Page update - Sep 29, 2022
The Dubai Fountain is located on Burj Khalifa Lake, in the Downtown area, between the Dubai Mall, Souk Al Bahar market, and the Burj Khalifa skyscraper. It claims to be the main attraction of the Emirate of Dubai because it is the world's largest dancing fountain.
In fact, it is a group of fountains and powerful water pumps. So don't be surprised we will call it sometimes in single and sometimes in plural on this page. Hard to say which form is more correct.
Warning! As of September 2022, the Dubai Fountain Show is running. Daytime shows are temporarily NOT running. The Downtown District Administration strongly asks visitors to remember covid safety precautions. A social distance of 1 meter is still mandatory. Masks are already NOT mandatory outdoors as of February 2022 and are NOT mandatory in cafes and restaurants as of September 28, 2022.
First of all, it's completely free. Although, even if the government of the United Arab Emirates wanted to charge to see this show then it would be technically impossible. The fountains are seen from all around.
Secondly, you do not need to go anywhere specially to watch the show. The Burj Khalifa tower and the Dubai Mall are the main local tourist destinations. The fountain can be seen together with these attractions.
Third, it is the largest singing and dancing fountain in the world, and it would be a sorrow to visit the United Arab Emirates and not see the dance.
This fountain is the symbol of the prosperity of the United Arab Emirates, and it was planned as "the very, very best". To understand the idea of the creators, you have to remember the history of the UAE. The Arab nation was born in the desert and water has a very important place in their culture.
Water is as much a symbol of wealth as gold or silver. Water is always beautiful. No money was spared during construction, and no money is spared now, showing their dance and singing for free to all residents and visitors.
Fourth, there are 11 or 13 performances every day. There is no need to arrive to see the show by a certain time. You can walk around the Dubai Mall, and go outside and watch the show at a certain time.
There are no shows during the daytime temporarily. They stopped in March 2020, and it's not known when they will be resumed. There used to be two shows during the day at 1 pm and 1:30 pm, and on Fridays 1:30 pm and 2 pm. The schedule has been shifted due to the mandatory Friday "juma" prayer.
In the evening and night, the show runs from 6 pm to 11 pm, with an interval of 30 minutes. It used to be held until 10 pm on weekdays and until 11 pm on weekends. But after the January 2022 workweek change, the schedule is now stable to 11 pm on any given day. Read more about the workweek changes in the review "Friday and weekends in the UAE".
BUT THIS SCHEDULE IS NOT EXACT! Often the first show is held later. Our readers have written to us that they arrived at 6 pm and waited an hour or an hour and a half. The schedule can be heavily shifted during Ramadan and on holidays and pre-holiday days. There is a tricky way to see the exact schedule for any given day.
The official websites for Emaar, Dubai Mall, and Burj Khalifa all say 6 pm to 11 pm, but this is not always an exact schedule. Look for the schedule as follows:
Step one - go to the official website www.burjkhalifa.ae
Step two - click the "BOOK TICKETS" button in the upper right corner.
Step three - choose the package "The Dubai Fountain" for 20 dirhams. These are tickets to the platform to watch the fountain show.
Choose the date and see the exact schedule. The time will be shifted by 15 minutes back. That is, if the site shows the time of the first show at 6:15 pm, then the show will be at 6:30 pm.
Then maybe you want to buy tickets for the platform where you have the best view of the fountains. Or you can leave the website.
The shows during the day are in natural light and the evening shows are backlit. These are two completely different experiences, although technically they are not different. We recommend seeing both (when the daytime shows start up again) to get the best experience.
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Exactly the same way as to the Dubai Mall or the Burj Khalifa. Read our review "Burj Khalifa" for the most detailed instructions.
The Dubai Fountain complex is 900 feet (275 meters) long and about 330 feet (100 meters) wide. It occupies the central part of the Burj Khalifa Lake.
The Dubai Fountain consists of five circles and two arcs. See the map with the surroundings in the picture on the right. Click on the picture to enlarge to full screen. We will refer to this map later on this page.
The height of the water jets reaches 500 feet (152.4 meters). There is information that in May 2009 during the tests the water cannons were tested in extreme mode, and the height of the jet reached 985 feet (300 meters). Neither photos nor video of this moment have been preserved. So we consider this fact as a legend.
Such a high altitude is achieved not by pumps, but by special water cannons. They accumulate water in the reservoir, pressurizing it, and then release it. It takes time to accumulate water in the tank, and the most powerful cannons fire only a few times during the show. They sound like cannon shots. Conclusion: if you hear the shot, raise your head up and watch the record-breaking jet.
However, it is difficult to see the jet with a height of 500 feet (152 meters). This figure is nominal, and only rare drops reach this height. The main jet that is clearly visible from below is about 230 feet (70 meters). These are the features of water cannons.
This height of the water jet has an interesting side effect. In a strong wind the jet is blown away, and some of the spectators get wet. Take this fact into account when choosing a place to watch the show. Most often the wind blows in a southeast direction to Souk Al Bahar market.
Dubai's fountains can lift up to 100 tons of water at a time. The figure seems fantastic, but it is the peak value - if all the pumps and cannons are triggered simultaneously.
