Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is a tremendously and (some might say) terrifyingly tall tower. Don your oxygen masks, folks – the Burj stands at an eye-watering 829.8 meters in its bare feet. Its gleaming glass and steel chassis can be seen from Iran on a good day and it towers above its (also rather lanky) brothers and sisters on the Dubai skyline. The Burj has the highest observation deck on Earth and the view is truly spectacular.
As well as experiencing the unique panorama from the observation deck, there are also lots of other exciting things to see and do in and around the Burj Khalifa that will keep you thoroughly entertained throughout your stay in the ‘City of Gold’. The Burj and its surrounding neighborhoods have some fantastic restaurants, stupendous shopping, palatial spas and many other breathtaking sights, sounds and experiences. With such a wealth of awesome attractions, a trip to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is a worthy addition to any bucket list. So, to take your trip to the Arabian Desert to the next level (that BUCKiTDREAM level that we all aspire to), you’ll want to take a look at our ultimate guide.
In order to make the most of your stay, some smart planning is crucial. If you’re not fond of wading through blogs, articles and travel guides but still want to be certain that you’re going to see all of the special places that Dubai has to offer, then BUCKiTDREAM is the ideal resource. Have a browse and take note of all the best places to eat, shop, see and adventure in Dubai.
Here’s our breakdown of the top experiences that the Burj Khalifa and its surroundings have to offer. Make sure to keep all of the recommendations that particularly excite you safely stored in BUCKiTDREAM’s planning feature tool.
Enjoy the Breathtaking View from the Burj Khalifa’s ‘At the Top’ Observation Deck – See the spectacular panoramic view of the whole of Dubai as well as the desert and the sea from the world’s tallest building. At 555 meters, this is the highest observation deck on Earth. The nifty telescopes offer an amazing ‘time travel’ view of the scenes below and beyond – you can choose to look in real time or see how the scene looked at various stages in the past and how it will look in the future; all in all, pretty fascinating! We recommend venturing to the open-air terrace to appreciate to the fullest extent what it feels like to be out in the open at half a kilometer in the air. Not to be missed!
Marvel at the Dubai Fountain – The world’s largest choreographed fountain system is set in the 30-acre manmade Burj Khalifa lake and is Dubai’s best free attraction. The fountain is huge – it shoots water up to 150 meters in the air and is accompanied by dazzling light shows and an atmospheric range of classical to contemporary world music. Take a seat in one of the excellent nearby restaurants and enjoy the show!
Shop Yourself to Bankruptcy or Simply Browse at the Dubai Mall – This high-end mall has some exquisitely expensive stores which make window shopping both necessary and a lot of fun! The mall is humongous, so if you enjoy shopping you’ll be like a kid in a particularly luxurious candy store. However, even if you’re passions lie elsewhere, the mall has lots of great coffee and cake shops as well as a plethora of restaurants that make it a lovely place to relax and do some people-watching, out of the glare of the scorching Dubai sun.
Descend Below Sea Level at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo – Located in the Dubai Mall, this excellent aquarium is home to a huge variety of strange and exotic aquatic creatures, including sharks, rays and crocodiles. The aquarium has many different habitats to check out.
Take a Fascinating Dubai City Sightseeing Tour – Allow a local expert to give you the story of this city and show you what they love about their hometown. Enjoy witnessing the wonderful mix of traditional Arabian-style architecture and magnificent, innovative feats of modern construction that make Dubai such a fascinating destination, all from the comfort of an air-conditioned coach! Check out Dubai’s oldest and newest buildings and take a stroll through its various souks (markets) with your guide offering a historical overview of the rich culture along the way.
Venture out into the Desert on a 4×4 Safari Tour – Travel into the heart of the Arabian desert in a 4×4 jeep and try your hand at sandboarding (the desert’s answer to snowboarding), visit a camel farm and enjoy a sunset barbecue with live music and dancing.
Romantic Cocktails at Mosphere – The world’s highest lounge bar, At.Mosphere is located on level 122 of the Burj Khalifa and its view is predictably spectacular. The cocktails are exotic, inventive, delicious and expensive – a lot like Dubai itself. Well worth a visit, especially as the view of Dubai after dark is breathtaking.
