Visiting the Burj Khalifa Observation Deck: At The Top

Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, the building stands 2717 feet tall, that's more than two times of Empire State Building.

The tower has observation decks on its upper floors that are opened to public, offering 360 degree panoramic view of the city from aerial perspectives. There are 3 floors being occupied by observation deck, respectively at levels 124, 125 and 148, as of 2018 the observation deck on Level 148 at 555 m high is still the tallest observatory in the world, while the main observation deck on the levels 124, 125 is 6th tallest, to know more about Burj Khalifa, check out the facts about Burj Khalifa.

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa seen from the air

The admission ticket can be purchased at the ticket counters in Dubai Mall and can also be booked online in advance, if you prefer booking in advance you can buy the tickets on the official website of Burj Khalifa or some third party websites, it's recommended to book on third party sites, as those sites offer discounts, you can book the admission ticket at here.

The ticket price is varied depending on which floors of observation deck the visitor want to access.
If you purchase the ticket of standard experience, which known as At The Top, it will cost you $37 ($57 during prime hours) and you can access the observatory on levels 124 and 125.
The price will be much higher if you want to also access Level 148, you will need to purchase the ticket of premium experience that is known as At The Top SKY, then you can access all three floors at Levels 124, 125 and Level 148, which is the highest floor can be accessed by tourists, and additionally you can skip the line to take elevator directly, an admission ticket for that cost at least $100 and even $145 if visit during the sunset, which known as prime hours.

Burj Khalifa is located at the heart of Downtown Dubai, right beside the Dubai Mall. The most convenient way to get there is by taking metro, stopping at Burj Khalifa or Dubai Mall. You can also take a Uber taxi or rent a car to get to the tower, the car can be parked for free in the parking lot of the Dubai Mall.

To access the observation deck, don't head directly to the entrance at the base of the building, that entrance serves only for the people work or reside in the tower and the hotel guests.
For tourists the entrance to the observation deck is not set at the base of Burj Khalifa, visitors need to enter into the bottom floor of the nearby Dubai Mall first.

Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall
The base of Burj Khalifa seen on the left and Dubai Mall at the foreground of the picture

The mall is known as world's largest mall, it sits right beside the Burj Khalifa, there you will find signs that read At The Top, these signs will guide you to reach the entrance of the observatory.

You'd better to check the weather of the day of the visit, do avoid foggy or rainy days, you won't see anything but the fog on foggy or rainy days, it may hard to imagine because you can see things clearly on the ground, but views seen from the high above is totally different. Additionally, on sunny days with no fog, the views of buildings or artificial islands in the long distance are much more clear.
After received the paper ticket, you will be escorted to a lobby for checking the ticket, there is a model of Burj Khalifa in the middle of the lobby.

The model of Burj Khalifa in the lobby
The model of Burj Khalifa in the lobby

Then you and other visitors will go through a hallway with video exhibition introducing the history or development of Burj Khalifa.
After going through the hallway you will then wait for the elevator in the line. Usually the lines are quite long. Be patient and you will get into the elevator. If you do not want to wait then consider purchase the ticket of premium experience instead of the standard experience in advance, in that way you will be allowed to skip the line and also can access to all three floors including the highest one.
The elevator will first take tourists to Level 124 no matter which floor the visitor intend to access, the elevator travels at 10m per second, within 57 seconds it will whisk tourists to the Level 124, there you can decide whether to have a look at this floor first or directly go to the Level 148 (in case you bought the ticket of At The Top SKY), if you prefer the latter, then you will be escorted to another elevator that will take you to Level 148.

Level 148 is a bit narrow, the area is only about 350 square meters or 3770 square-foot (for reference and comparison, the floor plate of the super-slender skyscraper 432 Park Ave in New York City is 767 square-meter or 8255 square ft ), quite small for an observation deck.

