As Dubai’s most popular attraction, what should you expect visiting the Burj Khalifa?
We have taken countless visitors to Dubai up the Burj Khalifa since it opened in 2010 and here to share with you exactly how to plan your trip and enjoy the utterly iconic and record-breaking Burj Khalifa.
In this article we’ll cover:
- What to expect at Burj Khalifa
- Burj Khalifa Ticket options
- Best time to visit Burj Khalifa
- Other ways to experience Burj Khalifa
- Hotels near to Burj Khalifa
What to expect at Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa stands at 829m tall with 160 floors. At the time of completion in 2010, it became known as:
- The tallest building in the world
- Tallest freestanding structure in the world
- The building with the highest number of stories in the world
- Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
- Tallest service elevator in the world
There have been a few proposed attempt on its record, but – so far – these projects have not completed.
There are three main sets of public observation decks and attractions at:
- Level 124/125 “At the Top” – this is the main public observation deck
- The VIP level “At The Top SKY” Level 148
- The Lounge on Levels 152 +153 + 154.
Burj Khalifa Ticket Offers
The price you pay 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 (see below)
- Age and ID for your group
- Burj Khalifa ticket offers
We explain exactly what’s on offer below.
The most important part of planning your trip to Burj Khalifa is to recognise that stand by tickets are hugely more expensive than pre-booked, and at peak times will simply not be available.
This is one aspect of your trip to Dubai that you absolutely must think about booking in advance to save and so you don’t miss out.
Burj Khalifa Timings
The Burj Khalifa observation deck AT THE TOP is open daily at the following times:
- Sunday to Thursday 8am to 10pm
- Friday & Saturday 5.30am to 10pm
3:00 PM – 6:30 PM
8:30 AM – 2:30 PM
7:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Note that it’s recommended to book your time slot for up to 90-minutes before you want your experience up top (except sunrise).
At The Top
The main observation deck that most visitors will see is At The Top on Levels 124/125. Here you will find informative displays, an outdoor observation deck, immersive experiences and a tribute to Arba Arts & Culture on Level 125, 456m above ground level.
Even with pre-booked tickets, you should expect a sustainable period of lining up – both to get up the tower (even with lifts that operate at 10m/sec) and down again. Overall your experience will take 1.5 to 2 hours. There are further displays to read on the way out too.
And don’t be confused by your ticket, it may only say Level 124 which is where the lift arrives, but you are entitled to take the internal staircase up to Level 125 – after how many years this still doesn’t seem to be made explicit. Level 125 is a much quieter ane enjoyable experience, but the main outdoor deck is on Level 124.
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 your time in the level 148 lounge is restricted to 30 minutes but you can spend as long as you like on the lower (if you could call them that!) decks.
Primetime is 9.30am to 6pm, non-prime 7pm until close.
The Lounge (Level 154 +153 + 152) Burj Khalifa
Depending on the timeslot you wish to visit, there are several premium experiences you can purchase for The Lounge.
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.
12.30pm to 2.30pm & 3pm to 5pm
Watch the sunset from level 152 to level 154. Enjoy a glass of house beverage or bubbly, and complimentary gourmet canapes.
5.30pm to 7pm
Hitting the tunes with either resident vocalists or House DJ, enjoy complimentary house canapes and a glass of bubbles, along with VIP tour.
7.30pm to midnight
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 & Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
- Visit the Burj Khalifa as part of a city tour from Abu Dhabi.
Burj Khalifa is also available as part of 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.
Best time to visit Burj Khalifa
It can really depend on the season you are visiting in. Whilst sunrise and sunset are obviously the most popular for the gorgeous golden hour light they throw over the city, mornings particularly 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 white!
Nights you cannot see as much of the detail, but the city lights up in a spectacular fashion and you can see just how far the city stretches.
Best time to visit Burj Khalifa – Sunrise
Early risers can be rewarded with sensational views as night turns into morning. The early starts are only available to book though on a Friday and Saturday morning (the weekend in Dubai).
There is a risk of being fogged in so do take this into account.
Sunrise tickets are for slots between 5.30am and 8am.
Book your sunrise timeslot tickets here (including ground floor breakfast)
Best time to visit Burj Khalifa – Sunset
Sunset, as you might expect, can reward visitors with beautiful pink and orange hues and the chance to see the city in detail over both day and night. Staying until after 6.30pm you can capture the spectacular nightly fountain sound and light show from above.
You will pay premium pricing for tickets timed between 3pm and 6.30pm (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).
Least crowded time to visit Burj Khalifa
If you are not so worried about the lighting and taking photos, the best time to visit is late morning or late evening.
The crowds from the early morning premium tickets have cleared, and you should expect much less queuing after 9am. This also equals fewer queues and less crowding at the top. All round, a less hurried and stressful experience. You can then return to ground level at a leisurely place and enjoy lunch in Dubai Mall.
Alternatively, have dinner first then later in the evening, once prime sunset queuing has somewhat cleared you can get much better night time view than in the early evening. You will still benefit from seeing the nightly fountain sound & light show too.
This advice is a good theory for off-peak weekdays, however, if you are visiting on a weekend (Friday & Saturday) 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.
Alternatives to the Observation Deck at Burj Khalifa
At.Mosphere is the peak of fine dining in Dubai – literally! Situated on the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa, At.Mosphere is the ultimate in fine dining experiences with meal experiences from high tea to breakfast with a view, as well as lunches and 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, but 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 the 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 from Dubai Mall & Downtown promenade during the fountain show
- Take a traditional boat out on to the lake during the evening fountain show
Getting to the Burj Khalifa
One thing is for sure, at 829m it’s pretty hard to miss the Burj Khalifa, even the newest of taxi drivers know how to find it!! You can easily taxi to the Dubai Mall, then walk for 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 stop, then it’s approximately a 10-minute walk (via the airconditioned travellator!) to the Mall. Allow another 5 minutes to find the basement level entrance.
Hotels near to Burj Khalifa
If you’re only going to be a short time in Dubai, then 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
Before you go… more things to know before visiting Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws and customs to be aware of.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover all the best areas to stay in Dubai for every travel style & budget.