a view looking up from the footpath beneath the Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Best Time to Visit the Burj Khalifa: Ultimate Planning Guide 2024

by Dubai Travel Planner

As Dubai’s most popular and iconic attraction, what should you expect when visiting the Burj Khalifa?

We have taken countless visitors to Dubai up the Burj Khalifa since it opened in 2010, and we are here to share with you exactly how to plan your trip and enjoy the utterly iconic and record-breaking Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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How to visit the Burj Khalifa in Dubai

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What to Expect at Burj Khalifa

Before we dive into the best time to visit the iconic Burj Khalifa, let’s first understand what this megastructure is all about and which parts are open to the public.

The world’s tallest building stands at 828m tall with 160 floors. At the time of completion in 2010, it became known for being:

  • The tallest building in the world
  • Tallest freestanding structure in the world
  • The building with the highest number of stories in the world
  • Home to the highest outdoor observation deck in the world
  • Tallest service elevator in the world

There have been a few proposed attempts to break its record; however, as of 2024, none of these projects have been completed or taken the crown from the spectacular Burj Khalifa.

Pop on over here if you’d like to learn more about the building itself and incredible record-breaking Burj Khalifa facts


Observation Decks at Burj Khalifa

There are three main sets of public observation decks and attractions you can visit at the Burj Khalifa

  • Level 124/125 “At the Top” – these are the main public observation decks
  • The VIP level “At The Top SKY” Level 148
  • The Lounge on Levels 152 +153 + 154

In addition, there is the iconic and breathtaking At.Mosphere Restaurant & Lounge on the 122nd floor, offering some of the city’s most incredible breakfast, lunch, high tea, and dinner experiences with a serious wow factor.

The 160-floor Burj Khalifa is the tallest man-made structure in the world

Burj Khalifa Ticket Prices

The price you pay to visit the Burj Khalifa depends on:

  • How many experiences you want to enjoy
  • How high up you want to go
  • Whether you have planned and pre-booked your time slot
  • Whether you want to visit during a premium time slot (see below)
  • Age and ID for your group (Under 2’s are free)
  • Burj Khalifa ticket offers you can combine your entry

We explain exactly what type of Burj Khalifa tickets are sold below.

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The most important part of planning your trip to Burj Khalifa is recognising that stand-by tickets are hugely more expensive than pre-booked tickets and will simply not be available at peak times as all tickets have been pre-sold. 

This is one aspect of your trip to Dubai that you absolutely must think about booking in advance to save, so you don’t miss out. The other experience that can be booked out weeks in advance is the new Museum of the Future.

The reason we recommend booking through an authorized reseller such as Get Your Guide for peace of mind that you’ve bought genuine tickets and the ability to cancel for free up to 24 hours beforehand should your plans change; you cannot do this if purchasing direct on the rather clunky to use official website.

Burj Khalifa Timings

The Burj Khalifa observation deck AT THE TOP is open daily at the following times:

  • Weekdays – Monday to Friday: 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Weekends – Saturday & Sunday: 5:00 AM to midnight

Prime Hours for Burj Khalifa

  • 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Non-Prime Hours for Burj Khalifa

  • 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM
  • 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Note that it’s recommended to book your time slot for up to 90-minutes before you want your experience at the top of Burj Khalifa to account for queues (except sunrise). Last entry is 45 minutes before closure.

At The Top – Burj Khalifa’s Main Public Observation Deck

The main observation deck that most visitors will see is At The Top on the 124th floor and 125th floor. Entrance is from the Lower Ground level of Dubai Mall.

After security checks and waiting your turn for the incredible high-speed elevator, you’ll arrive at Level 124 and the outdoor observation deck. Continue to work your way around the informative displays and immersive experiences, then make your way up to Level 125 through an internal staircase, where you’ll find a gift shop and a tribute to Arab Arts & Culture.

At a towering 456 metres above ground level, you will experience expansive views of the Persian Gulf, the surrounding Downtown area and the vast Dubai skyline (though visibility can be quite variable based on atmospheric conditions).

helpful incromation screens on the 125th floor observation deck at the top burj khalifa
art installations on the observation deck of Burj Khalifa

It is important to note that even with pre-booked tickets, these are not skip-the-line tickets; the time you book simply indicates the earliest time you can start to queue, in 30 minute blocks.

You should expect a sustainable period of lining – both to get up the tower (even with lifts that operate at 10m/sec) and down again. Overall, your Burj Khalifa experience will take 1.5 to 2 hours. There are further displays to read on the way out too.

In our experience, Level 125 can be a much quieter and more enjoyable place, as many do not realise the second floor is there until after they’ve observed the view from all angles. The main outdoor deck, which everyone seems to rush to, is on Level 124.

  • Expect to pay off-peak 145 AED kids / 179 AED adults
  • During peak hours, 165 AED kids / 259 AED adults
  • Kids are only discounted for the main observation decks on levels 124/125, and this applies to 3 to 12-year-olds
Views from At the Top to Downtown Dubai
View from At The Top to Downtown Dubai beneath and the Burj Lake, home to the Dubai Fountain Show

At The Top SKY

Ascend 555 meters to At The Top Sky – the World’s highest observation deck, including an outdoor terrace. A luxurious lounge experience with a guided tour and refreshments to add to your visit to level 124/125.

Note that your time in the lounge on level 148 is restricted to 30 minutes, but you can spend as long as you like on the lower decks (if you could call them that!).

  • Primetime is all day from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Non-prime is 7:00 PM until close
  • Expect to pay from 339 AED to 553 AED (no kid prices)

(Note that At The Top SKY is different to Sky Views Dubai; the former is inside the Burj Khalifa and includes access to level 148, the latter is a separate building in Downtown with several features, including a glass slide and views looking at the Burj Khalifa)

The Lounge (Level 154 +153 + 152) Burj Khalifa

Depending on the timeslot you wish to visit, you can purchase several premium experiences for The Lounge.

Tea in the Clouds

Sit back in the lush couches spread across Level 152 to Level 154 at 585m. Enjoy an assortment of fresh bakes and desserts, alongside a selection of the finest teas and coffee.

  • 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM
  • Expect to pay 769 AED.

Bubbly Sundowner

Watch the sunset from level 152 to level 154. Enjoy a glass of house beverage or bubbly, complimentary gourmet canapes, a guided tour, and light entertainment.

  • 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
  • Expect to pay 769 AED

Cocktails Under the Stars

Hitting the tunes with either resident vocalists or House DJ, enjoy complimentary house canapes and a glass of bubbles, along with a VIP tour.

  • 7:30 PM to midnight
  • Expect to pay 769 AED

An alternative experience on Level 123

VIP Sunset View Lounge Experience

Enjoy a sports car pick-up from your hotel for a group of up to 4, then ascend the Burj Khalifa in your own VIP lift, where a window-side table awaits you at the exclusive lobby lounge on the 123rd floor. Enjoy unrivalled views without the crowds as the sun goes down (note minimum spends apply, in addition to the VIP entry and pickups)

  • Expect to pay in the vicinity of 3000 AED for a group up to 3

If you haven’t got a group or would like to have the VIP experience during the day, then this may be the better luxury package for you – it includes a personalised Burj Khalifa AND a 5-course meal in the VIP lounge; there are 2-afternoon time slots, finishing by 4:00 PM.


Combined Ticket Offers for Burj Khalifa

The best way to save is to combine your ticket with other attractions. There are plenty, even just around the Dubai Mall complex, or you can get a combined pass that covers attractions across Dubai.

Burj Khalifa is also available on the Dubai Pass. We have a detailed review here of how the Dubai Pass works and how to get the best value-for-money Dubai Pass to suit your needs.

We also review the GoCity discount pass for Dubai which includes access to At The Top as one of the options in their package.


Best Time to Visit Burj Khalifa

The best time to visit the Burj Khalifa depends on the season you are visiting, but generally speaking, the most popular time is around sunset hours.

While sunrise and sunset are popular for the gorgeous golden hour light they throw over the city, early mornings inparticular can be interrupted by fog and other atmospheric conditions at certain times of the year. This can, of course, only add to the drama, or leave you in a blanket of disappointing white!

At night, you cannot see as much detail in the distance, but the city lights up in a spectacular fashion, and you can see just how far it stretches into the desert.

Sunset views from the Burj Khalifa’s Observation Deck on the 124 floor

Best Time to Visit Burj Khalifa – Sunrise

Early risers can be rewarded with sensational views as night turns into morning. However, early starts are only available to book on Saturday and Sunday mornings (the weekend in Dubai).

There is a risk of being fogged in, so take this into account. This usually occurs as the daytime temperatures cool, so can be expected from November through to March.

  • Sunrise tickets are for slots between 5:00 AM and 7:00 AM.
  • Expect to pay 129AED.
Fog can be a regular occurrence at sunrise, but it can also make for spectacular photos

Best Time to Visit Burj Khalifa – Sunset

As you might expect, Sunset can reward visitors with beautiful pink and orange hues and the chance to see the city in detail both day and night. Staying until after 6.30 PM you can capture the spectacular nightly fountain sound and light show from above.

