10 Best Things to Do in Shenzhen, China

Shenzhen, which connects Hong Kong to China's mainland, is one of the most popular cities in southeast China. It is a popular spot for shopping and entertainment, thanks to its large malls and many family-friendly amusement parks.

Nearly 50 years ago, Shenzhen was little more than a fishing village. Today, the city of 8 million is rapidly expanding to become a top retail destination. Some claim that the best sights of Shenzhen are its shops, and they might be right. As the city has expanded, it has also created some major attractions, such as mini Eiffel Towers and bohemian artist's villages.

If you are making a trip to China and planning on staying overnight in Shenzhen, spend some time exploring some of its main sights, beyond the stores.

01 of 10

Amble Through Lianhuashan Park


SSDPenguin / Wikimedia Commons

6030 Hong Li Lu, FuTian CBD, Futian Qu, Shenzhen Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China, 518036
+86 755 8306 7950

Located in the heart of Shenzhen, the 370-acre Lianhuashan Park offers a bit of green space amidst the sprawling concrete city. The park is centered by a 350-foot hill with a bronze statue of politician Deng Xiaoping at the top. From here, you'll find sweeping views of the city as well as places where many families enjoy a picnic and flying kites. There is also a large lake, where you can rent paddle boats for a small fee. 

02 of 10

Find Out About Art at Da Fen Oil Painting Village

A salesperson rests in folding chair at an open-sided gallery featuring reproductions of Van Gogh in one of the laneways at the artist village on June 12, 2014 in Shenzhen, China. The Dafen Artist Village in Guangdong province, China, is home to thousands of artists who reproduce some of the world's most iconic paintings as well as create their own works. The village, on the outskirts of Shenzhen, is becoming a major center for original Chinese art.
Palani Mohan/Getty images
Longgang, Shenzhen, China, 511700

Most major Chinese cities now host artist's villages, where thousands of artists live and create millions of replicas of the world's best paintings. Da Fen, which became an artist's hub in the 1980s, stands out for its impressive past—it once produced more than 60 percent of the world's oil paintings. However, forget any ideas of a quaint artist's retreat. The estimated 5,000+ artists in Da Fen often produce the paintings in factory conditions, turning them out like a car on a production line.

However, there are also hundreds of individual artists who will paint a replica of Rembrandt or Monet in just a few hours. Paintings cost as little as $40. Even if you don't plan on buying, it's a fascinating cultural phenomenon and walking through the dusty streets, lined with works by the great masters, is nothing short of surreal.

03 of 10

Explore Window of the World

Shenzhen window of the world in miniature landscape attraction.
zhang zhenghua/Contributor/Getty Images
Shennan Ave, HuaQiaoCheng, Nanshan Qu, Shenzhen Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China, 518053

Window of the World is Shenzhen's number one attraction. It is a collection of about 130 replicas of world sights and landmarks, all within the 120-acre theme park. The word miniature doesn't really do the re-creations justice as they are large, in some cases two-thirds of the size of the original. The focus is firmly on Europe, with recreations of London's Houses of Parliament, Paris's Eiffel Tower, and Rome's Coliseum. Elsewhere, there are substantial American and Asian collections.

On top of the replicas, you'll find themed streets and food as well as dance shows. The park also puts on an impressive laser and light show. With its amusement park atmosphere, Window of the World is an excellent way to keep the kids entertained all day long.

04 of 10

See the Terracotta Warriors at the Folk Village

If you liked Window of the World, check out Splendid China Folk Village, the sister site to Window of the World. This attraction focuses on the history, art, architecture, and culture of Mother China. It offers replicas of the country's best sights, such as the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors.

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05 of 10

Take in the View from Diwang Mansion

You can see all the way to the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border from Diwang Mansion, one of the Shenzhen’s tallest buildings. On the 69th floor of the Meridian View Centre, there are telescopes so you can see the detail of the city, its skyscrapers, and urban parks.

06 of 10

Enjoy the Creativity at OCT Loft

Shenzhen is becoming much more than a center for copying the Old Masters. It's becoming China’s creative capital attracting modern designers, inventors, and artists. The up and coming artsy community at OCT Loft is housed in what was once a manufacturing district. Now there are art galleries, bookstores, coffee shops, bars, and bistros. The Art Terminal is huge and fun to explore.

07 of 10

Have Drinks and Dinner at Seaworld

Yes, a drink. This is not your family-type sea world. It's a western-type entertainment zone where you can find beer gardens and nightclubs that draw an international clientele. There is a real ship that is the centerpiece of the complex and it is surrounded by water (thus the name, Seaworld.) At night, enjoy the musical water fountains and find a cuisine to your liking. There are Chinese, Korean, Indian, Mexican, and American steak house restaurants. After dinner and drinks, walk down to the docks and catch the nighttime view of Shekou harbor.

08 of 10

Learn Local History at the Shenzhen Museum

Shenzhen seems contemporary but there is some interesting area history. The Shenzhen museum is a great place to learn about the area’s centuries-old culture. It will give you a background to understand the timeline of events leading up to the current contemporary boom.

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09 of 10

Lunch on Dim Sum

You can enjoy Dim Sum in casual elegance. Shang Palace at the Shangri-La Hotel is one of the best places to enjoy this Cantonese delight.

The dining room is upscale and beautifully decorated. In this lux setting, you'll select from a broad variety of dumplings, rice, and meat dishes. Dim Sum is only a small part of the varied menu with specialties from many regions of China. Huaiyang cold dishes are available as well as Sichuan and Chiu Chow dishes.

10 of 10

Shop for Bargains

There are shopping centers for almost anything you would like to buy and you'll save money if you plan ahead and do a little research.

Luohu Commerical City is where most day-trippers from Hong Kong shop. Featuring over 700 shops on over 5 floors, Commercial City is an intense shopping experience with hundreds of salespeople and hustlers all jostling for your attention. It is here that you'll find some knock-offs but at Commercial City you're going to get what you pay for. The best buys here are clothing, tailored suits, and even cut-price massages.

One of the best places in the world to buy electronics and computer goods, the SEG computer market is packed with eight floors of small, independent dealers of both software and hardware for computers and any other type of electronic you can think of.

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Best Things to Do in Shenzhen, China