A young city in its prime, Shenzhen always offers something new to see, eat and do. With new internet famous cafes and creative exhibitions popping up monthly, the city's only consistency is its strive for all things modern and trendy.
When to Go
Although there is something to do in Shenzhen year-round, it is best to avoid visiting during the smelting hot summer months or the smog season in January. Spring and fall are the best times to visit as the weather is most pleasant.
Shenzhen shares all the Chinese holidays such as Chinese New Year, but the city is known to become an empty shell as everyone floods home to celebrate with family. For something local, come at the end of June for the Lychee Festival and go lychee picking. If you are more of a seafood person, the third week of December is the Oyster Festival that celebrates the fishing industry.
What to Eat
As a modern city with a mixed population, Shenzhen might not have traditional food to offer, but you are sure to find the latest, hot new dish to try. The current favorite is coconut chicken hot pot and cheese cap tea. Not that adventurous? You can't go wrong opting for the fresh seafood. Take your pick with oysters, sand shrimps and Nan'ao abalone freshly caught or grown locally.
Souvenir to Take Home
As the export and import capital that's famous for selling fake goods, it's not obvious at first sight what else you can buy in Shenzhen. Dried seafood goods are popular for the older generation, and if time permits, there is also a bimonthly arts and crafts fair featuring local artists at the OCT Loft.
Sustainable Travel Tip
Public transport is easy to use in Shenzhen and very affordable, not to mention it's the best way to get around. While traveling, be sure to skip the plastic. Although they are supposed to charge for the use of plastic bags, many shops will still hand them out to you. Simply say no and use your own shopping bag.
MOCAPE, the Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition, is an architecture fan's dream come true. Designed by the Austrian architecture firm Coop Himmelb(l)au, it's a sleek and modern marvel that's photogenic in every corner. Best of all, it's stunning any time of the day and during all weather conditions.