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The Shanghai Skyline - Redefining ‘Iconic’

The Shanghai Skyline - Redefining ‘Iconic’

Written by Candice SongUpdated Aug. 1, 2023
The Shanghai skyline at night from the bundThe Shanghai skyline at night from the Bund

Shanghai stands out in many ways, but one thing that defines this city internationally is the visual treat that is viewed from the famous tourist spot which is The Bund - the Pudong skyline.

A modern, well-presented vision of skyscrapers that are so high that on a cloudy day, it would remind you of a scene from Batman. Of course, the highlights of the skyline are the trio of the financial district - the Jin Mao, the SWFC and the Shanghai Tower - and the Pearl Tower. More about how tall these actually are here.

Shanghai skyscrapers

The Shanghai skyline at different times of the day

By daylight

Shanghai skyline on a blue sky day

If you are in Shanghai and it happens to be a clear day with blue skies, don't think twice about heading to the Bund. It's ideal on a sunny day as the skyline you see is quite surreal and vibrant. The colors will pop and you will have plenty of photos to post on Instagram! If you go to the Bund at sunrise for a run or a stroll, you can catch a glimpse of the locals exercising, jogging, practicing tai chi and such.

Sunsets of course are really beautiful and the lighting against the skyline is unique - very memorable and photograph worthy!

By nightlight

The colorful Shanghai skyline at night

The beauty of the skyline doubles at night. The lights glitter brightly and are synchronized. The Shanghai World Financial Center (or popularly called the Bottle Opener building) has a rhythmic lighting system with fast paced videos, advertisements and text swirling around the building. You cannot look away from. It's sophisticated and very attractive. Then we have the Shanghai Tower - the world's second tallest building - which is imposing and grand, and is a mighty building to view at night.

What you see - the Shanghai skyline skyscrapers

The four most iconic buildings that you can recognize in this group of futuristic buildings include the 4 key buildings:

1. The Pearl Tower

The pink Oriental Pearl Tower at nightThe Oriental Pearl Tower lit pink

At one point in time, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower used to be the tallest building in Shanghai. This is the first building that is said to define the Shanghai skyline. It still takes center-stage today. Not only is it unique and beautiful in its appearance, it is a great tourist hub since it was built and a must visit. Details about this building here.

2. The Jin Mao Tower

One could say this is the prettiest building, with 88 floors at 420 meters approximately. The design is very unique and makes this structure highly recognizable. 

The best part about this building is that there is a skywalk around it, not for the faint hearted. Go get your adrenaline rush! Details about this building here.

3. The Bottle Opener / SWFC

3 Shanghai skyscrapers3 Shanghai skyscrapers stand above the rest.

The Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC) is the most futuristic looking structure in Pudong's business district, at 492 meters and 101 floors. There is an observatory from where you get terrific views all around. The design has won it many awards as well. Details about this building here.

4. Shanghai Tower

This 632-meter-high building is a shining example of what smart architecture can achieve. The structure is mind blowing and this makes for a great visit, as they have a post office so you can send a postcard to anywhere in the world. They also have VR experience which is quite cool. Details about this building here.

Other activities related to the Bund

Shanghai skyline at dawnThe Shanghai skyline at dawn
  • If you are a budding photographer, your agenda must require a list of places where you can get unmatched shots of the skyline. Read about them here.
  • Go on a river cruise at night! If you are feeling romantic about someone or this city itself, nothing better than taking a trip down the Huangpu river to take in breathtaking sights along both sides of the river. The lights of the colonial buildings on the Puxi sight light up the entire promenade and make for an envious setting. Details about night cruises can be found here.
  • Have a meal at the top of the city. If you want to get a bird's eye view of Shanghai, what's better than getting a meal at one of the several revolving restaurants in these skyscrapers. We have more details just on Shanghai's revolving restaurants!

See the Shanghai Skyline Your Way with Us

China Highlights clients and the Shanghai skyline at the BundChina Highlights clients and the Shanghai skyline at the Bund

We want to help you spend quality time viewing the skyline by the Bund. We at China Highlights can help you make your trip the best it can be. We have well-designed Shanghai tours through which you can find hidden shops near the Bund, eat the best local food and more.

Our 2-Day Shanghai Essence Tour is perfect for those who are a first-time visitor. You will take the fastest elevator in the world and ascend the highest building in Shanghai - the Shanghai Tower.

2-Day Modern Shanghai Discovery Tour: Uncover Shanghai's urban planning and see how this giant city is run. You will go up to the top of Shanghai to see its modern pinnacle.

We can also create your own unique trip.

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