Rooftop Bars in San Diego: 6 Places to Drink with a View
If you're looking for things to do in San Diego, you're in luck – there's no shortage of activities and attractions to keep you busy. From family-friendly activities like visiting the zoo or Seaworld to more adrenaline-pumping pursuits like surfing or skydiving, there's something for everyone in America's Finest City.
San Diego is known for its diverse and vibrant food scene. From farm-fresh Californian cuisine to Mexican and seafood dishes, the food in San Diego won't let you down. And with so many incredible restaurants to choose from, it can be tough to know where to start.
We suggest you kill two birds with one stone and plan to visit some of the city's best rooftop bars to combine views, drinks, and some of that amazing California cuisine. Once you've browsed the best shopping in San Diego or had a sightseeing day, there's no better way to cap off the evening or just take a break than one of the city's scenic rooftop bars.
Before you traipse all over town and up to these bars for views of the San Diego skyline, drop your bags off with us. A Bounce storage locker in San Diego will take excellent care of your suitcases while you enjoy yourself. Besides, after a few cocktails, the last thing you want to worry about is your luggage.
Best Rooftop Bars in San Diego
Whether you are going to visit the San Diego Zoo or you have intentions to simply wander around in the downtown San Diego area, you will want to keep these rooftop bars in mind. Being able to dine in the sunshine and enjoy the soft breeze from the ocean can make for a really enjoyable lunch or dinner that adds greatly to your enjoyment of your day and your vacation as a whole.
If you want to travel outside the San Diego area a little, there are also some really nice venues near Pacific Beach and San Diego Bay. You will find that places like Altitude Sky Lounge and Ocean Beach Brewery can give you that beachy experience that you have been looking for. However, some of the best rooftop bars in the city are located in places like Little Italy or right in San Diego's central downtown area, so you do not want to miss out on these stops that are closer to home.
Save your trip to La Jolla or Oceanside for another evening, and start your trip on the right foot by enjoying the best rooftop bars in San Diego proper. There are so many great choices for your enjoyment right inside the city that you do not need to chase down ocean terrace dining experiences. Here is our selection of the best San Diego rooftop bars:
Topside Terrace Kitchen
What It's Like:
This lovely rooftop bar location is perched on the top of the Hotel Republic. The seating area is almost all exposed to open air, and there are soft couches, fire pits, and cozy tables to sit at while you have a drink and enjoy some tapas plates. There is a full menu of craft beers on offer here, and you will love the craft cocktails that they make as well. This is one of the most creative dining experiences in the city, and you will have a great time here if you love adventurous eating.
Try the Basil Bomb for a really unique cocktail experience, and ask about any specials that are on offer during your visit. This is a great place for local cuisine as well, and you will love that this location includes a rooftop restaurant that has many unique plates to eat during your visit. The wine list is excellent as well, and you can sit down in comfort at one of the lovely tables with a glass of wine as the sun sets.
421 W B St, San Diego, CA 92101
Lumi by Akira Back
What It's Like:
This location is the brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Akira Back, and the fusion-style dining, as well as the lovely drinks, are complemented by the amazing views from this rooftop bar location. This is a cozy spot that is not too upscale, but it still feels high-end, and you will get great service from the moment you arrive to take your seat. Walk-ins are welcome, but you should try to get a reservation just to be safe. This is a very popular spot and one that fills up quickly, particularly around dinnertime.
If you have never had Japanese whisky, you need to try the wide selection of this unique alcohol. They also have a big list of sake to choose from. The menu is Japanese and offers Japanese fusion plates too. There is something for everyone to enjoy here, and you will love the rooftop patio vibe as well as the excellent service. The prices are a bit steep for a few things, but you are getting some of the very best food in the city, which makes it worth the extra cost.
366 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Upper East Bar
What It's Like:
The Upper East Bar is softly swanky and very trendy. This spot in the Gaslamp Quarter is on top of the Jsix hotel, and you will love the bar's unique feel. This is one of the more affordable locations in the city with a view as well, so you can come here and eat and drink without guilt or sacrificing your other vacation plans. The drink menu is well-rounded, and there is a lot to love about the dining options here as well. There are poolside loungers and cabanas that you can rent for an added fee, but these can offer you a more comprehensive rooftop deck experience as you dine.
