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San Diego’s Best Rooftop Bars

The sky’s the limit at these high-up hotspots offering everything from craft beer to high-end cocktails

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A cocktail somehow tastes even better when paired with a beautiful view—and San Diego has some stunners. Experience America’s Finest City in all her glory from the luxurious perch of a rooftop bar. Whether you’re in the mood for poolside glamour or board short bliss, there’s a sky-high bar for you.

If you’re in the mood for a swanky hotspot, head to downtown San Diego. Atop the Pendry Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter sits The Pool House, complete with turquoise tiling and oasis-like cabanas (open to the public 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily). At 14 stories high, The Nolen offers skyline views, best enjoyed over a make-your-own mimosa during Sunday brunch. Also up high (on the 12th floor) sits the iconic Mister A’s, where you can sip cocktails while watching airplanes fly over the skyline. Coming with a big group? Reserve a coveted cabana—either for brunch or evening cocktails—at the rooftop lounge at Kettner Exchange in Little Italy.

Get your own private box at a Padres game (no tickets required) at Altitude Sky Lounge, which has an unobstructed view of Petco Park. Or travel through time on the roof of the award-winning steakhouse, Born and Raised. Don Draper vibes permeate both the mid-century design and the cocktail menu: gimlets, martinis, and Manhattans—straight up.

As the unofficial craft brewing capital of California, San Diego boasts a number of high-up hoppy options. Relax oceanside at Amplified Ale Works (babies and dogs are welcome on the rooftop). Equally laid-back, the Pacific Beach Alehouse is known for creative brews, exceptional skewers, and dynamite sunset views. Just five miles south, OB Brewery serves beer flights on wooden surfboards right next to Ocean Beach Pier. For a rowdy time, check out the massive 10 Barrel Brewing, where fresh beer is washed down with elevated comfort food (think pork belly & watermelon salad).

Head outside of San Diego proper for a variety of vistas. Go all the way up at George’s at the Cove in La Jolla (named one of the top 10 restaurants in the world by Fodor’s Choice), where the Ocean Terrace offers sweeping views of the shoreline. Head north to Oceanside for oyster shooters or fish tacos with views of surfers below at Hello Betty Fish House.

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