Thanks to Southern California's consistently warm weather and lack of rain, you can enjoy yourself outside year-round. And Los Angeles is the ideal place for inner-city fun at high altitudes. Popular tourist destinations like Miami and New Orleans have warm weather, but they are also two of America's rainiest. Likewise, Boston and Chicago have a plethora of hotel rooftops, but neither city can compete with LA's more than 280 sunny days per year.
The hotels popping up in areas like downtown and Hollywood all have one thing in common: lively rooftops with sweeping city views. While the views can change from month to month, depending on construction, the hotels are doubling down on food, drinks events and overall ambiance.
Here are 10 of our favorite hotel rooftops in Los Angeles.
Bar Lis at Thompson Hollywood
The 1960s French Riviera-themed rooftop at Thompson Hollywood — Photo courtesy of Brian Cicioni
The Thompson Hollywood's 1960s French Riviera-themed Bar Lis sits atop this glass-exterior Hyatt-brand luxury hotel. In the bar area, we recommend grabbing a seat by the window, so you can sip and savor with views of the Hollywood Hills. Their $18 cocktails have memorable names like Strawberry Fields, La Vie En Rose and Jane Birkin. To add to the sophistication, some of their champagne and tequila bottles are in the $1,000 range. They also have a small French light fare menu.
Bar Lis is open from Tuesday through Saturday, and they have live jazz every Tuesday night. As of this writing, the rooftop pool is for guest use only.
- Thompson Hollywood
Broken Shaker at Freehand Los Angeles
Every Freehand hotel has a Broken Shaker rooftop — Photo courtesy of Brian Cicioni
Every Freehand Hotel has a Broken Shaker rooftop bar. They all have a South Beach vibe and are known for their small bites and award-winning cocktails. From a PB & J Old-Fashioned to the citrusy Piledriver, every drink has at least one or two ingredients that the average weekend bar hopper has likely never heard of. The food menu is Mexican-centric, with some American and Middle Eastern dishes mixed in.
If you're a photographer, we recommend ordering right before sunset and taking some shots of downtown LA from the 14th-floor rooftop. There's a two-hour limit for non-guests. They have a DJ on weekends.
- Freehand Los Angeles
Cabra Restaurant & Bar at The Hoxton
The Hoxton's rooftop pool — Photo courtesy of Brian Cicioni
Thanks to modern chic hotels like The Hoxton, it's more practical than ever to stay downtown during your trip to LA. There's a seating area at the edge of their pool where you can look out at the constantly-evolving Financial District skyline.
From Cabra, you can see the Herald Examiner building as well as the historic Broadway Theater District and the mountains beyond. Like the original Chicago location, the LA menu includes Peruvian classics like saltado and ceviche.
While the pool is for guests only, anyone can make a reservation at Cabra.
- The Hoxton Downtown LA
Cara Cara at Downtown LA Proper
Rooftop pool at the Downtown LA Proper — Photo courtesy of Brian Cicioni
The Downtown LA Proper is taller than many of the other hotels in this list, which means you'll have better views. For example, views to the south are unobstructed by taller buildings. You can also see the Fashion and Arts Districts as well as the Financial District skyline.
Cara Cara is the hotel's rooftop restaurant, and their menu features California cuisine with a Mexican twist. Don't leave without trying their marzipan almond cake. You can also sit at the bar without ordering food. And through the bar window, you can see the ever-evolving downtown skyline.
If you happen to be staying at the Downtown LA Proper on a Sunday, rooftop yoga is available to all guests at no extra charge. As of this writing, their 95-degree pool is for guest use only. Cabanas are not available for rent. For Cara Cara, reservations are recommended.
- Downtown Los Angeles Proper
Celestina at The Shay
The Shay has Culver City's first hotel rooftop — Photo courtesy of Brian Cicioni
In October 2021, The Shay became the first Culver City hotel with a rooftop pool. Their 5,000-square-foot rooftop also includes Celestina, which is a Mexican-inspired restaurant and bar. Menu highlights include crispy Oaxaca cheese quesadillas as well as their Taquiza Tower, which includes all the necessary ingredients to make your own delicious taco. The latter is meant for sharing.
