Like Desert Roses: A Guide to Urumqi’s Cafes

Like Desert Roses: A Guide to Urumqi’s Cafes

If you're spending a prolonged stay in Xinjiang, chances are you'll probably find yourself homesick for a laowai's favourite beverage. Unfortunately Urumqi is about a thousand miles from the nearest Starbucks, so you'll have to find someplace a bit closer to get your fix. Luckily, there are plenty of local options for caffeine-craving travellers to sip and relax. Here are a few of the most popular ones.

1) Rendezvous Cafe 瑞都西餐 View In Map
Rendezvous is an American-owned cafe in the vicinity of Xinjiang University and a favourite among students and undercover missionaries alike. The coffee's decent and reasonably priced. They also have good burgers and enchiladas, and a fabulous chocolate cake. They don't serve any alcohol, though. The staff don't speak much English (except for the owner), so if you don't speak Chinese you'll have to do a lot of pointing.

Add: 960 Yan'an lu, right outside the Silk Road Hotel Bus stop, Urumqi
地址: 乌鲁木齐市天山区延安路960号
Tel: 0991 2555 003
Opening hours: 11:00-23:00
Getting there: Bus nos. 16, 63, 106, 912.

2) Eden Cafe 一甸咖啡 View In Map
Eden cafe is one of the city's most elegant places to chill and immerse in Xinjiang culture at the same time. Besides coffee, pizzas, and various Uygur dishes, the menu also offers a wide range of Arabic, Indian and Chinese teas. Despite the sumptuous décor, Eden is actually quite affordable. A really good pot of tea will only cost about 40 RMB. Hookahs are available in several flavours. If you want a really smooth smoke, get a hookah filled with milk. You could easily spend half a day lounging and puffing away like the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland. It's also a good place to practice your Uyghur, as the staff don't speak a lick of English.

Add: 428 Tuanjie Lu, Urumqi (there is another location at 246 Qingnian Lu, 青年路246 号)
地址: 乌鲁木齐市团结路428号
Tel: 0991 8527 444
Opening hours: 13:00 - 3:00
Getting there: Bus 14, 59, 203, 302, 528A, 536, 801 to Bingtuan Hospital (兵团医院)

3) Vine Coffeehouse德蔓咖啡 View In Map
The Vine Coffeehouse is one of Urumqi's greatest places to relax....if you can actually find it. Hidden away on the 20th floor, Vine offers a pretty good menu of coffee, sandwiches and Caribbean cuisine. The cakes are really good too, and the boss is charming and friendly. They've even been favourably reviewed by the New York Times. If you have the chance to come in the morning you can get a gorgeous view of the city.

Add: 20A Times Square Building, 20th Floor, Urumqi
地址: 乌鲁木齐天山区民主路65号.
Tel: 0991 2304 831
Opening hours: 11:00-23:00
Getting there: Right by Xidaqiao stop (西大桥站). BRT 2. Bus nos. 7, 17, 35, 58, 62, 63, 68, 73, 157, 528, 902, 907, 908, 910, 927

4) The Texas Cafe 德州咖啡 View In Map
The Texas Cafe is a little hard to find, tucked away at the end of vine-covered alleyway. They boast the most authentic Tex-Mex food in town....which isn't really saying much. The burgers and pizzas are passable, but native Texans who eat there tend to be nonplussed. There are dinner specials every day, and if you come for lunch you can get a burger, fries and coke for 27 RMB. They also have a good selection of imported beers and a wicked cheesecake. The staff all speak English and the atmosphere is quite nice. There's a decent collection of English books, which patrons may borrow for a small deposit.

They occasionally have movie nights or play live music.

Add: Nanmen Mashixiaoqu (the little alley right behind Nanmen BRT stop.)
地址: 乌鲁木齐天山区南门附近的马市小区
Tel: 0991 2810 025
Opening hours: 13:00-22:00.
Getting there: BRT 2, 3. Bus 61, 104, 911

5) Coffee Language 名典咖啡 View In Map
Actually a chain from Taiwan, Coffee Language is a great place to go if you love paying lots of money for tiny portions. 25 RMB will get you about a thimbleful of okay coffee. They also have quite a few (overpriced) Western dishes. You can spend 18 RMB for a cup of soup or 100+ for a thin slice of steak.

Add: 93 Jiefang Bei Lu, 2nd Floor, Tianshan District, Urumqi
地址: 乌鲁木齐市天山区解放北路93号2楼
Tel: 0991 2812 725
Opening hours: 10:30-20:00
Getting there: BRT 2, 3 to Bei Men Zhan (北门站) or buses 30, 60, 104, 501.

6) Ever Sun Coffee 一阳咖啡 View In Map
Like Mingtian, Ever Sun is a great place to show off how much money you have by spending too much of it. You’ll have to dish out 30 RMB for a passable cup of coffee or a very weak cocktail. Expect to spend a lot more if you plan to eat.

They have several locations scattered through the city. The most convenient one is probably the one near Xidaqiao.

Add:  38 Xinhua Bei Lu, Urumqi, near Xidaqiao (西大桥站), BRT 2
地址: 乌鲁木新华北路38号.
Tel: 0991 2305 559
Opening hours: 12:30 - 2:00
Getting there: Bus nos. 7, 17, 35, 58, 62, 63, 68, 73, 157, 528, 902, 907, 908, 910, 927

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Keywords: cafes in Urumqi where to have a drink in Urumqi western food Urumqi foreigners Urumqi expat hangouts Urumqi


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