This article examines the impact of the Nationalist regime’s modernizing project on the religious landscape and people’s public behavior in Republican Guangzhou. In the transformation of the Guangzhou City God Temple, urban space became a place of contest between the government’s modernizing project and urban people’s religious traditions. In 1931, the municipal government converted the City God Temple into the Native Goods Exhibition Hall, a political space that attempted to foster patriotic consumption among the populace. Yet, beneath the surface, the people of Guangzhou continued to treat the “exhibition hall” as a religious space for expressing their faith in their patron god. While the government was doubtless an important force in modernizing the urban landscape, the city’s people managed to inscribe their values onto the urban public space.