Credit: Zack Benson © ZackBenson.com
Credit: Zack Benson © ZackBenson.com

The Best San Diego Rooftops for Summer 2022

Celebrate Summer With a Sky-High Soiree on One of These Trendy Rooftops

With warm weather and cold drinks bound to be the status quo this summer, what better place to enjoy the best time of the year than on a scenic and stylish rooftop? For lucky San Diego dwellers, the array of rooftop bars and restaurants feels endless. From hotspots with thirst-quenching craft cocktails to those with unbeatable ocean views, we have you covered on the most stunning and fun rooftops in sun-drenched San Diego. Best San Diego Rooftops

Best San Diego Rooftops

The Pool House at Pendry San Diego

Credit: Robert Reyes

Between the chic canvas cabanas and the sweeping Fifth Avenue views, there isn’t a cooler rooftop in the Gaslamp Quarter. The Pool House, located on the top floor of the Pendry San Diego, embodies the essence of the Southern California lifestyle with its open-air design, shimmering pool and chic bartop. Enjoy DJ beats and sunbathing on Sundays or attend The Pool House at Night events for dancing and drinks. Whether you’re a sun-seeker or a night owl, this downtown hotspot offers all the summer vibes you crave. And in addition to boozy libations and beats, The Pool House also features both a daytime menu of light bites and an after-hours menu of shareables plates. Snack on dishes like coconut ceviche, lollipop chicken wings and Maine lobster rolls under the sun and palate-pleasers like fritto misto, ahi poke tartare and grilled chicken souvlaki skewers at dusk. There’s no better place for a summertime soiree!

Location: Gaslamp Quarter

 

Birdseye at Cormorant Boutique Hotel

Birdseye at the Cormorant Boutique Hotel is considered to be the newest “jewel” of La Jolla, and thanks to the sweeping ocean views and refreshing cocktails, it’s easy to see why. There’s plenty of outdoor seating with the option to lounge under shady umbrellas, and the swaying palm trees and bright blue water set the perfect summer scene. Enjoy Argentinian bites like empanadas, choripan and ceviche along with a crisp glass of white wine or a zesty margarita while you enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the sweeping La Jolla coastline. 

Location: La Jolla

 

Firehouse American Eatery & Lounge

Credit: James Tran

From the panoramic glass windows to the cozy fire pits, the rooftop at Firehouse in Pacific Beach is the ultimate place to people-watch while taking in coastal views. No matter which time of day you visit, the rooftop can get pretty rowdy, making it a great place to let loose and sip on Firehouse Frozé. Celebrating something special? Book bottle service and dance the night away while enjoying a crisp ocean breeze.

Location: Pacific Beach

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5th & Sky at Theatre Box

Credit: Theatre Box

From the downtown views to Coronado Bridge in the distance, 5th & Sky at Theatre Box is a rooftop lounge that has a stunning garden and even better cocktails. Guests walk through a rose tunnel and emerge into a Japanese-style setting complete with picturesque cherry blossoms, cozy fire pits and bohemian lanterns. Sip on a pink rose sangria or lychee martini while nibbling on tuna poke and ceviche tostadas; 5th & Sky also has a variety of fresh sushi rolls to choose from. 

Location: Gaslamp Quarter

 

Park 101

Since its 2017 debut in downtown Carlsbad, Park 101 has remained one of San Diego’s go-to spots for stiff drinks and good times. This multilevel restaurant and bar boasts 8,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor space to sip, snack, kick back, dance or play games—whatever your vibe may be. The impressive venue is just a few blocks from the beach and features two bars, several fire pits, a rooftop with sweeping views and games like cornhole and foosball. Park 101 also boasts an impressive menu of BBQ-meets-Cali cuisine, most of which is prepared using the restaurant’s in-house smoker. Feast on favorites like brisket tacos and pulled pork sandos and be sure to pair your pick with an ice-cold ale, hard seltzer or hand-crafted cocktail!

Location: Carlsbad

 

Mission Pacific Hotel

The Rooftop Bar at the all-new Mission Pacific Hotel is the first of its kind in the northern San Diego County area. Take a ride up to the top floor and discover a hip, bohemian oasis with a glowing bar, lounge seating, a pool deck and sweeping views of the Oceanside Pier. The Rooftop Bar is all kinds of chic with its towering olive trees, beachwood flooring and cozy fireplace. Snack on Mexican-style street food and spectacular mixed drinks as you soak up the SoCal sunshine and relish an “elevated” Oceanside experience.

Location: Oceanside

 

Lumi by Akira Back

Credit: Zack Benson

Perhaps one of the most eye-catching additions to the San Diego foodie scene, Lumi by Akira Back is high-energy, high-end and high up! The Gaslamp Quarter venue plays host to a 5,000-square-foot rooftop constructed from large granite boulders. Colorful murals, geometric flooring and pops of neon bring the space to life, offering guests a funky yet refined dining experience. The inventive culinary program, spearheaded by acclaimed celebrity chef Akira Back, features an assortment of Peruvian-Japanese Cuisine, including fresh takes on sushi, ceviche, tempura and more. Lumi is an open-air culinary adventure worth every penny.

