Editor's note: Some information in this article has been edited to reflect businesses that are no longer open. It's also a good idea to check with the club before you go to make sure specials or events are still in effect from the date this article was originally published.
It's about time. After what seemed like an interminable heat spell, temps are finally dipping into tolerable territory. And with the end of daylight saving time, evenings are ripe for relaxing in the autumn cool. In fact, the lower the temperature, the higher we want to climb. Tampa Bay's public rooftops are an ideal spot to watch the sunset and enjoy a slew of outdoor activities, from movies to music to yoga. Some are even available to rent for your own private rooftop rendezvous. Check out eight reasons to go up on the roof. — Dalia Colón firstname.lastname@example.org
Tampa Waterside Marriott
700 S Florida Ave., Tampa, (813) 221-4900, marriott.com
Enjoy the view: The hotel doesn't advertise that its swimming pool is open to the public, but it is. In fact, this is where Tampa socialites come to be seen. With plenty of lounge chairs, there's enough room for hotel guests and locals to coexist while taking in the view of Harbour Island.
High on fun: The pool is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Take the elevator to the third floor. (The hotel is 27 stories high, but the outdoor pool deck is on level 3.) You'll know you're in the right place when you get a whiff of incense from the spa. Walk past the spa and fitness center, out the glass double doors and voila: You're free to relax in a lounge chair or cool off in the pool. You can also order sandwiches, salads, pizzas and the like whenever the pool is open. Hours vary for the full-liquor bar.
Rent the roof: Part of the deck is available for private events on a case-by-case basis. Call and ask for the group sales department.
Fly Bar and Restaurant
1202 N Franklin St., Tampa, (813) 275-5001, flybarandrestaurant.com
Enjoy the view: Fly opened in 2006 and quickly became one of downtown Tampa's most popular hangouts. The roof deck is surrounded by buildings on three sides, but none of that matters during happy hour, when you can sip a drink and watch the sun set over the Hillsborough River.
High on fun: The roof is open Monday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to close. Fridays and Saturdays it's staffed with a bartender, but you can buy a bottle of wine downstairs and enjoy it al fresco. Bottles of vino are half-price on Mondays.
Rent the roof: The 1,000-square-foot space seems small, but remove the wooden furniture and there's enough space for 100 people to party. B.Y.O. DJ or just enjoy the music pumped in from downstairs. There's no fee to rent the space — just a minimum food and beverage order. Monday through Wednesday, it's $500; Thursday through Saturday it's $1,000. Call and ask for general manager David Bromberg.
807 Gulf Way, St. Pete Beach, (727) 360-9558, thehurricane.com
Enjoy the view: Atop this historic seafood restaurant, take in a 360-degree panorama that includes the Don CeSar Beach Resort, Boca Ciega Bay, Sunshine Skyway Bridge and at certain times of the year, stone crabbers pulling up their traps. At dusk, tourists watch the sun disappear into the Gulf of Mexico; sunset times are posted at the host's stand downstairs.
High on fun: The roof is open daily from noon to about 11 p.m. Order food downstairs, and polish off your meal with a cocktail from the rooftop bar or gelato from the first-floor counter. Florida residents and all college students get 10 percent off all dine-in entrees. From March to September, enjoy live bands around sunset Friday to Sunday. Parking is $1.25 an hour.
Rent the roof: Reserve half or all of the roof for your party of at least 30 guests. It's available any day. Pricing varies. Call (727) 360-1133.
Push Ultra Lounge
128 Third St. S, St. Petersburg, (727) 871-7874, pushlounge.com
Enjoy the view: Perched atop Red Mesa Cantina, this swanky downtown dance club is a favorite among folks from Joe College Student to athletes like Tampa Bay Rays players and IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon.
High on fun: Nurse a drink from the rooftop bar or nosh on Mexican food from downstairs; they'll bring it up to you. Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8 p.m., join St. Petersburg Yoga for an intermediate-level class. It's $12 per session; get details at (727) 894-9642 or stpeteyoga.com. Fridays and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., seven tables are available for bottle service. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Rent the roof: It's available weekdays any time or Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. You must have a $500 minimum alcohol purchase. No additional fee for cocktail-hour parties. There's a $500 setup fee for banquets. No DJs allowed, but if you bring a laptop or mp3 player, Push will pump your music through the speakers. Call and ask for manager Lucy Watkins.
1619 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City, (813) 241-4139, clubprana.com
Enjoy the view: A large rooftop bar and dance floor cap this popular Ybor City nightclub. "It's almost like a VIP area, but for everybody," says manager Chris Whitaker. Take the elevator to the third floor, then climb two flights of stairs to the roof deck for a panoramic view of Tampa's party district. Amenities include high-top tables, heaters and a plasma screen over the bar showing sports or movies. On New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July, you'll see fireworks in every direction. Renovations including cabanas and more vegetation, which are scheduled to be done by winter.
High on fun: The roof is open Thursday through Saturday from about midnight to 3 a.m. Thursdays feature local college bands, Fridays DJ Prophet spins, and Saturdays bring live reggae with the band Spy vs. Spy. Ages 18 and up. $10 cover.
Rent the roof: Rates vary. Call and leave a message for Whitaker.
Cha Cha Coconuts
800 2nd Ave NE, St. Pete, (727) 822-6655, chacha-coconuts.com
Enjoy the view: This restaurant atop the iconic St. Pete Pier gives you a prime vantage point for watching some of the city's favorite traditions, from the clinking of bells during the Jingle Bell Run to the colorful swim caps that dot the bay during the St. Anthony's Triathlon. Take the glass elevator to the fifth floor — a scenic ride in itself — and check out the St. Pete, Tampa and Sarasota skylines. For an even better look, bring a quarter for the viewfinder. Also keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and jellyfish.
High on fun: Impress out-of-town guests with a view from one of Cha Cha's outdoor tables as you dine on wings, ribs or mahi mahi. The locals also like to bring up a cup of coffee and watch the sun rise over the bay. Cha Cha's is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Bring $3 for the Pier parking lot or coins for a meter.
Rent the roof: Rates vary.
2675 Ulmerton Road, St. Petersburg; (727) 571-2222, thevenueclub.com.
Enjoy the view: This 230,000-square-foot complex includes a nice-size rooftop cabana bar. It's not the best view in town — the parking lot, an office parkway and busy Ulmerton Road — but it's a great party space. The atmosphere is sleek but chill, with lime green and black cabanas and furniture.
High on fun: The roof deck is open three nights a week from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays are service industry night, with $3 cover and $2 drinks for everyone. Then Fridays and Saturdays, The Venue becomes Club V. Friday is ladies' night; women get in free all night, and drink free until 11 p.m. and enjoy $3 calls after. Cover for guys is $10. Saturdays are "reverse happy hour," with drink specials from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. that you'd normally find only in the afternoon. $10 cover. DJ Kidd Leow from 93.3 WFLZ-FM spins Fridays, while Saturday nights belong to DJ Gemini. Snack on sushi, sandwiches and other fare from the bar menu.
Rent the roof: The space holds about 80 people and is available for rent. Call VIP host Christina Nostro at (727) 698-0660.