Tucking into Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings), throwing back cocktails along The Bund, strolling with locals in Fuxing Park, trolling for antique treasures in the shops on Dongtai Road, and taking in the past and present at one of the many museums across the city are all mandatory activities on any visit to Shanghai. And while most of the action happens on street level, you can't leave without experiencing the phenomenal view from the Shanghai World Financial Center in the Pudong financial district.
On my trip for New Year's Eve, we booked a table for afternoon tea and nibbles in the Park Hyatt, the world's second highest hotel located within the SWFC skyscraper, and watched the sun set over the Huangpu River. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the adjacent buildings but as the crowds swell far below you and the gauzy sky rolls in, leaving only dapples of sunshine to peek through, I guarantee you'll feel like you're on top of the world.
If you're interested in the perspective from a neighboring Pudong building, head over to the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower (visible in the photo above) for a panoramic view. Once it's completely dark, head back to the Bund and take in the equally striking view of the illuminated Pudong skyline - Shanghai's neon beacon of modernity.
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Staring up 1,600 meters in Shanghai
Most travel up "the bottle opener" to take in views from their sky deck- the highest observation deck in the world, but my girlfriend and I chose to take in drinks from the Park Hyatt's 98th floor bar. Nearly the same views, and much more delicious!
The Shanghai World Financial Center (which looks like a bottle opener) and the Jin Mao Tower (which looks like the Chrysler Building on steroids) face off with the new kid, The Shanghai Tower, which topped off while I was visiting. It's now the tallest building in China (2,073 feet) and the second-tallest building in the world (the Burj-Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest), and yet it will lose its Chinese crown to Changsha’s Sky City in 2014.