In Partnership with the Southern Weekend


How do you celebrate the holidays? We decided to compile a list of holiday events happening here in Southern Arizona. There might even be a few events to add to those holiday traditions and mainstays.

Lights of The World

holiday events

Lights of the World has been in Phoenix for the last few years, but you don’t need to travel up there this year!  The largest light and lantern festival in North America will brighten the Tucson skies this year for the first time November 8 through January 2 at the Kino Sports Complex. Combining the age-old tradition of paper lanterns with cutting-edge technology and lights. The Lights of the World lantern displays extend from 18 to 60 feet, showcasing features of different cultures and civilizations around the globe. With over 6 million lights and 45 stunning displays, Lights of the World promises an unforgettable exploration of global cultures and cuisine. Lights of the World also possesses a litany of other entertainment features, carnival rides and games, a daily performance showcasing acrobatics, dance, and music concerts.

For more info, click here!

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Winterhaven Festival of Lights

Holiday events

Winterhaven opens December 8th and runs every night from 6pm-10pm until December 26th. It is free, but don’t forget your donation the the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.  You can tour the lights by foot or try it on a hayride wagon, a bus trolley, or  a pedal-powered group bike! And like every year, drive-thru night is December 26th.

Winterhaven Opens December 8th

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Luminaria Nights

(Source: Tucson Botanical Gardens) holiday events

Nov.30 – Dec. 2; Dec. 7 – 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.: Luminaria Nights, a Tucson tradition for more than 30 years will feature holiday decorations, Christmas lights, musical performances, and visits with Santa Claus.

Tucson Botanical Gardens at 2150 North Alvernon Way 85712

Tickets are: Non-members $18 and $9 (children); Members $12 and $6 (children)

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Old Tucson - Old Time Holidays

(Source: Old Tucson) holiday events

Celebrate the holidays with Old Tucson — Arizona frontier style featuring music, comedy, and historical perspective. From Friday, Nov. 27 to Jan. 1, Old Tucson and the Arizona Sonora Western Heritage Foundation present a holiday-themed event, Old Time Holidays. This special program celebrates the Christmas season with an historic western flair.

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Mini Time Machine Museum: Holidays Around The World

(Source: The Mini Time Machine Museum) holiday events

Now through Jan. 6, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; Noon to 4 p.m. Sundays at 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive, Tucson 85712.

Admission: General: $9, Senior (65 or older)/Military: $8, Student: $6, Youth (Age 4-17): $6, Children 3 and under: Free.


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Tohono Chul's Twinkle Lights During Holiday Nights

(Source: Tohono Chul)

Holiday Nights takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Nov. 30 & Dec. 1, Dec. 7 – 8, and Dec. 14 – 15. Tickets are $12 for members, $16 for the general public, and $3 for children ages 12 and under, and available online or at the door. Be sure to download Tohono Chul’s free iPhone or Android app to navigate the gardens, locate the performers and vendors, as well as receive notifications when a performance starts!

The Garden Bistro continues its annual holiday buffet tradition during Holiday Nights with special menus featured weekly. Reservations are required as seating is limited and interested parties can call 520-742-6455 x 501 to secure their seats. Enjoy fantastic food with friends and family for $42.95 per person, $17.50 for children ages 6-12, and children ages 5 and under eat free. Prices do not include tax or gratuity.

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Zoo Lights

(Source: Reid Park Zoo)

Dec. 6 – 23; encore Dec. 26 – 30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Twinkling lights, live music, falling snow and Santa Claus!

$10 adults, $6 children; $2 off for members.

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Holiday Festival of the Arts & Oro Valley Tree Lighting

(Source: Town of Oro Valley)

Saturday, Dec. 1 – 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 2 – 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Oro Valley Marketplace at 12155 N. Oracle Road, Oro Valley, 85737

The two-day festival is one of Southern Arizona’s largest community arts celebrations, with over 150 artisans, over 30 performances by student and local musicians, family arts activities, food trucks, and the TUBACHRISTMAS holiday play-along.

