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I absolutely love rooftop bars, especially when traveling to a new city. They often give you some of the best views of the city and in a city with such great weather as San Diego they are simply places you can’t miss!

San Diego doesn’t have the largest selection of rooftop bars but the city does have some very good ones. And, having been to San Diego so much over the past few years, I have visited all of these many times and had some great nights out here.

10 of the Best Rooftop Bars in San Diego

1. Altitude Sky Lounge

660 K Street
San Diego, CA 92101

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Altitude Sky Lounge, located on the roof of the Marriott San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, is probably one of the best-known rooftop bars in San Diego.

To get to the bar you have to walk through the hotel lobby. Walking through the lobby of this higher end and well-maintained hotel, to a dedicated elevator, made me expect a little more from the rooftop bar to be honest.

The decór isn’t all that impressive and the indoor area is quite dated. But, the view is incredible! On one side of the bar you look right into Petco Park (San Diego’s baseball stadium) which is even more incredible when a game is on or a concert is being held at the stadium. On the other side of the bar you have a nice view of downtown San Diego.

They have a great list of cocktails here, they offer bottle service, they have good DJs, and you will often find a packed dance floor and a great atmosphere. So even though the decor might not be the most impressive, I definitely understand why people see this as one of the best rooftop bars in San Diego.

As far as food goes, Altitude offers a small selection of appetizers, flatbreads and sandwiches/burgers. The food is ordered by using their ‘house phone’, similar to how you would order room service in a hotel. It’s a bit peculiar and the food is then delivered to you in boxes.

Opens daily from 5PM until 1AM.
For Sunday 1:40pm Padre home games as well as 12:40PM Thursday games, Altitude will open at 3:00PM.

2. Top of the Hyatt

1 Market Place
San Diego, CA 92101

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As the name suggests, this second well-known rooftop bar in San Diego is located on the roof of the Hyatt hotel.

If it wasn’t for the great view, in all honesty, this bar would be a very average hotel bar. But, because of the incredible view this rooftop bar is worth visiting. Try to go here just before sunset so that you can sip on a drink with a view of the city, the port and Coronado island, while watching the sun go down.

The rooftop bar offers a nice wine and cocktail list and a good selection of appetizers.

Opens daily at 3PM. Sharp-casual dress code enforced – no flip-flops or pool attire.
Top of the Hyatt offer 3 hours of free parking when you park in the Grand Hyatt San Diego parking garage.

3. The Nolen

453 Sixth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

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This San Diego rooftop bar seems a little less well known which is strange because it is definitely one of the (if not the) nicest rooftop bars in San Diego.

The Nolen is located on the roof of the Courtyard by Marriott hotel with a separate entrance to the elevator located to the left of the main entrance of the hotel. However, nothing makes you feel as if you are in a hotel bar when you visit Nolen.

This rooftop bar is a sophisticated, high-end bar with a great atmosphere. The view isn’t as good as the view from the first two rooftop bars but the atmosphere makes up for that.

They offer a great list of cocktails, some nice happy hour deals, delicious appetizers and a Sunday brunch menu. Additionally, they offer what they call ‘Tableside Barrel Service’: 1 liter barrels with barrel-aged cocktails for if you really want to splurge.

Opens daily at 4PM and for Sunday brunch from 10AM – 1PM.

4. Mister A’s

2550 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103

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Mister A’s is one of my favorite rooftop bars in San Diego. Or rooftop restaurant I should say because Mister A’s is more a restaurant than a bar.

Mister A’s has more of a classy, fine dining atmosphere. It’s perfect for date night and if you are looking for a restaurant with a view this is definitely the place to be. Or just enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine on their terrace, as I regularly do.

Mister A’s is located close to the airport which gives you an incredible view of just how low the planes fly in between San Diego’s highrise buildings just before they touch down at the airport. Come around sunset to see San Diego’s skyline both during daylight and after dark, and enjoy a great sunset.

The restaurant offers brunch, lunch, dinner and lighter bites, plus a great cocktail list.

Opens Monday-Friday at 11.30AM, Saturdays at 2.30PM & Sundays at 10AM.

5. Float Rooftop Bar

207 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

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Float Rooftop Bar is located at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp District.

With a stylish pool area to enjoy during the day and fire pits to sit around at night, you could easily spend half a day here. The vibe at Float is a bit more casual than at the aforementioned rooftop bars, in a fun, trendy way. You have a bit of a view of the Gaslamp Quarter but this rooftop bar is more about the atmosphere than about the views.

