As a part of the Sonoran Desert, it is safe to assume that Tucson, Arizona won’t experience a white Christmas. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a great holiday season! Over the next month, there will be a variety of holiday light attractions and activities occurring in and around our beloved city that you can visit to get into the holiday spirit this year.
These are some of our favorite holiday light displays and festivities happening in Tucson in 2017.
When: December 9-26
Time: 6-10 pm nightly
For 68 years, the residents of Winterhaven have hosted the Festival as their gift to the community. The Winterhaven Festival of Lights is one of the longest running light festivals of its kind in the country. The festival is free and open to the public; however, they ask everyone to bring a donation of food or money for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. In 2016, the Tucson community donated $21,527 and 46,492 pounds of food to the Food Bank during the Festival of Lights. Entrances are located on Ft. Lowell, Tucson, Country Club, and Prince. There are no designated parking areas- locals recommend making a reservation on a hayride wagon, a bus trolley, or a pedal-powered group bike. You can also, of course, see the lights on foot.
Zoo Lights at Reid Park Zoo
Where: 3400 E. Zoo Court, Tucson
When: December 7-23
Time: 6-8 pm nightly
Cost: $10 for Adults, $6 for Children (2-14), Children under 2 are free, Members get $2 off admission
Tucson Electric Power presents Zoolights at Reid Park Zoo, an annual Tucson holiday tradition that transforms the zoo into a winter wonderland. Guests will enjoy twinkling lights, falling snow, seeing Santa, listening to live music and carousel rides (for an additional fee). Warm up with hot cocoa (with or without spirits!). There’s also a s’mores station and cinnamon rolls for a sweet holiday treat! There will be encore nights December 26th through the 30th. However, Santa will not be at the encore nights as he will have returned to the North Pole. Animal viewing will be limited as they will have access to their heated night houses and will likely choose to be off exhibit.
Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul
Where: 7366 N. Paseo del Norte, Tucson
When: Fridays and Saturdays from December 1-16
Time: 5:30-8:30 pm
Cost: $16 for nonmembers, $3 for children 12 & under, $12 for members
Every winter more than a million lights transform the scenic Sonoran Desert at Tohono Chul Park. Over the course of three consecutive weekends in December, the grounds at this botanical garden turn into a winter wonderland. This event features live music, holiday treats, and shopping at the gift shop and art gallery. As a fun bonus, a desert-inspired snowman is on display nightly. Each ticket is good for the duration the event, which goes on for six evenings every season. Holiday Nights is a timeless tradition, for children, young couples, whole families, and everyone in between!
Where: 2150 North Alvernon Way, Tucson
When: December 1-3 and 8-10
Time: 5:30-8:30 pm
Cost: $13 Adults, $7.50 Children, $10 Members, $4 Member children
The first two weekends in December the Tucson Botanical Gardens are transformed into a magical winter wonderland. Thousands of luminarias are set around the garden creating a unique holiday display. There are twinkling lights, trees that are decorated with handmade ornaments, and live entertainment. Local food trucks will also be available for hungry visitors.
Where: 201 S Kinney Rd, Tucson
When: November 24 – December 31
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Cost: $18.95 Adults, $10.95 Children (4-11)
Celebrate the holidays Arizona frontier style at Old Tucson. The Old Time Holiday Celebration is a fun family event featuring holiday-themed Old Tucson musical and comedy shows now through December 31. Carousel rides, antique car rides and train rides are free with paid admission. Stagecoach rides and gold panning are available for an extra cost. Old Tucson will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
This is only a small handful of the things you can enjoy this holiday season here in Tucson! We hope you can make it out with the family to enjoy some.
Happy Holidays from Accurate Service!