An autumn sunset bathes the desert in golden light. Photo by Doug Kreutz, Arizona Daily Star.

When you have out-of-town visitors who are Tucson regulars, it can get tricky coming up with new things to do. 

You've done Old Tucson, admired the critters at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and day-tripped up Mount Lemmon

So what's left? 

A lot, actually. 

Here are a few unexpected, very Tucson things to do with your out-of-town visitors. 

Eat tacos in a pink school bus

We ate these carnitas tacos while sitting inside the belly of this giant pig bus. Only at Carnitas Los Gordos. Only in Tucson. 

This school-bus-turned-diner made a splash when it showed up on 22nd Street earlier this year. The bright pink school bus is home to Carnitas Los Gordos, where members of the Aguilar family make Michoacán-style carnitas and long metal tables for diners line each wall.  

Grab some tacos Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant at 4545 E. 22nd Street is closed Sunday. 

Go here for more information about the restaurant and its owners.  

Check out the Children's Museum Tucson (Sponsored)

The Children's Museum Tucson provides a fun, play-based, interactive, hands-on learning experiences for children and their families.

Not only do members get free admission every day, they also enjoy other great benefits, including: members-only hours and events at your member museum; four one-time-use guest passes good for both locations; 20% off birthday parties; 10% off facility rentals; monthly email newsletter; and members-only guest admission discount, available when member is present.

Go here for more information.

Hike to the stone house

The Bowen Homestead, aka stone house, is on the Yetman Trail in the Tucson Mountains west of downtown. 

To get to Bowen Homestead, AKA the stone house, you'll hike about 2 miles, round trip on the Yetman Trail in the Tucson Mountains. 

The trail is mostly flat but a bit rocky with a few hills to climb. This would be a great family hike. Check out our guide on the trail here

The Bowen House was built by Sherry Bowen, who, with his wife Ruby, homesteaded 2,000 acres in the Tucson Mountains in the 1930s. The stone walls and foundation are still in great shape, but the house no longer has a roof or windows. Pack a picnic, explore the house and make a day of it. 

To get to the trailhead, take Speedway west to Camino de Oeste and turn left there. When the pavement ends keep driving on the narrow dirt road until it dead ends at a small parking lot. That's where the trail head starts. 

Marvel at Saguarohenge

Eight saguaro cacti form Saguarohenge at Pima Prickly Park, 3500 W. River Road.

Tucked away off River Road, Pima Prickly Park is a desert preserve of all things prickly. The seven-acre park provides a place for the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society to plant cacti — often chollas and prickly pears —  donated privately or saved from development sites.  

Spend an hour wandering the park. Flat, dirt trails meander past the Cholla Forest Maze, the Agave Garden and Saguarohenge, which is exactly what it sounds like: A ring of saguaros looming tall above you. 

Saguarohenge is near the back of Pima Prickly Park. It's free to visit and near the offices of Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation at 3500 W. River Road

Luminaria Nights: Where the holidays begin (Sponsored)

Come experience what will be the most magical Luminaria Nights yet. With new experiences added that include Poinsettia Pavilion featuring a 10-foot poinsettia tree, an enhanced Winter Wonderland, the Garden Snowfall Experience, 3,500+ luminarias, 24+ Korean lanterns, the Grinch, and Santa’s Mailbox.

Delight in wonderful food and drinks and enjoy an incredible musical lineup featuring the Manhattan Dolls and many more talented Tucsonans.

Where: Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way

When: Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13-15, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Cost: $18 non-members; $12 members. Kids are $9 non-members; $6 members. Buy online here, prices go up by $1 day-of.

Go here for more info.

Take a mural walk with a brewery stop

A mural by Greetings From... was painted in the alley behind Miller Surplus at 406 N. Sixth Ave., in February 2017 by Victor Ving and his girlfriend, photographer Lisa Beggs. 

In case you didn't know, murals in Tucson are kinda a big deal. They seem to pop up around town regularly, transforming blank walls and bland buildings into massive works of art. We have a running list with more than 40 murals on it, and we know that's not all of them. 

With so many concentrated in the downtown and Fourth Avenue areas, Meet Me At Maynards, the weekly downtown walk, has created something magical: Self-guided mural tours. 

They've created a 12-mural walk and a 20-mural walk, depending on how much exploring you want to do. The 12-mural tour is almost 2 miles. If you opt for the 20-mural experience, it's about 3 miles of walking. 

We recommend making a stop at a local craft-beer brewery along the way. Borderlands Brewing Co., 119 E. Toole Ave., is on both routes and would make a great mid-mural stop. 

Go here for more on Meet Me At Maynards mural walks. 

Visit Ignite Sign Art Museum

Signs of all types, including one from Jerry’s Lee Ho Market, middle, are on display at the Ignite Sign Art Museum, 331 S. Olsen Ave. The museum has more than 250 signs, clocks and other pieces.

At the new Ignite Sign Art Museum, 331 S. Olsen Ave., check out old neon signs now restored to their former glory. 

The museum houses signs, clocks and other pieces, mostly from Tucson that once advertised products and business. Signs from Molina’s Midway and Jerry’s Lee Ho Market, for example, gleam amid gas station and restaurant scenes set up in the museum. There's also a gift shop that sells lots of quirky, vintage items. 

Admission is $12, $10 for seniors over 65 and military, $8 for students with ID and kids 6-17 and free for kids younger than 6. 

Go here for more information. 


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