and dyed dazzling colors -- many date from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). There are over 600 different plays, ranging from legends to love stories to kung-fu epics. Unlike opera, this is loud, irreverent entertainment for the masses. Piying is a dying art form; it takes 10 years to learn the craft, and for most, driving a taxi is a more appealing option, but tourism may just save the day and short performances (¥15) can now be seen on request at Gaojia Dayuan (8:30am-11pm; entrance ¥15) on the western side of Bei Yuan Men in the Muslim quarter.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.