MO' STRINGS ATTACHED
By the time you read this, you'll have just barely missed the Ocean Beach Kite Festival, San Diego's premier gathering of people with serious Ben Franklin envy. Still, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some kite-flying action this summer. On any day, you can head down to the Embarcadero by Seaport Village and catch kite aficionados of all levels anchoring their brightly colored kites. If you don't have your own, Kite Flight (849 W Harbor Drive) is located nearby with a selection that ranges from cute single line EZ Flyers (about $30) to pro kites with up to four lines ($200-plus).
- Ryan Bradford
Most of the time we don't really need an excuse to drink outdoors in this city. It's not like it gets that cold, but the option certainly becomes all the more attractive in the summer months. That being said, the rooftop bar scene can be a bit of a drag when it's asses-to-elbows crowded and booming some deep-house Top 40 remix abomination over the PA. Such is not the case at East Village open-air hang Fairweather (795 J St.) cantilevered above Rare Form next to Petco Park. The specialty is flavorful and frosty tropical drinks, such as the boozy Zombie or the addictive Piña Colada (served in a tiki head glass, naturally). Add some Fela Kuti and classic exotica on the playlist, and you've got yourself a hell of an open-air oasis hidden among a busy urban center.
DISC IS IT
We'd like to think all those guys at the Frisbee golf course at Morley Field finally grew up and started the American Ultimate Disc League. That's not the case, however, and the Growlers know how to handle a disc. The rules are similar to rugby and the field (Balboa Stadium near City College) makes for a spirited atmosphere. The team's current record is about as good as you'd expect from a local professional team (1-6 at the time we went to print) and the mascot, Growler Phil, looks like an 8-bit version of Teen Wolf, but hey, at $12 a ticket and with on-site food trucks, there are certainly worse ways to spend a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.
Drones: The new plaything for engineering nerds and would-be voyeurs alike. Whether you want to get into the high-octane world of drone racing or simply want to perfect your evasive maneuvers to avoid your (very expensive) toy being shot down by overzealous neighbors, Drones Made Easy makes this fun, yet somewhat controversial new community accessible. Saturday in-store classes cater to intimate small groups, while bigger groups convene at Silent Electric Flyers Field in Mission Bay for more flying time (check with DME for the upcoming schedule). Consider them the summer school for the smart kids that are all grown up.
The Balboa Park pipe organ has certainly ratcheted up its cool factor over the past year and not just because it turned a century old and was recently knighted the largest outdoor pipe organ in the world. There was also that killer Drive Like Jehu reunion and San Diego Civic Organist Carol Williams' tear-jerking tribute to David Bowie. The latter program will be back with a full band on May 29 from 2 to 3 p.m. and, starting June 27, the Summer International Organ Festival will begin with movie nights and special concerts all summer long.
Fans of American Ninja Warrior—or wannabe contestants—can hop over to Chula Vista and fly around San Diego's largest (12,000-square-foot) trampoline park and indoor-jumping facility. Jump Around (1675 Brandywine Ave., ) lets you skywalk, bungee jump or work out on climbing elements. The main event though: the tramps. Do your own freestyle or get some assistance from an instructor. Grip socks required. Some may want to play dodgeball. Others will opt to take a nosedive into the foam pit. For my $18 per hour for playtime, I'm going over to the basketball hoop and pretending I can perform rim-shaking dunks like Los Angeles Clipper Blake Griffin. Kids' party packages run from $250 to $1,000.
Didja know you can skydive without a parachute? Yup—only once. But if you want to survive a total free fall, opt for indoor skydiving. iFLY Indoor Skydiving (2385 Camino Del Rio North) recently opened to bring these controlled thrills to Mission Valley. From start to finish, the experience lasts an hour and a half, which includes time for training, watching others from the flight deck, free falling and seeing an aerial performance by the instructor. The actual "flight" lasts 60 seconds, which is 15 seconds longer than a traditional skydive free fall. Adrenaline junkies can return to learn how to do tricks, fly with friends or enter competitions.
SHOW OFF YOUR TALONS
You don't need to be a LARPer to appreciate handling a giant bird of prey with talons that look like they'd pop out your eyeball if you made any sudden movements. Held in the mountains near Alpine and at Torrey Pines, Sky Falconry (skyfalconry.com) lessons are pretty rad and come in a variety of options, including a basic lesson ($70) where you learn to cast and catch a giant hawk, to more in-depth raptor experiences where you and a friend get to handle both a hawk and a falcon ($595). We're not promising you'll come out as kick-ass as Dar from Beastmaster, but we can promise that you'll get a lot of :O on Facebook.
If you're willing to splurge to feel as free as a bird, Sky Combat Ace (2015 North Marshall Ave.) has a couple options for your wild side. You'll also have the freedom to sit back in an FAA-certified aerobatic plane while a pilot flies you through the sky, or take control yourself under his or her supervision. You can choose from aerobatics flight tours that loop through the sky, extreme sightseeing over the coast, or air combat, which simulates a dogfight between your plane and another. Each category offers various levels of extremity, so even the faint of heart don't have an excuse.