Happy hour is really good here, and the prices are the best during this time of the day. The craft beer menu is great, so if you are a beer lover, you will be in the right place. There is a nice wine list as well if you are interested in wines, and the craft cocktails list is fun and creative. The menu is fusion-inspired, but you can also get tapas plates that are common comfort foods like french fries and more. This is a great place for picky eaters to sit down for a drink and a snack. The Gaslamp Quarter is really fun to visit as well, so you will get excellent views here as well as a lively atmosphere.
616 J St #101, San Diego, CA 92101
What It's Like:
When you head to a rooftop bar that is perched atop a luxury hotel, you can count on some of the best dining and drinks that you will find in the city. This is definitely one of the San Diego rooftop bars you shouldn't miss. It's on the top of the InterContinental San Diego, and the cool speakeasy design of this location is second to none. There is both lounge seating and outdoor seating, and there is a really special feel to this location when compared to most other rooftop bars in San Diego.
The menu is Italian here, and the Italian beers are excellent. For travelers on a budget, there are happy hour specials most days of the week that you can enjoy. This is a really nice place to visit in downtown San Diego, and you will love that this rooftop bar offers you such a cool experience as well as great service. The Sardinia Old-Fashioned is the best drink on the menu, and wine lovers will find that there are many great options at this rooftop bar. San Diego is known for its fine dining, and this location should be on your list of places to eat if you want a fancy meal out while you are visiting the San Diego area.
901 Bayfront Ct Suite 1, San Diego, CA 92101
Born and Raised
What It's Like:
Located in Little Italy, this is one of the best rooftop bars in San Diego for many reasons. The '20s style decor and the really nice atmosphere are memorable all by themselves, and the food is to die for. You will love how unique this spot is, and you will be in one of the most iconic places to visit in the San Diego area beside downtown San Diego. If you want to dine at a San Diego rooftop bar with a ton of personality, this is the rooftop lounge and bar for you.
The aged duck is excellent, and there are some really lovely appetizers that you can eat if you just want to pair some snacks with your drinks. Make sure that you sample the giant macaron for dessert as well - you won't find something this decadent elsewhere in the city. This rooftop lounge is a bit over the top, and the amazing food is just as extravagant. While expensive, you will have a really wonderful dining experience at this rooftop restaurant and bar, and you will not regret splurging to sit down here for a great meal.
1909 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
What It's Like:
Also located in Little Italy, this is a fun place to head for an almost-kitschy eating experience. The outdoor seating area has fake turf and little cabanas, as well as cute little tables and cozy couches to sit on. The atmosphere is really casual, and a pretty young crowd enjoys time here every evening. The cabanas are a really great choice if you want to splurge or if it is a bit hot out, and you will get great service here within this fun and upbeat atmosphere.
The self-serve beer taps are awesome, and you will love this little addition if you are a beer drinker. The menu trends toward shareable platters and fun finger foods, but you can get other items as well if you want a regular meal. This is a really affordable and fun place to enjoy the sun and some conversation, and you will love that the atmosphere of this location is so different from some of the more serious and upscale locations in this part of town. Little Italy offers many different nightlife adventures to enjoy as well, so you will have a great time when you head here for an evening.
2001 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
If you are planning to visit San Diego, you will want to be sure that these rooftop bar locations are on the list of things that you are planning to do. Whether you are visiting Pacific Beach or have other outdoor adventures on your itinerary, a rooftop bar can be a great way to take a break and have a meal and a drink. The weather is lovely in San Diego, making rooftop bar dining really enjoyable overall.
The rooftop bars of San Diego have an experience to suit anyone. If you want a fancy meal, they have options. If you prefer something more casual, there are definitely places to go for that, too. In any case, you're pretty much guaranteed tasty cocktails and delicious food wherever you go.
Don't forget that any visit to San Diego will be ten times better if you're not carrying your bags with you all over the city. Drop everything off with Bounce, and let the San Diego adventure begin!