You don't come to San Diego to spend time in the great indoors. The weather, as advertised, is annoyingly perfect. Ceilings and walls are mere formalities. That's why many restaurants opt for roll-up garage doors or focus the action on the roof. Here are seven of San Diego's finest rooftop restaurants and bars, perfect for impressing that special someone.
2550 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
This is a true San Diego landmark. The city is unique in that planes must fly almost through downtown to land at San Diego Airport. And Mister A's is perched on Banker's Hill—which has an eye-level view of the flight path. You're literally having a drink (or the Braised Prime Beef Shortribs with Cabernet Sauvignon Reduction) and looking into jumbo jets as they land, with a spectacular view of San Diego Bay and the sunset over Point Loma Peninsula. Go during happy hour and sit on the patio.
535 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
There is nothing more exciting and vibrant than Fifth Avenue in downtown's Gaslamp Quarter at night, and Rustic Root puts you right above the center of all the action. Sip tasty craft cocktails and dine on rustic American cuisine under the stars on the restaurant’s buzzy open-air rooftop. The expansive deck flaunts market-type streetlights and a modern yet whimsical décor. The stylish surroundings are the perfect complement for the stylish scene on street level.
Ocean Terrace at Georges at the Cove
1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Georges at the Cove's Executive Chef and partner Trey Foshee is one of the best chefs in the country, and he's been headquartered at this three-level restaurant on La Jolla's famed Prospect Street for years. Foshee holds court in the fine-dining room, California Modern, but up top is the casual, al fresco Ocean Terrace where you can try his acclaimed fish taco and watch the seals and beachgoers below at La Jolla Cove.
7863 Girard Ave #301, La Jolla, CA 92037
Whisknladle Hospitality is one of San Diego's premier restaurant groups, and Catania is their Coastal Italian concept. While everyone clamors for the ocean views along Prospect Street, Catania's rooftop is unique in that it's receded. Below, you can see shoppers strolling the streets of La Jolla, and the sun sets behind the historic Grand Colonial Hotel in the distance. An electric shade screen is automatically drawn at sunset every night, and everyone on the patio raises a glass.
Born & Raised
1909 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
From the moment of entering the front door at Born & Raised with its glitzy décor and tuxedoed staff, you suspect the place is something special. Wait until you walk upstairs to the rooftop patio with its jaw-dropping views of Little Italy, and your suspicions are quickly confirmed. This spacious, modern restaurant in the heart of San Diego's dynamic dining neighborhood is the place to go for high-end steaks, classic cocktails and special occasions.
453 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
With six-foot glass railings surrounding the 14th-floor rooftop bar, The Nolen experience is like being part of the world's greatest zoo exhibit, with cocktails. From the vantage point atop the Courtyard San Diego Gaslamp, you can see the dramatic San Diego-Coronado Bridge, San Diego Bay, Petco Park, and the evolving hipsterdom of downtown's East Village while sitting around fire pits and drinking barrel-aged and beer-based cocktails. Enter through a "secret" elevator that goes directly to the bar.
3105 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego, CA 92109
Mission Beach is the heart and soul of San Diego's beach culture. On one side of Mission Boulevard, the main street, you’ve got Mission Bay, teeming with kayakers, jet skiers and paddle boarders. On the other side, you’ve got Belmont Park with its historic rollercoaster, carnival rides and games, and the beach’s popular boardwalk. Cannonball is situated directly above the boardwalk, serving drinks and sushi and that million-dollar sunset.
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