Burj Khalifa is one of the most iconic places in Dubai. At 828 meters high, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest skyscraper in the world and is a symbol of elegance and design.
Built between 2004 and 2010, Burj Khalifa has become the center of Downtown Dubai, the heart of the modern city of Dubai. To think that it is simply a skyscraper is an understatement: this building has broken dozens of world records and is the symbol of Dubai’s prestige as the capital of modernity and progress.
At its feet stands the Dubai Mall, one of the largest shopping centers in the world, a private artificial lake, a series of terraces that house excellent restaurants and a spectacular fountain that every half hour creates incredible shows of water, light and music. This and much more attract millions of visitors from all over the world eager to admire Dubai from the top of Burj Khalifa.
5 interesting and fun facts about Burj Khalifa
- It has the highest and fastest elevators in the world: it takes only 1 minute to go up from the ground floor to the 124th floor and the speed reaches 10 meters per second (33 ft/s)!
- It is more than double the height of the Empire State Building and almost 3 times the height of the Eiffel Tower
- It is so high that you can see the sun setting twice, once from the ground floor and then a second time from the top. In addition, the external temperature at the top is around 6 degrees cooler than on the ground floor.
- It took 6 years and the daily work of 12,000 men to build it
- It has 57 elevators: the internal space is huge, like a small city
Everything you need to know about Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa was originally called Burj Dubai, or Dubai Tower. The word Burj in Arabic means tower, and the skyscraper has been renamed in honor of the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The construction of the Burj Khalifa began as a world-class engineering challenge, but matured in a time of economic crisis for the government of Dubai. The construction was completed thanks to the help of the Abu Dhabi government which lent a large sum to the city of Dubai.
Burj Khalifa has redefined construction standards for large buildings. Here the best engineers from all over the world worked to overcome the technical challenges and to develop new solutions.
Downtown Dubai, the area where Burj Khalifa is located, was born as a project for a modern integrated city, a model for the cities of the future. The most modern technologies and the most advanced materials have been used.
The Burj Khalifa is 829.80 meters high and has 163 floors plus 2 underground floors.
Burj Khalifa: architecture between tradition and modernity
The Burj Khalifa is a mixed-use skyscraper: there are private apartments and spaces open to the public, offices, restaurants, nightclubs and observation decks for visitors.
The architecture of Burj Khalifa is inspired by Islamic architecture and reflects canons of innovation and modernity, thanks also to the use of light and innovative materials and the massive use of glass surfaces that allow an extraordinary 360° view.
The shape of the tower was modeled to withstand the strongest winds and intense earthquakes. Absolutely innovative systems have been used to guarantee maximum safety in the event of a fire and to reduce the environmental impact: intelligent systems for air conditioning, water recovery and recycling in irrigation systems and fountains.
The interiors have been designed to reflect typical elements of the local cultural heritage fused with novelty characters thanks also to the contribution of designers from all over the world.
What’s inside Burj Khalifa?
In the lower floors there is a luxury hotel, the Armani Hotel, 15 floors and 304 rooms of pure elegance signed by one of the best Italian designers. On the upper floors there are over 900 private apartments, indoor and outdoor pools, corporate offices and representative suites.
On the 122nd floor there is the At.mosphere restaurant. At levels 124 and 125 there is the At the Top Burj Khalifa Observation Deck which allows visitors to enjoy the view of Dubai from 452 meters in height.
A further observation deck, called At the Top Burj Khalifa SKY, is located at level 148 and allows visitors to have an amazing view from the height of 555 meters. Burj Khalifa attracts millions of visitors every month. To reduce the daily crowds, the management of the tower encourages the online booking of tickets instead of the purchase on the spot (the purchase at the ticket offices on the spot is more expensive, the ticket lines are long and the tickets sell out quickly).
Visit Burj Khalifa: What to See and Ticket Info
A visit to Dubai is not complete without visiting the Burj Khalifa. The experience of climbing to the top of this incredible 163-story skyscraper is one of the things to do at least once in your life and certainly one of the most exciting things to do in Dubai.
The elevators go up at a speed of 10 m/s allowing visitors to reach the top in less than a minute. Multimedia installations along the tour tell the story of the tower and interesting facts about its construction.