You will pay premium pricing for tickets timed between 4:00 pm and 6:30 pm (bearing in mind you could be queuing for a lot of this until there’s an available lift – later premium spots in our experience you won’t get up until after dark so think carefully before paying the premium).

We have a really detailed guide here on how to properly plan your visit to Burj Khalifa at night.

Least Crowded Time to Visit Burj Khalifa

If you are not so worried about the lighting and taking photos, the best time to visit the Burj Khalifa is during the off-peak hours; late morning or late evenings are best if you want to avoid long lines. 

The crowds from the early morning premium tickets have cleared, and you should expect much less queuing after 10:00 AM. This also equals fewer queues and less crowding at the top, making it a less hurried and stressful experience all around. You can then return to ground level at a leisurely pace and enjoy lunch at Dubai Mall.

Alternatively, have dinner first, then later in the evening once prime sunset hour queues have somewhat cleared, you can get a much better nighttime view than in the early evening. You will still benefit from seeing the nightly Dubai Fountain sound & light show too.

This advice is a good theory for off-peak weekdays; however, if you are visiting on a weekend (Friday afternoon, Saturday & Sunday) or during school holidays, it is crowded no matter what time of day you book for! Never mind other advice you’ve read; it can take UP TO 2 HOURS just to get to the lift. This is the downfall of visiting Dubai’s most popular attraction.

Lady looking out of the window at Burj Khalifa observation deck

Alternatives to the Observation Deck at Burj Khalifa

At.Mosphere

At.Mosphere is the peak of fine dining in Dubai – literally! Situated on the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa, At.Mosphere is the ultimate fine dining experience with special meals from elaborate high tea to breakfast with a view, as well as business lunches and romantic dinners.

Afternoon Tea at Armani Lounge

Situated in the Armani Hotel, this is the height of Dubai extravagance and one of Dubai’s most premium experiences. You are not quite at the top (indeed, the luxury hotel is on the ground floor and lowest levels of the tower), but here, you can enjoy one of the most luxurious settings overlooking the Dubai fountains.

Burj Khalifa from Ground Level

If heights aren’t your thing, or if the entry price will eat too far into your Dubai budget (trust us, if you visit everything on offer in Dubai, you will quickly go broke!), then you can also try:

  • Watching the nightly LED Burj Khalifa light show from Dubai Mall & Downtown promenade during the fountain show
  • Take a traditional boat out onto the lake during the evening fountain show
  • Head to the small area on the opposite side of Burj Lake and take your photo with the Wingts of Mexico Statue, with the Burj Khalifa as you’re backdrop

Getting to the Burj Khalifa

One thing is for sure: at 828m, it’s pretty hard to miss the Burj Khalifa; even the newest taxi driver knows how to find it!! You can easily taxi to the Dubai Mall, then walk to the entrance at the basement level (this is also where you will find the Will Call office for collecting tickets).

You can also take the Red Line Metro to the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall metro station, which is approximately a 10 minute walk (via the airconditioned travellator!) to the mall. Allow at least another 5 minutes to find the basement level entrance.

If you’re only on a stopover in Dubai and want to squeeze this attraction in, we share here exactly how to get public transport from DXB to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.


Hotels Near Burj Khalifa

If you’re only going to be in Dubai for a short time, staying near the Burj Khalifa is an ideal, central location.

Other than staying in the Armani Hotel inside Burj Khalifa ($$$), there are several hotels within the Dubai Mall / Downtown Dubai district that make fabulous options.  Why not try:

And nearby some more budget-friendly options, still within walking distance of the Dubai Mall;

You can see our complete guide to the most convenient Downtown Dubai hotels here, as well as our guide to nearby hotels that offer the best views of Burj Khalifa, or check out all the nearby Downtown accommodation options here:

Rove Hotel Downtown
Rove Downtown is a great pocket-friendly option near to the Burj Khalifa & Downtown Dubai

We hope our detailed guide to visiting the tallest free-standing structure in the world, the Burj Khalifa, comes in handy when planning out your itinerary for Dubai


Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai

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Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.

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1 comment

faizanblogs February 10, 2020 - 11:11 pm

Superb blog post! I am planning to visit Dubai this summer and I am going to visit Burj Khalifa. Thanks for mentioning prime time and non-prime time to visit it. One must follow your tips to make the trip flawless and well managed.

Best Regards,

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