Art District of Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a sprawling southern Chinese city of 12 million people. At first glance, it may seem like a grey expanse, but once you start exploring, you will find there is much more happening at street level. In fact, Shenzhen was named an official 'Creative City' by UNESCO, with good reason.

One needs only spend a day in the OCT Loft to understand how Shenzhen got the label of 'Creative City.' OCT Loft is an old industrial neighborhood turned art district, and it serves as Shenzhen's creative cultural center. Getting there is super easy: take the dark green subway line to Qiaocheng East, and go out Exit A. Walk straight out of the exit for a few minutes until you reach Enping Street, where you will turn right and walk another 5 minutes. You can't miss the place, as the whole district is oozing hipsters wearing baggy overalls and platform sneakers.

Near the entrance of the district

Cute little florist shop

One thing I noticed right away is that there is public art everywhere, with vines and graffiti covering the walls of the old buildings. There are also many exhibition halls or art galleries you can go into, but the streets themselves have plenty to look at. I only had one afternoon there, and so I chose to wander around for an overview rather than really dig into the meat of the place, but I'd like to go back for some more in depth exploration.

Stumbled into this art space behind a coffee shop-
anyone can buy an easel and jump in!

Beautiful patios all over the area

Cafes of all colors spill out onto each sidewalk and path. There are jazz cafes, book cafes, art cafes, you name it. I was there on a Saturday, which is apparently also an artisan market (of course). Boutiques and vintage shops abound, as well as art and design supply stores and florists. Here is the OCT Loft official website, but beware: the English translation is almost nonsensical. Nevertheless, this neighborhood makes a great weekend getaway for Hong Kongers, and I just wish I had visited sooner!

A bookshop/cafe in the OCT Loft

Vintage jazz bar

Outdoor cafes everywhere

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