Dali Ancient Town is about 13km away from Xiaguan in Dali City and is one of Dali's Three Ancients-ancient city, ancient pagoda and ancient steles. History of Dali can be dates back to 1382 during the Ming Dynasty and it has been listed among the top historic cities of China.
Unlike any other Chinese town, the traditional Bai ethnic folk houses give the town distinctive feel. The town's layout was uniform, with five main streets from south to north and eight main streets from east to west, while marketplaces were neatly arranged within the town, which has remained unchanged to this date. Besides the Bai houses, the houses with gray-green roof tiles, peculiar workshops, temples, schools and churches with antique flavor are scattered. Traditional marble artworks, like pencil vases, striped screen, and a variety of woven handicrafts of fine straw are laid chockablock on both sides of the street to be appreciated and purchased. Its grand city wall, traditional Bai houses and marvelous scenery have been attracted many visitors.
Dali is also famous for the many types of marble it produces, which are used primarily in construction and for decorative objects. In fact, Dali is so famous for the stone that the name of marble in Chinese is literally Dali Stone.
Dali's newly finished administrative district that houses the newly opened Dali International Convention Center is in Longshan District. The Dali government's urban planning keeps its old and new districts separate, so those coming here for the first time often feel they have entered a time tunnel.
The new city is known as Xiaguan and is south of the old city. The old city was built during Ming Dynasty emperor Hongwu's reign (1368–1398). Owing to the distance between them, the old city is still peaceful and quiet.