Shanghai, China. Photo by Edward He, Unsplash

Go World Travel is reader-supported and may earn a commission from purchases made through links in this piece.

Shanghai stands out as one of the top cities in China that birthed the construction of skyscrapers. The city is notable for the iconic Jin Mao Tower, which is 420m tall, and Oriental Pearl Tower, around 468m above the ground. These were the first tallest buildings to spring up in Shanghai, while many other cities in China have their skylines between 100 to 200 meters.

Best Tips & Tools to Plan Your Trip

The city is blessed with architects who have an eye for tall buildings as Shanghai is home to the second tallest building globally – the Shanghai tower completed in 2015.

In East Asia, Shanghai is majestic and with its supertall towers all above 400 meters. No other cities can rival Shanghai in this respect. Below is an overview of the tallest buildings in Shanghai

Shanghai is one of the world’s top places with its iconic buildings and high skylines. A China Visa is the only thing standing between you and the fantastic Shanghai skyline.

Shanghai Tower in China CC Image by hans-johnson
Shanghai Tower in China. Photo by hans-johnson

Shanghai Tower

  • Chinese Name: 上海中心大厦
  • Height: 632meter (2,073 feet)
  • Location: 501, Middle Yincheng Road

Shanghai Tower is the tallest Shanghai building in China and the second tallest in the world. This Shanghai skyline includes Jin Mao Tower to its North and Shanghai World Financial Center to its east.

Observation Desk for Shanghai Tower

If you’d love a great view of the city, explore the tallest building in Shanghai and make your way to the observation deck. From this spot, tourists can see the Huangpu River, the Bund located in the west and several surrounding Shanghai skyscrapers like Jin Mao Tower.

You can also explore the exhibition hall located on floor B1, with an express elevator ride to the 118th floor. On the 125th and 126th floor, they can view the Shanghai Eye’s exhibition.

Shanghai, China: Are you ready to explore the Shanghai skyscrapers? Take an expedition to Shanghai where you can tour the vertical cities within the city

Construction of Shanghai Tower

Shanghai tower was constructed in a River basin with a solid foundation. Engineers used nine hundred and eighty foundation piles deep inside the ground as far as 282 feet down with concrete of 61,000 m3 to set a thick baseboard. The baseboard was used as an anchor for the main building.

This Shanghai skyscraper’s exterior spirals upward in the form of a snake. On every floor, the building twists with one degree to counter the effect of the wind at higher altitudes. This is an essential detail for a building as tall as Shanghai Tower. It helps the tower resist the wind and water from the powerful typhoons in the area.

The tower is made of two glass facades – an inner and the exterior one, which overlaps the building like a tube. These two tubes have space that varies from 1 meter to 10 meters, giving ample public space in the building. Also, it acts like a heat insulation layer, providing the same effect as a thermos flask. This effect helps the city by reducing the need for indoor air conditioning.

There is more to the Shanghai tower than the height. The concept that guided the city’s creation was to have a “vertical city within a city,” which has nine sections. Over 380,000 square meters, 128 floors and 149 lifts, every section has 12 to 15 floors. There are hotels, shops, boutiques, gardens, offices and conference rooms in the building. Three of the elevators in this Shanghai building are the fastest in the world, with a speed of 65 km/hour.

The Shanghai World Finance Center, known for looking like a giant bottle opener, is a vertical city within the city of Shanghai. CC Image by lwtt93
The Shanghai World Finance Center, known for looking like a giant bottle opener, is a vertical city within the city of Shanghai. Photo by lwtt93

Shanghai World Financial Center

  • Chinese Name: 上海环球金融中心
  • Height: 492m
  • Location: 100 Century Avenue, Pudong, Shanghai, China

Have you ever wondered why this building is so famous? The exterior is the shape of a bottle opener. It is located in the financial hub of Pudong.

Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC) is blessed with a mall on the ground floor and exhibition halls. There are also monetary agencies, renowned hotels and conference rooms inside this Shanghai skyscraper. Don’t let the building’s name mislead you – the building is a city inside a city. It has restaurants and shopping malls and many other prominent features. The topmost floor is reserved for tourist activities and sightseeing. There is an area dedicated to offices, businesses and conference spaces and it even has places for relaxation.

Views from Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC)

The SWFC’s view is one of a kind, especially when the sun fades and the city’s lights turn on for the night. If you want a bird’s eye view or a professional picture that showcases you aerially against Shanghai’s skyline, SWFC is the place to be and you will not be disappointed.

From the SWFC observation deck, there are some fantastic views of Shanghai’s skylines. You will get an unparallel idea of the Pudong district and Huangpu river bank. The western side gives you a view of the Jin Mao Tower.

Ideal view of Shanghai

The observation deck located on the 94th floor, consists of halls stretching about 750m2. It is a perfect exhibition site that gives a fantastic view of River Huangpu alongside the Shanghai skyscraper’s cool perspective. There are artifacts and souvenirs here, and you can get the perfect snapshot as well.

