Compiled by Katelyn Roberts
Since Tucson has limited chilly nights, locals have to make them count. This Best Bets is all about getting some fun in before it gets too cold and enjoying the holidays before we get too busy.
Tohono Chul Holiday Nights
Dec. 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. Telescopes will be available for star-gazing, and vendors will sell hot chocolate and treats.
Admission is $16 for nonmembers, $12 for members and $3 for children under 12.
Through Dec. 11
Borderlands Theater’s “La Pastorela” holiday production is a comedic and culturally relevant nativity story based in the Southwest.
Performances will take place in the Cabaret at the Temple of Music and Art, 300 S. Scott Ave. General admission costs $22. Seniors get in for $18 and students for $12.
Zoo Lights at Reid Park
Through Dec. 23
Reid Park Zoo will celebrate the season with Zoo Lights, presenting animal-themed light sculptures from 6-8 p.m. each night. Food and drink will be available for purchase.
Admission costs $9.50 for adults and $5.50 for children ages 2-14, with discounts for zoo members. Tickets can be purchased online.
Luminaria Nights, Botanical Gardens
Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way, presents Luminaria Nights from 5:30-8:30 p.m. each night.
Festivities include live holiday music as visitors walk garden paths decorated with luminarias and colored lights. Children can visit with Santa Claus, and vendors will offer holiday drinks, food and treats for purchase.
Admission is $18 for adults and $9 for children, with discounts for members. Tickets can be purchased online 24 hours in advance.
Parking at the Gardens is limited to handicapped spots. Shuttles will run 5:20-9 p.m. from the southeast corner of North Alvernon Way and East Lee Street.
Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair
More than 600,000 visitors are expected to visit the annual street fair, which features 400-plus arts and crafts booths from 10 a.m. to dusk each day. Free and family-friendly activities include musicians, bands and entertainment.
Tip your baristas well (working the Fair separates the weak from the strong) and respect your vendors (most of them aren’t from these parts).
Winterhaven Festival of Lights
Houses in Winterhaven display lights and decorations daily from 6-10 p.m. Admisison is free, but the neighborhood asks visitors to donate non-perishable canned food or money for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
“A Southwest Nutcracker”
Tucson Regional Ballet’s “A Southwest Nutcracker” provides a local twist on the original. It’s set in the 1880s and includes coyotes, rattlesnakes and dancing chili peppers.
Performances will be at the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Shows are at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 11. Tickets can be purchased online and cost $36.
“The Nutcracker-Rat King”
Moscow Ballet comes to Tucson for ballet performances of “The Nutcracker-Rat King” with crystal-embedded costumes and Tchaikovsky included.
Performances will be at University of Arizona Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. The show begins at 7 p.m., and tickets start at $30.
Merry-Achi Christmas at the Fox Tucson Theatre
What is more spirited and intense than mariachi performances and Christmas festivities? Nothing, that’s what.
Fox Theatre’s Merry-Achi Christmas features Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez. Tickets are $24-$58, and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Downtown Parade of Lights
Parade of Lights floats, vehicles and entertainers start making their way through downtown at 6:30 p.m. while Santa Claus waits at the Historic Train Depot for visitors. Admission is free.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” at Fox Theatre
The magical 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” will screen at the Tucson Fox Theatre at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $7.