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Downtown Parade of Lights

The Downtown Tucson Partnership presents the 24th Annual Downtown Parade of Lights & Festival features a new route focused on the Downtown core and Jacome Plaza along with holiday-themed floats, vehicles, and entertainers, and ending the day with the Mayor’s Tree Lighting ceremony.

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14th Annual Tucson Tamal & Heritage Festival

(Source: Casino del Sol)

Celebrate the rich tastes, smells and variations of tamales from the Southwest and Mexico at the 14th Annual Tucson Tamal & Heritage Festival on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Held every year on the first Saturday of December at Casino Del Sol’s AVA Amphitheater, this unique festival, which is free and open to the public has become a Tucson tradition, marking the beginning of the holiday season.

We went to the event last year:

The Sights and Sounds of the 13 Annual Tamal Festival

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Post Farms Christmas on the Farm

The Marana Pumpkin Patch is open for the holidays!  Take a Christmas lights train ride, munch on fresh doughnuts and hot chocolate and take pictures with Santa.
Dinner is available and the jumping pillows and petting zoo will be open.

Three weekends only: Friday, Saturday and Sunday 5PM-9:30PM

December 7th-23rd

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The Pueblo Express To Santa

Main Gate Square, Sun Link and KXCI present: The Pueblo Express to Santa. On Sunday, December 16th the Sun Link Streetcar will magically transform into The Pueblo Express as it transports caroling families and merry elves to see Santa at Main Gate Square’s Holiday Blvd Bash.

Ring in the holidays with festive activities including a special holiday musical performance in Geronimo Plaza with Keli Carpenter and Friends followed by marshmallow roasting, holiday crafts, and there’s even snow in the forecast!

The Pueblo Express will be leaving at 2pm sharp from the Mercado Station on Avenida Del Convento. A regular Sun Link day pass is required to ride, children 5 and under ride free.

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Tombstone Christmas Light Parade

Downtown Tombstone is throwing their own light parade on December 8th from 6pm-8pm.

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Hilton El Conquistador Resort Gingerbread House Unveiling and Celebration

(Source: Hilton El Conquistador Tucson)

Gnome for the holidays – Thursday, Dec. 6 at 5 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

The evening’s activities will include: Reveal of Lifesize Gingerbread House; will remain in the lobby through December; Photos with Santa

* Accepting donations of non-perishable food items for the Community Food Bank of S. Ariz.


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Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain - Holiday 2018 events

(Source: Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain)

Holiday tree lighting ceremony – Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. ($5 for non-guests)

Gingerbread workshop – Dec. 24 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. make a gingerbread house. $40 Plus tax and gratuity per gingerbread house. Limit of 4 guests per house.

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Tucson Premium Outlets - Santa experiences

(Source: Tucson Premium Outlets)

Dec. 1 – 24: families are invited for photos, visits, holiday stories and more.

On Saturdays, Santa will be at Mountain Court near the fireplace from noon to 5 p.m. The whole family is invited to meet Saint Nick to share their Christmas wishes and take a photo. Parents are encouraged to bring their own cameras. Tucson Premium Outlets is at 6401 Marana Center Boulevard, Tucson 85742

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Little Anthony's Diner Come Meet Santa

(Source: Little Anthony's Diner)

Skip the lines at the mall and come enjoy some home cookin’ while getting to meet the one and only Santa Claus! Bring in a can of food to donate to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and receive a FREE picture with Santa! Little Anthony’s Diner at 7010 East Broadway Boulevard 85710

Dates and times for Santa:

  • Dec. 7 to 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 14 to 15 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 21 to 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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Town of Marana: Annual Holiday Festival & Christmas Tree Lighting

(Source: Town of Marana)

Saturday, Dec. 1 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Marana Municipal Complex – 11555 West Civic Center Drive Marana 85653

Snow section, performances and a holiday marketplace and lots more!


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