Whether you’re living in San Francisco or just visiting our beautiful city, you owe it to yourself to seek out some great rooftop views. The city has some dazzling views, particularly when the fog peels back and the sun begins to set. Whether you want romantic or calming, cheap or ritzy, you can find the perfect bar or restaurant rooftop to sit down, drink and enjoy the view. Here are our favorite rooftop views in San Francisco, including some lesser-known haunts.
1. The Insta-Worthy Rooftop: The Cheesecake Factory
Address: 251 Geary St Fl 8 Union Square
Phone: (415) 391-4444
If you’re looking for a view that is as worthy of the internet as your eyes and won’t make a huge dent in your budget, we suggest you stop by the Cheesecake Factory at Union Square. Depending on the time of year you might be overlooking a giant Christmas tree and skating rink, which makes for some amazing holiday ambiance. Even if it isn’t quite time yet, the dramatic view from this rooftop won’t disappoint.
When you want to take your safe-bet restaurant but make it a little more exciting, you should try out this Cheesecake Factory location.
2. The Star Gazer’s Favorite: Fiorella
Address: 1240 9th Ave (near Lincoln Way & Irving St)
Phone: (415) 404-6997
The newly opened Fiorella is not your typical rooftop delight. While the patio is open to the stars, there is no striking view of the city. But, that’s ideal for those who want to be protected from gusts of wind and who still want to breathe in fresh air and a great view of the night sky above. The rooftop space is still sophisticated, with strung lighting and wooden features. So far, this restaurant’s food offerings have been sublime, particularly the pasta dishes.
Try this new bar to remind yourself that the view of the city isn’t always as impactful as the view of the stars and the full moon.
3. The Must-See: El Techo
Address:2516 Mission St (near 21st and 22nd street)
Phone: (415) 550-6970
This fantastic restaurant tops many of the lists of the best rooftop views in San Francisco for a reason. From the Mission, you can look out over much of San Francisco while you indulge in thoughtfully created cocktails. You can rely on El Techo to be open even in rain and wind, with their heat lamps, wind guards and a retractable roof. This spot is most popular for brunch, where you can catch some sun and witness San Francisco’s beautiful mornings.
It may as well be right of passage for those who seek out rooftop views of the city to try out this bar, and we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
4. The Urban Oasis: Charmaine’s
Address:1100 Market Street (Above the San Francisco Proper Hotel, entrance at 45 McAllister St)
Phone: 1 (888) 730-4299 (for reservations)
When you really love the city, there is something about the view of the buildings all lit up at night and elegantly spread along the skyline that just makes your heartbeat. Or is that just us? You can find out for sure if the city skyline look is for you with a visit to Charmaine’s. This hotel bar has a black and white aesthetic, unusual dinner options like Grilled Japanese Chicken Meatballs, and now famous twists on popular cocktails, including the Proper Cup.
You should drop by for the view, but we know you’ll end up staying for the classy drinks.
5. The Family Eatery: Rooftop 25
Address:25 Lusk Street (Located off of Townsend Street between 3rd & 4th Street)
Phone: (415) 495-5875
You’re hungry, but you don’t particularly feel like dressing to the nines? Then you should take in the view and amazing view at Rooftop 25. The restaurant prides itself on creating an upbeat but relaxed atmosphere where you can fill up on some truly amazing food directly from the wood-fired oven all while looking out over San Francisco. Share a Neapolitan style pizza, or dressed-up version of other childhood favorites, including chicken fingers and hotdogs. With heaters and wind screens, this rooftop spot will remain comfortable even when it gets cold, making it a great spot to bring the kids.
Rooftop 25 reminds us to put our focus on what matters most in a restaurant: the food. The view doesn’t hurt either!
When you find your way to The Bay Area, be sure to indulge at Mastro's Steakhouse San Fransisco for tender, flame-kissed beef. pic.twitter.com/lYUebw4rsh
— Mastro's Restaurants (@MastrosOfficial) November 3, 2021
6. The Classy Rooftop: Mastro’s Steakhouse
Address: 399 Geary St
Phone: (415) 363-9539
You won’t be sitting pretty above the whole city at Mastro’s Steakhouse, but you will be a few floors above the bustle of the streets. It’s a stunning view in its own way, where you still feel connected to the city but still get a bird’s eye view. The steakhouse is known for its overall ambiance that really compliments the view. And, with a retractable roof and strong wind guards, you don’t have to worry about having to head in due to weather. For food, you’ll enjoy fine seafood dishes, served by diligent waitstaff.
When you want an experience that feels as great as the view, we suggest Mastro’s Steakhouse.
7. The Night-Time Marvel: Zingari Ristorante & Jazz Room
Address: 501 Post St
Phone: (415) 885-8850
How do you make fresh, house-made pasta better? With an amazing rooftop view. Or, at least that seems to be the strategy at Zingari Ristorante & Jazz Room. While you look out to the city skyline you can enjoy live jazz music, fantastic martinis and delicious food. We recommend you stop by this one at night, where the lit-up city buildings are just far enough away to give you some romantic ambiance. There is something about the layout on this rooftop that feels sheltered, private, and yet remarkably expansive.
Awaken your senses and enjoy Italianate food and ambiance on this sheltered rooftop.
Happy Friday indeed pic.twitter.com/SY4tryISYm
— Oeste (@OesteOakland) May 12, 2018
8. The Sunny Staple: Oeste Bar
Address: 722 Clay St
Phone: (510) 817-4157
With wide-plank wooden flooring, spots of greenery and comfortable seating, Oeste Bar is the perfect rooftop to return to time and again. It’s a friendly spot with your comfortable classics, from avocado toast to fried chicken sandwiches. The view is not too high up, so it feels more like a pleasant neighborhood ambiance than a scene right out of a movie, but sometimes that is what you’re looking for.
If you want a rooftop bar that can become your go-to spot, we suggest the Oeste Bar.
What a view from the city view lounge of @Marriott #SanFrancisco. pic.twitter.com/NzPHFkqAlP
— Chuhan Wang (@therealchuhan) May 12, 2017
9. The Special Occasion: The View Lounge
Address: 780 Mission St
Phone: (415) 442-6003
This bar atop the San Francisco Marriott Marquis is an experience in and of itself. The panoramic art deco windows offer one of the very best views of SF’s skyline from 39 stories up, where there isn’t much left to block your view. The View Lounge offers a selection of small, upscale plates that elevate local cuisine, like smoked duck breast pastrami, seafood crudo, and miso glazed pork belly, as well as a swanky selection of cocktails.
In short, The View Lounge is one of the best hotel bars in the city, and it absolutely earns its name.