As an expatriate, where you rent an apartment in Shenzhen first starts with where you are going to work. Shenzhen is a very long city and so you have to probably first consider your commute. It also depends on if you have a family and have kids that need to go to an international school. Shenzhen now also has an extensive subway network that allows for more options. The city government’s promotion of multiple central business district areas also makes the question of where to live in Shenzhen more complicated.

What is your Shenzhen lifestyle?

Nightlife district or family district?
There is a place in Shenzhen to live for all types of people / Photo courtesy of Jumpstory

Along with your work, where you live depends on the type of person you are. Below we recommend some places to live based on your life situation. Take a look and then read about the locations and Shenzhen districts below.

The single socialite in Futian

If you are single and want to socialize in the city of Shenzhen, then you probably want to get yourself to Futian District. It has the best nightlife and restaurant options and is the spot that is very convenient to the coolest events in Shenzhen.

The expat family in Shekou

If you have a solid job that pays for your kids international schooling, then it makes sense to live near the major international schools in Shekou. Move your expat family to Shekou and if you can afford it rent a house in Jingshan villas.

The traveling business person in Futian or Nanshan

If you are a frequent flyer that needs to dash in and out of the city, then you should either consider Futian or Nanshan. Futian places you near the Huanggang border checkpoint that gets you to Hong Kong and the Hong Kong airport quickly. Other options to Hong Kong include the 15 minute high-speed train from Futian. There are also highways and trains that get you to the Shenzhen Airport. On the other side of the city you can live in Nanshan which puts you near the Shenzhen Bay border checkpoint as well as close to the Shenzhen Airport.

The English teacher in Luohu

If you are coming to Shenzhen to teach English try to negotiation housing with your school first as that is the best way to get settled in the city. If housing is not available or you want to strike out on your own then are some places to live on a budget. You can find some of the cheaper older housing stock in the Futian villages such as Huanggang village. Longgang might also be a good option as the rail links are strong and you can get into the city fairly quickly. Finally Luohu also has older and possibly cheaper housing stock. You will should be looking for something a one bedroom apartment or studio. Don’t forget to check out our English teaching jobs in Shenzhen.

The athlete and fitness nut in Nanshan

Water front park to exercise in Shenzhen Bay
Run or exercise along the Shenzhen Bay water front / Courtesy Brent Deverman

If you are into exercise and outdoor activities, you might consider Nanshan and access the Shenzhen Bay Park that runs along the city. There are lots of opportunities to go running or do yoga on the waterfront. When choosing a place to live many of the gardens have gyms however they usually have limited opening hours and equipment.

Luckily Shenzhen is full of parks and there are usually near a park and can run in them in the early morning.

Best areas to live in Shenzhen

Shekou is a family oriented area
Shekou is a family oriented area around Sea World

See below for some advice on where to live in Shenzhen and which area might be best for you. There are a lot of English speaking realestate agents in Shenzhen that know the city well and be sure to consult them when you are apartment hunting. Serviced apartments are also dotted around the city if you have a busy schedule without time to clean or need a shorter stay.

Shekou & Seaworld is expat central

Traditionally Shekou (technically part of Nanshan District) has been the most family friendly area with the most International School options however as rents have gone up and housing options have improved around the rest of the city expats start to choose other locations. One popular complex is Coastal Rose Garden. Shekou also has a ferry terminal to get to the Hong Kong airport.

Futian District is Shenzhen’s CBD

Futian is a great spot for the hustle and bustle of the city. This is where the exhibition center is and Shenzhen’s main CBD. It is the cosmopolitan area where everyone comes to work and stay for business trips in the many five star hotels. It is close to the Coco Park bar and restaurant district. This makes it also one of the more expensive places to live. Most of the Shenzhen residents end up commuting from places such as Longgang to this CBD. If you are single and want to be where the nightlife action is this is probably your best bet.

OCT (Overseas Chinese Town) your green space

OCT strikes a middle ground of being central in the city but having an extra amount of greenery and smaller town feel. It also has a popular art area called OCT Loft where there are art galleries and cafés. If you can afford this area then it could be the closest in town living that might match a western suburb.

Nanshan District with the newest apartments

Nanshan district is home of the high-tech park and thus if you work near there can be one of the preferred places to live. It has plenty of brand-new housing in of comfortable size and new malls like MixC.

Longgang District with a longer commute

Hundreds of new housing compounds have been built in Longgang and the city has expanded out that way with new universities and sports facilities. There is even a Coco Park Longgang mall out that way as well.

Bao’an District & Qianhai

Bao’an District has started to become a place that more expats go to as rents are cheaper there and there is now ample housing. The new Qianhai CBD is claimed that it will be the new Manhattan of China. The CBD still has some building to do but a lot of the housing stock is built out.

Luohu District is the oldest housing stock

This part of the city is known for the cheaper and older housing. You probably don’t want to live there unless you are on a budget or like the grittier part of Shenzhen. Most of the Luohu district residents that have made a bundle of money on the property market have bought apartments in Nanshan and migrated there.

The Beach is where to relax

Beach life in Yantian Shenzhen is possible
Shenzhen even has a little bit of surfing / Photo courtesy of Jumpstory

Shenzhen is actually on the coast. If you are doing some form of remote work you have the possibility of living next to a Shenzhen beach for cheap this could be out as far as Huizhou and Damei Sha beach. The beaches can even be pretty nice with five-star hotels near the however you might not have a lot of western food options but your rent will be super cheap.

Decided to relocate to Shenzhen

If you think there is a place for you to live in Shenzhen then these relocation companies in Shenzhen can help you.

Summary of where to live

If you want to be around the most expats, Shekou is your best bet followed by Futian. You can grow your friend network there. Other areas are still pretty thin and so you might not find as many expats to socialize with but rents will be cheaper. In any of the areas you of course will find plenty of Chinese, however as you go further out of the city most of the apartment complexes are gated communities so it can still be hard to meet people.

Latest Apartments available in Shenzhen

In our apartments section, we have new apartments posted daily by agents and home owners. Here is some of the latest apartments:

Continue reading about living in Shenzhen

Other Resources for Living in Shenzhen

Along with our expert knowledge of Shenzhen we also used some of these resources in our research for the best areas to live in the city:

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