Several Pictures on the 97th floor

SWFC has various views that will give you a great perspective of the Shanghai skyline. Here, you have a perfect deck ideal for photoshoots and selfies.

The 100th floor allows for a skywalk with a Bird’s View Eye

Oh, what a phenomenal experience the skywalk at the SWFC is. On the 100th floor, appreciate the reinforced glass floor that is 60 yards long. You get to view people from above and enjoy the Chinese horizon and the River Huangpu bank. Finally, you will love the illuminated skylines at sunset, the views are breathtaking.

Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong New Area, China. CC Image Jakob Montrasio
Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong New Area, China. Photo by Jakob Montrasio

Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai

  • Height: 468 meter
  • Location: No. 1, Century Avenue, Pudong New Area, Shanghai, China
  • Chinese Name: 东方明珠塔

Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower is the sixth-highest tower in the world. It was constructed with 11 steel spheres in different sizes, which hang from the sky over the green grassland. This tower forms an iconic image described as a significant and small pearl dropping on a plate of jade.

Highlights of Oriental Pearl Tower

Observation Decks: there are three major sightseeing spheres in this shanghai building. There is a nice observation deck in each building where tourists can immerse themselves in the breathtaking view of the Shanghai skyline.

The Space Module is the highest sphere, which is 350 meters. It will give you a bird’s eye view of Shanghai.

There are three levels at the lowest sphere, located at 850 feet to 876 feet. The top-level houses a revolving restaurant, while the lower two serve as a platform for viewing the city. At 259 meters, the glass-bottomed sightseeing floor gives a fantastic view of the Huangpu River.

At the height of 295 feet is the Space City – the lowest sphere.

Shanghai History Museum

Located at the ground level, Tourists will find the Shanghai Museum of history with thousands of historical artifacts alongside other fantastic pieces of architecture that have been scaled down for up-close viewing. The museum provides a perfect platform to learn about Shanghai’s rich culture through the years.

The Revolving Restaurant

The tower also houses the highest restaurant in Asia that revolves. Tourists will find it in the second big ball of the building and at the height of 263 meters in this Shanghai skyscraper. You will find a buffet dinner and lunch that offers a vast selection of Western and Chinese delicacies.

Space Capsule

The Space Capsule mimics a real space shuttle. An astronaut welcomes tourists at the capsule entrance, where you get to learn about space using videos and photos.

Skyscraper in Shanghai. CC Image by FunnyTacoBunny
Skyscraper in Shanghai. Photo by FunnyTacoBunny

Jin Mao Tower

  • Chinese Name: 金茂大厦
  • Height: 420.5 meter
  • Location: No. 88-century road Pudong

Jin Mao Tower, constructed on a 24,000 square meter expanse of land, has become one of Shanghai’s top architectural highlights. The design is a combination of the latest technology with ancient Chinese style. The building was created around the number eight – a number linked with prosperity in China. Additionally, Buddhists believe the number eight is a lucky number.

At completion, this 420-meter high Shanghai building was the tallest in China then. It still stands as one of the most iconic. With 88 floors, this tower is now a model for Shanghai skyscrapers and others across the world.

The tower houses the Hyatt Hotel, which gives a brilliant view of the city and the environment on the 38th floor. The first 50 floors in the tower are made up of offices. A six-story podium serves as an exhibition center, a cinema, conference hall, and retail space measuring 20,000 square meters. The tower’s base is enclosed with a landscaped yard alongside a reflective pool, which provides welcome relaxation from the hustle-bustle of Shanghai’s city life.

The building’s engineers protected the tower from earthquakes and tycoons with advanced structural features. The tower is made of metal with a glass curtain that reflects the city’s changing skies and it is illuminated at night.

Skywalk Tower at Jin Mao

There is also a service at the tower known as “wander in the cloud.” You can walk on a glass skywalk that is 60 meters long and 1.2 meters wide with no rails. You can find this exciting adventure on the 88th sightseeing floor. Here you will also get a terrific view of the river below.

Shimao International Plaza in Shanghai. CC Image by Scott Walsh
Shimao International Plaza in Shanghai. Photo by Scott Walsh

Shimao International Plaza, Shanghai

  • Chinese Name: 上海世茂国际广场
  • Height: 250 meter
  • Location: Shanghai’s Huangpu District

Shimao International Plaza is situated at the urban core of the city. It lies along the most extensive commercial street in China, Nanjing Road, with almost 2 million visitors daily. This Shanghai tower is located in a central location with other attractions like the People’s Square, which entices guests to visit the area.

The tower is unique because of its recurring triangular geometry with three connected architectural units – the open plaza, central tower and a retail podium. The tower has its southwestern and northwestern façade with an orthogonal confluence point. As the building rises, it sets back and narrows, which adds to its height.

The setback creates angles that support the building’s design, with the pattern appearing all through the building. There are angular supports that hold the two spires that rises from the building’s top.

Even though the building is enveloped in glass, light-colored accents reveal the building’s form on its side. There are LED lights that superbly illuminate the spires and corners of the building at night.

Inspire your next adventure with our articles below:

Author bio: Tony Chao

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *