The Top 10 Tucson Holiday Attractions & Events!

Holiday events in Tucson

Tucson has a long history of providing residents with exciting holiday events and things to do with friends and family. No matter the kinds of festivities you enjoy, you’re certain to find an event that piques your interest. While much of the country is battening down the hatches in preparation for frigid temperatures, the weather of Tucson is always pleasant during the winter months, which makes this city the ideal backdrop for anyone who is looking forward to spending time at numerous events throughout the holidays.

With the onset of winter and the coming holidays, the tight knit communities of Tucson gather to enjoy the holidays and celebrate with a large variety of events, activities, plays, shows, and more!


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10. Enjoy Holiday Snowfall at La Encantada

If snow and large Christmas trees help you get in the mood for the holidays, there’s nowhere better to be than the Enchanted Snowfall event at La Encantada. While the snow may be fake, the experience makes it seem as though you’re enjoying the holidays in a winter wonderland. The large 28-foot holiday tree can be seen from now until December 22. If you want to see snow falling from the sky, you’ll be able to view the distinct “desert style” snow each Friday and Saturday starting at 6:00PM with an encore show at 6:45PM.

If you visit during the snowfall, various musical groups will be playing holiday songs that help to bolster the festive atmosphere. The event itself takes place at the La Encantada shopping mall, which is located at 2905 E. Skyline Dr. Every show from now until December 22 is free to the public, which means that you don’t need to spend any money to have fun at one of the more exciting holiday events in Tucson.


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9. Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul

Among the most popular annual events in Tucson is Holiday Nights, which is held at the Tohono Chul botanical gardens. This event is held for three consecutive weekends starting at the end of November and concluding towards the middle of December. From 5:30PM-8:30PM on Saturday and Sunday of these three weekends, you’ll be able to view a beautiful light show that completely transforms the grounds at the botanical garden. A total of one million lights are situated throughout this portion of the Sonoran Desert in a manner that’s designed to get you into the holiday spirit.

Everything from the trees and plants to the walkways will be lit up to provide you and your family with a memorable experience. Holiday treats and live music will also be available in the gardens. If you’re thinking of attending this event in the coming weekends, Tohono Chul is located at 7366 N. Paseo del Norte in Tucson. Tickets are priced at $16 for non-members, $12 for members of the botanical garden, and $3 for any children 12 and under.


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8. Christmas at the San Xavier Mission

If you’re interested in listening to some delightful music during the holiday season, considering spending Christmas at the San Xavier Mission, which hosts a very popular concert series that’s scheduled to provide performances at 6:00PM and 8:00PM on December 11, 12, and 13. These special concerts are a winter tradition in Tucson that feature a variety of choirs at the Patronato San Xavier, which is a sprawling Spanish church that’s located at 1950 W. San Xavier Rd.

During your visit, you’ll be able to view some pristine Spanish Mission architecture as well as a substantial amount of art in the Baroque style. The main choirs that are going to be performing at this concert include the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and The Sons of Orpheus. Depending on your preferred seating arrangement, tickets are priced at $100 and $125.


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7. See the Fourth Ave. Winter Street Fair

Likely the most popular street in all of Tucson is Fourth Avenue, which is where the Winter Street Fair takes place every year. This is a vast community event that provides fun for the entire family and is set to take place on December 7, 8, and 9 from 10:00AM until dusk. This annual tradition among residents of Tucson has been hosted at Fourth Avenue for more than 50 years. When you attend, you’ll be provided with the ability to sample delicious foods and listen to fantastic music.

Hundreds of artisans from around the world travel to this fair with booths that focus on arts and crafts, juggling, children’s art, balloons, face painting, and a lot more. You’ll be able to sample delectable foods and treats from more than 40 vendors during your time at the festival. This festival is entirely free to the community of Tucson and can be found across the entirety of Fourth Avenue.

Nut Cracker

6. See a Holiday Concert or Play

There’s no better time than the holidays to see a concert or play, of which dozens are held in Tucson every holiday season. Whether you’re interested in classic musicals like Beauty & the Beast or prefer the popular Nutcracker ballet, a large variety of performances can be viewed on a weekly basis throughout the holidays, which provides you with ample opportunity to spend the season trying new things. The exact pricing of the tickets depends on which concert or play you go to. If you want to see the Nutcracker, tickets start at $40. The ballet is being held at the University of Arizona on December 21 at 2:00PM and 7:00PM. If you’re planning a visit, the University of Arizona is located at 1020 E University Blvd.


