Best Bets: Festive holiday events delight all ages


The holidays offer numerous traditional and festive celebrations. Here are some of the coolest upcoming events:

Native American Indian Heritage Month Social and Indian Craft Market

Nov. 25-27

Fifteen tribal nations will display authentic Native American arts and crafts, and present dance and musical performances at the Sheraton Hotel Ballroom, 5151 E. Grant Road, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. each day.

Admission and parking is free, with donations accepted to help fund scholarships.



Tohono Chul Holiday Nights 

Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17

Paths along the Tohono Chul gardens at 7366 N. Paseo del Norte will be decorated with millions of lights as musicians and artists perform from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Admission is $12 for members, $16 for nonmembers and $3 for children under 12.

Other activities include viewing stars through a telescope, purchasing hot chocolate and treats, and stopping by the gift shop for a head start on holiday shopping.



Tamale and Heritage Festival

Dec. 3

The 12th annual Tucson Tamale and Heritage Festival presented by Casino Del Sol Resort, 5655 W. Valencia Road, will take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the AVA Ampitheater. The festival is free and open to the public.

Multiple vendors will sell red, corn, sweet and vegetarian tamales. The vendors will also participate in a tamale contest to determine who makes the best tamale.



Reid Park Zoo Lights

Dec. 7-23

Reid Park Zoo will again celebrate the holiday season with Zoo Lights, presenting thousands of sparkling lights with animal-themed light sculptures from 6-8 p.m. each night.

Food and drink available for purchase, including café items such as hot chocolate, s’mores and cinnamon rolls.

Admission cost $9.50 for adults and $5.50 for children ages 2-14. Discounts are available for zoo members. Tickets can be purchased online.

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Luminaria Nights, Botanical Gardens

Dec. 4-6, 11-13

Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way, presents its 29th year of Luminaria Nights from 5:30-8:30 p.m. each night.

Festivities include live holiday music as visitors walk garden paths decorated with thousands of luminarias and colored lights. Children can visit with Santa Claus, and youngsters and adults may enjoy Art with Lego Bricks.

Numerous vendors will offer holiday drinks, food and treats for purchase.

Admission is $18 for adults and $9 for children, with discounts available for members. Tickets can be purchased online 24 hours in advance.

Parking in the gardens is limited to handicapped spots only. Shuttles will run from 5:20-9 p.m. at the southeast corner of North Alvernon Way and East Lee Street.



Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair

Dec. 9-11

More than 600,000 visitors are expected to visit the annual street fair, which features more than 400 arts and crafts booths as well as numerous food and drink vendors from 10 a.m. to dusk each day.

Free and family-friendly activities including musicians, bands and entertainment.



Winterhaven Festival of Lights

Dec. 10-26

The 67th annual Festival of Lights at Winterhaven offers exceptional displays of house lights that leave visitors in awe. The festival runs daily from 6-10 p.m.

Hundreds of thousands of southern Arizonans visit each year.

The event is free to attend but the neighborhood asks visitors to donate non-perishable canned food or money for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Last year, the event gathered nearly $24,000 and more than 42,000 pounds in food.


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