Compiled by Alex Fruechtenicht
The holiday season offers numerous family events where people of all ages can spend time with those they love as the year winds down.
Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair
The 45th annual Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair will be held Dec 12-14 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Fourth Avenue between Ninth Street and University Boulevard. The fair, which is free and open to the public, features more than 400 arts and crafts booths, 35 food vendors, live music, street entertainers and more. Kid-friendly activities include a hands-on art pavilion and face painting. All downtown parking meters are free on Saturday and Sunday, plus there will be a free shuttle from the Pennington Street parking garage.
Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul
Dec. 12-13 is the final weekend to celebrate the holidays surrounded by a million lights at Tohono Chul, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Admission includes live music and dance performances, complimentary cookies and hot cocoa. Beer, wine and additional snacks will be available for purchase. Buy tickets online or at the admissions window. General admission costs $15, and tickets for children under 12 cost $2.
Luminaria Nights at Tucson Botanical Gardens
The final weekend to see Luminaria Nights at Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way, is Dec. 12-14 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. In addition to luminarias and twinkling lights, the festive gathering includes decorated holiday trees, live music, food trucks and an appearance by Santa Claus. Adult tickets cost $12, children $6. Parking is free.
Luminaria Festival at Tucson Presidio
In old Presidio San Agustín, at the corner of Washington and Court streets downtown, the reconstructed Spanish fort will be lit by candlelight from 5-9 p.m. Admission is free and will showcase luminarias, with free hot chocolate and cookies provided. Live music and dance performances will be provided, courtesy of Barbea Williams, the Presidio Flute Circle and Nuevo Mundo Chorale. The fort’s cannon will fire at dusk, signaling the start of the holiday season.
Luminaria Night December 13th 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Visit the old Fort in candle light. This honored tradition features luminarias and music in the Presidio. Hot chocolate and cookies top off an evening of fun. The cannon fires at dusk, kicking off the holiday season. The Gift Shop is open for unique holiday gifts.Details: tucsonpresidio.com
Winterhaven Festival of Lights
Stroll a neighborhood of decorated houses in Winterhaven from 6-10 p.m. nightly, Dec. 13-27. Entrances are off Fort Lowell and Prince roads. Admission is free, with food bank donations requested. Visitors can walk, or purchase rides on a hay truck, trolley or group party bicycle. Drive-through night is Dec. 27. The festival, a nonprofit and 100 percent community-funded event, is celebrating its 65th year.
Downtown Parade of Lights
Tucson’s 20th annual free parade takes place from 6:30-8 p.m. The route starts on Stone Avenue near 17th Street, and ends at Armory Park on 13th Street. A festival with carnival games, food trucks and craft vendors starts at 4 p.m. at the parade’s 17th Street-Stone Avenue staging area. The mayor’s holiday tree lighting ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Armory Park.
Through Dec. 23
Reid Park Zoo puts the real animals to bed and uses light displays, animal-themed light sculptures, thousands of sparkling bulbs and falling snow to make Zoo Lights a Tucson holiday tradition nightly from 6-8 p.m. Cookies are provided and hot cocoa is available for $1. Tickets can be purchased online. Admission costs $6 for adults and $4 for children ages 2-14, with children under 2 admitted free.