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5. Winterhaven Festival of Lights

The Winterhaven Festival of Lights is an enormous light display in Tucson that’s been going on for nearly 70 years. This Festival of Lights is held everyday at 6:00PM-10:00PM from December 8-26. When you’re thinking about visiting this light show, it’s hosted at 3334-3398 N Christmas Ave in the midtown neighborhood and provides you with several options for viewing the lights. You can choose to ride a group bike or trolley for somewhat traditional methods of seeing the show.

You could also tour the lights on a hayride wagon, which is a popular way to view the lights among residents of Tucson. The final night of the festival is unique in that visitors are allowed to drive through the neighborhood with their own vehicles, which is something that you might want to consider for the day after Christmas. The event is entirely free to anyone who wants to see the show. However, donations of food are collected and then sent to the local food bank.

4. Participate in Tucson Christmas Races for Kids

If you want to actively participate in a holiday event, consider running in a Tucson Christmas race for children, of which there are a couple to select from. You could either run the Vail Jingle Trail 5K or the Santa’s Little Helper 1K, both of which are being held on December 15. These races are going to be ran at the cross country course on campus at the Cienega High School in Vail, which is located at 12775 E Mary Ann Cleveland Way.

If you wish to run the 1K event, the price of admission is $10 and an unwrapped toy for children 12 and under or $15 and an unwrapped toy for anyone 13 and older. The main event is the 5K race, which costs $25 and an unwrapped toy to join. Small awards are actually provided to the first 400 finishers of the 5K race, while Refreshments and holiday music will also be on hand during the races. If you want to run the 1K or 5K race, they begin at 8:45AM and 9:00AM respectively.


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3. Luminaria Nights at the Tucson Botanical Garden

The Luminaria Nights event at the Tucson Botanical Garden is another fantastic light show that’s being held from 5:30PM-8:30PM between December 7-9. This light show is somewhat unique compared to others because of the types of lights that are being used. More than 3,000 luminaries will be spread along the walkways, which will help to light your path when the sun goes down. Nearly two dozen Korean lanterns will also be situated throughout the gardens, which will make for a beautiful show.

Visit the Exhibit Garden section if you want to see some snowfall and a 10-foot Christmas tree. If you have children, they will enjoy the crafts and storytelling that are scheduled to occur each night. They may even be able to take photos with the Grinch! Visit the Cafe Botanica for some delicious seasonal food and drinks. Entrance fees for non-members are $18 for adults and $9 for children from 4-17. The member fees are $12 for adults and $6 for children. Any child 3 or under will be able to view the show for free. The Tucson Botanical Gardens can be found at 2150 N Alvernon Way.


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2. Zoo Lights at the Reid Park Zoo

Zoo Lights is an event at the Reid Park Zoo that’s perfect for the whole family. Take a sip of hot chocolate and eat some s’mores while you view the twinkling lights and illuminated animals. This event is set to be held at the zoo from December 6-23 during the house of 6:00PM-8:00PM. Along with viewing the lights, you’ll also be able to enjoy a whole host of additional activities that include looking at falling snow, taking pictures with Santa, and listening to live music. Members of the zoo are able to receive a $2 discount of their ticket. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $6 for children from the ages of 2-14. Reid Park Zoo is located at 3400 E Zoo Ct. in Tucson.


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1. The Annual Downtown Tucson Parade of Lights

No holiday season is complete without spending time at the annual Downtown Tucson Parade of Lights. This is the premier holiday event in the community that provides visitors with a range of attractions that display the distinct and varied culture of Tucson. The entire downtown area where the parade occurs is illuminated for the event, during which you will be able to see a myriad of intriguing floats, Mariachi bands, Baile Folklorico dancers, and a lot more.

The event is scheduled to commence on December 15 and will start at the intersection of Alameda Street and Church Avenue in the early hours of the morning. Both the parade and festival will last throughout the day. The festival itself is located in Jacome Plaza and includes a large number of local food vendors and musicians for you to enjoy. Don’t miss the lighting of the Christmas tree by the Mayor at the conclusion of the parade.


Tucson has a variety of options for all looking to enjoy the holiday events this spectacular community has to offer. If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in Tucson, contact Susanne Grogan of Grogan & Grogan today and we’re more than happy to assist with your years of local industry real estate experience!