Jin Mao Tower!

I remember back in 2003 reading about the Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai’s skyline. I was only ten years old back then. I have been very interested in all things skyscrapers my whole life, and I remember then and there deciding that the Jin Mao Building in Shanghai, China was the best looking building in the world over 1000 feet tall, or at least in my ten-year-old opinion it was. At 1,380 feet high, the Jin Mao Tower was the fifth tallest building in the world. I liked its sharp, pointy look, and how it wasn’t fat like all of America’s skyscrapers. I liked the tapered look that increased in frequency as it went up, which made it look even taller than it actually was. I liked it’s lighting at night. I liked how it wasn’t box shaped. I liked how it had a spire but not an excessively tall one. I liked how it looked next to the Pearl Tower. I remember picturing in my head the day that I would be able to visit and go inside. I know. I was a weird ten-year-old.

Fast-forward 11 years, and here I am in Shanghai! Sitting in the shadow of the Shanghai Tower and Shanghai IFC, the once fifth tallest Jin Mao Tower seems to have been eaten by its taller neighbors. Being the smallest of the “big three” downtown, the Jin Mao Tower draws very little attention today. People seem to forget that it is still the 15th tallest building in the world. While the Shanghai Tower represents China’s future, and the Shanghai WFC represents China’s present, the Jin Mao Building represents China’s past, and what was once the tallest building in China is now the third tallest on the block.

Jin Mao Tower (the left building of the Big 3). It's shrinking!

Jin Mao Tower (the left building of the Big 3). It’s shrinking!

I didn’t forget about the Jin Mao Tower though. Yes, it only has the fourth highest observation deck within the quarter mile radius of downtown, not even enough for a city level bronze metal, but I knew 10-year-old me would be mad at if 21-year-old me even hesitated.

It was 120 Yuan for a ticket. I waited four days for the weather to be perfect before I decided to go. The elevator ride up to the 1,116 ft. high observation deck took only 45 seconds. The elevator operator and I were the only ones in the elevator. Who even comes to this building? The views from the top were great. The observation deck took up the whole 88th floor, offering 360-degree views of Shanghai. It was a cool vantage point to be able to look down at the rest of the Shanghai skyline 1100 feet below. But then I would look to the left and the Shanghai Tower would be looming another 1000 feet above me. And then to the left of that was the Shanghai WFC building also towering 500 feet above me. Only in Shanghai.

Looking down at the smaller buildings, which are all about the height of the tallest building in Charlotte.

Looking down at the smaller buildings, which are all about the height of the tallest building in Charlotte.

Looking up another thousand feet at Shanghai Tower. Hmm.

Looking up another thousand feet at Shanghai Tower. Hmmm.

The observation deck had some nice information to read, and some cool comparisons of the Jin Mao Buildings to other buildings around the world. They also had a lot of Yao Ming memorabilia in glass displays. There was also a glass window looking down at the second largest hotel atrium in the world, something I had forgotten I had learned when I was also ten.

All in all, it was a really fun solo trip for me. It made me feel very nostalgic. I don’t know why, I obviously had never been there before. I spent about 150 minutes at the observation deck, so 135 more than the average visitor. I know ten year old me would be proud.

 

Jin Mao Tower holding together China's present and future. Without it, the other two would be meaningless.

Jin Mao Tower holding together China’s present and future. Without it, the other two would be meaningless.

One of the tallest atriums in the world, the Grand Hyatt Shanghai. This building also has the tallest laundry chute in the world, so at least it won something.

One of the tallest atriums in the world, the Grand Hyatt Shanghai. This building also has the tallest laundry chute in the world, so at least it won first place in something.

 

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