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2023's best cities for rooftop dining


2023’s best cities for rooftop dining

A couple enjoying a rooftop meal at night.

Where can you have a memorable meal with a beautiful rooftop view?

To find out, Roof Gnome ranked 2023’s best cities for rooftop dining.

We compared over 360 of the biggest U.S. cities based on three categories. We considered the number of rooftop restaurants and consumer ratings. We also factored in the most friendly climates for outdoor dining — such as high rates of sunshine — among nine total metrics.

Elevate your meal with our ranking below. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.

Before we unveil our top 20 list, let’s take a quick look at how the top 5 and bottom 5 broke down across various metrics.

Most Rooftop Restaurants

1. New York, NY

2. Chicago, IL

3. Los Angeles, CA

4. Washington, DC

5. San Diego, CA

Fewest Rooftop Restaurants

1. Hawthorne, CA (TIE)

1. North Charleston, SC (TIE)

1. Hialeah, FL (TIE)

1. Everett, WA (TIE)

1. Chino, CA (TIE)

Most Top-Rated Rooftop Restaurants

1. Los Angeles, CA

2. New York, NY

3. San Diego, CA

4. Denver, CO

5. Washington, DC (TIE)

5. Las Vegas, NV (TIE)

Fewest Top-Rated Rooftop Restaurants

1. Costa Mesa, CA (TIE)

1. Colorado Springs, CO (TIE)

1. Plano, TX (TIE)

1. Bellevue, WA (TIE)

1. Berkeley, CA (TIE)

Lowest Average Monthly Precipitation (in Inches)

1. Las Vegas, NV (TIE)

1. Henderson, NV (TIE)

1. North Las Vegas, NV (TIE)

4. Visalia, CA (TIE)

4. Bakersfield, CA (TIE)

Highest Average Monthly Precipitation (in Inches)

1. Mobile, AL

2. New Orleans, LA (TIE)

2. Metairie, LA (TIE)

4. West Palm Beach, FL

5. Fort Lauderdale, FL (TIE)

5. Miami Beach, FL (TIE)

5. Hollywood, FL (TIE)

Lowest Number of Extremely Hot Days

1. San Francisco, CA (TIE)

1. Duluth, MN (TIE)

1. Oakland, CA (TIE)

1. Berkeley, CA (TIE)

1. San Jose, CA (TIE)

Highest Number of Extremely Hot Days

1. Phoenix, AZ (TIE)

1. Scottsdale, AZ (TIE)

1. Tempe, AZ (TIE)

1. Chandler, AZ (TIE)

1. Gilbert, AZ (TIE)

And now—2023’s best cities for rooftop dining.

Roof Gnome

2023’s best cities for rooftop dining

A chart listing the top 20 cities in the U.S. for rooftop dining

Take a look at these panoramic insights — from “roof-level” to city-specific.

High-level overview

Sit back and enjoy the view in big cities like New York (No. 1), Los Angeles (No. 2), and San Diego (No. 3). These cities dine to the top of our ranking with abundant highly-rated rooftop eateries to enjoy. Denver (No. 7), Nashville, Tennessee (No. 13), and Atlanta (No. 14) are among 10 cities that offer over 100 rooftop restaurants to try.

Smaller cities with less desirable weather, such as Beaumont, Texas (No. 359), and Little Rock, Arkansas (No. 360), finish near the bottom alongside Auburn, Alabama, in last place. In addition to uncomfortable climates, consumers may be disappointed by few dining options and low consumer ratings.

Standout stats

Big Apple bites: New York (No. 1) is the empire of rooftop dining, with 531 rooftop restaurants — the most in our ranking. That’s 236 more than in Chicago (No. 4), which claims the 2nd-highest number of rooftop establishments. NYC also cooks up the 2nd-highest number of top-rated rooftop restaurants.

Angelic eats: Plan a first-rate feast in Los Angeles (No. 2), which boasts the most top-rated rooftop restaurants and the 3rd-highest number of rooftop restaurants overall. LA finishes nearly 11 points ahead of San Diego, which shines at No. 3 overall with the best Climate for rooftop dining.

The windy rooftop dining city: Despite a high number of extremely cold days and low rates of sunshine, Chicago (No. 4) lands in the top 10 with the 2nd-highest number of rooftop restaurants, 295. 

Summits of sound: Hear music from new heights in Kansas City, Missouri (No. 12), and Nashville, Tennessee (No. 13). Both cities boast rich musical legacies and numerous high-quality rooftop restaurants to experience a delicious meal and the sounds of the city from above. 

Golden potential: Several California cities, like San Diego (No. 3) and Escondido (No. 152), glow at the top of our ranking with the most ideal Climate for elevated dining. Despite having exemplary weather, rooftop options are ironically not as abundant in Vista (No. 145) and Chula Vista (No. 163), Spanish for “beautiful view.”

Southern sights: Sup in the sky in Southeastern cities Charleston, South Carolina (No. 11), Atlanta (No. 14), and Charlotte, North Carolina (No. 19). These cities enjoy high Access and Quality and land in the top half of the Climate category. Savannah, Georgia (No. 27), and Richmond, Virginia (No. 30), also offer tasty rooftop eateries.

Texas tastes: 10 Lone Star State cities — such as Fort Worth (No. 89) and San Antonio (No. 61) — enjoy views of wide open spaces, scoring in the top half of our ranking. Among them, Houston (No. 18), Austin (No. 23), and Dallas (No. 32) claim the best Access to well-rated rooftop restaurants. Meanwhile, smaller cities like College Station (No. 356) and Beaumont (No. 359) severely lack options for high-rise diners.

Behind the ranking

First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the best cities for rooftop dining. We 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 here.

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

Finally, we 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).

This story was produced by Roof Gnome and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.


Article Topic Follows: Lifestyle - Stacker

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