Winter Blues: A Guide to Surviving a Xi’an Winter

Winter Blues: A Guide to Surviving a Xi’an Winter

While Xi'an may not freeze over quite as much as cities in North China, the cold winter weather here is certainly not shy either – from December through February, temperatures can drop to as low as -5℃. But winter in Xi'an isn't something that must be dreaded. Here are a few suggestions to surviving Xi'an's cold weather that will help put a snooze on those winter blues.

Winter clothes

1) Coats
A good quality thick winter coat is essential to surviving a Xi'an winter. Looking around the city, you'll see few locals attempt to brave the icy temperatures without one. Which is not to say that you must sacrifice fashion for practicality. You can find a variety of coats in Xi'an that not only look good, but (more importantly) keep you warm and will last comfortably throughout the entire winter season. A popular choice among the locals is a“parka” coat (大衣外套). Its thick material, hood (often with a faux fur trim) and long length, is sure to keep the chill out. You can find this style of coat in any shopping mall, market or store in Xi'an. The style is not fitted, allowing you to pile up the layers underneath for added warmth. The average price for a coat like this tends to vary between 200-500 RMB, depending on the quality. Another great option is a “duffle” coat (粗呢大衣). This style of coat is also perfect for cold winter weather as it can also be long in length and is made from a coarse, thick, woollen material.This style of coat is priced at approximately 200-600 RMB. Rule of thumb: the thicker and more fashionable the coat is, the more expensive it becomes.

2) BootsView In Map
Although this year Xi'an has yet to see snow, it doesn't hurt to be prepared. Even without that layer of frozen mush, the same bitter chill is still present, so a good quality pair of winter boots is a must. There's an extensive selection of boots all over the city that will leave your feet looking fabulous and your hands feeling jealous. Leather boots (皮靴靴子) are the best way to keep the toes from catching frostbite. However, leather can be quite expensive, so you'll need to barter your way to a bargain. Expect to spend at least 350 RMB for a decent pair of leather boots. Another great boot this winter is the “Ugg”-style boot (麂皮羊毛靴子). It has a warm fleeced wool lining inside to keep your feet nice and cosy. Depending on the quality and authenticity of the Uggs, they can range from 100-1000 RMB. It's definitely worth paying a little bit more if you want your boots to last you through the whole season.

The best place in Xi'an to find the aforementioned winter clothing is at Xiaozhai (小翟). This is in the southern part of the city and is full of malls, shopping centres and department stores, offering you an enormous selection of fashion at low prices (if you're good at bargaining).

Add: Xiaozhai Xi Lu ( near Line 2 Xiaozhai stop), Yanta District, Xi'an
地址:西安市雁塔区小翟西路
Opening hours: most shops are open until around 21:00.
Getting there: ride the Metro Line 2 and exit at the Xiaozhaistation (小翟站).

Winter proofing your home

1) Fleeced blanket
In the sub-zero temperatures of Xi'an during the winter season, a warm homestead is definitely essential. Although there are commonly several radiators that circulate heat around the house, it's unlikely that they alone will keep you nice and cosy on those chilly winter nights. Wrapping up in a thick fleece blanket will definitely help you keep the cold at bay – it's perfect for a night on the couch tucked up watching TV, and can also serve as an extra layer to keep you warm in bed. Wal-Mart provides a decent selection of fleeced blankets in different colours, sizes and prices. A fairly thick patterned blanket measuring approximately 60x80 inches (the size of a queen bed) will cost 50-70 RMB. Thankfully, there are Wal-Marts' all around Xi'an, so there's sure to be one close by. My personal favourite is the one located by the Bell Tower, behind the Ginwa shopping mall (世纪金花购物中心).

Getting there: ride bus No. 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 26, 29, 32, 35, 36, 37, 43, 45, 46, 118, 201, 203, 205, 206, 208, 214, 215, 216, 218, 221, 222, 229, 235, 239, 251, 252, 300, 302, 502, 600, K600, 603, 604, K605, 606, 608, 609, 611, 612, K618, K630, 706 to the Bell Tower (鐘樓).

