Visit the Burj Khalifa in 2023: Ultimate Planning Guide

by Dubai Travel Planner

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:

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How to visit the Burj Khalifa in Dubai


What to expect at Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa 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
  • Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
  • Tallest service elevator in the world

There have been a few proposed attempts to take its record, however – so far – none of these projects have been completed.

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:

  • 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

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.

Burj Khalifa Ticket Offers

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 (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.

We recommend booking through an authorized reseller such as Get Your Guide for peace of mind you’ve bought genuine tickets and the ability to cancel for free up to 24-hours beforehand.

Burj Khalifa Timings

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

  • Sunday to Wednesday 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Thursday 10:00 AM to midnight
  • Friday to Saturday 5:30 AM to midnight

Prime Hours for Burj Khalifa

  • 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Non-Prime Hours for Burj Khalifa

  • 10:00 AM – 3:30PM
  • 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 up top (except sunrise).

At The Top – Burj Khalifa’s main public observation deck

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 Arab Arts & Culture on Level 125, a towering 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 and more enjoyable experience, but the main outdoor deck which everyone seems to rush to is on Level 124.

Views from At the Top to Downtown Dubai
View from At The Top to Downtown Dubai beneath

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. Expect to pay

  • Primetime is 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM, non-prime 7:00 PM 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.

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. Expect to pay 749 AED.

  • 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM

Bubbly Sundowner

Watch the sunset from level 152 to level 154. Enjoy a glass of house beverage or bubbly, and complimentary gourmet canapes whilst enjoying a guided tour and light entertainment. Expect to pay 749 AED.

  • 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM

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

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 unrivaled views without the crowds as the sun goes down (note minimum spends apply, in addition to the VIP entry and pickups)

If you haven’t got a group of four 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 your AND a 5-course meal in the VIP lounge, there are 3 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 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. 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.

Sunset views from the Burj Khalifa

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 through Sunday morning (the weekend in Dubai). Expect to pay 129AED.

There is a risk of being fogged in so do 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.
Fog can be a regular occurrence at sunrise, but 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 is late morning or late evening. 

The crowds from the early morning premium tickets have cleared, and you should expect much less queuing after 9:00 AM. This also equals fewer queues and less crowding at the top. All around, 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 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 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, and 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:

Getting to the Burj Khalifa

One thing is for sure, at 829m 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 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 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;

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

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

  • Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!

Take me back to the Dubai Attractions homepage

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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