Instead of wasting time and money at Commercial City, hop on the metro’s line one and head west away from Luohu, stopping at Lao Jie. At nearly 300 years old, Lao Jie (literally ‘Old Road’) is ancient by Shenzhen standards. Exiting the metro at Exit A puts one in the middle of things and provides an opportunity to grab a milk tea from one of the many stands that populate the area. Clothing, electronics and kitsch can all be had here for exceptional prices, though Hua Qiang Bay offers more reliable electronics. Dongmen’s larger storefronts are a better bet than its stalls to find legitimately branded clothing, but many still offer curious products - you are more likely to stumble across a “Clio Coddle” polo than a Lacoste one. Women’s World offers quality women’s clothing.
Those frazzled by Chinese traffic can window shop comfortably, as Dongmen Commercial Street was closed to cars in 1999. However, don’t limit yourself to this road and explore the many stalled streets branching off of it. Braving claustrophobia and climbing a few stories into at least one congested mall is recommended, as is grabbing a bite to eat. Smashed on a stool between a window and pedestrian traffic, enjoying a bowl of suan la fen and watching shoppers stream by, is a quintessential Dongmen experience. It is also fun watching people hustle passers-by into their restaurants. Rub shoulders at Dongmen and you will see why it is Shenzhen’s most famous shopping area.