Amid cacti and brush, beneath milk-white clouds, Cocoraque Trail Ranch & Pavillion's sprawling desert scenery makes it impossible to discern whether it's 1890 or the twenty-first century—and it hardly matters. Wranglers and ranch hands still work as they did more than a century ago when Señor Benito Robles homesteaded the rustic ranch. Today, Tucson native and third-generation cattle rancher Jesus Arvizu is at the helm. Under his guidance, ranch hands rise before sun up to shoe and groom horses, mend fences, and film commercials for blue jeans.
Upon arrival to the 16,000-acre ranch, visitors step into the time of cowboys and cattle. A red-dobe ranch house built in the 1890s facilitates cookouts with a mesquite-fired grill and an adjacent picnic area. Aspirant riders can team up with seasoned wranglers and ranch hands to participate in genuine cattle drives, herding livestock in their signature "V" formation. For large-scale old-timey gatherings, the ranch's open-air pavilion accommodates weddings, birthdays, and parties with a saloon-style bar, a covered eating area, a dance floor, and a bonfire pit.
The sight of a medieval castle surrounded by tall cacti may seem anachronistic at first, but it's hard to question the image when one is trying to putt a mini golf ball into a grassy hole off the circulating paddles of a windmill. It's whimsical moments like this that make Golf N? Stuff's name feel understated. Beyond the two lush 18-hole mini golf courses that draw year-round visitors, the entertainment center boasts go-karts, bumper boats, and more than 100 arcade games. Batting cages let both kids and adults perfect their swings. Visitors can refuel on hot dogs, Dippin' Dots ice cream, and soda at the snack bar.
Golden Pin Lanes hosts healthy competition atop 48 sparkling new composite lanes and features an advanced scoring system, which keeps track of points scored, player order, and the winner's fingerprints. Late at night, staffers flip on strobe lights and turn up dance tunes before heading back to the bar to pour happy-hour drinks and serve pizza and popcorn. Within the 50,000-square-foot entertainment citadel, a fleet of flat-screen TVs projects the latest sports games, and pool tables and video games give hands a break from all that heavy lifting.
The Rialto Theatre saturates its spacious 90-year-old confines with film, comedy shows, and music performances. Groupon holders can roll into the all-ages nonprofit venue and redeem the $20 gift card for any event on the schedule. The Flor de Muertos film screening on July 22–24 explores attitudes about death in Mexico and the United States, interspersed with concert footage from Calexico ($6–$15). Laughter enthusiasts can inject humor into their veins at Doug Benson's Saturday, September 10 show ($21 in advance; $26 day of show), soaking in absurd comedy and the answers to every Magic Eye ever. Peruse the theater's photo gallery online, which displays high-profile past performances and the tasteful decorations of the Rialto.
Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that comprise America can unite in common cause and topple a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $10 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4.39 value).
Dancing flames erupt from teppan grills, illuminating the captivated faces of diners seated around the tabletop grill. The roaring fires are tamed by Sakura's highly skilled chefs, who playfully flip spatulas in the air before sizzling up plump morsels of teppanyaki steak, chicken, and seafood. Behind the sushi bar, chefs fold fresh fish into both raw and cooked specialty rolls, which reporters from Tucson Weekly lauded as "some of the most delicious seaweed, sweet vinegar rice and raw fish concoctions imaginable."
Kimono-clad waitresses glide through the lively dining rooms, bearing plates of sushi, vegetarian and vegan dishes, and colorful specialty cocktails. In the sports bar, the walls grasp massive flat screens and hundreds of pictures of the owner posing with local celebrities—from weather girls to the neighborhood grocery’s bag boy of the month. Towering chrome heaters warm the tabletops of the expansive outdoor patio, where colorful lights and hanging flags set the stage for live music performances each night.