How To - Dubai Fountain

If you’ve ever seen the fountain scene from Ocean’s 11 outside the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, or better yet seen the Bellagio fountain show in person, the Dubai Fountain show is just as magical… but crazy bigger! No trip to Dubai is complete without at least one viewing of The Dubai Fountain show.


What Is It:

The Dubai Fountain is an awesome display of water jets and lights choreographed to music. It ranges from small, delicate, ballet like sprays to gimondo shots of water straight in the air! The music can vary from popular American / English speaking songs, to instrumental pieces, to Arabic songs. Often, there are decorative lights on the Burj Khalifa during the show, but by no means are they the main event.

However, on the off-set (they alternate every 15 minutes, see Hours below for more), there is a “lights show” on the Burj Khalifa. I find this quite impressive, too, incorporating the entire height of the tallest building in the world! Plus, it distracts you and therefore efficiently kills time while you wait for the next fountain show (if you’re like me and can’t get enough of them!).

Dubai Fountain jet alignment; seen from Burj Khalifa At The Top viewing deck



The actual arrangements of jets / lights is in five circles and two arcs, but it is not symmetrical. The length of the jet arrangement is 275 m / 902 ft long, the water can shoot as high as 140 m / 500 ft / 50-story building-ish, and the Burj Lake is 30 acres.




Where To See It:

Souk Al Bahar Bridge looking towards the Dubai Mall.

Technically, you can see the fountain show from pretty much anywhere along the Burj Lake. It seems like most people stand on the Souk Al Bahar Bridge, a bridge that connects The Dubai Mall and the Souk Al Bahar. If you’re trying to get to this bridge from inside the mall, you need to be on the Lower Ground floor and head to the exit by Five Guys / Tim Horton’s. Every time we’ve gone, the bridge is super packet for just about every show. That is to say, this area (including the mall drop-off location) is much nicer now that the (apparent continuous) construction around it seems to be finished. There is an ‘upper deck’ and ‘lower deck’ (my terms) that you can watch from which seems to spread people out a bit more. There is even a section roped off full of professional looking cameras.

My issue with watching from the bridge: you can only see less than half of the display! There is SO much more to see if you keep walking. To get technical, depending where you are on the bridge, you’ll likely only see two-thirds of the circles and only partial arcs.

A clip of the Dubai Fountain panning from one end of the display to the other. This video has no sound.

Experience Tip: Personally, we like to watch the show on the walkway along the Souk Al Bahar / Burj Lake closer to Shake Shack: take a right off the bridge, a left when you run out of straight, and stop half-way-ish. This location is not actually in the center (for that, keep going towards the end of the long straight piece past the Shake Shack and stop before the next left turn). But, it is close enough to get a real sense of the magnitude of the show! However, as stated above, the arrangement is not symmetrical, so the display is a bit lopsided with two circles on one side, three on with a crooked arc on another, and a giant arc that is also lop-sided. Why do I keep mentioning this? If you’re looking for the perfectly centered photo with the Burj Khalifa in the middle and a mirrored fountain display on either side - you won’t get it.

Are there more places to watch that give you awesome views? Sure! Many restaurants have some kind of a view, and there are walkways and parks along the edge of the Burj Lake that I’m sure have wonderful views. So far, though, my go-to spot is near Shake Shack. There is also The Dubai Fountain Boardwalk near the Burj Park by Emaar. You can even see the show if you go to the top of Burj Khalifa (At The Top)!

Fountain show seen from the Burj Khalifa At The Top viewing deck.

Experience Tip: If you are interested in seeing the show from the top, be mindful of what time they show them and maybe set an alarm. They play the music that goes with the show, but if you’re not aware that the music is for the show, It is easy to forget about it and not even register that the show is going on because you’re so high up!

Hours:

Evening Shows

  • Daily - 6:00 PM - 11:00 PM / 18:00 - 23:00

  • every 30 minutes on the :00 and :30 (on the :15 and :45 there is the “light show” on the Burj Khalifa)

Daytime Shows

  • Saturday to Thursday - 1:00 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:00 PM / 13:00, 13:30, 14:00

  • Friday afternoon shows 1:30 PM, 2:00 PM, 2:30 PM / 13:30, 14:00, 14:30

Cost:

FREE! You can pay around 73 AED (booking online, all in) to watch the show from a “traditional Abra” boat on the water or about 25 AED (booking online) to watch from the Dubai Fountain Boardwalk (and get only 9 m / 30 ft from the fountain, all in)… but … why?

