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California's Incredible Rooftop Retreats

Swim, dine, and party at these bars around the Golden State

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From serene mountain views to swanky city scenes, there’s a rooftop in California where your personal version of paradise awaits. Near-perfect weather combined with natural beauty and idyllic sunsets mean you can (and should) elevate your afternoon or evening year-round.

Some of the best meals in the Golden State can be enjoyed up high under a ceiling of stars. Head to the coast where you can gaze at the sea while tasting its bounty. Just north of San Diego at George’s at the Cove, named one of the 10 best restaurants in the world by Fodor’s Choice, California cuisine is served on every level. Reserve a seat at the rooftop Ocean Terrace, which looks out over the La Jolla shoreline. Soak up inland wonders in agricultural capitals like Sonoma County. At Healdsburg’s Single Thread (which boasts three Michelin stars), chef Kyle Connaughton serves 11 courses of hyperlocal food above the equally exceptional inn of the same name.

Forget the old saying about swimming after dinner and jump right in at a rooftop pool. The Sawyer in Sacramento, The Andaz in San Diego, and the Rowan Palm Springs are just a few of the hip hotels where you can make a seven-plus story splash. Get your own private pool boy—ahem, concierge—at The London West Hollywood, and let someone else attend to your every fresh cocktail desire.

Experience new-school Hollywood glamour firsthand at one of L.A.’s many rooftop clubs. For a truly top-notch experience, try Spire 73, the highest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere. Wherever you travel in California, there’s almost certainly a rooftop nearby, where views and fun are a mere elevator ride away.

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An ocean shore

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