1930 Folk Street – Shanghai, China - Atlas Obscura

1930 Folk Street

This tunnel looks like a sliver of Shanghai that's stuck in the past. 


For a place with such an unwieldy name, the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center is home to a surprising number of tourist attractions. Inside, you can find one of the largest scale models of a city ever made, while beneath it, you’ll find 1930 Folk Street.

Built on a pair of tunnels connecting People’s Square Station to People’s Square, Folk Street is filled with businesses whose facades resemble Shanghai architecture during the 1920s and 1930s. Many of the businesses are actually closed.

Inside, the ceiling of the tunnel is painted to resemble a cloudy blue sky and rows of replica gas lamps line the corridor. Visitors can find reproductions of the era’s clothing and streetcars, as well as another model of the city. 

The main type of building recreated here is the famous shikumen. This Shanghainese residential complex combines elements of Western European and traditional Eastern Chinese architecture. Shikumen translates to “stone warehouse gate” and are notable for their arched entrances and inner lanes that connect the many dwellings. Folk Street has a few of these lanes, although they simply lead to the former shopping area’s offices and toilets.

Know Before You Go

Folk Street can be reached by going down the stairs under the Northern corner of the Urban Planning Exhibition Center, as well as through a tunnel connecting it directly with People’s Square Station. It's open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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