You can preview the 360 degree views of the city seen from the observation deck on Level 148 by dragging the image below:

When Burj Khalifa was first opened in 2010, there's no observation deck on Level 148, as the floor plate is too small, but with more and more skyscrapers opening higher observation decks, it's a shame for the world's tallest building having an observation deck at only 452 meters, in 2014 they opened the Level 148 to bring back the title of tallest observation deck. But in order to keep the small area not to be overwhelmed with visitors they priced the admission fee much higher than other observatories, the observation deck on Level 118 of Shanghai Tower is only 3 meters lower than Burj Khalifa's Level 148, a ticket to access it is only priced merely 28 Dollars.
And for the same reason it is stated that one can only stay on Level 148 for up to half an hour. However actually visitors will be not be monitored, you can stay as long as you want.
Standing by the north side of the observation deck you will be presented with the skyscrapers along the Sheikh Zayed Road, the area is also known as Downtown Dubai.

Skyscrapers in Downtown Dubai
Skyscrapers in Downtown Dubai seen from the observation deck on Burj Khalifa

In respect of the amount of skyscrapers that beyond 200 meters tall, Dubai ranks one among all the cities in the world, even New York City is behind it, and a large amount of them is clustered along the Sheikh Zayed Road.

A pair of towers connected by a sky bridge is taking the shape in this picture, the sky bridge makes these two new buildings very futuristic.

The chunky building in the forefront on the right is designed by the renowned architect Norman Foster.

A close view of Downtown Dubai from the perspective of Burj Khalifa observation deck

At west side, you can see the impressive view of Persian Gulf and The World Islands in the distance, which is a series of artificial islands constructed on Persian Gulf that resemble the shape of world map.

Looking towards the south, you may see the famous Burj Al Arab in the long distance, not very clear in the picture.

The district called Business Bay is also clustered with many skyscrapers.

The twin towers with two spires in the picture below is world's tallest hotel buildings.

Below is the view seen from the east side of the observation deck. You will get the aerial view of the Dubai Mall, which is shown in the lower left corner of this picture. The tallest building seen in the picture is The Address Downtown Dubai, it's one of the most iconic structures in Downtown Dubai.

You will see two exquisite building complexes floating upon the artificial lake, the one on the left which connected to the Dubai Mall by a bridge is Souk Al Bahar, it's a Arabic style market, offering a collection of stores and restaurants. The building complex situated right to Souk Al Bahar is a luxury hotel called Palace Downtown.

At northeast side, you can see the Dubai Creek, a large development project known as Dubai Creek Harbor will begin there, with the centerpiece being a tower over 1300 meters in height, when completed, it will surpass Burj Khalifa to become the new tallest building in the city and even the entire world.

Dubai Creek seen from Burj Khalifa observation deck
Dubai Creek seen from Burj Khalifa observation deck

There's an outdoor terrace, do not forget to walk out to there to see the views more freely, and feel the air in the sky, this outdoor terrace also makes the Level 148 of Burj Khalifa the tallest outdoor observation deck in the world, even in a few months or years some buildings in China will have observation decks higher than it, but those are all set indoor (The first potential one is on Shanghai Tower, the second one is Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen, and then the Golden 117 in Tianjin, Jeddah Tower will also have an outdoor observation deck but that would be five years later).

Once you want to leave Level 148, you can take a elevator to the observatory on Level 125. Unlike the quiet atmosphere on Level 148, this level is much more crowded. But as Burj Khalifa is a tapered building, this floor is much wider than Level 148.
A spiral stairway is built for tourists to access Level 124 from Level 125 and vice versa, walking along the stairs will take you to reach Level 124.

The spiral stairway
The spiral stairway in Burj Khalifa observation deck

Level 124 also has outdoor platform and much capacious than the one on Level 148.

The outdoor terrace on Burj Khalifa observation deck on level 124
The outdoor terrace on Burj Khalifa observation deck on level 124

After visited all the floors of the observatory you can choose to stay there longer and wait for night come, it is recommended not to leave the observation deck before the night come, as the city views will be generally more impressive with decoration of lights.

Night view of Downtown Dubai seen from Burj Khalifa observation deck

After you reached the ground again, don't forget to look up at Burj Khalifa, the tower will be lit with lights of different colors and animated images every day in specific time.

Burj Khalifa lit in colorful lights
Burj Khalifa lit in colorful lights
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