Location: Gaslamp Quarter

Best San Diego Rooftops

Born and Raised

Photography By: Zack Benson © ZackBenson.com

When it comes to grandeur, this high-rolling steakhouse in Little Italy just about takes the cake. No expense was spared when creating this shi-shi, 10,000-square-foot space, which happens to house a glass-enclosed dry-aging room and butcher shop. Oh yeah, the rooftop—oops, we almost forgot! After admiring the interior masterpiece that is Born and Raised, saunter upstairs to discover the restaurant’s lantern-lit rooftop that’s complete with velvet chairs, plaid booths, climbing trees and brass accents. This city-meet-garden enclave will have you feeling like a member of the Hollywood glitterati. Let’s just say, sexy is an understatement. 

Location: Little Italy

Best San Diego Rooftops

Catania

Catania is a popular rooftop restaurant in La Jolla that whips up some of the best Italian food in the area. Bright blue skies, a peek at the ocean and that beloved California breeze all await! Be sure to check out their gourmet brunch menu with items like smoked salmon bruschetta, Eggs all ’Amatriciana and the walnut caramel cinnamon roll!

Location: La Jolla

 

The Nolen

Situated 14 floors above San Diego, The Nolen rooftop bar and lounge is an elevated, swanky watering hole with timeless cocktails and breathtaking skyline views that go as far as the Coronado Bridge. Just a quick elevator ride up to the 14th floor of the Courtyard Gaslamp will bring you to this open-air lounge, which is serving up summer food and drinks you’ll love. The laid-back yet modern atmosphere makes The Nolen a wonderful spot for a date or drinks with friends.

Location: Gaslamp Quarter

Best San Diego Rooftops

The Rooftop by STK

Credit: Andaz San Diego, polarizedstudios.com

Perched on top of the seventh floor of the Andaz San Diego, this restaurant boasts the largest rooftop space in the Gaslamp Quarter with stunning views of the San Diego skyline. Grab a table and enjoy hand-crafted cocktails and delicious dishes from a menu specially created by Executive Chef J.C. Colón. This starry nightlife spot will sweep you off your feet! Other highlights include stunning sunsets, beat-slingin’ DJs and 4,500 square feet of open space. Be sure to dress to impress because the “upscale casual” dress code is strictly enforced on the weekends. 

Location: Gaslamp Quarter

Kettner Exchange

Credit: JTran Photos

This two-story hub in Little Italy features a rooftop patio lined with intimate cabanas, which are perfect for private parties and intimate celebrations. Industrial lamps, along with wood and nautical accents, create a fashionable yet rustic warehouse vibe. The globally inspired bites and zippy drinks stem from a menu that leans on scotch, mezcal and infused tequilas. If you’re feeling frisky, order the KPK (KEX Painkiller), which is made with a mix of seven different rums, lime, pineapple, passionfruit and coconut.

Location: Little Italy

 

FLOAT at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

FLOAT is a hip, fourth-floor oasis set atop the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. Come nighttime, this poolside spot matures into a sophisticated lounge, complete with firepits, cabanas, flatscreen TVs and scenic views. FLOAT is also kicking off summer with a newly reimagined day club experience called Liquid Sunshine, where everyone is treated like a VIP with beats, bites, cocktails and plenty of space to soak up the sun. Gather your crew and cozy up under the stars at this urban, sky-high lounge in the heart of downtown. 

Location: Gaslamp Quarter

 

George’s at the Cove

If you’re looking for a beachy-casual experience, head to George’s at the Cove’s ocean terrace for panoramic views of La Jolla Cove! This modern seaside restaurant features a full-service bar and daily food and drink specials. Snack on tasty offerings like fried calamari, yellowtail tacos, steak frites and more! Check their website’s sunset tracker, then book your reservation accordingly to catch a gorgeous La Jolla sunset.

Location: La Jolla

 

SKA Bar

Set on Adams Ave in Normal Heights, SKA Bar flaunts a 2,500-square-foot panoramic patio, perfect for a sunset happy hour. Dig into a selection of craft cocktails, including the restaurant’s signature Crane Kick—a refreshing blend of gin, Campari, lemongrass, passion fruit, pineapple, orgeat and lemon. You’ll also enjoy SKA Bar’s Asian-inspired menu with items like spring rolls, chicken lettuce wraps, Korean asada fries, drunken noodles and more! The best part of this neighborhood hotspot by far, however, is the 360-degree views of the charming Normal Heights neighborhood.

Location: Normal Heights

Website | + posts

Allie Lebos graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school she was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating she has written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. Currently living in Santa Monica, Allie loves to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach; writing articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals.

+ posts

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