Make the most of summer

Marc & Darlynne Menkin | It’s All Happening

It’s hard to believe but summer is finally here. For many people, this is their favorite time of the year and with good reason. Summer days are often filled with either fun barbecues with friends or spending time by the pool and relaxing at the beach. What more could you want?

Darlynne and Marc Menkin

Darlynne and Marc Menkin

 Sunset poolside jazz series kicks off

Summertime in San Diego is doubly nice because the weather is awesome and there’s always something going on. We enjoy being outdoors so we’re always on the lookout for places with great views.

This may come as a surprise to some locals but hotels are actually fun places to hang out. Gone are the days where hotels strictly cater to tourists. As a matter of fact, many hotels are making a concerted effort to reach out to the local crowd. We recently checked out the Westgate Hotel and couldn’t get over all the renovations to their swanky, new roof top area. The third floor rooftop not only sports a cool view of Downtown, it now features the hotel’s first-ever junior Olympic-sized lap pool and a running track and outdoor fitness equipment.

Starting this month and running through August, Westgate kicks off its first annual Sunset Poolside Jazz Series. Every Thursday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., jazz enthusiasts can groove the night away while sipping on specialty cocktails and sampling tasty appetizers. One of San Diego’s favorite musicians Steph Johnson is set to perform on June 12 while Sue Palmer, known as the Queen of Boogie Woogie, is slated to appear July 10. For more information on the full lineup, visit

Altitude’s million-dollar view gets even better

Another place that has a view worth checking out is Altitude Sky Lounge at the Marriott Gaslamp at the corner of Sixth Avenue and K Street.

Altitude's new inside addition, "City Heights." (Courtesy San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter)

Altitude’s new inside addition, “City Heights.” (Courtesy San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter)

Located on the 22nd floor, Altitude has unparalleled views of Petco Park, San Diego Bay and Coronado. On clear days, you can even see Cabrillo National Monument. We’re always surprised when we hear locals say they’ve heard about Altitude but have never taken the time to check it out.

Just like Westgate Hotel’s rooftop, Altitude recently went through some cosmetic upgrades so the rooftop pops even more, if you can imagine that. While you’re up there, make sure you visit its new inside addition called City Sights. It used to be a workout room but they transformed it into a trendy nightclub lounge.

We got a special private tour of this rooftop space and were blown away by its panoramic views and unique décor. It has a big city, cosmopolitan feel and it’s definitely a place where the cool kids hang out. For more info, visit

Brunch by the Bay

Locals looking to kick off their Sunday in style may want to check out Porto Vista Hotel’s new Buffet Brunch. It’s held from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. at Ripassi, the hotel’s rooftop lounge on the fifth floor.

With sweeping views of the Bay and Downtown, this is fast becoming one of Little Italy’s more popular hot spots for locals. The Sunday brunch has everything from pastries to farm fresh scrambled eggs, house-made thyme biscuits with sausage gravy, achiote rubbed pork loin, an omelette station, a full-on dessert menu and bottomless mimosas. Adults are $27, children are $15, and kids 5 and under are free.

Jerry Glickman of Bankers Hill said he and his wife enjoy having brunch at Porto Vista. “The vibe is relaxing and casual,” he said. “It’s never too crowded like a lot of other places where the lines are long. Plus, the view is one of a kind.”

San Diego Summer Pops gears up for another exciting season at Embarcadero Marina Park South. The popular outdoor concert series kicks off June 28 and runs through Labor Day. (Photo by David Hartig)

San Diego Summer Pops gears up for another exciting season at Embarcadero Marina Park South. The popular outdoor concert series kicks off June 28 and runs through Labor Day. (Photo by David Hartig)

We want to hear from you!

The Summer Pops — which kicks off June 27 with a tribute to Elvis and runs through Labor Day weekend — offers fun affordable options that many locals don’t know exists. For $17, guests can bring in their own food, a small cooler with non-alcoholic drinks and low-to-the-ground lawn chairs. A grandstand seat is only $20. Be sure to stick around for the post show fireworks around 9:20 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Our tip – If you have a small boat or kayak, time your voyage so you can catch the end of the show and see the fireworks!

Want a chance to win a prize? Take a creative picture at one of the shows of you and a friend in a freeze frame dance pose with the Summer Pops stage in the background. The most creative picture wins two tickets to a Downtown Urban Challenge Scavenger Hunt and two tickets to a Hidden Coronado Biking Adventure. Email us at

 — Marc & Darlynne Menkin are the co-owners of “Where You Want To Be Tours.” Many of their tours and team-building scavenger hunts feature secret Downtown areas. They can be reached at For more info about their walking, bicycle and bus tours of San Diego, visit

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