Getty Images/Best View Stock RF

Shanghai World Financial Center

Top choice in Shanghai

Although trumped by the adjacent Shanghai Tower as the city’s most stratospheric building, the awe-inspiring 492m-high Shanghai World Financial Center is an astonishing sight, even more so come nightfall when its ‘bottle opener’ top dances with lights. There are three observation decks – on levels 94, 97 and 100 – with altitude-adjusted ticket prices and wow-factor lifts thrown in.

A clear, smog-free day is imperative, so check the weather and pollution index beforehand.

The top two decks (at the bottom and top of the trapezoid) are known as Sky Walks. It’s debatable whether the top Sky Walk (474m) is the best spot for Shang-high views, though. The hexagonal space is bright and futuristic, and some of the floor is transparent glass, but the lack of a 360-degree sweep – windows only face west or east – detracts somewhat. But you get to look down on the top of the Jinmao Tower, which might be worth the ticket price alone.

Access to the observation deck is on the west side of the building off Dongtai Rd; access to the Park Hyatt is on the south side of the building. If you want to make a meal (or a cocktail) of it, or if lines are long, you can sashay into the Park Hyatt's restaurant/bar 100 Century Avenue on the 91st floor instead.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Shanghai attractions

1. Jinmao Tower

0.11 MILES

Resembling an art deco take on a pagoda, this crystalline edifice is a beauty. It’s essentially an office block with the high-altitude Grand Hyatt renting…

2. Shanghai Tower

0.14 MILES

China’s tallest building dramatically twists skywards from its footing in Lujiazui. The 121-storey, 632m-tall, Gensler-designed Shanghai Tower topped out…

3. Wu Changshuo Memorial Hall

0.16 MILES

The lack of English captions badly hobbles the displays of this small museum detailing the life and work of artist, poet, calligrapher and seal carver Wu…

4. Shanghai Stock Exchange Building

0.24 MILES

Shanghai's stock exchange used to run in the Peacock Hall of the Astor House Hotel before moving to new custom-made digs in Pudong.

5. Aurora Museum

0.45 MILES

Designed by renowned Japanese architect Ando Tadao, the Aurora Museum is set over six floors of the Aurora building and houses a stunning collection of…

6. Shanghai Ocean Aquarium

0.55 MILES

Education meets entertainment in this slick and intelligently designed aquarium that children will love. Join them on a tour through the aquatic…

7. Oriental Pearl TV Tower

0.59 MILES

This 468m-tall globe-on-a-tripod tower is the most iconic contemporary building in the city, and its image is omnipresent around town – from postcards to…

8. Bund Sightseeing Tunnel

0.68 MILES

A 647m voyage with entertainment from budget effects, garish lighting and dreadful props, the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel links Pudong with the Bund and…