5 Best Skyscrapers in San Diego

San Diego skyscrapers towering over the San Diego Bay.
San Diego skyscrapers towering over the San Diego Bay. Christopher A. Jones/Moment/Getty Images

When it comes to engineering marvels for buildings, few things cause more awe than the height and impressiveness of skyscrapers. San Diego has a gorgeous skyline thanks to its many skyscrapers, an especially cosmopolitan beauty of a view when seen alit while sailing at night in the San Diego harbor. San Diego’s skyline also holds true to its beach city roots by having an ordinance that does not allow any buildings to be built taller than 500 feet. This may seem small compared to NYC and Chicago, but it’s quite tall when you consider downtown San Diego is the only area in San Diego west of the five that are allowed to have buildings taller than just three levels (and thank goodness for that, if you ask me, who wants our gorgeous Pacific Ocean views to be blocked?). For those of you who love city life and engineering masterpieces, here is a list of the most prominent skyscrapers in San Diego.  

One America Plaza in San Diego
Richard Cummins / Getty Images

One America Plaza

This skyscraper is the tallest in San Diego and one of the tallest in all of California (a few in San Francisco and Los Angeles have us beat). It has an easy to spot obelisk shape thanks to its designers, and its point reaches 500 feet into the air (the tallest it can be built in San Diego). Any San Diegans who have ever taken the trolley downtown have stood at the base of One America Plaza. Inside the building, you’ll find commercial offices; how fun would it be to work there and say you work in the tallest building in San Diego?

San Diego skyline, California, United States of America, North America
Richard Cummins / Getty Images

Symphony Towers 

This may only be the second tallest skyscraper in San Diego, but it has two gleaming columns rising up into the sky, making it a distinct part of the San Diego skyline. It also just missed out on the tallest skyscraper award as its tallest tower is 499 feet high.

Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel

This luxurious hotel is the tallest waterfront building on the entire west coast. This is not only impressive but a nice treat for San Diegans, too, as many locals — and visitors — have enjoyed drinks in the Top of the Hyatt bar, with elevated views overlooking the harbor and downtown. (Which is also an excellent place to enjoy seeing fireworks from a high up advantage on the Fourth of July.)

Emerald Plaza

The architects of the Emerald Plaza did a good job of making sure this skyscraper stood out despite being only the 5th tallest building downtown by designing it with a hexagonal shape. Not only is this a creative shape for a building, the various angles to Emerald Plaza is ideal for San Diego office space as it provides a large number of offices with windows and views — always a good thing in the land of perpetual sunshine.


For those wanting to live the high life in San Diego, this is the condo complex to do it in as the Electra is the highest condo complex in the city. Think you could handle living on the top floor — 43 stories up off the ground?

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