In reality it is not possible to get to the real top of the tower (unless you are Tom Cruise and you’re making Mission Impossible, of course) but it is possible to get just below the top: the observation deck At the Top Burj Khalifa SKY is located on the 148th floor and offers a breathtaking view. If the sky is particularly clear from here you can even see the coasts of Iran!
Burj Khalifa has two observation decks (one on levels 124 and 125, the other on level 148) and a Lounge on level 154.
At the Top Burj Khalifa – 124th and 125th floors
The lower observation deck occupies the 124th and 125th floors. From here you can enjoy a magnificent bird’s eye view over the whole city of Dubai. There is also a lounge where you can have a drink or something to eat.
The At the Top Burj Khalifa observation deck is the most popular among visitors because the ticket has a more affordable price. This however means that it is always very crowded and that the queues for tickets and elevators are very long.
At the Top Burj Khalifa SKY – 148th floor
The best view is from the Burj Khalifa SKY, the observation deck on the 148th floor. Here you are really close to the top and the view is truly wide and breathtaking. Due to the higher ticket price, it is less crowded here which makes the visit much more enjoyable.
Burj Khalifa Lounge – 154th floor
The visit to the Burj Khalifa Lounge is something that goes beyond the classic visit route. It is a unique and unforgettable experience: this is the highest lounge in the world and offers a selection of excellent drinks and cocktails, live musical performances and an extraordinary view.
To visit the Lounge and enjoy a drink or tea with a view, or to celebrate some special occasion, you need to book a special entrance ticket. The number of tickets available is usually very limited.
Burj Khalifa Restaurants: Dinner with a Special View
The At.Mosphere restaurant is located on the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa and is the highest restaurant in the world.
This restaurant offers a refined menu of traditional and international cuisine, with the possibility of ordering à la carte or trying one of the tasting menus (starting from AED 680 per person, drinks not included).
The Lounge of the At.Mosphere Restaurant offers 5-star breakfasts and excellent teas served with sweets and finger foods.
Here you have the option to book the private lounge, and enjoy a special day with a wonderful gourmet lunch, drinks included, table with special view, and round-trip transportation from your hotel or cruise terminal by luxury car. Absolutely perfect for special occasions or business meetings.
The At.Mosphere restaurant can be reached from the main entrance of the Armani Hotel.
The restaurants of the Armani Hotel combine elegance with the best of gourmet cuisine.
They are located on the lower floors of Burj Khalifa and offer the possibility to dine on the terrace, overlooking the Dubai Fountain.
The restaurants of the Armani Hotel are also open to non-hotel guests and range through the best of international cuisine:
- Armani Hashi: offers contemporary Japanese dishes;
- Armani Restaurant: allows you to taste excellent dishes of modern Italian cuisine. The selection of wines from the Enoteca Armani is also good;
- Armani Hamal: this restaurant offers a selection of traditional Indian dishes, with a touch of modernity;
- Armani Lounge: it is a good place for a coffee, a tea, or a light lunch. It offers a good menu of international cuisine and a beautiful view of the Dubai Fountain.
- Armani Deli: chic and informal, this European-style restaurant offers excellent dishes inspired by Italian cuisine. It is the favorite place for a business lunch or a light brunch.
- Armani Mediterraneo: casual restaurant serving contemporary Mediterranean cuisine. You can choose from the à la carte menu or serve yourself from the buffet.
If you plan to visit Burj Khalifa or Dubai Mall you could take the opportunity to book an offer that includes both a visit to Burj Khalifa At the Top and a lunch in the Armani Deli restaurant.
The Burj Club Rooftop
The Burj Club is one of the most beautiful restaurants in Burj Khalifa and the rooftop overlooking the Dubai Fountain is its highlight.
It serves good international cuisine, including light or vegetarian options, with 5-star service. Recommended for a dinner overlooking the Dubai Fountain show and all the glittering skyscrapers around.
It is possible to book a ticket that includes a visit to the Burj Khalifa At the Top (124th floor) and dinner or lunch at The Burj Club for a rather affordable price.
Burj Khalifa Hotel: Stay in the Tallest Tower in the World
The Armani Hotel Dubai occupies several floors of the Burj Khalifa and offers the best of 5-star hospitality.
Its guests can live the experience of staying in the most iconic building in Dubai, in the heart of Downtown Dubai, the most futuristic and trendy neighborhood in the Emirates.
Designed by the famous fashion designer Giorgio Armani, Armani Hotel Burj Khalifa offers prestigious rooms and suites, a luxury spa and dedicated access to the Dubai Mall.
