Xicheng District is the birthplace of the old capital. Layers and layers of historic ruins have endowed Xicheng District with rich cultural relics and historical sites, prosperous commercial and cultural activities, as well as a string of unique cultural traditions that draw strength from the Xuannan area, the imperial courts, regions, folklore, and social clubs. With many magnificent structures and its glorious scenery remaining from the imperial days, Xicheng District is also known as the best-preserved area with most authentic, diverse Beijing styles and flavours. Today, a large number of museums, cultural centres and theatres in the district have created a strong modern atmosphere. Of the 25 historical and cultural conservation areas in Beijing, Xicheng District has 18. There are 24 items under national intangible cultural heritage protection, including the Changdian Temple Fair, Watercolour Block Printing and Beijing Figurine Standing on Bristles.
By tapping into the traditional culture while taking advantage of its existing resources and industrial edge, Xicheng District has fostered a high-end cultural industry and established a national-level performing arts centre, a publishing industrial park, a national artefacts trading centre. It also encourages film and television production and services and has promoted the activities of software and information-service and cultural-tourism organizations.
By the end of 2015, Xicheng District has 34 public libraries with 2.015 million holdings. The amount of the collection of books has reached 1.768 million. There are 181 cultural relics under protection in Xicheng District, including 42 under state protection, 61 under city protection and 78 under district protection. By the end of 2014, Xicheng District has 33 public libraries with 1.897 million holdings. The amount of the collection of books reached 1.676 million. By the end of 2013, Xicheng District has 3 public libraries with 1.611 million holdings. The amount of the collection of books reached 1.414 million. In 2012, Xicheng District successfully held a series of activities, such as Xicheng Cultural Festival, Beijing charm in Taoranting Park, Shichahai International Tourism Festival, Thousands of People Walked into the Wonderland of Culture and so on. Meanwhile, Xicheng District also promoted the construction of public cultural places, such as Xicheng District Library, the cultural facilities of Xicheng District Public Cultural Center, the display platform and inheriting base of intangible cultural heritages in Xicheng District, and launched protective maintenance projects, such as the main hall of Puji Temple, Wan Song Monk Pagoda, the Former Residence of Qi Baishi and Fayuan Temple.