Best U.S. Cities For Rooftop Dining: Where To Get An ‘Elevated’ Restaurant Experience!

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Take your dining experience to the next level — literally. Rooftop restaurants are all the rage when it comes to trendy dining. Why? Not only are you enjoying a delicious meal, but you get the chance to take in gorgeous views from cityscapes to sunsets all over the country. That said, you can’t always find them everywhere.

To scope out the cities with a bounty of rooftop retreats, Roof Gnome compared 360 of the biggest cities in the U.S. Based on the number of restaurants with an “upper deck,” customer reviews, the friendliest climates, and more, they determined the country’s best cities for rooftop dining.

The Big Apple proved to be the number one best spot for sky-high restaurants. Why? New York City boasts the highest number of rooftop eateries (531). Among these establishments are the second-highest number of top-rated spots in the nation.

Best Cities for Rooftop Dining
Rank City
1 New York, NY
2 Los Angeles, CA
3 San Diego, CA
4 Chicago, IL
5 Washington, DC
6 Las Vegas, NV
7 Denver, CO
8 San Francisco, CA
9 Seattle, WA
10 Honolulu, HI

Coming in first place for the most highly-rated meals in the clouds is Los Angeles. With the third-highest number of spots to choose from, the City of Angels comes in second overall.

For music-lovers, you’ll want to head to Kansas City or Nashville. Not only do both cities appear on the list, but they also are overflowing with musical talent. Visiting here guarantees you will experience music on a whole other level where normally only birds sing.

For sunshine and blue skies, high-rise dining in San Diego is your best bet. This coastal Californian community may have been the third best overall but placed first in terms of its climate.

You can also head southeast for some of the best weather to enjoy at new heights. Places like Charleston, South Carolina (No. 11) and Atlanta (No. 14) land in the top half of the climate category.

Denver (No. 7), Nashville (No. 13), and Atlanta (No. 14) all offer over 100 sky-level bites. Despite their names, California cities Vista (“view” in Spanish) and Chula Vista (“beautiful view”) are not home to as many rooftop options.

Texas is thriving with rooftop restaurants. In the Lone Star State, 10 big cities rank in the top 50 percent, such as Houston (No. 18), Austin (No. 23), and Dallas (No. 32), all of which harbor plenty of top-rated establishments in the sky.

The two worst cities to grab a bite on a rooftop are Boynton Beach, Florida, and Auburn, Alabama. This is because they have low rankings across the board in quality, climate, and access. It’s safe to say that indoor dining might be more enjoyable for visitors here.

 Worst Cities for Rooftop Dining
Rank City
1 Auburn, AL
2 Boynton Beach, FL
3 Little Rock, AR
4 Beaumont, TX
5 Sterling Heights, MI
6 Warner Robins, GA
7 College Station, TX
8 Lansing, MI
9 Columbia, MO
10 Sioux Falls, SD

Survey methodology:

First, Roof Gnome determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to ranking the Best Cities for Rooftop Dining. They then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into three categories: access, quality, and climate. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.

For each of the 500 biggest U.S. cities, Roof Gnome then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table. Researchers eliminated 138 cities lacking sufficient data in a single category, resulting in a final sample size of 362 cities.

Finally, they calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 362).

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About the Author

Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds’ Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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