Photography By Zack Benson © ZackBenson.com
Photography By Zack Benson © ZackBenson.com

The 13 Best San Diego Rooftops for Summer 2021

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 is virtually 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

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. In other words, nobody does entertainment quite like Park 101. And to up the fun factor even more, this community hotspot now has a day-to-night lineup of live music performances on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays! While the dancing may be a draw for most, 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 or keep it light with an order of the Brussels sprouts or house slaw. Whatever you do, be sure to pair your pick with an ice-cold ale, hard seltzer or hand-crafted cocktail. When the weather’s warm, we love the frozen watermelon mimosa and Don’t @ Me—Park 101’s take on a prickly pear paloma made with tequila blanco, prickly pear, lime and grapefruit pop!

Location: Carlsbad

 

Mission Pacific Hotel

The Rooftop 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 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

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 await! Be sure to check out their gourmet brunch menu with items like the 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

Perched on top of the seventh floor of the Andaz San Diego, this shi-shi restaurant boasts 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

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 elevated, 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

 

ALTITUDE Sky Lounge

 

Channel your bad and boujee side with a night out at ALTITUDE Sky Lounge. Situated 22 stories above the historic Gaslamp Quarter, this nightlife destination offers VIP bottle service in a sexy and vibrant setting. Look out at the city lights as you sip on a Mango Passion Cosmo made with Belvedere Mango Passion Vodka, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, fresh lime juice and white cranberry. Now that’s what we call “the high life.”

Location: Gaslamp Quarter

 

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! However, the best part of this neighborhood hotspot by far is the 360-degree views of the charming Normal Heights neighborhood.

Location: Normal Heights

 

Fairweather Bar

In the heart of San Diego’s East Village lies Fairweather—an oh-so-trendy rooftop bar with crystal clear views of Petco Park. The space features deep blue booths, marble tables and a laid-back vibe, perfect for a pregame cocktail or a meal after the game. Choose from a menu of Mexi-Cali bites with a variety of tacos and burritos that are sure to please any palate. But aside from the tasty cuisine, perhaps the most enticing draw of this quaint open-air restaurant is the tiki-inspired craft cocktails. We love the Pololū Punch!

Location: East Village

 

 

Featured Photography By: Zack Benson © ZackBenson.com

About the author

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Hello! My name is Allie Lebos and I graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school I was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating I have written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. I currently live in Santa Monica where I love to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach. I have published articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals. I think Locale Magazine highlights the beauty of Southern California in a unique and expansive way, and I would love to be able to contribute to the creative expression it promotes!

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