Collected by Jessica Lymberopoulos , AFAR Local Expert
"Time is money; efficiency is life" -- if you come to Shenzhen by ferry, this sign greets you as you drive into the city through Shekou. Just a fishing village before China's economic opening up in the 1980s, it's hard to believe a city larger than NYC in population could be so young. You'll meet people from all over China and around the world in Shenzhen, most of whom are focused on earning more for themselves while still trying to hang on to their cultural roots. Welcome to Shenzhen!
48 Wenxin 1st Rd, Nan Shan Qu, Nanshan Qu, Shenzhen Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China
During my first trip to Shenzhen, a Chinese friend brought us to this market one evening where he often stays for hours drinking and buying tea. You'll find stall after stall of great quality and a huge variety of teas, as well as tea sets and...
Luohu District, Shenzhen, China
Hubei Urban Village in Luohu is one of the few urban villages left in Shenzhen's city center. In the week following Chinese New Year, this small shrine in the village was still showing signs of the celebrations. You'll find this spot just outside...
185 Shangle St, Nanshan Qu, Shenzhen Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China
An older Chinese friend started taking my husband and me to this restaurant when we first moved to Shenzhen. They serve delicious Peking Duck, dumplings, and our favorite, the 木耳 (mu er, a.k.a. wood ear mushrooms). It's almost always crowded for...
1002号 Jianshe Rd, Wan Xiang Cheng, China
For my husband's birthday, we took in uninterrupted views of Shenzhen from 360, a restaurant and bar on the 32nd floor of the Shangri-La Shenzhen. They specialize in steak and wine. Expensive but worth it!
Longgang, Shenzhen, China
It's easy to get lost among the thousands of galleries that make up the Dafen Painting Village in Shenzhen. They sell imitations of the world's masterpieces, some original art, and also custom paintings from photos. I love watching the artists at...
Ai Guo Lu, Luohu Qu, Shenzhen Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China
Before the Spring Festival in Shenzhen, the city blocks off streets for several huge Flower Fairs. The one in Luohu on Aiguo Rd is the biggest, and it was packed the day I went with people celebrating the year of the dragon. You could buy some...
1881 Bao'an S Rd, Cai Wu Wei, Luohu Qu, Shenzhen Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China
The Penthouse on the 38th floor of the Grand Hyatt is my favorite bar in Shenzhen. The views are unreal, and the bar itself is comfortable, chic, and well-managed.
Dongbin Rd, Nanshan Qu, Shenzhen Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China
Xibei is a clean, beautifully decorated restaurant in Shenzhen. They serve lots of lamb, noodles, and steamed breads and make their own tofu and yogurt in-house. This is definitely one of the best-run and tastiest local restaurants I've found in...
China, Guangdong Sheng, Shenzhen Shi, Nanshan Qu, 渔村南路
Not having ever been to an open-air food market before, the first time I went to the Shekou "Wet" Market, the place disgusted and amazed me. They sell fresh seafood and meat, live poultry, fresh vegetables and herbs, and dried spices and nuts....
Nanshan, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China
I was amazed for several reasons the first time I climbed this mountain right in the heart of Shekou. The many, many steep stairs allow you to get way above Shenzhen in a matter of 30 minutes or so, and you can see the entire city and across to ...
6 Gongyuan Rd, Nanshan Qu, Shenzhen Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China
The men playing Chinese chess (象棋, xiangqi) are a regular fixture at Sihai Park in Shekou. My husband has jumped in to play with them a few times, but we've determined it's better just to watch and try to pick up new moves.
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