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Pudong Skyscrapers
Puxi, the west side of Shanghai, has the city’s historic buildings, and Pudong, to the east, has its skyscrapers. These are concentrated in the Lujiazui neighborhood, just across from the Bund. Jin Mao Tower stands 88 floors high (8 is an auspicious number), a postmodern spin on a classic 13-tier Buddhist pagoda design. Zoom to the tower’s 88th-floor observation deck in just 45 seconds and take in the 360-degree views, or skip the line and settle into a window seat at Grand Hyatt’s 87th-floor Cloud 9 bar. Just across the street is Shanghai World Financial Center, often jokingly called “The Bottle Opener.” It has three observation decks, the highest of which is on the 100th floor. The view from the top is thrilling—on a clear day, you’ll feel as if you’re floating above the city, and when it’s overcast, it’s as if you’re adrift in the clouds. As with Jin Mao Tower, you can skip the crowds of the observation deck by going for tea or a drink at Park Hyatt’s 87th-floor Living Room. Shanghai Tower—China’s tallest building and world’s second tallest—is not yet open to the public.

Old City
A great neighborhood for exploring and getting lost, the Old City was once the central core of Shanghai, surrounded by a fortified wall built to keep out Japanese pirates. Today, just one 50-year section of the Old City Wall remains, and the area’s old shikumen stone gate houses are disappearing rapidly. Here you’ll find the highest concentration of narrow, winding laneways where laundry flaps from bamboo poles, locals drive scooters piled perilously high with cargo, and where not so long ago chamber pots were still in use. This is one slice of old Shanghai that will never be replicated, so see it before it’s gone.

Oriental Pearl Tower

When the Oriental Pearl Tower was built in 1994, much of Pudong was still farmland. The structure, which looks straight out of The Jetsons is particularly kitschy when night falls and its neon lights are turned on. Each of the tower’s three spheres, which are meant to represent pearls, has its own observation deck, and a museum in the base recalls Shanghai’s pre-1949 history. For a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the city go to the top deck, or sit for a drink in the tower’s revolving restaurant, although the food should be given a pass.

ShangHai Night Show

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