The Shay also has the added benefit of being conveniently located next to a metro station. From the rooftop, you can watch the elevated trains pass through Culver City on the way to either Santa Monica or downtown LA. The E (Expo) line connects Culver City with either downtown area in less than 30 minutes.
While you're at The Shay, you should also check out Etta, which is their ground-floor restaurant. They serve pizza and small plates from their 825-degree wood-fired oven.
For non-guests, rooftop pool cabanas are available via ResortPass.
- The Shay
The Highlight Room at Dream Hollywood
After dark, the Dream Hollywood's rooftop becomes a nightclub — Photo courtesy of Brian Cicioni
With hotels giving more and more priority to their rooftops, it helps to stand out. For instance, the Dream Hollywood's pool has a retractable bottom, which rises up and doubles as a dance floor for one of the hottest nightclubs in town. You don't even need to enter the lobby to access The Highlight Room, which is Dream Hollywood's 10th-floor restaurant, pool and nightclub.
The grill opens at 11 a.m. for lunch during the week. On weekends, they have a brunch menu. Dinner is served daily. We recommend making a reservation that will coincide with the sunset. Cabana reservations can be booked online.
- Dream Hollywood
I | O Rooftop at The Godfrey Hotel Hollywood
You can eat sushi with views of the Hollywood sign at the Godfrey's I|O Rooftop — Photo courtesy of Brian Cicioni
From the Godfrey Hollywood's seventh-floor I | O Rooftop, you can see the Hollywood sign to the north, downtown LA to the south and watch the sun set over Culver City to the west. I | O stands for inside outside as the 12,000-square-foot rooftop has both an indoor bar as well as an outdoor lounge and pool.
The food options are California-centric, leaning most heavily towards Japanese. Appetizers and sushi rolls make up the majority of their menu. From Friday to Sunday, they have a live DJ. And after the sun sets, they project black and white movie clips onto the inner wall that juts above the hotel's floor-level courtyard.
- The Godfrey Hotel Hollywood
The Rooftop at The Wayfarer Downtown LA
Dip your feet into the kids pool at The Rooftop at The Wayfarer — Photo courtesy of Brian Cicioni
Of all the places on our list, the Wayfarer Downtown LA has the most extravagant brunch. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends, you can enjoy their nine-course Rooftop Executive Chef Brunch. It starts with a welcome cocktail and ends with the last call. They even serve a Jell-O shot in between the appetizers and entrée. Dinner is from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. The Rooftop is also available for private parties.
- The Wayfarer Downtown LA
Upstairs at Ace Hotel
You don't have to be a guest at the Ace Hotel to use their rooftop pool — Photo courtesy of Brian Cicioni
While most Los Angeles-area hotels are trying to outdo each other with fancy cocktail menus and high-profile chefs, Upstairs at the Ace Hotel is truly for the people. You don't even need to enter the hotel lobby to access the R (rooftop) floor.
While most rooftop pools require a reservation for non-guests, theirs is open to the public. You don't technically have to spend anything to go Upstairs, but we highly recommend trying either a taco or some of the tapas from their Mexican-inspired menu. The most expensive items are just $15. They have a full bar as well.
From the Ace Hotel rooftop, you can see the San Gabriel Mountains, as well as the Hollywood Hills and the constantly growing downtown skyline.
- Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
Vista Pool & Lounge at the SLS Beverly Hills
At the Vista Pool & Lounge, you can soak up the sun with views of LA and Beverly Hills — Photo courtesy of Brian Cicioni
The SLS feels like Beverly Hills without the prestigious 90210 zip code. Because the property is situated along the border between Beverly Hills and the City of Angels, you'll have views of both from the sixth-floor rooftop Vista Pool & Lounge. While their pool is for guests or day pass-holders only, the lounge is open to the public. The kitchen serves California fare daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. And you can rent their cabanas via ResortPass.
- SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills
During the summer, they have rooftop yoga and a DJ on weekends. There are no age restrictions.