SAN DIEGO – Twinkling lights over the bay, a drink at a rooftop bar, a breathtaking view from your airplane window: San Diego may have fewer skyscrapers than other major US cities, but its horizon line is always a striking backdrop.

In a region defined by sprawl, San Diego’s tallest buildings are concentrated downtown.

Security concerns limit the height developers can reach when building skyscrapers in the metropolitan center. Planes fly over parts of downtown to land at San Diego International Airport.

Historically, the city of San Diego capped buildings at 500 feet because of the issue, an airport spokesperson told FOX 5 via email. It’s actually no longer a binding limit, and the city makes height decisions based on a building’s specific location and feedback from the Federal Aviation Administration.

For now, however, the city’s tallest buildings stand at 500 feet.

We used data from the Emporis building and construction database, compared with information from each building’s owners, to compile this list of the 10 tallest buildings in the city.

1. One America Plaza – 500 feet

A view of One America Plaza, the tallest skyscraper in downtown San Diego. (Photo: Adobe Stock)

One America Plaza is only a foot taller than the second entry on this list, claiming the top spot.

It’s impossible to miss the Water Office Building in San Diego Bay, rising just north of the Marina District among the Core-Columbia skyscrapers.

Designed by German-American architect Helmut Jahn and completed in 1991, the skyscraper features a four-story marble lobby with an interior waterfall.

Financial and legal firms, including UBS Financial and Allianz Capital, inhabit the building. On-site amenities range from an auto retailer to a business banking center and outdoor plaza, as well as several dining options.

From the outside, residents sometimes say the top of the building looks like a Phillips screwdriver.

2. Symphony Towers – 499 feet

Also located in Core-Columbia, Symphony Towers is the second tallest development in San Diego.

The twin-towered hotel and business complex has a striking exterior, wrapped in pink granite and glass. It is named after the adjacent Symphony Hall and is home to the 3-star Marriott Vacation Club Pulse and 34 floors of coveted office space.

Opened in 1989, the building briefly held the title of tallest in San Diego. One America Plaza stole this place a few years later.

As the San Diego Union-Tribune noted, developers built Symphony Towers on land approximately 70 feet above sea level, so its tallest point is technically just 429 feet above sea level. floor. Typically, however, airline officials and skyscraper enthusiasts focus on “peak height” – that is, how far the building extends into the air, the newspaper reports. .

3. Manchester Grand Hyatt (Harbour Tower) Hotel – 497 feet

The towers of the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel rise on San Diego’s waterfront, including the building that is the city’s third tallest. (Getty Images)

Situated above the water with panoramic views of Coronado and San Diego Bay, the Manchester Grand Hyatt serves as a landmark for the Marina District.

Completed in 1992, the hotel is made up of two towers, with the tallest Harbor Tower reaching 497 feet.

The chic four-star accommodation has two rooftop pools, seven restaurants, and a 24-hour fitness center.

Locals looking for a fun night out can head to the Rooftop Cinema Club, which hosts outdoor movie nights on the hotel’s fourth-floor sports courts. Watch a movie under the stars, then travel up to the 40th floor to sip a cocktail in the sky lounge.

4. Pinnacle on the Park and Spire San Diego (tie) – 479

Pinnacle on the Park and Spire San Diego, the fourth and fifth tallest buildings in San Diego. (Getty Images)

These twin buildings, which stand out on the outside with their brightly colored facades, are new to this list. Pinnacle on the Park wears yellow, while Spire San Diego wears red.

The pair became a sight to behold on the East Village skyline when they opened in 2016 and 2019. Residents have the best of downtown right on their doorstep, and amenities from fitness centers and pools to private balconies create a luxurious ambience.

The buildings have gained notoriety for the number of Airbnb and other short-term rental units on site. As the Union-Tribune stated in 2017, “the hottest hotel in town is an apartment building.”

A recent investigation by inewsource focused on Pinnacle’s reputation as a “party building” as complaints from tenants surged during the pandemic.

New short-term vacation rental rules could change the complexion of buildings in the near future.

The rest of San Diego’s tallest buildings

According to Emporis, these are the next five tallest buildings in America’s Finest City, all located downtown:

6. Electra – 475 ft – 700 WE St

7. Pacific Gate – 458 ft – 888 WE St

8. Emerald Plaza – 450ft – 402 W. Broadway (tie)
Pinnacle Marina Tower – 450ft – 550 Front St.

10. Manchester Grand Hyatt (Harbour Tower) – 446ft – 1 Market Square