Why Shenzhen still has a huge piece of my heart

Just a little over 30 years ago this city located at the Southeast coast of China, bordering Hong Kong, was just a fishing village and is now a metropolis of 11.91 million! For many Shenzhen is a god sent compared to other northern cities in China. On average experiences pollution 40 index rating less than Beijing. Though Shenzhen still may not be a gold star city in pollution ratings, it is becoming a innovative city technology and Climate leadership.
All of these facts and more about my beloved Shenzhen makes me still hold a spot in my heart, here are a few.

Shenzhen’s abundant green spaces!
Some of my fondest memories of my beloved city are the many parks and greenways. Just a hop, skip from a lot of Futian, Nanshan, and Shekou districts are many places for the community to hike, run, or just plain old enjoy nature!
One of my favorite activities on a weeknight in SZ would be to climb up Lianhua Mountain (more of a hill, if you will). About a 20 minute hike up stairs, you could behold the city.

At the peak of Lianhua Mountain, you can see from Nanshan district to Luohu!

After your decent you could walk down to Children’s library and behold the city lights under the Civic Center (the building you can see in the Lianhua Mountain peek that almost looks like a stingray). 

Under the Civic Center is a great spot for an urban picnic!

The magic continues well after the views from the peak as you are surrounded by night lights and locals flying glow in the dark kites. Sometimes I would go down below to the Children’s library and grab Dairy Queen and sit to watch what is Shenzhen.

Some other fond memories include the Greenways of Shenzhen. Perfect running/biking tracks which is said to be connected from Guizhou to Shenzhen (120km long), all equipt with night lights for your late runs.

Along Furong Road in Futian District is several kilometers of running track, part of Shenzhen’s greenway!

Frankie’s
One of the best burgers I’ve had in my life has had to come from Frankie’s Bar and Grill. Located just a hand’s throw from Shenzhen’s Free Trade Zone (also in Shekou). Walking inside felt like stepping into a bar in America, which is a great way to cure homesickness.
But why would I say burgers at Frankie’s are some of the best I’ve had in my life? Well, you know that kinda burger that is so thick that when you bite into it you taste a well done outside, yet a perfect pink middle that nearly falls apart in your hands because of the juices? Yeah. That kind of burger. Not to mention great beer on tap (Bionic). As well as their fried pickles were divine!

Throwing back a cold green beer at Frankie’s St. Patrick’s day celebration in 2014!

Access to the beach
Being a coastal city, Shenzhen is a striking distance from the beach. The closest beach being about a 45 minute drive from Luohu district, but the key to the perfect beach going is to go much farther. The closest beach called Dameisha 大梅沙海滨公园 is a free beach therefore being the proximity and the lack of price many people go there which causes a lot of overcrowding and litter.
The real deal is when you get out a bit further to Xiaomeisha 小梅沙 or Xichong西冲. Xiaomeisha is within walking distance from Dameisha and is a paid beach and is slightly less packed compared. Just another 30-40 minutes farther (depending on traffic, because it becomes one lane), is Xichong. Due to the fact it’s nearly 2 hours out from Luohu (much farther if you’re driving from Nanshan or Shekou), its one of the least populated beaches in Shenzhen’s vicinity

                                                                                                                                       

One of my other favorite parts of Chinese beaches is the ability to rent a BBQ! Very affordably, you and your friend can rent a barbecue pit that is lit for you and if you didn’t bring meats and spices with you, no problem! You can buy meats, veggies, knives, oil, and spices right there (granted they many not be of a foreign flavor).


BBQ pits are easily available to rent at many Shenzhen beaches. You can bring your own meats or it is available for purchase!

Some of my favorite memories in Shenzhen are floating in the warm salt water, enjoying the sun, drinking, then joining up with friends for laughter around the barbecue pit eating delicious grilled food!

Great beer.
One of my favorite breweries is Bionic Brewery. Nothing better than fresh beer, poured correctly at a great price! Cheers to the crew at bionic for always making drinking a great experience!


Flashback to a Bionic Brew popup in Shekou 2015. Something else I love; founder Joe Finkenbinder, has always provided space to artists to show their skills!

Apartment views.
As I mentioned before, Shenzhen is only a little over 30 years old. Therefore most of the building in Shenzhen are high-rises, this makes for some pretty spectacular views. Here are some views from the places I lived in Shenzhen.



The proximity to Hong Kong
Hong Kong has got to be one of my favorite cities in the world but because of the exorbitant cost of living in Hong Kong, I could not see myself living there. Living within a quick taxi or walking distance to the border crossing gave me the key to seeing the sights in Hong Kong! Just about 1.5 hours to Tsim Sha Tsui and you were at city center in Hong Kong!

View from the Avenue of Stars at TST, Hong Kong. A view I could never tire of no matter how many times I went to Hong Kong!

 

Even though I no longer live in Shenzhen this tropical bustling metropolis will always hold a piece of my heart. It is one of the first cities I said to myself as I was abroad in other countries, “I cannot wait to get back home”.