It’s Memorial Day Weekend, and things are looking up—way up. While some Americans may prefer to observe the arrival of summer (not to mention our troops, for whom the holiday was created) with a backyard barbecue, we prefer to celebrate in the sky—on a rooftop, that is. Basking in the glory of a three-day-weekend just seems better way up high. Here, we list the top 10 hotel rooftops in the U.S., where you can imbibe, indulge, and even go for a swim, with panoramic views over our favorite skylines.
The 1 Rooftop, 1 Hotel South Beach
The Rooftop: As far as Miami rooftops go, it doesn’t get much better than this. Perched 18 stories above the beach, the sprawling space hovers above the Atlantic Ocean with a sleek infinity-edge pool lined with cabanas and a lounge serving island-inspired cuisine.
The Hotel: Opened in 2015 as the new 1 Hotels brand’s first property, this 426-room retreat brings a back-to-nature approach to South Beach’s Collins Avenue, with Javanese teak wood and terrariums in the guest rooms and eco-friendly perks like Tesla car service.
The Cocktail: Go for one of the bar’s excellent draft cocktails; our favorite is the refreshing Nailed with a Smoking Gun, featuring blended Dewars scotch, fresh lemon and lime, and rose water. (1hotels.com)
Top of the Watergate, The Watergate Hotel, Washington, D.C.
The Rooftop: There’s no better city in which to honor Memorial Day than our nation’s capital—and what there’s no better rooftop on which to do it than the Top of the Watergate. Located atop the Watergate Hotel, the bar offers 360-degree views over the Pentagon and Washington Monument, and serves sophisticated fare and cocktails. There’s no pool, but the memories of Tricky Dick’s late-night shenanigans here in 1972 are sure to give you a chill nonetheless.
The Hotel: Opened in 2016 in the 10-acre Watergate complex, this 336-room hotel is as slick as Richard Nixon with bespoke Italian furnishings, floor-to-ceiling marble bathrooms, and a Ron Arad–designed restaurant.
The Cocktail: Make it a spicy celebration with the Furiosa, comprised of chili-infused Don Julio tequila, lime, and pomegranate juice. (thewatergatehotel.com)
Westlight, The William Vale, Brooklyn
The Rooftop: When you want the best views of Manhattan you head to Brooklyn. The borough’s newest rooftop bar offers vistas in spades with a 22nd-floor wraparound terrace equipped with telescopes for up-close glimpses of the city from end to end. If you can tear yourself away from the 360-degree panoramas, you’ll find plenty of other diversions on the menu, including a mixology program by Anne Robinson and small bites by Andrew Carmellini. Down on the third-floor rooftop there’s more Memorial Day action at the 60-foot-long swimming pool lined with daybeds and cabanas.
The Hotel: The William Vale is the latest in a clutch of Williamsburg properties that are elevating the local hotel scene to a luxurious new level. Andrew Carmellini (of Locanda Verde fame) helms the kitchen at the lobby-adjacent Leuca, and, in the rooms, views of Manhattan are unrivaled.
The Nest, Thompson Seattle
The Rooftop: Seattle finally has a rooftop worthy of its stunning views. The Nest takes its libations—and its vistas—seriously, offering house-bottled cocktails, cocktails on tap, and, of course, pour overs, all with panoramas of Puget Sound and the city skyline. The seafood scene is also impressive with carts piled high with fresh-from the-Pacific oysters making the rounds all night.
The Hotel: The 158-room Thompson Seattle, located near Pike Place Market and Puget Sound, is both elegant and industrial, juxtaposing a geometric glass facade by Seattle’s own Olson Kundig Architects with edgy interiors composed of locally sourced woods and metals. The energetic scene spills into the Thompson’s Scout restaurant, where flannel banquettes meet hyper-local cuisine.
The Cocktail: The Flamingo—a pink-hued punch spiked with lime, pineapple and Perrier-Jouët, and servied in a copper flamingo chalice—will no doubt be the drink of the summer. (thompsonhotels.com)
The Roof Deck, Vanderbilt Grace, Newport, R.I.
The Rooftop: Anyone lucky enough to find themselves in Newport for Memorial Day will most certainly treat themselves to a cocktail at the Vanderbilt Grace’s rooftop deck, where postcard-perfect views of the harbor are always at arm’s length. It’s one of the only places to see the sun set over Newport Harbor with a glass of Champagne in hand.
The Hotel: This Newport boutique has New England charm down to a science. Originally built in 1909 by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt for his mistress Agnes O’Brien Ruiz, the charming mansion turned 33-room hotel is a waterfront gem offering sprawling guest rooms and an acclaimed restaurant.
