Level of Experience: I lived in Tucson for four years; so, I definitely know a thing or two about this location! Feel free to ask me anything travelling related about this destination via comments. J
Trip Type: Domestic
First Stop: Guilin Healthy Chinese Restaurant
Type of Attraction: Dining
Notes: Guilin was my go-to restaurant for Chinese food while living in Tucson, and they are an absolutely great deal for lunch, although their food isn’t a bad choice for dinner either. In terms of quality and taste, I think that Guilin squares up well with the other American-Chinese restaurants that I have been to. What really sets them apart, however, and lends itself to their claim of being “healthy” is that Guilin has a HUGE vegetarian menu. Almost anything that they have a meat option for, they have a veggie option for, and they have plenty of dishes that are veggie-only. My favorite dish there is actually their vegetable dumplings, but I have also thoroughly enjoyed several of their tofu dishes as well as classic meat dishes like Mongolian beef. If you go here for lunch, you can get soup, an egg roll, an entrée, and rice for about $5. So, not only can you get great food here, but it works really well for anyone on a budget.
Second Stop: Sabino Canyon – Bear Canyon’s Seven Falls Trail
Type of Attraction: Outdoor- Hiking and Tram Tours
Notes: Sabino Canyon is a great stop for anyone looking to enjoy some time outside, regardless of skill or activity level. There is a $5 fee to park at Sabino, and if you are willing to walk down the road to the trails, the rest of your experience will be free. People willing to spend a little more money, or needing some assistance exploring can buy a ticket to take the tram down Sabino or to Bear Canyon. The tram for Sabino is more expensive than Bear, but this tram goes further, makes several stops, and includes a guided tour during the ride. Sabino tends to be a little more busy than Bear Canyon for that reason, but anyone looking for a good hike should check out Bear. Sabino is more of a meandering adventure.
The main attraction of Bear Canyon is the Seven Falls Trail, which is about 2.5 miles long from the trailhead (which is 2 miles from the parking lot- total one way hike is 4.5 miles unless you take the tram). The Sabino website warns that the hike takes about three hours, which seems a bit long for a trail only 2.5 miles long, but the trail crosses the creek multiple times, and this can make the going slow at times, especially if the water is high and you have to pick your way across. The waterfalls at the end of the trail are lovely enough to serve as great motivation to get out on the trail, however, and even if you don’t make it to the end, the canyon itself is beautiful, especially when the creek is flowing.
Third Stop: Sentinel Peak/”A” Mountain
Type of Attraction: Outdoor- Outlooks and Views of the City, Picnicking
Notes: This trip was my first visit to this particular Tucson location, but it is one of my friend’s favorite spots to hang out and get some great views of the city. We really only drove up and took a few pictures, but the spot was popular with people coming to just unwind and take in the beauty of this little city. I can’t speak to any of the hikes on the mountain, but it does seem like a nice place to hang out and have a picnic. Lots of people park by the side of the outlook facing the city, but if you stop by and this looks too full, there is a parking lot further down the one-way road.
Fourth Stop: Zeman’s Too
Type of Attraction: Dining
Notes: I have never been to the original Zeman’s, but Zeman’s Too is probably the best Ethiopian that I have ever had. That being said, I have only been to one other place in Phoenix, but I go there fairly regularly, and I really enjoy Ethiopian. Zeman’s staff was really friendly, and they were pretty quick, although we ate a little early so it was just us and one other group. The atmosphere of the restaurant is pretty nice and airy as well, and it is built Tucson-style in an old house with decorative accents of Eithiopian origin. Most importantly, however, the food was great. I got the meat and veggie sampler- the veggies were all super flavorful, the meat was succulent, and the sauces were all smooth and delicious.