Raising the Roof: a Bird's-Eye View of Things to Do in Los Angeles, California

Skybar at the Mondrian Hotel in LA invites you to relax
Skybar at the Mondrian Hotel in LA invites you to relax | Courtesy of The Mondrian Hotel / Expedia.com
Photo of Nick Dauk
8 September 2021

Watch movies filmed a few feet from your seat, join a pool party or feast on California brunches at these rooftop spots in the City of Angels.

Scene: your plane touches down in Los Angeles, and you gaze at the City of Angels with stars in your eyes. Where do you go to immerse yourself in the pampering, partying and playful misadventures with other socialites and celebs? The rooftops, of course – where a different stage of LA sits above the streets, setting the backdrop for a memorable California city break that reads like it was ripped from a Hollywood script. Tinseltown, Beverly Hills and sandy Santa Monica are yours to claim from these rooftop hideaways.

Hotel Erwin

Boutique Hotel
4.4/5 (960 Reviews)
Hotel Erwin
Courtesy of Hotel Erwin / Booking.com
From $264 per night per room

Before you get lost in the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, take a night to sway with chill ocean vibes at Hotel Erwin. Right across the street from Venice Beach, this laid-back hotel will hook you up with everything from beach towels and yoga mats to bicycles and volleyballs. Beach views, cold brews and light bites await upstairs on the High Rooftop Lounge, where you’ll watch the sky cradle the sun and stars appear before you retreat to your eclectic ocean-view suite.

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The Peninsula Beverly Hills

Resort, Spa Hotel, Hotel
4.8/5 (383 Reviews)
Courtesy of The Peninsula Beverly Hills / Expedia
From $786 per night per room
Now that you’re ready to wade into the city, let the Peninsula in Beverly Hills help you look and feel the part. Its rooftop garden pool and spa offer a transformative experience of mind, body and spirit. Anti-aging treatments, signature massages and a coconut-powered mani-pedi will leave every inch of your body prepared for close-ups. Leave this rooftop retreat ready to make an A-list arrival in LA.
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The Standard Downtown LA

3.8/5 (998 Reviews)
The Standard Downtown LA
Courtesy of The Standard Downtown LA / Expedia.com
Unavailable for the next 3 months

Take in Downtown with a stay at the Standard. No tiny suites in this joint: only oversized guest rooms with overstocked minibars and outrageously comfortable beds. Of course, it’s not the size of the room that counts – it’s what you do with it. We suggest slipping into a swimsuit, sipping down a few shots and heading up to the Rooftop. This playful space for adults 21 and over offers panoramic views from the pool, a waterbed pod and the red dancing-ready AstroTurf deck. Feel free to stay in your trunks or two-piece as the sun sets – the outdoor fireplace will keep you warm.

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The Rooftop by JG at Waldorf Astoria

Hotel Restaurant, Bar, American, $$$
Map View
The Rooftop by JG at Waldorf Astoria
Courtesy of The Rooftop by JG at Waldorf Astoria / Expedia.com

Even in LA, it’s hard to subsist on a liquid lunch alone, so head back to Beverly Hills, and sober up at the Rooftop by JG. Seated above the Waldorf Astoria, all-day dining is ready to fill you up, from breakfast to last orders. An espresso and an avocado toast do the trick most mornings, though sunrise is definitely more manageable after late-night truffle cheeseburgers and crispy fries with caviar. If the hair of the dog is necessary, a passionfruit whiskey fizz should calm any queasiness.

Andaz West Hollywood

4.5/5 (971 Reviews)
Andaz West Hollywood
Courtesy of Andaz West Hollywood / Expedia.com
From $277 per night per room
It was the first hotel on the Sunset Strip, and, today, it’ll give you an amazing first impression of Hollywood. Andaz West Hollywood delights with stylish rooms and Sunset Boulevard views, inspiring you to look your best as you follow the Strip to the Comedy Store, Whisky a Go Go bar and infamous Viper Room. Not in a rush to spend the night on the town? Claim a daybed at the highest rooftop pool in the city, and let the bartender send over martinis to accompany views of the Hollywood Hills.
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  • Harriet’s Rooftop

    Chain Hotel
    4.3/5 (330 Reviews)
    Courtesy of 1 Hotel West Hollywood / Expedia
    From $418 per night per room

    Where better to spy celebrities than at a bar where comedian Dave Chappelle has his own corner table? Harriet’s Rooftop is a favorite watering hole for many stars, musicians and A-listers. While you wait with your camera ready for the next star to stroll through the door, Blue Velvet cocktails, teriyaki beef skewers and generous bottle service will hold you over.

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    Rooftop Cinema Club

    Map View

    If you’ve never caught a flick on a rooftop in Los Angeles, you’re missing out. Rooftop Cinema Club hosts film screenings throughout the city, including Santa Monica and Hollywood. As you wait on the rooftop for the film to start, snacks, drinks and table games help kill the time. Snuggle up under a blanket, pop in your state-of-the-art headphones, and get lost in a story, likely filmed a few feet from your seat.

    Petit Ermitage

    Boutique Hotel
    4.4/5 (991 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Petit Ermitage / Expedia
    From $274 per night per room

    Get high in the Hills, and leave all worries behind at Petit Ermitage. The rooftop heated saltwater pool is one of the sexiest places in town where you can strip off without apology. Pick from a private cabana or striped sunbed, though your adjacent high suite is also the perfect place to hang with friends. Before retreating into your bohemian quarters, we suggest dining among the hummingbirds and butterflies at the rooftop restaurant that doubles as a nature sanctuary.

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    Spire 73 at InterContinental Hotel

    Restaurant, American, $$$
    InterContinental Hotel
    Courtesy of InterContinental Hotel Los Angeles / Expedia.com
    Unavailable for the next 3 months

    If Petit Ermitage doesn’t fulfil your high, perhaps Spire 73’s elevation will meet your expectations. You’ll dine atop the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere at this reservations-only restaurant on the InterContinental Hotel’s 73rd floor. Seasonal chef selections fill the menu with favorites like wagyu beef burgers and truffle parmesan fries, charting a course that leads straight to a plate of tiramisu.

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    Skybar at the Mondrian Hotel

    Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
    Skybar at The Mondrian Hotel
    Courtesy of The Mondrian Hotel / Expedia.com
    Unavailable for the next 3 months
    Before the credits roll on your Los Angeles adventure, set the scene for one final-act party at Skybar. This calm pool deck above the Mondrian Hotel seduces you into a wild atmosphere as the sun starts fading and the DJ starts spinning. Light fare is available to eat, but it’ll, no doubt, be the Skybar lemonade, redheaded mule and other spirits that keep you grooving into the night.
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    These recommendations were updated on September 8, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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