Romance in the Sky: Best Romantic Rooftop Destinations in Southern California
Each summer, there seems to be a new theme to lead the charge on romance. Who remembers watching Grease featuring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta while they sang about all the fun and trouble they'd gotten into during "Summer Lovin"? Years later, I listened to Drake rap-sing about all the guys he was going to flex on and girls he was going to snatch in "Summer Sixteen." Most recently, I've listened to Megan Thee Stallion provide the template for living your best "Hot Girl Summer" while being careful to remind the people not to get too carried away because "my man is picking me up after."
For all of these burgeoning summer flings, romances, and forever things, there needs to be a backdrop, but it can't be just any old thing, however. Try a spot that's somewhat exclusive, perhaps a bit off the beaten path, that will speak not only to where you are today but where you hope to be in the future. "This is more than a crush…" Boyz II Men once sang to us on "Hey Lover." What better place than a gorgeous rooftop in southern California, where the sunsets take your breath away, where the leaves of palm trees wave in the wind, where even the breeze from the ocean can't cool the heat building between the two of you?
Below is a list of some heavy-hitting, vibe-setting locales to ensure your summer romance set-up is legit. Some may be more popular than others, but the key takeaway is that there is truly something for everyone. Whether you're trying to duck off in the cut, out poppin' and flexin' with the best of them, or somewhere in the middle, there is a place for you.
EP & LP
Located at the intersection of Melrose and La Cienega near West Hollywood, this popular hot spot boasts gorgeous views day or night, with multiple restaurant experiences on one rooftop.
The main "LP" rooftop has standard California casual bar food done well with tons of plants and cozy seating to emit privacy. Next to this, on the other side of the rooftop, is Las Palmas, the restaurant's "Tulum-inspired" pop-up that debuted during the height of the pandemic. It features Mexican cuisine, Instagram-worthy props and decor, and fantastic food. Regardless of which side of the rooftop you find yourself on, you will not be disappointed.
603 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood 90069
No rooftop list is complete without this open-air seafood restaurant on the list. Sure it's trendy and can be pretty touristy, but all for a good reason. The views of Hollywood, sexy lighting and decor, delightful cocktails, and orgasmic food make it well worth it. Catch LA is best for dinner and drinks with someone you feel really great about because the likelihood someone may spot you is high. Aside from just a romantic date, it's also a wonderful vibe for girls' night. The greenery and florals also make it ideal for a mini-photo shoot session with your iPhone so get ready.
8715 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood CA 90069
Located in North Hollywood, this ducked-off rooftop primarily flies under the radar, except for its hearty Saturday day party vibes. If you're able to swing it, check it out on a Friday night where many of the city's athletes, actors, influencers, and other movers and shakers can be frequently spotted. While they do serve food, it's best for drinks. Go somewhere else for dinner. It's private, moody, romantic, and sexy. Be prepared to dress well, shake hands, and be discreet. Good times await, so long as you don't arrive too late--aim for 10 pm.
Tuesday thru Friday: 5pm - Close
Saturday & Sunday: 12pm - Close
8490 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069
The Rooftop by JG
Honestly, you can't go wrong with most of the rooftop restaurants up top LA hotels (Ace, The Nomad, The London, etc.), but that said, the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills rooftop restaurant, The Rooftop by JG, is truly something special. It's the perfect location to catch an LA sunset due to the ideal positioning of the dim lighting, plush couches, and chairs designed for close contact. The full dinner menu and fresh cocktails make this a hidden gem that many may not initially consider. A Jean-Georges production, the New American cuisine has something for everyone and makes it perfect for you and yours.
9850 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Downtown's skyline is incredible, and Perch is the perfect place to take it all in. While serving small French plates and great drinks, the true attraction is the views you can't get anywhere else. The seating is mixed, ranging from cozy and relaxed to dining and more straight-backed, so when it comes to romance, be sure to specify which area you desire to dine. Brunch or dinner, either time works as the seating is spread out so you can have a bit of privacy. It is famous for a reason-the glam downtown setting with the grand views can't be matched.
448 S. Hill Street, Los Angeles CA 90013
A popular destination and somewhat of a tourist hot spot, this award-winning restaurant features spectacular views of Petco Park and through to the Coronado Bridge. With fantastic food, even better cocktails, and a friendly ambiance, it's best suited for a nice night out with friends or even a first/second romantic date. The romance vibe isn't overbearing, making it that much more comfortable for those who aren't prioritizing that sort of energy. The best time to go is sunset, just when that golden hour glow is prime.
453 6th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
IG & FB @thenolenrooftop
Located right by the beach, this sushi restaurant is technically a rooftop despite being oceanfront as well. The views are breathtaking, as the shoreline is mere feet away, and the bright sun coupled with the craft cocktails makes every visit feel like a taste of vacation. It's perfect for a casual meetup with your love as you two sit and enjoy the view. There are fire pits that feature cozy seating for cooler nights, meaning you two might be out on the patio until the place shuts down. But isn't that the makings of an incredible romantic rooftop date anyway?
3105 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego, CA 92109
There are few options to pick from, so this famous sanctuary stands out due to the chic decor and superb layout. During the day, the sun shines beautifully, making everything seemingly sparkle (including that glint in your partner's eyes), and at night, the lighting is subtle and helps cast a glow that sets a romantic vibe. Overall, the ambiance is incredible, the rooftop views are decent for Pasadena, and the wholesome hand-crafted recipes and libations make it a go-to destination if you're in the area. Whether you're eating a meal or just enjoying cocktails, they make it worth your while.
270 S Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101