The world's leading travel brand Lonely Planet has revealed the top 10 countries, cities, regions and best value places to visit in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2019.
Shenzhen takes the second spot in the best cities list.
Lonely Planet has also rounded up the top things to do in Shenzhen which are listed below.
Dafen Oil Painting VillageThis folksy urban village of narrow lanes and alleys is a pleasure to visit in itself, but what makes Dafen simply unmissable are the hundreds of art studios and stores churning out reproduction oil paintings by hand, from Van Gogh's sunflowers to enormous, gilt-framed scenes of mounted cavalry or galleons at sea rendered in lavish detail, costing upwards of 2000 yuan. Or why not go pop art with a Mona Lisa–meets-Minions mash-up?
OCT-LOFTBy far the best place for strolling or simply hanging out in the city is the breezy OCT-LOFT complex, a warren of repurposed factories crisscrossed by cobbled laneways. It's also a great place to browse a multitude of contemporary art spaces in between pit stops at the area's excellent cafes, design shops, music venues, bars, restaurants and Shenzhen's best bookstore.
ParksLianhua Hill Park
It's an easy half-hour amble up to the top of this tropical hill in the heart of Futian District for Shenzhen's best skyline photographs. Appropriately, you'll be sharing the mind-blowing vistas with Deng Xiaoping (in statue form), the architect of China's reform and opening up.Litchi Park
When big-city fatigue sets in, you can seek refuge in this spacious inner-city park. It may still get busy but here the mood is created by musicians, elderly taichi practitioners, couples crossing faux-ancient bridges and a small lake. There are a few kids' amusement rides and paddle-boats for rent.Club
MusicOCT-LOFT Jazz Festival
Savor 16 days of cutting-edge live jazz each October across various postindustrial venues at OCT-LOFT. The festival, which also offers workshops, screenings and exhibitions, is curated by B10 Live House owners Teng Fei and Tu Fei. Tireless promoters of Shenzhen's creative scenes, they also run OCT-LOFT arts hub Old Heaven Books and organise the Tomorrow Music Festival.Tomorrow Music Festival
A fixture in Shenzhen's arts and alternative spheres since 2014, Tomorrow Music Festival channels the forward-looking spirit of the city by presenting experimental, avant-garde, noise, free jazz and edgy world music from Japan, Germany, the U.K. and China.Midi Music Festival
Founded by Beijing's Midi School of Music in the late 90s, Midi Music Festival has evolved into one of China's largest rock and indie music events, head-banging its way into other major Chinese cities. Shenzhen got its first taste of Midi in 2013, and the fest now returns annually on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.Books
Old Heaven Books
A delicious bookshop specialising in cultural and academic titles, Old Heaven also doubles as a vinyl-music store, cafe, live venue and community creative hub. It's a great place to plug in and catch up on that travel blog over a hazelnut latte. Performances take place here during the OCT-LOFT Jazz Festival.
China's first dedicated museum of design, this architectural landmark opened on the Shekou shore in 2017 to considerable media fanfare. This was largely down to its inaugural exhibition, 'Values of Design', featuring 250 objects and curation from London's world-renowned V&A Museum, and set to run until August 2019. The fabulous building, designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, has plenty of room for humongous exhibitions, an excellent cafe (plus a small rooftop coffee kiosk with ocean views), and a dim-sum restaurant.
OCT Art & Design Gallery
interiors of this former warehouse are adorned with the works of Chinese and international graphic designers. Exhibits change frequently. It's a glass-encased steel structure with a hexagonal design motif, adjacent to the He Xiangning Art Museum.
He Xiangning Art Museum
he esoteric permanent collection in this impressive building features Japanese-influenced Chinese water paintings by He Xiangning (1878–1972). She was a late master of modern Chinese art, a feminist and well-known revolutionary.
He's works are complemented by temporary exhibits that range from avant-garde Chinese art to Western works of an experimental nature.
