10 Best Holiday Attractions in Tucson to Bask in Southwestern Glow

Winter is the high season in Tucson, thanks to the city's great weather and unique Southwestern cultural attractions. The city comes alive from November through January with seasonal events full of holiday cheer.

One of Tucson's biggest winter events is the Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair, which attracts thousands of holiday shoppers to the city's colorful Fourth Avenue District. More than 300 vendors set up shop on the avenue, with entertainment from street buskers and jugglers adding to the festivities.

For a uniquely Southwestern holiday light display, head over to Tohono Chul Park for Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul. For six special evenings, Tohono Chul is transformed into a winter wonderland complete with a million holiday lights and a special desert snowman.

Another great destination for holiday lights is the Tucson Botanical Garden, which hosts the annual Luminaria Nights at Tucson Botanical Garden. The garden grounds glow with the lights from traditional Southwestern paper lanterns. There are also twinkling lights, live music, and local food trucks dishing out holiday treats. 

For a fun, family-friendly showcase of holiday spirit, head to downtown Tucson for the Annual Downtown Parade of Lights. The parade features a cavalcade of floats wrapped in twinkling holiday lights.


The Winterhaven Festival of Lights is one of the longest-running holiday traditions in Tucson, and one of the longest running light festivals of its kind in the country. This leafy residential neighborhood in Tucson features mature Aleppo pines...  Read More

The Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair is one of the biggest arts and shopping events on the annual Tucson calendar. The event, which takes place over the course of one weekend in mid-December, brings together more than 200 arts and craft booths,...  Read More

Tchaikovsky's classic holiday ballet The Nutcracker is translated to the Tucson of the 1880s for Tucson Regional Ballet's special presentation of A Southwest Nutcracker. The ballet retains the story and magical elements of the original, but...  Read More

Zoolights at Reid Park Zoo is an annual Tucson holiday tradition that transforms the zoo into a winter wonderland. The family-friendly event features twinkling lights and lighted animal sculptures throughout the zoo grounds, along with nightly...  Read More

Every December, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra puts on a holiday pops spectacular at the Tucson Music Hall in downtown. The holiday concert features all of your favorite Christmas masterpieces and holiday carols. The family-friendly concert is...  Read More

Set in the historic San Xavier Mission south of downtown Tucson, the Christmas at San Xavier Annual Concert celebrates one of the Southwest's most historic gems and the warmth of the holiday season. The annual holiday concert usually includes...  Read More

For more than 20 years, downtown Tucson has hosted the Annual Parade of Lights, a family-friendly parade featuring floats, performers and holiday music. The local tradition takes place in late December as soon as the sun goes down, bringing...  Read More

The Tucson Museum of Art turns into a celebration of holiday art every late November in downtown Tucson. More than 100 of the Southwest's best artisans set up shop in the sunny courtyard of the museum, giving shoppers an eyeful of authentic...  Read More

More than a million lights transform the scenic Sonoran Desert at Tohono Chul Park in Tucson every winter. Over the course of three consecutive weekends in November and December, the grounds at this botanical garden turn into a winter...  Read More

Tucson Botanical Gardens is transformed into a magical wonderland in December during its annual Luminaria Nights. For the first two weekends in December, thousands of luminarias - traditional Southwestern paper lanterns - are set out on the...  Read More


Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats.

She received her MFA in Creative...  More About Patricia