Guide to visiting the observation deck on Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China and the 2nd tallest building in the whole world, only after Burj Khalifa, which contains a long spire.
Like the Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Tower which are the two other skyscrapers that situated adjacent to it, there's an observation deck at the upper floors of Shanghai Tower, named Top of Shanghai, the observation deck launched a trial opening in June 2016, only opened to some groups of visitors.


On April 27th 2017, it officially opened to the public. Currently, visitors can get access to the 118th floor and 119th floor, which are 546m and 552m high respectively, the 119th floor of the tower is currently the second highest observation deck in the world, only 3 meters less than the secondary observation deck of Burj Khalifa, which is 555m high, in the future, the 121st floor will also opened, by then it will become the highest observation deck in the world.
Although the highest viewing platform hasn't been opened, it's alright as there comes the advantage that the price is lower, the normal entry price is only 180 Yuan or 26 Dollars, this price is same as Shanghai World Financial Center, and lower than some other skyscrapers around the world like Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, and far less than At The Top Sky on Burj Khalifa, of which a ticket could cost as much as 134 Dollars. The price will surely increase significantly if it becomes world's highest observation deck after the 121 floor is opened.

For foreigners, don't forget taking the passport before arriving the tower as it will be used either when buying the ticket or picking the ticket in case the ticket is booked online.
Don't go too late, the operating time is 8:30 am to 10 pm and tickets stop selling at 9:30.
This is much earlier compared to the observation decks in United States, which usually closed after midnight.
And you'd better visit there during the time of dusk since both the day views and night views can be seen in a single visit.
The tower has two address referring to the same location, one is 479 Lujiazui Ring Road, the other is 501 Yincheng Middle Road.
There are many ways to get there, the most used option is by subway, take line 2 and get off at Lujiazui station, get out the station at exit 6, then the tower will be arrived. If you are near the Bund, then take a ferry is a good option, simply buy a ticket that costs only 2 Yuan you can cross the river and enjoy the river view in the same time, after getting off the ferry just have a 10 minutes walk you will be there.
If you haven't bought the ticket then head to the ticket hall, which is at the northwest corner of the base of the building, near the intersection of Yincheng Road and Huayuanshiqiao Road. You must pay in cash or by Tenpay or Alipay, which are two Chinese online payment systems similar to Paypal. Credit card can't be used.
If you have bought the admission ticket online, you can directly go to the entrance of the observatory to pick up the ticket on a dedicated device, which can be found at the level B1 after you get in from the main entrance by the street.

The entry ticket of Shanghai Tower Observation Deck
The entry ticket of Shanghai Tower Observation Deck

It is recommended to purchase the ticket in advance online, in this way you will save the time for purchasing the ticket in line and a discount will be offered.
After entering into the secondary entrance, the first place prepared for visitors is known as the preface hall of the observatory, there are some pictures or videos show the development of Shanghai Tower and some diagrams and models that introduce some other tallest buildings around the world.

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A model of Petronas Towers, which were once the tallest buildings in the world
A model of Petronas Towers, which were once the tallest buildings in the world


After watching the exhibition in preface hall, visitors will take the escalator to the level B2, you will then wait for the high-speed elevator in a queue, queuing time depends on the number of visitors, usually it takes about 5 to 10 minutes while it can also take up to half an hour in the holidays and weekends. On May 19th the chinese travel festival, the admission was set at half of the ordinary price, it attracted 11,000 visitors.

The escalator leads to the high-speed elevators in level B2

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The highest speed of the elevator of Shanghai tower is 18 meters per second, even the average speed is no less than 10m per second, it's the fastest elevator in the world, it takes only 55 seconds to reach the observation deck on 118th floor at 546m off the ground.
This is an annular viewing platform, occurring more than 1,000 square meters or more than 10000 square feet, it offers 360 degree views of Shanghai.


Standing by the windows, visitors can enjoy the spectacular views of the city and the beautiful river under the feet, you will have a commanding view of many landmarks of the city such as the historic buildings with different architectural styles along the Bund and the Oriental Pearl Tower, which has long been seen as the icon of modern Shanghai.

The charming night view of the Bund
The charming night view of the Bund


You will also see the view of Suzhou river flowing into Huangpu river and if weather is fine you can also see the estuary of Huangpu river at yellow sea.


Maybe because of the weather, the buildings in Puxi can not be seen clearly when I visited there. But all the buildings in Lujiazui can be fully seen.
The most shocking views belong to Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Tower, these two supertall skyscrapers were the tallest buildings in Shanghai before the completion of Shanghai Tower, now you can look down at them.

Looking down at Jin Mao Tower
Looking down at Jin Mao Tower
Looking down at Shanghai World Financial Center
Looking down at Shanghai World Financial Center

There are some telescopes beside the windows, but these telescopes are not free of charge, so you'd better to bring one of yourself, as telescope is a must-have equipment for travelers.

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It is highly recommended to choose a day of good weather to visit as the visibility will be good, if not then the worst case is that nothing else can be seen but only fog.
If you have to visit it on a day of bad weather, I recommend you to visit by the night time, at night time the cityscape will still be visible due to the city lights have higher penetrability.
There's a souvenir store on 118th floor, selling some artworks and some other products based on Shanghai Tower, even the bottled water is shaped with the appearance of Shanghai Tower.
There's an artificial tree known as wishing tree, visitors can buy a card priced 18 Yuan to write down the wishing on it and hang it onto the tree. A sky post office is set near the wishing tree, sending a post card from a height of over 500m can be a different experience.

Sky post office on Shanghai Tower
Sky post office on Shanghai Tower

The observation deck on 118th floor of Shanghai Tower has a washing room, in contrast, the highest viewing platform on 100th floor of Shanghai World Financial Center doesn't have washing room, and the staffs don't inform visitors that, visitors have to leave there even they still haven't seen enough.
The 119th floor can be accessed through a stairway connecting two floors, unlike 118th floor this floor is not fully opened, and only opens in weekends, there are some seats for visitors to have a rest and a cafe can be found there, the coffee is not very expensive, but the snacks are much more expensive than the outside. Having a cup of coffee while looking at the impressive cityscape outside the window can be an excellent experience.
To leave the observatory, the elevator is at 118th floor, after descend to the first floor, visitors must get out of the building through another store that sells souvenirs.
Then the whole trip is finished.

Today visiting the observation deck is not the only way to explore the city from the sky and enjoy the aerial views, you can get a consumer drone (UAV) to explore the city from anywhere that above the buildings in the cities.

Never been to China before? One thing might set you back is that many most used websites are not accessible from within China, to solve this problem please check out the guide to using blocked sites in China.

 

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