One of the most important and profitable tourist cities in China, Shenzhen, whose annual foreign exchange income of tourism reached US$5.003 billion in 2019 and reached US$0.38 billion in the first half year of 2020, is regarded as a city of theme parks and tourism innovation. There are more than 100 scenic spots around the city, including man-made theme parks, natural ecological parks, coastal resorts, shopping plazas and historic sites. With sea, land and air checkpoints, Shenzhen has a safe, quick and convenient tourist transport network. Eating, living, traveling, shopping and recreating in Shenzhen are made easy and fun with ample tourism infrastructure and products and food from around the world. Shenzhen is a coastal cosmopolitan tourist city. Visitors can travel freely and quickly within a one-hour drive and appreciate the modern young city’s beauty and ethos. The city received 12.1695 million overnight cross-border visitors and 252 million people who entered and left through the border checkpoints in 2019.
City of Theme Parks
Shenzhen is famed as a city of theme parks. Chinese theme parks featuring culture originated here and spread to other cities. Window of the World, Splendid China•China Folk Culture Villages, Happy Valley and OCT East are some of the theme parks you can’t miss.
Covering an area of nearly 9 square kilometers, Overseas Chinese Town East (OCT East) was elaborately designed by OCT Group. It is the first domestic ecotourism demonstration area integrating themed parks, towns, hotels, performances, a Buddhist temple and two mountain golf courses. OCT East is one of China’s first 5A-rated scenic spots.
Window of the World
As one of the must-go scenic spots in Shenzhen, Window of the World is a fantastic park with vivid replicas of the world’s wonders, historical heritages and famous scenic sites.
Located between Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town’s theme park cluster and Binhai Boulevard, OCT Harbor is a commercial leisure center with multiple businesses such as retail, catering, entertainment, offices, apartments and hotel.
A large modern theme park, Happy Valley boasts a large number of breathtaking and exciting amusements and advanced facilities. As one of the best theme parks in China, it has seen branches set up in Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai.
Shenzhen Safari Park
Shenzhen is home to the first safari park in China. There are more than 300 kinds of free-range wild animals, around 10,000 in total, from all over the earth. Many of them are world-famous, rare and protected animals in China.
As one of the 10 famous scenic spots in Shenzhen, Evergreen Resort is a farm featuring an environmental protection theme and covers an area of about 200,000 square meters. A song about the resort was composed by renowned songwriter Qiao Yu.
Shenzhen boasts 260.5 kilometers of coastline, 51 islands of various sizes and more than 20 beaches that are for traveling. In 2019, Shenzhen was named one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world by Lonely Planet. The 19.5-kilometer coastline in Yantian District and the coastline along the Dapeng Peninsula were each named one of the eight most beautiful coastlines in China by Chinese National Geography. Yantian District was named one of Guangdong’s first demonstration districts of holistic tourism, while Dapeng New District was named a national pilot zone of tourism reform and innovation. The seaside promenades in Futian and Yantian as well as the seaside scenic spots across the city are popular destinations for both local residents and visitors. The OCT Harbor is dubbed the “cultural lounge of Shenzhen” and the Shekou International Cruise Homeport has become a new tourist facility.
OCT East, a national ecological resort occupying about 9 square kilometers, aims to provide visitors with an opportunity to escape from the bustle of city life and return to nature. Tourists can also feel tranquility at other local spots, including Fairy Lake Botanical Garden, 943.7-meter Wutong Mountain, the mountainside Hongfa Temple, Waterlands Resort, Guangming Farm, Qiniang Mountain and Fenghuang Mountain.
Shenzhen is not only a modern city with a history of reform, but also a city with an ancient civilization. New Stone Age ruins found in Xiantouling in Dapeng indicate that humans inhabited the area at least 6,700 years ago. There are 51 city-level protected sites around Shenzhen, including Zhongying Street, Dapeng Fortress, Qing Dynasty Hakka architecture, Song Dynasty Young Emperor’s Tomb and Chiwan Battery.
Chiwan Goddess Temple
The magnificent temple was built in the Song Dynasty. It has undergone several repairs during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The temple is an important station of the Maritime Silk Road in history.
Intangible Cultural Heritage
Shenzhen’s list of intangible cultural heritage covers categories ranging from folk culture, folk music, traditional dance, folk arts and folk customs to traditional craftsmanship and traditional medicine. Among these items, seven are State-level intangible cultural legacies: fish-lantern dance of Shatoujiao, traditional orthopedic skills of the Guo family of Pingle, Chinese kylin dance of Dachuankeng, Qixing lion dance of Songgang, kylin dance of Yongshengtang of Bantian, traditional ancestor-worshipping ceremony of Xiasha Village and Jia Family's Acupressure Therapy.
