©Cathy Adams/Lonely Planet


Top choice in Shenzhen

By far the best place for strolling or simply hanging out in the city is the breezy OCT-LOFT complex, a warren of repurposed communist-era factories criss-crossed 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 bookshop.

OCT-LOFT (OCT stands for Overseas Chinese Town) started out, appropriately for Shenzhen, as a TV manufacturing base before it was converted into a creative industries hub. Staying here is recommended, if you can snag a room at the hip Shenzhen Loft Youth Hostel, formerly a factory workers' dormitory complex. Note that OCT-LOFT isn't actually served by OCT metro station.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Shenzhen attractions

1. Splendid China


Traverse the Middle Kingdom in miniature at this theme park featuring China's famous landmarks rendered on a Lilliputian scale. Included in the admission…

2. China Folk Culture Village

0.65 MILES

Operated by CTS, China's major state-owned travel company, this theme park features recreations of minority villages from across China, together with…

3. OCT Art & Design Gallery

0.82 MILES

The interiors of this former warehouse are adorned with the works of Chinese and international graphic designers. Exhibits change frequently. It's a glass…

4. He Xiangning Art Museum

0.88 MILES

The esoteric permanent collection in this impressive building features Japanese-influenced Chinese water paintings by Hé Xiāngníng (1878–1972). She was a…

5. OCT Harbour

1.03 MILES

You could almost be in California at this palm-lined lifestyle complex set around artificial lakes and fountains, offering upmarket dining, nightlife and…

6. Window of the World

1.37 MILES

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…

7. Ping An Finance Centre

3.93 MILES

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…

8. Lianhua Shan Park

4.29 MILES

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,…