Because of Los Angeles's epic sprawl, it can be tough to get a handle on the city's layout without getting high up enough to peer down upon it. For better or for worse, the metropolis is mostly comprised of low-rise architecture, with a few high-rise nodes Downtown and in Century City, Hollywood, and Santa Monica. So, when you get the chance, take to the rooftops for breathtaking vistas of everything Los Angeles has to offer, from the sparkling Pacific Ocean and majestic foothills to the lattice of city lights and shimmering freeways. Rooftop bars are the ideal place to soak up the vertical vantage point, since in addition to stellar views they also offer icy cocktails, luxe nibbles, and dynamic scenes. In most cities, rooftop bars are associated with summer outings, but LA's practically endless sunshine means you can opt for 360 degree views nearly 365 days of the year!
High Rooftop Lounge
Situated atop the Hotel Erwin, this open-air lounge affords views of the Pacific Ocean (stunning at sunset), Santa Monica foothills, and the funky Venice Beach boardwalk below. Recline on the mod lounge furniture while sipping craft cocktails, grooving to the DJ, and nibbling worldly bites from lamb sliders to báhn mì.
The Roof on Wilshire
The Hotel Wilshire plays host to this chic lounge and restaurant set around a sparkling pool. Cabanas, day beds, and pool loungers all offer a front-row seat to the main attraction: the sweeping views of the LA skyline and Hollywood Hills. Celeb chef Eric Greenspan oversees the "vibrant American" menu.
Upstairs Bar at the Ace Hotel
This downtown newcomer is the hippest urban high point around. Though other downtown bars might be loftier in the vertical sense, the Ace's cityscape views are less obstructed by skyscrapers. The artsy crowd, impossibly cool cocktails, petite plunge pool, and ornate Art Deco tower meld classic sophistication with trendy cachet.
Suite 700 at Hotel Shangri-La
Once a private penthouse, this indoor/outdoor roof lounge retains a sense of glamour from the seaside hotel's heyday in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Streamline Moderne architecture, striped deck furniture, and a glossy onyx bar provide a stylish backdrop to unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Pier.