This complex of pumps, cannons, lighting and music is controlled by a special computer program. The program was developed by the fountain creators - the company WET Design. This program is called VirtualWET.
During the night shows, the fountain is illuminated by 50 main and 6,600 secondary projectors. The administration states that they are colored, but in reality the lights are always white. Of course, you can always create color with light filters, but then the light output is not enough, and the lighting will be dim.
Powerful audio speakers are installed around the perimeter of the lake, which broadcast music for the dance of the fountains. The repertoire includes both Arabic songs and popular world hits.
The repertoire is constantly being added to. For example, recently the fountains began to sing and dance the song 'Let It Go' - the main theme of the Disney animated film 'Frozen'.
There are over 20 songs in the repertoire and they are not repeated throughout the day. Unfortunately, the song schedules are not published, so it is not possible to schedule your visit to the fountains for a particular song. Therefore, we will not publish a list of all the songs, it makes no sense.
Only one song is stable in the schedule. The first song is 'Sama Dubai', this Arabic song is dedicated to the Emirate of Dubai and its Emir Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The project cost the sheikhs a record 800 million UAE dirhams, that's about 217 million US dollars. By comparison, the nearby Burj Khalifa Tower cost USD 1.5 billion.
As we said, no money was spared on one of the UAE's symbols of prosperity. It is a record-breaking cost fountain. The second most expensive fountain in the world is the Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas, and it only cost about USD 40 million, which is five times cheaper. It is unlikely that the record cost of the Dubai Fountain will be broken in near future.
The fountain shows the most grandiose spectacle on New Year's Eve when they work together and in sync with the fireworks that are launched from the ground and from the Burj Khalifa tower. It is an unforgettable sight and the best reason to spend New Year's Eve in Dubai.
On October 22, 2020, the Dubai Fountain had lost the Guinness World Record as the largest in the world. However, the new record holder The Palm Fountains (also in Dubai) are two groups of fountains in different locations. Therefore, the Dubai Fountains still holds the record as the largest single dancing fountain in the world.
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Let's compare some of the most popular places to watch the show from. Once again. See the map with the surroundings in the picture on the right. Click on the picture to enlarge to full screen.
On the map you can see all the waterfronts from which you can watch the show. Those waterfronts are marked in gray color. As you see, you can watch from ALMOST ANY point around the Burj Khalifa Lake.
The best place is considered to be the promenade at Souk Al Bahar bazaar. The best place to watch the show is from the restaurant on the waterfront. These restaurants are Dean & Deluca Cafe, Baker & Spice, Rivington Grill (English cuisine), Urbano (Italian cuisine), Margaux Restaurant (French cuisine), Mango Tree (Thai cuisine), Bice Mare (Italian cuisine).
The only disadvantage of this place is the north-west wind that prevails in the Emirate of Dubai. The water from the fountain is blown there and there is a chance to be wet and with a wet dinner on top of that.
The most popular place is the promenade at the Dubai Mall. It always attracts the most people and you need to occupy a place in the front rows 15 minutes in advance. This is the least interesting position to view, as you will only see two rings out of five and a small part of the arc. But it is the only place, from which you will see the main ring in all its beauty.
The next place is the bridge between the Dubai Mall and Souk Al Bahar market (pictured left, click to enlarge). The view from there is better and the crowd is smaller. The main advantage is one of the rings is very-very close to the viewing position.
Some people watch the show from the Dubai Mall itself. There are several restaurants with windows overlooking the lake. These restaurants are TGI Fridays, Wafi Gourmet (Lebanese cuisine), Carluccio's (Italian cuisine), Joe's Cafe, More, Madeleine (French cuisine), and Burj Al Hamam (Lebanese cuisine). You will watch, but you will not hear the music.
The next place is the Burj Khalifa promenade. Excellent view of the whole main arc. But you will need to walk 1,000 feet (300 meters).
All of the ways above are free, but there is also a paid option. You can watch the show of the dancing fountains from a boat. The ticket costs 65 UAE dirhams. See the actual exchange rates of UAE dirham in our review "Money in the UAE".
It is very colorful, as you will not ride on a modern boat, but the traditional Arab abra boat. You can buy a ticket on the waterfront near the Dubai Mall or on the official website of the Burj Khalifa - burjkhalifa.ae.
Another option is to watch the show from a special platform (boardwalk) in front of the Burj Khalifa. The price is 20 dirhams. The ticket can also be purchased on the website burjkhalifa.ae
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The Dancing Fountain of Dubai is a unique example of a very high quality show for free. No wonder the reviews of this show are exceptionally positive. Even if a tourist did not really like it, then conscience will not allow to say something bad.
We can also speak about the Dubai Fountain only on the positive side for a similar reason. We are much less favorable to the other attractions and love to show all the advantages on par with the disadvantages.
- The Dubai Fountain is not the only free attraction in Dubai. Read our detailed review "What to see in the UAE for free";
- You can see the second Dubai Fountain! It's a working mini-copy made of LEGO bricks in LEGOLAND Park. But you can only see it for money;
- The neighboring Emirate of Sharjah has its own dancing fountains. Read about them in the review "Fountains of Sharjah".
We hope you will like the show, and read our useful pages about the UAE (see the list of the pages below).
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