Shanghai World Financial Center!

Before coming to China, at the top of my Shanghai bucket list was visiting the Shanghai World Financial Center. At 1,614 feet tall, the Shanghai World Financial Center is the fourth tallest building in the world by roof height. At the time of its completion in 2008, it was the tallest building in the world by roof height. Today, it has the third highest observation deck in the world and second highest hotel. It is still the tallest completed building in China, although Shanghai Tower still under construction next door dwarfs the Shanghai WFC. Being very interested in skyscrapers (as mentioned in my Jin Mao Tower post), it is no wonder that this was number one on my Shanghai to do list. If only the Shanghai Tower was open already.

Shanghai World Financial Center, fourth tallest building in the world, representing China's present.

Shanghai World Financial Center, fourth tallest building in the world, representing China’s present.

Even though going inside the Shanghai WFC was at the top of my to do list, I ironically ended up waiting until our last day in China to visit. I decided to visit in the late afternoon so that I could be there for sunset and nightfall. A ticket was only 120 Yuan with my student discount. It was quick ride up to the 94th floor, followed by an escalator to the 97th floor, and then another elevator ride to the 101st floor observation deck. At 1,555 feet high, I was higher than the rest of Shanghai, minus the Shanghai Tower, which was still looming eight miles above me.

The 101st floor observation deck, spanning the bridge at the top of the tower.

The 101st floor observation deck, spanning the bridge at the top of the tower.

The observation deck spanned the bridge of the iconic rectangular opening at the top of the building. The floor was also made of see-through glass, looking down at the bottom of the opening. China seems to have a weird obsession with glass skyways. I spent about two hours in the observation deck, which allowed me to see the city switch from day to night mode. I was also able to spot Tohee way out in the distance. It’s weird to know that while I stare out my Tohee window at the SWFC, people in the SWFC can stare back at little 12-story Tohee.

The view of Lujiazui and the Huangpu River. You can look down at the Jin Mao Tower (bottom left foreground), representative of China's past. Then you can look at the Shanghai Tower (not pictured), representative of China's future. It's as if they have planned this metaphor from the very start. Oh wait.

The view of Lujiazui and the Huangpu River. You can look down at the Jin Mao Tower (bottom left foreground), representative of China’s past. Then you can look at the Shanghai Tower (not pictured), representative of China’s future. It’s as if they have planned this metaphor from the very beginning. Oh wait.

I was about 11 years old when I learned about the Shanghai World Financial Center, and that was when it was just a hole in the ground. As the years went by, I remember watching shows on the National Geographic and Discovery Channel about the construction of the SWFC. And then finally being at the tower itself, and reading all the Do You Know fun facts they had on the walls that I actually did already know from those shows I watched as a teenager. It felt like things had finally come full circle. From 11 year old me trying to comprehend how the hole in the ground next to the tallest building in China was going to turn into a building another 300 feet taller, to me 10 years later finally visiting the building myself. It felt like a very fitting way to end my time here in China.

Nighttime view of Lujiazui, the Bund, and the rest of Shanghai. Last night in Shanghai! It's been fun.

Nighttime view of Lujiazui, the Bund, and the rest of Shanghai. Last night in Shanghai! It’s been fun.

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