2) Heavy curtainsView In Map
The windows and doors of your home are the gateways to the outside world. The only problem is that in winter, the outside world is freezing. In order to keep that freeze out, you'll want to block the access points. Putting up heavy curtains helps create a barrier, blocking the cold air from getting in and stoppings the warm air from getting out. Wenyi Lu is a great shopping area for curtains. Its located south of the Bell and Drum towers in the Beilin District, and has plenty of stores and stalls that sell curtains (and any other home furniture you may need). Expect to bargain for most items in this area –bartered well, a heavy set of curtains, thick enough to block the cold should cost 300-400 RMB (depending on the size, thickness and quality).

Add: Wenyi Bei Lu, Beilin District, Xi'an
地址:西安市碑林区文艺北路
Getting there: ride bus No. 18, 21, 29, 32, 40, 46, 203, 204, 218, 224, 407, 410 and get off just before you reach the Small Goose Pagoda (小雁塔). The shopping area is just north of the pagoda, near the Tang Dynasty Hotel on Wenyi Lu (文艺路).

Keeping your belly warm

1) Hot pot (火鍋)
There is nothing quite like indulging your taste buds as well as your body temperature with a warm meal during the cold winter; and how better to indulge than to go out for hot pot! Generally, the main two styles of hot pot that you can order are a “regular” or a “theme” hot pot. Theme hot pot can include such things as fish, rabbit, frog or duck. On top of that, you are free to add a wide selection of different meats and vegetables, and, if you really warm your bones, you can choose to add more spice too! Haidilao (海底捞) is a very popular hot pot restaurant that serves delicious traditional Sichuan hotpot, and is also known for its (ridiculously) top-notch service. Haidilao has many branches in Xi'an, so be sure to have the address on hand if you're taking a taxi.

Xiguan BranchView In Map
Add: 30 Xiguan Zheng Jie, Lianhe District, Xi'an (Just west of the Bell and Drum Tower)
地址:西安市莲湖区西关正街30号

Yanta Branch View In Map
Add: 101 Yanta Lu Nan Duan, Yanta District, Xi'an
地址:西安市雁塔区雁塔路南段101号

Dongwu Lu BranchView In Map
Add: 65 Dongwu Lu, Xincheng District, Xi'an (100 metres east of Wu Lukou intersection)
地址:西安市新城区东五路65号(五路口十字向东100米)

2) Hot drinks
If you're looking for a hot drink to keep you going this winter, Xi'an is home to many Starbucks branches that are happy to meet your need. If you have a love/hate relationship with Starbucks, perhaps you'd prefer the more relaxed cosy atmosphere of a small café to grab a drink and warm up. One such café that's perfect for hiding away from the cold winter air is Ming Tien (名典咖啡语茶), which also has many branches around Xi'an. Inside one such branch, located just outside of Xiaonanmen (小南门), you'll find a very mellow atmosphere, full of large comfy seats, calm music and soft lighting. There's a wide selection of hot Chinese teas and flavoured coffees to choose from, as well as free Wi-Fi, allowing you to surf the net whilst you sink into your seat and sip your warm beverage. Prices are a bit expensive –the cheapest drink on the menu is 20 RMB, the atmosphere and comfort make up for it.

Xiaonanmen BranchView In Map
Add: 102 Huan Nan Lu, Beilin District, Xi'an
地址:西安市北林区环南路102号
Tel: 029 8209 2768
Opening hours: 09:00-02:00
Getting there: ride bus No. 16, 18, 35, 402, 512 608, 706, 800 to Xiaonanmen (小南门). The café is located opposite Xiaonanmen, above a cake and pastry shop next to a clothing store and a KTV. 

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Keywords: Winter in Xi’an where to buy a winter jacket in Xi’an surviving xi’an winter Haidilao hot pot Xi’an locations coffee shops in Xi’an

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