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Fun Times - Shanghai Great World

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Shanghai Great World, a six storey building is the city's oldest entertainment complex. In the early 20th century it hosted all day simultaneous performances of all kinds of drama and activities and reportedly drew 20,000 people a day. Still an entertainment hub it now dishes out family friendly entertainments.


With a history of nearly a hundred years the Shanghai Great World was and is an entertainment hub. Celebrating a turn of the 20th century architectural style that blended western classical and Chinese architectural forms, the 13580 square meters six storied building is joined in the middle by a hexagonal eight storied tower.
This vast entertainment complex was the place to go to for those seeking a day of fun, entertainment and thrills in Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s as it hosted all day simultaneous theater and cinema performances and entertainments from gambling to magic performances, acrobatic and circus acts to fortune telling and was also the haunt of many unsavoury people and activities. It is said to have had 20,000 visitors daily. In addition to its entertainment spaces the facility also sported a roof garden, a bank, dance halls, a hugely popular hall of distorted mirrors, massage parlours, bars, spaces for barbers, mid wives, marriage brokers, story tellers, shooting galleries and an open air area with ice creams parlours, herbal medicine stores, games, shops and restaurants. It was closed down during WWII.

Reopened in 1954 the Great World offered a more wholesome type of entertainment ranging from traditional Chinese drama to acrobatics, comedy and music. In 1962 further attractions were added in the form of a cinema and a fairground. The centre was closed and reopened in 1987 only to be closed again. Refurbished and reopened in 2010 in time for the Shanghai World Expo it is now the site for performances of Chinese folk dancing, acrobatics, Beijing Opera and houses a video arcade, discotheque, a kid's area with cartoon world, movie theaters, karaoke bars and many European style restaurants and bars. The star attractions however are the Grand World Arena and the Guinness Book of Records Museum and Arena where many world record beating events are hosted.

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