Let’s get the stats out of the way, shall we? At 2,716.5 feet and more than 160 stories high (seriously, take a moment and consider that), the Burj Khalifa is the tallest skyscraper on the planet. What would prevent you from taking one of the world’s fastest elevators to the 148th floor to take in 360-degree views of Dubai and the Arabian Gulf beyond at the world’s highest outdoor observation deck? Not realizing that this is one of Dubai’s seminal experiences, for for one thing. We’re usually the first to balk at this sort of tourist magnet, but in a city like Dubai—built out of the desert through sheer will and imagination—the Burj Khalifa is a monument not to be missed. What is to be missed are the lines and crowds, which (insider tip alert) you can easily avoid by upgrading to a Fast Track ticket, available online. Best part: you can buy your passes on the website up to 30 days in advance. We suggest you time your ascent to dusk: you’ll see the sun setting over the Gulf and the city lights come twinkling to life. Plan it right and you may even catch the dancing fountains below (they do their thing every 30 minutes from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.). Prefer not to shell out for observation-deck tickets? Head to At.Mosphere on the 122nd floor of the Burj for sky-high cocktails (just make sure to reserve ahead).
If you’re driving, take Dubai-Ghweifat International Highway. Take the exit toward Financial Centre Road and merge onto Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard. At the roundabout take the second exit and Burj Khalifa will be on your right. Then, just take the elevator to the 122nd floor.
BURJ KHALIFA: 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd.; +971-(0)4-366-1655; burjkhalifa.ae
AT.MOSPHERE AT BURJ KHALIFA: 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd.; +971-(0)4-888-3828; atmosphereburjkhalifa.com