Winter is a heavy tourist season in LA as many people around the world come here to escape to cold and the snow. In fact I have friends visiting in a few days from Germany and I can’t WAIT to show them around. Unfortunately it’s still pouring in LA right now, so if you’re like them and are looking for things to do this week, check out 6 Ways to Have the Best LA Experience Rain or Shine.
According to the weather app on my phone, we will finally be back to clear blue skies next week. This is great news because there’s no better time to view the city than after the rain when the smog is cleared out. And there’s no better vantage point than seeing the cityscape from a nice rooftop.
So in honor of the return of the LA sunshine, here are 4 of the best rooftops in LA and the best time to visit them.
Photo courtesy of Shangri-La Hotel
- When: You MUST visit during sunset! I mean the beach at sunset is picture perfect. I never allow someone to visit LA without taking them here at some point — regardless of the time of year.
- Where: Onyx is the rooftop of the Shangri-La Hotel in Santa Monica. SaMo is my favorite area in LA so needless to say, there’s tons to do. You can spend the day in SaMo before heading to Onyx (shopping, sightseeing, beach day, you name it) or start your evening at Onyx and spend the night bar hopping in SaMo. I’ve done both.
Photo courtesy of Peaches, Beaches, and Urbanistas
- What You Should Know: You’ll probably notice that almost everyone there is drinking a mojito and that’s because they’re really good. I always order mojitos and sweet potato fries — my non-guilty pleasure. But honestly, I’ve never tried a food or drink here that I didn’t enjoy. You’re paying for quality and you’re getting your money’s worth.
- The vibe here is what I call “casually put together.” People usually come around happy hour/sunset time so they’re dressed how they went to work. Since this is the beach and not Wall Street, we’re usually not wearing suits and ties to work. I’m talking jeans and your fave stilettos or button downs. I’d recommend getting there around 4 to make sure you have a place to sit (if you want to be able to sit). Onyx opens at 4 and within an hour a line starts to form because there is a max capacity on the roof.
Photo courtesy of WeLikeLA
- When: You must go at night. Los Angeles is very spread out and downtown LA is teeny tiny compared to cities like NYC, Philly, and Chicago. But when we’re on this rooftop at night, there’s an illusion that we’re in a big city because we’re illuminated by the city lights and tall building surrounding us. I spent my birthday here a little over a year ago and everyone loved the location.
- Where: This is the rooftop of the Standard Hotel in downtown LA. There are a bunch of cool bars nearby so I usually like to add this place to my list of 2–3 bars to hit in one night.
Photo courtesy of Trover
- What You Should Know: There are couches and water beds that are fun to chill and lay down. Oh and did I mention that there’s a pool. I’ve seen people put their feet in the water here but I haven’t see anyone really swimming at night. It’s generally too cold for that — mid 60s in Fahrenheit! Adjacent to The Rooftop is The Biergarten, which is slightly more casual,
- The vibe here is slightly more upscale. The Standard Hotel is known to be modern and posh. The Rooftop often has live music and I’d describe it as more of a lounge than a club — it’s a good place to mix and mingle in good company.
Photo courtesy of Eater
- When: Midday brunch. My cousin and I are brunch lovers so when we found a place that’s both a rooftop and a brunch location, we had to check it out. We especially enjoyed the brunch drink options.
- Where: This restaurant is located on the roof of The Line Hotel in Koreatown. Koreatown is an area that I’ve only started exploring in the last year and I now end up in this area on a weekly basis.
Photo courtesy of yours, truly
- What You Should Know: Ok so it’s called The Pot Commissary Cafe and before you get your hopes up, yes — pot is now legalized in California — but no — this place doesn’t sell it. “Pot” refers to the decor. The building is designed to mimic a greenhouse with potted fruits and vegetables for scenery. The ambiance of the place is unique, which is probably why it’s chosen as a common film location. Next to the restaurant is a pool and since I usually visit during the daytime, I almost always see people in the pool. I once went to a pool party here and it was great.
- The vibe here is very chill. No dress code. I’ve never seen a line to get in. Laid back.
Photo courtesy of W Hollywood Hotel
- When: Come morning or night as long on Sunday!
- Where: The WET Deck is the rooftop of the W Hollywood. This is right in the heart of Hollywood so there’s tons of stuff to do in this area. As you can guess, there is a pool. From Friday to Sunday 1–5pm there is a DJ, but this is for hotel guests only, unless you rent a cabana or daybed.
Photo courtesy of Our Night Life
- What You Should Know: There are two fun, free options on Sundays for people who aren’t staying at the hotel.: From 10–11am there’s free hot yoga. Yoga isn’t really my thing, but I can imagine if you like doing handstands, there’s no cooler place to be upside down than a high rise overlooking all of the city. At 9pm they have Jazz night. I like this event because I really enjoy live music. Usually different up and coming artists perform on a stage over the pool.
- The vibe here is upscale. This is Hollywood so many people come here to be seen. If you want to take advantage of the scenery, come during the daytime because you can’t get much of a view at night — not too many tall buildings to help reflect light.
As you can see, hotel rooftops in LA are the place to be — from free events, to live music, to amazing views, to good food and drinks. Regardless of the area in LA or time of day, there’s always a high place to relax and enjoy the city.
So what are some of your favorite rooftops? #BlueWonderRooftopViews
Taylor is the newest member of Blue Wonder Travel. She is a self proclaimed #rooftopevangelist and has visited rooftops in all 7 cities and 3 continents where she’s lived over the past few years. Learn more about her at taylordmills.com and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.