You can book just the two pay activities here, or combo tickets with other Burj Khalifa activities here. You can also visit the At The Top ticket counter in The Dubai Mall. Both tickets are timed entries, along with At The Top, but more on that later.


Location:

The Dubai Fountain show takes place in the Burj Lake, which is surrounded by: the Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall, the Souk Al Bahar, and a ton of EMAAR buildings / development. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, The Dubai Mall is one of the largest malls in the world, and the Souk Al Bahar is a smaller mall full of restaurants that most people probably assume is an extension of the Dubai mall (which I guess it technically is since they are both owned by Emaar Malls). This whole area is considered Downtown Dubai.



Getting There:

Taxi: If you take a taxi / Uber / ride service to see the fountain show specifically, the easiest instructions are to tell the driver you are going to the Dubai Mall and that you want the fountain drop-off location. This drop-off was new to us in our 2019 visit. It is super convenient and easy to find the fountain (basically go straight towards the gobs of people!). This option does cost money, rates vary.

To leave, we have found it easiest to take a taxi (vs Uber / ride share service). There are designated taxi pick-up locations in the mall a big queue of taxis. From the fountain, the best pick-up is near The Waterfall. Go inside the mall via the doors near Five Guys / Tim Hortons, take a right after/in the rotunda and walk all the way to the end taking an escalator up one flight somewhere along the way. The Waterfall is a big sculpture of people … jumping? … off a waterfall. you can’t miss it. The pick-up will be behind that to the right.

Metro: If you take the RTA, get off at the Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall stop. From there you have a few options still. This option does cost money, rates vary.

Metro + Walking: You can use the Metro Link Bridge from the RTA to the mall. The bridge is covered and air conditioned. It is not a short walk, especially if you’re trying to get to the fountain or other areas clear across the mall. We are talking 10 minutes to get right to the mall and 30 minutes (or more) to get where you actually need to go (…more if you get lost, which might happen because the mall is big HUGE and can be confusing), but still totally doable if you plan for it. The bridge does have opening hours (Sunday - Wednesday 10:00am - 11:00pm / 10:00 - 21:00, and Thursday - Saturday 10:00am - 12:00am / 10:00 - 00:00).

Metro + Bus: You can take the F13 Dubai Mall feeder bus from the metro station to see the fountain show and save a little walking. There are two stops that make sense: The Dubai Mall stop, which is near the Grand Entrance, and the Burj Khalifa, The Palace Hotel stop, which is closer to Souk Al Bahar. Both include a walk, though, and the mall stop is probably inside the air conditioning most of the way. Decide what is best for you and the weather outside! The F13 bus is a loop so if you get on going the wrong direction or miss your stop, no problem (might just cost a little more?).

Bus: There are lots of busses that get you to The Dubai Mall: 27, 28, 29, 50, 81, F13, X22. The best bet is to look at Google Maps or download one of the many transportation applications by the RTA system. This option does cost money, rates vary.

Car: If you drive your own car, it is probably easiest to park in Cinema Car Park garage at The Dubai Mall, off of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd (aka, the east side of the mall). I think the mall might have valet, too, but to be honest I don’t know much about that. I also do not know how much parking costs, if anything.

Nol Card: You will need a Nol Card to ride public transportation. There are many options for these cards, but the best, especially for a tourist, it to get the red Nol Card, which is a paper ticket (vs pre-printed, customized cards) from a ticket vending machine. There are a few catches, such as there is a limit to the number of trips you can put on the card, and it appears (source says as of 2018.04.12) the card can only be used on one transit system at a time (only metro, or only bus, but not both). I don’t know the details of this (as in, once you empty the value of the card on the metro, can you re-load and switch to bus), but the cards are not that expensive (6 AED, little more than $1.50 USD, with a starting balance to use of 4 AED) so maybe have two if you are using both mediums?

Summary:

In all, this is a great activity! I am always mesmerized and want to see as many shows as I can! Anyway, I hope you find even just a few helpful bits from this!

Resources:

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