Furthermore, its guests can enjoy fantastic gastronomic experiences in one of the Armani restaurants, which offer a wonderful view of Burj Khalifa Lake and the Dubai Fountain.
The Armani Hotel Dubai disco, called Armani Privé, is one of the most exclusive in the city.
Things to see near the Burj Khalifa
Don’t miss the show of the Dubai Fountain: go there in the evening, every 30 minutes you can attend a spectacular show of lights, sounds and jets, with the fountain performing imposing choreography in sync with the music.
To enjoy the best view, book an abra tour on Burj Khalifa Lake!
The Dubai Mall is one of the largest shopping malls in the world and is a real city within the city, with amusement parks, shops, cinemas and even the remains of a real dinosaur.
The Dubai Mall is located right at the foot of Burj Khalifa and houses shops of all the best international brands, a large theme amusement park for children (KidZania) and a food court where you can taste gastronomic specialties from all over the world.
To find out more, read my helpful guide to the Dubai Mall!
At the Dubai Mall you will also find over 200 restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets, some with decent views of Burj Khalifa Lake and the Dubai Fountain.
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
In the Dubai Mall there is the second largest aquarium in the world: the Dubai Aquarium. This is one of the must-see attractions in Dubai, it houses over 30,000 aquatic animals and a spectacular underwater zoo where you can see sharks, penguins and even crocodiles.
There is a combined ticket that allows you to visit both, the Burj Khalifa At the Top and the Dubai Aquarium, at a discounted price.
The Dubai Pass iVenture Card and Go Dubai Card tourist cards allow you to save up to 60% on tickets: by purchasing them you have free access to all the major attractions in Dubai, including the Burj Khalifa At the Top (125th and 125th floors) and the Dubai Aquarium.
Best times to visit Burj Khalifa
The best time to visit Burj Khalifa is at sunset, so between 5.00 PM and 8.00 PM in summer and between 4.00 PM and 6.00 PM in winter.
Consider that Burj Khalifa is usually heavily crowded in the afternoon, the queues for tickets and elevators can be very long and can take up to an hour to wait. If you don’t like queuing, you can book a skip-the-line ticket online.
Burj Khalifa Lake and Dubai Fountain give their best at night when the lights are on.
How long does it take to visit Burj Khalifa?
It depends on how many levels you plan to visit. Consider spending at least 30 – 40 minutes on each level, so that you can enjoy the view from different angles and take some nice photos.
Also consider that, especially at levels 124 and 125, before getting a decent view you will have to elbow a little with other visitors.
If you don’t have a skip-the-line ticket, consider that to visit Burj Khalifa you will need at least twice the time.
Burj Khalifa Timings
Burj Khalifa is open 24 hours a day (hotels and private residences).
The opening hours for visitors to Burj Khalifa At the Top and At the Top SKY are from 8:30 AM to 10:00 PM.
The last entry is 45 minutes before closing.
Burj Khalifa Location
The first important question is: where is the entrance to the Burj Khalifa?
Ok, you will find the Burj Khalifa entrance directly into the Dubai Mall. Go there, there is no need to go around the building.
If you are staying in Downtown Dubai it will be very easy to walk to Burj Khalifa, in all other cases you can reach it by public transport.
If you arrive here by car you can park at the Dubai Mall’s multi-storey car park.
There is a taxi rank in front of the Dubai Mall, if you opt to travel by taxi it will be quite easy to reach Burj Khalifa.
You can reach Burj Khalifa with the Dubai Metro Red Line that connects Downtown Dubai with the rest of the city (including Dubai International Airport). You have to get off at Burj Khalifa Dubai Mall Metro Station.
The metro station is about 1 km from Burj Khalifa and is connected directly to the Dubai Mall by a covered pedestrian bridge with air conditioning and airport-style travelators. Consider that from the metro station to Burj Khalifa you will need a 20-minute walk.
You can get to Burj Khalifa with Bus 27 which leaves from the Gold Souk Bus Station in Deira and which stops near the entrance to the Dubai Mall.
A smart way to visit all the main attractions in Dubai is to take a Hop On Hop Off Bus, the stop is right in front of the main entrance of the Dubai Mall. If you have the Go Dubai Card All Inclusive or the Dubai Pass iVenture Unlimited you can take the Hop On Hop Off Bus for free.