VIDEO: Going Local in China, Part 1: Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing

This feature marks the first post from new video contributor Kelley Ferro. Kelley’s five-part video series on China—the first of many series covering destinations across the globe. The second part is here, the third part is here, the fourth part is here, and the fifth part is here.

With just one week in China, I only had time to focus on the best of the best in each of the three cities that I visited: Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing. Luckily, I wasn’t doing this all on my own; I had the help of tour operator , a member of the prestigious . Being on a tour helped me make the most of my time in each city, and it made those internal flights and transfers a whole lot easier! Plus, when you’re in China, you might have a lot of questions like I did, so it was helpful to have a knowledgeable guide nearby the whole time.

Watch the video above, and see below for more!


Shanghai skyline

Shanghai skyline

On Shanghai
I used to live in New York City so I felt at home with the urban energy, sea of people and cloud-grazing buildings of Shanghai. The city felt like its own country of skyscrapers, fancy restaurants, crowded shopping streets, and streetside food stalls. However, there are pockets of tranquility, which I found in both its and the . Don’t miss those two historical, serene spots—both prime for photo opps.

Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an

Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an

On Xi’an
It’s not just the jumping-off point for the ; Xi’an has its own unique personality. This ancient, walled city surrounds a lively downtown with a university vibe and vibrant nightlife scene. The Muslin Quarter is worth the stroll back in time, but don’t miss some of the newer food halls—and take a dumpling-making class!

In the hutongs of Beijing

In the hutongs of Beijing

On Beijing
If I thought the other two cities were busy, but turns out that was just because I hadn’t yet been to Beijing. Yet in spite of the traffic and hoards of tourists, Beijing was just so fun. is a neighborhood with so much happening that it reminded me of New York City’s Fifth Avenue, with famous chef-owned restaurants, topline shopping, trendy coffeeshops, and well-heeled travelers. While it’s worth a night of shopping, dining and bar-hopping, my favorite spot has to be the . I was amazed to find a burgeoning hipster culture within these historical alleys, which showcase ancient life blending with today’s culture in an impressive way.

In Part 2: Exploring ancient China.

For more on guided travel in China, visit . For more on the specific itineraries and guides from Kelley’s video, check out .

Kelley Ferro

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About the Author

Kelley Ferro
Kelley is an award-winning TV personality, experienced travel journalist & social media influencer. Obsessed with world travel (and Indiana Jones) since childhood, she parlayed that passion into her career, starting at 19 as a National Geographic intern. She went on to be the Director of, and now she is the producer & host of several web series, which feature hotels, tours and destinations across the globe. Her shows focus on the local experience, the world’s best hotels and the best in every destination. Join her on her jetsetting adventures via , or her .

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