We’re all guilty of hanging around Coco Park or KK1 during our weekends and Friday nights -the big malls around the city centre, or the lively restaurants that Sea World has to offer. However, while they are undoubtedly entertaining, we can soon realise that these visits to the aforementioned popular locations can become a bit… repetitive. Not to worry, though! If you’re looking for something more refreshing and exciting, here’s 10 hidden gems peppered around Shenzhen that you should consider visiting for your next night out (or Instagram post!). 

1. Abandoned Amusement Park @ 1979

Photo Courtesy of Joe MacPherson

Located nearby the restaurant complex of 1979 Futian, this former theme park now lays abandoned and it makes for a mesmerising sight.  Left to decay away over the years, this has become a favourite spot for Shenzhen photographers, due to its interesting theme and composition.  Many photo walks have taken place here. Technically you cannot get too close to the machines, however (if at your own risk you choose to) it is perfectly doable: just slip through a gap in the fence, although sometimes the guard may be there and stop you. Sunset on a good weather day is especially great here, and afterwards, 1979 makes for a good place to eat and drink. Which leads me to…

Xiangmei North station, exit B2 || 福田区侨香路1011号1979文化创意园区A区3栋1层

2. 1979 Restaurant Complex

Source: qin816xia @ Xiaohongshu

If you’re new to Shenzhen and want to have a rather secluded, aesthetic✨ dining experience by the water, 1979 is the place to go. Having multiple, stylish cafes and restaurants with different cuisines, you can simply pick wherever you’d like to dine and snap a couple of cute photos. My personal recommendation is Mann cafe (especially during autumn/winter – its food, decorations and cosy atmosphere give me a whole other sense of comfort!).

3. Flower World (or ‘Dutch Flower Town’)

Photo courtesy of Ravleen Kaur

Do you like colourful rows of flowers and plants? Small, adorable cafes? Old-fashioned windmills and pet stores? Come to Flower World, an attempt to create a tiny Dutch corner in the city (with the occasional cow statue, but hey, they’re part of the charm). Here’s a green and open space to go to on a calming, golden afternoon, either for the sights or for buying flowers/pet necessities – or both. Picnics are also a nice option. Visits to Flower World can be a breath of fresh air and a must-see for those who enjoy the little things — would also recommend to those who have families and would like to go on a relaxing walk.

(Nanshan District) || 深圳市南山区月亮湾大道3008号荷兰花卉小镇

4. Shuiwei Cultural Block

Source: Dazhongdianping

Think 1979, only more accessible and with many more dining options. While certainly a bit of a popular spot to those who know it (also considering it is at the heart of Futian), I see Shuiwei as a hidden gem as it takes a bit of wandering along Fumin to find it — a bustling collection of cafes, bars and restaurants, especially for those who have an inclination for Cantonese cuisine. It’s a wonderful, cosy alley to walk through on a night out, and after dinner, you can even stop by some DVD stores to pick up a movie as you make your way to the metro. 10/10 recommend walking through at least once!

5. Jardin Orange (SoFun Land)

Image courtesy of Joe MacPherson

Home of the Jardin Orange Art Studio and with little cafes and bars dotted around, this a nice place for a daytime walk (and while growing in popularity, a perfect secret spot!).  While very quiet on the weekdays, it comes out of its shell at night with local students from the university campus frequenting here. The star of the show here, of course, is the graffiti art murals that are splashed around — some big, some small, all very eye-catching. You can spend hours on a hunt for your favourite one. This area is rapidly developing, and may even rival OCT LOFT one day. 

Tanglang metro station, exit D || 南山区塘兴路133号

6. Dong Men Amusement Park

Possibly one of the funnest hidden gems in Shenzhen, Dong Men amusement park is located at the very back of the Dong Men pedestrian market. Its real name is the Cultural Palace Playground (文化宫游乐场), and all you need to do to get there is to literally walk through the Dong Men market until you get to People’s Park road. Ta-da!

It is filled with rides that range from ridiculous (such as a caged-in rotating floor in which you are supposed to try to stand up for as long as you can,) to down-right fun. There are magic trick booths, fruit stands (as always), bars, karaoke, and even fishing!

Well, fishing for goldfish, anyway. It’s a great place to spend the whole day with your friends or even on a date. There is no entrance fee for the park, but the rides cost money (cheap, though! Bring 20 RMB). This place is a must-experience. You can thank me later.

7. I-Factory

Image courtesy of Shenzhen I-Factory

Previously a glass-producing factory, this particular spot has been converted into a rather exclusive cultural/creative park. Colossal, industrial and vast, the I-factory has been used by artists for fashion shows, live music, art exhibits and even acts as an occasional filming location, tucked and hidden away in Shekou. On uneventful days, however, it is a secret, tranquil location worth exploring to escape from the noise of the city. Take your time to walk through its great halls, admiring its silos and giant chimneys (as well as the graffiti art here and there!). If you’re looking for a place to roam for hours with a heavy, dystopian vibe, you should definitely consider going here. (I dare say that it is criminally underrated!) And yes, it has a go-kart place nearby, too. A hidden gem if there ever was one.

A blend of modern and old — Image courtesy of Cherry Li

8. i-Go Private Cinema @ Fumin (i-Go私人影院)

Source: Dazhongdianping

The perfect location for a cosy date or hang-out with friends for a movie night — a private cinema with rooms that you can choose from, having different sizes and themed furniture. There’s an assortment of snacks you can buy at the entrance, and after that, you are free to comfortably lie back and watch movies for as long as you’ve booked the room for (50-90RMB per hour). Note that they have their own collection of movies to choose from, but I personally found several updated horror flicks, so it’s definitely a fun experience. And what’s better is that it’s so easily accessible – just hop off Fumin’s B metro exit and turn right and into the neighbouring building, take the elevator, and you’re there.

Also remember that this isn’t the only private cinema in Shenzhen — it is one of multiple spots that you can find through a quick online search (now that you know that they exist!). 

9. Shenzhen Graffiti Wall

A truly hidden secret spot, this wall stretches for at least 1 km if not more at HongHu Park. On it, you will find some of the most creative and original graffiti murals in the city: from ‘Rick & Morty’ to ‘Big Fat Chicken’, there is something that will be sure to make everyone smile. The wall is often updated with fresh murals too, so each time you go, there is a chance that the wall will be different. While you’re here, be sure to check out the park itself! Large and clean, it is nice to walk around to get some peace and quiet.  With a large lake and many benches scattered around, it is a good place to relax, especially during the peak summer season when the lotus flowers are in bloom.

Courtesy of Joe MacPherson
HongHu metro station line 7, Exit D (inside the park, Luohu District) || 罗湖区文锦北路2023号

10. Central Park

Photo courtesy of Khushi Patil

While it’s a well-known fact that Shenzhen is an incredibly green city, the Central Park in Futian is indeed a secret spot, as many fail to notice how truly vast it is! Connected to 2 other parks, it is such an amazingly open space to go for runs, picnics, casual walks, or biking sessions — it never disappoints, and walking across all 3 parks (including going on a boat ride on the second one) can be incredibly therapeutic. It is highly recommendable to take the time to know Central Park and its extensions, as you can often find small hidden gems within the park, anyway – tennis court tables, gazebos where musicians often play. It’s especially gorgeous during the early sunrises or golden sunsets. 

This is a merged article of Jen Murray’s and Joe MacPherson’s; updated by Cheska Pacheco.