The famous Shanghai skyline teems with skyscrapers – each trying to outdo the other. An architect would explain how there is different terminology for skyscrapers (continuously habitable buildings over 10 floors tall) and how a supertall skyscraper (over 300 meters/984 feet) is NOT the same as a megatall skyscraper (over 600 meters/1,969 feet).

          Did I put you to sleep yet? Let me try this again…

Three beautiful buildings loom over my head but I only have one picture in my gift bag. The photo in the bag represents the tallest building in Shanghai. I will only call one name and the names that I do not call must immediately stop pretending to be the tallest building in Shanghai.

          Contestant Number One: Oriental Pearl TV Tower

Oriental Pearl Tower was disqualified in 2007 when a new tower surpassed it in height. But your high social media score brought you back! Fans will never forget how you took China by storm in 1994. After just 3 years of construction you made it to the top. Every hallway may be a runway but you make every night fashion week. Your fierce façade lights up the city every night!

Fans flock from all over the world and can’t get enough of your boom boom WOW. They don’t care that you’re not the tallest anymore or that it can take up to 4 hours to see the view from your observatory deck. Your beauty has even built bridges, allowing tourists to photograph you safely above the busy traffic. Shine on as a role model for every tower that doesn’t think it’s tall enough to be beautiful.

           Contestant Number Two: Shanghai World Financial Center

In 2007 you shocked China and rose as the second tallest building in the entire world! Your flawesome design offers the best view of the city and of the Oriental Pearl Tower. Your modestly only attracts those visitors who are worthy of your beauty which is why the line to the observatory only takes a mere 30 minutes.

At night you light up in a simple blue hue, your very own white tank and jeans, the perfect go-see outfit. From your 100-floor-high glass walkway to the impressive miniature of Shanghai on the ground floor – you portray elegance and poise H-2-H (head to toe). If we were doing Ty-Overs, I wouldn’t change a single LED light bulb.

          Contestant Number Three: Shanghai Tower

The youngest contestant of them all! Shanghai Tower took center stage in 2015 and gained instant fame for being the tallest of the only three adjacent supertall skyscrapers in the world. Your iconic twisted pose shows off all your best features. You know how to give just enough with your smize and your true nature* still remains a mystery to the world.

*A lot of the interior including the higher observatory deck are still closed. The building only opened to the public this summer.

The time has come. It’s time to announce who is the tallest building in Shanghai…

Wait… what is this?!? This photograph appears to be cropped! Give me another one…

Well that’s pretty. Pretty inaccurate! Was this ALSO purchased in the Shanghai World Financial Center observatory gift store? Where’s the tallest building in Shanghai? Why is everyone shrugging? Isn’t it supposed to be right next to the Shanghai World Financial Center? Are you seriously pretending that it doesn’t exist? *sigh* This is getting embarrassing… and by the way, you looks like a giant bottle opener!

This post is based on a true story. Most of the souvenirs we bought had conveniently left out the Shanghai Tower, the true tallest building in Shanghai. The staff refused to comment and just shrugged when we joked about the photos being cropped.

Some facts about the three buildings:

  • The Shanghai Tower is currently the second tallest building in the world. It is 632 meters (2,073 feet) tall, 196 meters (643 feet) shorter than the tallest building in the world, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
  • The Shanghai World Financial Center is currently the fifth tallest building in the world. It is 492 meters (1,614 feet) tall. They claim that their observatory deck is the highest in the world but even this statement seems to ignore the neighboring megatall skyscraper and it’s 119 floor viewing deck
  • The Oriental Pearl TV Tower’s antenna reaches 467.9 meters (1,535 feet) but the top floor sits at 350 meters (1,148 feet). At 7PM the tower lights up in a colorful array of lights that can be viewed from the Shanghai World Financial Center – but make sure to grab a spot early on as it gets pretty packed.
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