Zhongying Street is located in Shatoujiao Subdistrict in Yantian District. This 250-meter-long, three-to-four-meter-wide street is the only street in China to implement the “one street, two systems” policy. Once a territory ceded to the United Kingdoms, Zhongying Street, which was returned to the motherland at the end of the 20th century and is now enjoying prosperity brought by China’s reform and opening up, is an witness of the drastic changes taken place in the country in the past century and an epitome of the massive progress the country has made in the past 71 years since the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. Yantian District is actively building Shatoujiao into a cooperation zone featuring tourism and consumption. The cooperation zone, with Zhongying Street at its core, will be built into a cooperation zone of cross-border tourism, a pilot zone of international trade and consumption, a platform for piloting programs between Shenzhen and Hong Kong and a demonstration zone of deep cooperation in the GBA area that is suitable for living, doing business and traveling.
Shenzhen Bay International Fringe Festival
First launched in Edinburgh, the UK in 1947, the Fringe Festival has developed into the world’s largest and most welcomed comprehensive cultural and arts event featuring avant-garde, creative and diversified shows. A parallel session of the event is held annually in Shenzhen since 2010.
Tourism and Cultural Festivals
There are more than 170 tourism-related and cultural festivals in Shenzhen, including Shenzhen Golden Coast Tourism Festival, Shenzhen Dapeng International Outdoor Carnival and Window of the World International Beer Festival.
Shenzhen Midi Music Festival
Midi Music Festival is China’s first music festival featuring original music. It was launched by Beijing Midi Music School, the cradle of Chinese indie rock bands. Every year, the festival invites dozens of bands from home and abroad, attracting tens of thousands of fans from across the country. The Shenzhen stop of Midi Music Festival is held annually since 2013.
OCT Flame Tree Carnival
Began in 2013 as an annual photo contest featuring flame trees, the OCT Flame Tree Carnival has turned from a community-level event into a city-level cultural festival exploring the relationship among man, nature and city.
August Joyful Shopping Trip in Shenzhen
Hosted by the Shenzhen Municipal Government and organized by the Commerce Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality, the August Joyful Shopping Trip in Shenzhen includes a series of events aimed at boosting consumption. Joined by over 10,000 brands in more than 5,000 offline stores across Shenzhen and 10 scenic spots, the more than 1,000 events held during the shopping festival offer not just discounts but also performances, sports events and parent-children interactive activities.
Shenzhen Nanshan Litchi Cultural and Tourism Festival
Launched in 1998, the festival is one of the oldest tourism festivals in Shenzhen. A litchi-themed event, it is held from June to July every year. Various activities including economic and trade events as well as cultural activities are held.
Window of the World International Beer Festival
Held at Window of the World from July to August annually, the beer festival features delicious, frothy beer and food from around the world as well as rock music performances.
Shenzhen Golden Coast Tourism Festival
Held in Yantian District from September to December every year, the festival includes events like Shenzhen (Dameisha) Beach Music Festival, Shenzhen Dameisha International Kite Festival and China (Shenzhen) International Boat Show.
Happy Valley International Magic Festival
A big event attracting magicians from around the globe, the magic festival has been held annually at Happy Valley since 2000.
Shenzhen Dapeng International Outdoor Carnival
Held from August to November each year, the carnival is comprised of 10 activities and outdoor competitions, which attract tens of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers from Shenzhen and neighboring cities. The carnival has become a grand annual outdoor event in China.
Shenzhen is a renowned shopping paradise, with abundant choices of international luxury goods and local products on hand. The culturally diverse city offers a variety of foods, from Western cuisines to local street food. Shenzhen has a developed retail network.
Food and Bars
Shenzhen serves some of the best food in the world. With tens of thousands of eateries, visitors can taste delicious food representing countless cultures. Bar streets, including those in Shekou Sea World, Window of the World and Coco Park, all provide good choices for pubgoers at night.
Shenzhen’s famous local specialties include Shajing oysters, Nanshan litchi, Xixiang shrimp, Fuyong fish, Nan’ao abalone, Shiyan pear, Longgang chicken, Pingshan orange, Xili mango, Songgang preserved duck, Gongming roast goose, Guangming young pigeon and more than 150 kinds of medicinal herbs.