Enjoy a Luxurious Signature Massage at The Spa at The Palace Downtown – The Spa is a sanctuary of blissful peace and relaxation in the heart of downtown Dubai. The atmosphere is incredibly opulent and the resident masseuses are famous for their rejuvenating massages.
Known for its eye-wateringly expensive luxury hotels, Dubai can certainly accommodate you if you wish to spend BIG on bed and board; however, the city also has quite a few medium and budget priced hotels to choose from. Here is our choice of the best high, medium and budget accommodation in and around the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
- High-end: Armani Hotel – The Armani Hotel is located in the Burj Khalifa building and is the epitome of high-end luxury accommodation. The hotel offers various levels of opulence in their suites, all of which are luxuriously comfortable and esthetically exquisite.
- Medium: Rove Downtown Dubai – Friendly staff, great location very close to the Burj Khalifa and excellent facilities. With modern, comfortable furnishing, this hotel is clean, cool and well-organized.
- Budget: Holiday Inn Express, Safa Park, Dubai – This is a basic, comfortable hotel very near the Burj Khalifa. Centrally located with excellent staff, this is your premier choice for affordable accommodation in the heart of Dubai.
There is a very cosmopolitan range of food available in Dubai. Great quality Arabic food is the most popular and is available all over the city and many of the hotels have excellent restaurants. In the Burj Khalifa, the Amal restaurant at the Armani Hotel is classy, modern and serves great Indian food.
Fast food is popular and there is a good selection of quick-and-easy restaurants across the city. The many small shawarma diners in Deira and Al Karama are popular and very reasonably priced.
South Asian and Chinese food is very popular and widely available. There’s excellent Biryani on offer all across Dubai as it is a favorite of the many Pakistani and Indian people that live and work in the city.
The sale and consumption of pork is legal but tightly regulated and only sold to non-Muslims in designated areas. So if you are desperate for a pork fix, you’ll need to go searching in supermarkets or the airport.
Drinks and Nightlife
Dubai has a vibrant nightlife scene. The city has lots of great clubs and bars, mostly within hotels due to liquor laws.
The Armani Prive nightclub in the Burj Khalifa is one of the hottest venues in town. Plush and exclusive, it’s perfect for an elegant and excellent night out.
People by Crystal is probably the most popular nightclub in Dubai; expect lots and lots of decadent fun.
There are plenty of good bars and pubs to be found, again mainly inside hotels. The Dubliner’s is a traditional Irish pub serving great Guinness and good, hearty pub food.
Shisha and qahwa boutiques are very popular in Dubai and can be a great place to meet locals and soak up a less tourist-centric atmosphere.
Tips and Culture
Dubai is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with over 100 nationalities living inside its walls. The U.A.E. is a Muslim country and so Dubai culture is deeply influenced by Islamic standards and rules. Friday is classed as the ‘weekend’ and many businesses are closed for at least part of the day. Wearing modest clothes is recommended while out and about in the city. Women should refrain from wearing midriff-baring tops, mini-skirts or short shorts, although bikinis are acceptable on the beach.
Public displays of affection between people of the opposite sex are frowned upon and should be avoided while in public.
Arabic is the official language in Dubai, although English is widely spoken throughout the city.
Getting around Dubai on foot is highly challenging as the city has few footpaths, pedestrian crossings or traffic lights. Taxis, buses and the Dubai metro are the best ways to get around and they make traversing the city easy and cheap. Bus and metro tickets must be purchased before boarding; all metro stations, most bus stations and many of the malls have ticket machines.
Go even higher on a Helicopter Flight over Dubai – This spectacular tour is available in 15, 25, 45 or 60-minute versions. It’s a perfect way to see Dubai and the surrounding desert and sea from an eye-opening and informative vantage point.
The Burj Khalifa is a wonder of human ingenuity and imagination. It is the ultimate symbol of achievement and progress and truly a must-see for city-loving travelers. So start by copying all of your favorite Dubai tips from this article into your BUCKiTDREAM dream planner, make your dream a reality and then, when you’re gazing in wonder from the tallest observation deck on Earth, why not inspire your friends and other dreamers by sharing your Burj Khalifa experience on the app in our MOMENTS feature.