subway [suhb-wey] noun: an underground electric railroad, usually in a large city, with plain colored walls and a streamlined design. Often causes commuters to zone out and turn into robots until they get to their designated location.
I love Beijing’s subway system; it is reliable, easy to figure out, and for the most part, modern or at least newer than most western subways. However, just like most subway systems, the vast majority of stations here look very boring.
Although I don’t mind the plain white columns as I hastily transfer to another station or head up to the “real world,” the rare occasions that the doors open to a nicely designed station considerably brighten up a boring commute. Although typically only the newer stations or stations near tourist sites have fun designs, I have come across a few surprises.
Keep scrolling to see photos of my three favorite stations, then maybe look out the subway door the next time you are in transit!
1. Dongsi (东四)
Transfer Station: Line 5 and Line 6
The Dongsi subway station, dismissed by most commuters as a transfer station or “just another stop,” does not seem like a likely place for anything artsy.
However, the next time the doors open while you are riding line 5 or 6, it is worth peaking up from your phone to look outside the subway car; the artists did a really nice job on the orange poles and Chinese-styled columns stretching across the ceiling.
2. Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷)
Transfer Station: Line 6 and Line 8
Nanluoguxiang is a well-known subway stop because it is conveniently located in front of Nanluoguxiang, the hutong with hip café-and-art-store-lined streets. It makes perfect sense, then, that the station looks like hutongs with its fake gray brick walls and artwork of Chinese kites and shadow puppets.
3. Olympic Green (奥林匹克公园)
We can’t highlight some of Beijing’s unique subway stations without including at least one stop from the Olympic line.
The ceiling of the Olympic Green stop imitates the Bird’s Nest, with white branches growing from columns to intertwine above commuter’s heads.
Check back next week for three more interesting subway stations in Beijing!
Post inspired by Nargiz Koshoibekova’s post “The 5 Coolest Beijing Metro Stations” on The World of Chinese
Photo of moving subway: Shawn Clover (Flickr); Olympic station: Michael Chu (Flickr); Subway Map: Wikipedia
Leah Sprague is a high school senior and beijingkids’ intern for July. After living in Seattle for two years, Leah is super excited to be back in Beijing, where she lived from 2009-2012. When not at the office, Leah can be found biking or subway-ing around the city, soaking up everything before she leaves again in August.