One of the most popular Cantonese chains in town, so expect noisy waits for a table after 11:30 a.m. Must-try dim sum here are the sweet durian puffs (榴莲酥) and chén cūn fěn (陈村粉), a speciality from the Guangdong foodie heartland of Shunde, consisting of rice roll sheets steamed with pork and gravy.
Excellent dim sum is served in square steamer baskets at this friendly and highly affordable restaurant. The tick-box picture menu is Chinese only; a simple payment key using Chinese characters denotes how much each dish costs. Note the mandatory 6 yuan per person zuò fèi (sitting fee) which includes your choice of tea – pǔ'ěr (fermented tea from Yúnnán) is traditional.
Window of the World
It's 'Around the World in 80 Minutes' (OK, more like half a day) at this endearingly kitsch theme park set in well-tended gardens. From the Houses of Parliament to the Pyramids, the world's great monuments are realised, tackily, in miniature. Some aren't so small – the Eiffel Tower clocks in at an impressive 108m, and Niagara Falls is quite the sight.
China Folk Culture Village
Operated by CTS, China's major State-owned travel company, this theme park features re-creations of minority villages from across China, together with costumed dancing and other cultural performances. Your ticket is also good for the minimonuments of Splendid China next door. The price drops to 80 yuan after 7 p.m.
China Folk Culture Village is linked by a minimonorail run by the Shenzhen Happy Line Tour Co to Splendid China and Window of the World, along with several hotels.
Traverse the Middle Kingdom in miniature at this theme park featuring China's famous landmarks rendered on a Lilliputian scale. Included in the admission is China Folk Culture Village, presenting faux minority villages complete with costumed dancing and cultural performances.
A minimonorail run by the Shenzhen Happy Line Tour Co links the parks together along with Window of the World and several hotels.
B10 Live House
From hair metal to experimental jazz, all genres are equal at this warehouse live-music venue that welcomes eclectic performers from around the world. The musical heartbeat of OCT-LOFT, B10 is also the principal host venue for the OCT-LOFT Jazz Festival and Tomorrow Music Festival.
It's on the north side of Block B10 in the northern section of OCT-LOFT.
Huaqiangbei Commercial Street
A sizeable chunk of Shenzhen's prosperity can be traced to this vast cottage industry of tech that stretches across city blocks. Mall after mall selling every tiny electrical component imaginable has helped make Shenzhen the world's tech manufacturing hub. It's fascinating to browse around, and you'll also find stores selling all manner of cheap, 'made in Shenzhen' gadgets and gizmos.
Ping An Finance Center
The fourth-tallest building in the world when it topped out in 2015, the Ping An Finance Centre (599m) rises like a glass pencil above Shenzhen's ever-blooming Futian District. The Free Sky Observation Deck offers suitably jaw-dropping views on a clear day.
It might be sobering to note that back in 1979, the city's tallest building was just five storeys. In 2017, Shenzhen built more skyscrapers than any other country.
Museum of Contemporary Art and Planning Exhibition
One of those thrillingly space-age, 'only in China' architectural projects, this gargantuan exhibition space designed by Coop Himmelb (l) au anchors Shenzhen’s Futian Cultural District. Opened in 2016, the exterior is a vast curve of chrome planted among the city’s high rises, while the entrance hall is a soaring atrium with a cloud-like mirrored art installation (perfect to take selfies in). Gallery spaces within house temporary exhibitions with an emphasis on contemporary art and design.
This Ming dynasty–era walled town was erected 600 years ago to shore up the coastline against marauding Japanese pirates, and later became embroiled in the Opium Wars with the British in the 19th century. Old houses in narrow alleyways (some operating as restaurants and shops), fortress gates, temples, wells and other relics are the main attractions, many spruced up for visitors.
It's a bit of a mission to get here by public transport. From Futian bus station, take bus E26 to Dapeng bus station (60km, 10 yuan). Change to local bus B753 for the final 4km to the fortress (or take a taxi).
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