Posted by Bethany from WrittenChinese.Com
Many people consider Shenzhen (深圳) an unusual city because it was established less than 40 years ago. With most of the 15 million residents coming from other areas of China, the city has an interesting blend of Chinese culture. Things change here all of the time and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of what’s happening, but here is a list of some of my favorite places in Shenzhen for foreigners:
购物公园 (gòuwù gōngyuán) Coco Park
When you are tired after a long day, you can grab a beer at one of Coco Park’s many Western-style bars or people-watch at the iconic Starbucks on the corner of Fuhua Rd (福华路) and Mintian Rd (民田路). Coco Park is well-known for its gorgeous Chinese women, but be careful, these women have expensive tastes! Coco Park is also home to some large, pricey malls.
华强北 (huáqiáng běi) Huaqiangbei
Miles and miles of electronics. Huaqiangbei is a very popular place if you would like to buy a computer, TV, or any other electronic device at a reasonable price. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of electronic hardware.
东门 (dōng mén) Dongmen Shopping Area
Speaking of sheer amounts of things, if you like cheap clothing, Dongmen is the place to go. Especially during holidays, this area becomes 人山人海 (rénshānrénhǎi), meaning that the streets are very crowded. Bargaining is essential, but you will surely walk away with some very cheap merchandise.
深圳大学 (shēnzhèn dàxué) Shenzhen University
For foreigners hoping to improve their Chinese skills, Shenzhen University is a good option. Classes are held in the mornings from Monday to Friday and cost about 9000 RMB/semester. Shenzhen University is also voted as one of the most beautiful campuses in China, but that’s pretty relative. In my opinion, it’s a little bit worn down.
锦绣中华民俗村（jǐnxiù zhōnghuá mínsú cūn）Splendid China
If you don’t have the time or money to visit all of the nice tourist destinations in China, visiting Splendid China is a good alternative. This park houses miniatures of all the important places, such as the Great Wall, Summer Palace, Yunnan Stone Forest, and more. It’s almost as good as the real thing.
街创意市集（jiē chuàngyì shì jí）OCT Loft
OCT Loft is a former factory area that has been converted into an arts district. You can visit galleries, lounge at jazz clubs, and eat fairly good Western food (Idutang Italian-Thai is my favorite). This place is a little bit hard to find, so make sure you go with somebody who has been there before.
Louhu has been playfully nicknamed “Hong Kong’s Playground” because of all of the services it has targeted towards Hong Kong visitors. Louhu has the best Hong Kong-style restaurants, cheapest massage, and skilled tailors. The shopping is also very good, with discount malls and small shops galore.
仙湖植物园（xian hú zhíwùyuán）Fairy Lake Garden
If you want to get out of the city for a while, check out Fairy Lake Garden. Home to a butterfly garden, petrified “forest”, and loads of flowers, this park is perfect for a day-long stroll. Visit the Buddhist temple on the mountain or eat at the vegetarian restaurant. Be prepared, though, because like the rest of this city, this temple is not so ancient, only 30-40 years old.
海上世界（hǎishàng shìjiè）Sea World
No, it’s not the famous marine animal park. Sea World is a shopping and restaurant area located in Shekou (蛇口), the most foreigner-dense area of Shenzhen. It has been very recently constructed and has some of the nicest Western restaurants in the city, like a German beer house and a Mexican restaurant. It is also well know for The Terrace, a very lively night club that overlooks the Sea World square.
海岸城（hǎi àn chéng）Coastal City
Also a very new addition to the city, Coastal City is an enormous shopping and recreational area in Shenzhen. You can find many cinemas, Western stores, and restaurants. Much of the shops are open-air, so it gives the place a very festive environment.