Their cocktails are good, they have DJs at night and for an extra special day you can rent private poolside cabanas…

Opens daily at 11AM (weather permitting).

6. Rustic Root

535 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Rustic Root, and all the rooftop bars listed below, isn’t located in a high rise building but it’s still a rooftop bar and it’s a bar I would really recommend going to.

Rustic Root is one of my favorite bars for a night out in Gaslamp Quarter. It has a really nice vibe and a good mix of people. It’s definitely a more upmarket place but without being overly pretentious. Plus they have good cocktails, really nice appetizers and because of its location on Fifth street, which is the heart of Gaslamp’s nightlife, a seat at the edge of the rooftop bar is the perfect spot to people watch.

And if you are looking for dinner, their restaurant on the ground floor has a great, creative menu.

Opens Monday-Friday at 4PM, Saturday & Sunday at 9AM.

7. Kettner Exchange

2001 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101

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This restaurant and bar in Little Italy is a popular place for a night of dressing up in Little Italy. It has that trendy, ‘this is probably where all the cool kids hang out’ vibe.

Both their ground floor and their rooftop bar are stylishly decorated and create a great vibe. The views aren’t incredible but you don’t go here for the view, you go here to mingle and to enjoy Little Italy’s nightlife. On weekends it can get very crowded.

Little Italy is one of my favorite parts of San Diego to go for dinner and Kettner Exchange is a great place for that after dinner drink, or two.

If you plan to go to Kettner Exchange with a group you can reserve a cabana, and they offer bottle service.

Opens Monday-Friday at 5PM, Saturday & Sunday at 11AM.

Tip: If you like Kettner Exchange you might also want to try Born and Raised. Born and Raised is a similarly high-end restaurant with a rooftop patio. It just has a slightly more classical feel to it. And it’s located only a block away from Kettner Exchange.

8. El Prez

4190 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109

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Most rooftop bars in San Diego are located in the Gaslamp Quarter or in Little Italy so if you are looking for rooftop bars in other parts of the city your choices are a bit limited.

But, El Prez is a good option outside of the downtown area. El Prez is located in Pacific Beach, just a block from the beach.

It’s a Mexican restaurant and bar, that’s just a bit more trendy than your average Mexican place. They offer good Mexican food and their drinks are cheaper than at the other rooftop bars.

The vibe in the restaurant is very different from the vibe on the roof. I much prefer the roof which feels more relaxed and doesn’t have all the TV-screens you find in the restaurant (and in many other bars and restaurants around San Diego).

During the week the atmosphere at the rooftop bar has a bit of a lounge bar feeling. On weekends it can get very crowded and adopts more of a lively, nightlife feeling.

I love to sit by the fire as the sun sets, after a day on the beach.

Opens Monday-Thursday at 12PM, Friday-Sunday at 11AM.

9. Cannonball

3105 Ocean Front Walk
San Diego, CA 92109

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I love the view and atmosphere here.

Because Cannonball is located on the Mission Beach Boardwalk, right by the beach, it gives you a perfect view of what most of us think of when we picture Southern California: a long, sandy beach and a boardwalk filled with good-looking people walking, cycling and skating past.

Whether you just finished a walk along the boardwalk, need a break from the beach or are looking for a more romantic evening out enjoying some good quality sushi, Cannonball is suitable for all of it.

Being located by the beach makes it more casual than most other rooftop bars listed here. But at the same time it still feels stylish and is a favorite restaurant option of mine.

Opens daily at 11.30AM.

10. Ocean Beach Brewery

5041 Newport Avenue
San Diego, CA 92107

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The last few times I stayed in San Diego I lived almost within walking distance from this rooftop bar, so it became my go-to place for drinks with friends around sunset.

Sitting on the rooftop deck of this 3 story building, looking out towards the ocean, you have found yourself the perfect spot to watch the sunset.

Ocean Beach Brewery has a great selection of beers, a few nice appetizers to share and simple dinner options.

Out of all of the 10 San Diego rooftop bars listed here, Ocean Beach Brewery is probably the most casual one. And after you have just spent the day on the beach or an afternoon at Ocean Beach’s famous farmers market, this casual spot is perfect!

Opens Monday-Friday at 11AM, Saturdays at 10AM, Sundays at 9.30AM.

Also Read:

Map of The Best Rooftop Bars in San Diego

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A list and review of 10 of the best rooftop bars in San Diego, California. #SanDiego #rooftopbar #bestbars #visitCalifornia

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing (Atozmarketing.eu).
I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this blog to share some of my international experiences and travel tips.