The Cocktail: Drink your barbecue dinner with the Old Fashioned BBQ, a lively libation comprised of Knob Creek Bourbon, pineapple, Bing cherries, and King Ramsey’s chipotle bitters. (gracehotels.com)
St. Cloud Social Rooftop, The Knickerbocker Hotel, Manhattan
The Rooftop: Truth be told, we wouldn’t be caught dead wandering Times Square on a three-day weekend, but high above the tourist hubbub, St. Cloud Social offers amazing city views in sophisticated yet laid-back atmosphere. The 7,800-square-foot bar elevates the Midtown bar scene with a custom cocktail menu chock full of manhattans, martinis, and old-fashioneds. The three VIP Skypod lounges are where the high rollers retreat; they seat 10, 12, and 18 people and require a $1,000 food-and-drink minimum.
The Hotel: The Knickerbocker has been a Times Square fixture since 1906, but a recent renovation has given this Beaux-Arts landmark a contemporary new style. There’s Stearns & Foster beds dressed in Sferra linens in the guest rooms, a Charlie Palmer–conceived restaurant in the lobby, and a comprehensive fitness program curated by New York Knick Larry Johnson.
The Cocktail: You may not be on Wall Street, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drink like a bull. Make no mistake—the Gordon’s Gecko isn’t for the faint of heart, comprised simply of two strong ingredients: Grey Goose Poire vodka and ginger Limoncello. (theknickerbocker.com)
Edge, JW Marriott Austin
The Rooftop: Edge has made a splash in the ever-expanding city of Austin, where rooftop bars have always been few and far between. But this Texas-size space on the JW Marriott’s fifth-floor rooftop is more than a simple bar, offering poolside cabanas that are more reminiscent of South Beach than the Lone Star State, and spectacular views of Lady Bird Lake and the State Capitol.
The Hotel: The 34-story JW Marriott Austin proves the old adage “everything is bigger in Texas.” It’s the largest JW Marriott hotel in North America, bringing with it 1,012 rooms and such Austin-approved amenities as a food-truck style restaurant and a burger bar.
The Cocktail: El Uracca is the quintessential Austin-inspired tipple, featuring Austin Reserve Gin and lavender bitters (a nod to the Hill Country) with lime and simple syrup. (jwmarriottaustin.com)
The Roof Garden, The Peninsula Beverly Hills
The Rooftop: When it comes to L.A. rooftops, the dynamic duo of a sexy pool and sprawling vistas is a must. The Roof Garden at the Peninsula Beverly Hills fulfills the requirement to a T, adding in a touch of class that most rival rooftops are missing. There’s sleek cabanas lining the pool and organic cuisine at the adjacent rooftop restaurant.
The Hotel: The Peninsula brand’s refined style and flawless service are right at home in the heart of Beverly Hills. Of the 194 lavish guest rooms, the 16 Villa Suites nestled into a garden of palm trees, bougainvillea, and jasmine are the most coveted.
The Cocktail: Keep it fresh with the Frozen Lemonade, comprised of vodka, Cointreau, citrus, and pickled lemon rind. (beverlyhills.peninsula.com)
Hot Tin, The Pontchartrain Hotel, New Orleans
The Rooftop: Summer in New Orleans sizzles, but this rooftop is worth weathering the heat. Capturing the look of a 1940s artist’s loft, the indoor-outdoor space features nods to Tennessee Williams, who lived at the Pontchartrain hotel while writing A Streetcard Named Desire. On the hottest of New Orleans nights, head inside and be thankful for the advent of central air while sipping something frozen.
The Hotel: NOLA’s newest hotel sits in the Lower Garden District in a circa-1927 landmark. History comes alive in the classic property where European touches like Spanish oak and crystal chandeliers blend with Moroccan rugs and Charles Reinike murals. For an authentic Big Easy experience, the Caribbean Room is a classic revived.
The Cocktail: Live dangerously and order the Death in the LGD (that is, the Lower Garden District), made of Old Tom Gin, ginger lemon shrub, Herbsaint, and Cava. (hottinbar.com; thepontchartrainhotel.com)
The Rooftop, Soho House Chicago
The Rooftop: Chicago’s most exclusive rooftop sits right in the middle of the city, ensuring nothing comes between you and the famous Windy City views. In addition to the pool lined with funky tiles and padded loungers, it features a bar, a lounge, and the new restaurant Nava, which serves Middle Eastern–style food along with spirited frozen cocktails.
The Hotel: Soho House Chicago is first a private club, and then a hotel. Members and nonmembers alike can book the jewel-box guest rooms, which come in sizes Tiny, Small, Medium, and Medium Plus. A house-like layout upstairs is for hotel guests and club members and includes a drawing room, club bar, and house kitchen. Wellness services are a highlight with a fitness center that features a boxing ring and a Cowshed spa.
The Cocktail: One sip of the Night in the Yucatán and you’re transported south of the border. The cocktail features Ocho Tequila Reposado, Vida mescal, Aperol, coconut, and pineapple. (sohohousechicago.com)