Shanghai’s explosion as a megacity is paralleled by only a few others in the world. Twenty-six years ago, the city looked like any other average city with indistinct urban sprawl and very little skyline. Now, it has the fourth-most skyscrapers of any city in the world. Its skyline is breathtaking, satisfying the lover of modern urban architecture as well as old colonialism style.
Shanghai, which once rhymed with mystical lantern festivals and bicycles crossing through populated back alleys, is now home to more than 1,000 buildings higher than 30 stories, including the Shanghai World Financial Center, which soars 1,614 feet (492 meters) above the ground – the third tallest building in the world.
Additionally, the Shanghai Tower is currently under construction and will be 2,073 feet (632 meters), making it the tallest building in China and the second-tallest in the world. With the highest point of land being just 103m above sea level, you’d have to go up these buildings to experience Shanghai’s immense skyline.
Facts about Shanghai
With a population of about 24 million, Shanghai is China’s biggest city and one of the world’s largest. It covers an area of 2,448 square miles (6,340 square km). By comparison, New York City covers just 303 square miles.
The city is home to its own Chinese dialect: Shanghainese, a dialect of Wu Chinese and distinctly different from Mandarin Chinese. In fact, the city has its own sub dialects in different neighborhoods.
In 1990, the tallest building in Shanghai was the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai at 541 feet. Since then, 95 skyscrapers have been built. That’s nearly 4 new skyscrapers per year. Shanghai is sinking at a rate of 1.5 cm a year.
Often referred to as “Hu” or “Shen” for short, Shanghai has also been nicknamed Pearl of the Orient and the Paris of the East.
Best Views of the Bund
The Bund is one of the city’s most popular destinations, being a more historic neighborhood with an impressive collection of older European-style architecture. Its skyline has an old-school charm to it which is now rapidly changing as new buildings erect here. Here are five places where you can enjoy a view of the Bund:
Jin Mao Tower
The lobby on the 54th floor has a free entrance, and you can take a lift to the 85th floor and look down from the atrium of one of the highest hotels in the world. Be sure to dress well.
Le Royal Meridien Bar
Offering a more mid-budget option, this bar also has free drinks for women on Fridays during ladies’ night. The views from here are spectacular, especially for the price range.
World Financial Center
This bar and restaurant could well be one of the highest places you’ll ever have a drink in. On the 92nd floor of the World Financial Center, the views from here are stunning.
Shanghai World Financial Center
The touristy option for a view of Shanghai’s ever-growing skyline, access to the vantage point cost $22 USD. Unlike the others on this list, this does not offer the best views of the city but is still a viable option.
Best Views of Pudong
Shanghai has two distinct neighborhoods – Pudong and the Bund. Pudong is the newer part of Shanghai and home to many of the afore- mentioned skyscrapers – including the future Shanghai Tower – and is the city’s pulsating financial and business heart. Here are five great spots to see the Pudong skyline from:
This rooftop bar, unassumingly tucked away in the Captain Hostel, offers great views at a reasonable price. You can enjoy a drink here while taking in the vast scenery – including an amazing view of the iconic Pearl Tower – without too much dam- age to the wallet.
Three on the Bund
Situated on an L-shaped terrace, this restaurant offers mid-bud- get options for a variety of people – including families, businessmen and even for those just stopping by for a refreshment – while offering dazzling views of both Pudong and the Bund.
Roosevelt Sky Restaurant
Bund 27 Building
Claiming to have the best view in the city, this mid-budget restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Pudong.
With a skyline view that will impress even jaded visitors, this colorful and modern bar-restaurant’s outdoor balcony is among the best.
More expensive than its peers, the Vue Bar nevertheless has impressive views from its vantage point on the 32nd and 33rd levels of the West Tower.