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The Best Tucson Christmas Events in 2023

The Best Tucson Christmas Events in 2023

You’re one of the lucky ones if you have the good fortune of spending Christmas in Tucson, Arizona. With plenty of sunshine and daytime temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees, you’ll quickly discover why families travel from all over the country to experience the peaceful serenity of Christmas in southern Arizona.

Here are some suggestions for family-friendly Christmas Tucson events, updated for 2023!

Tuscon Christmas Events for 2023

Dazzling Light Displays

tucson christmas events zoo lights
Reid Park Zoo Lights, Photo by flickr/Bill Morrow 

Stroll through Tohono Chul Park during the annual Holiday Nights event. Be dazzled by nearly a million twinkling lights, sip hot mocha, enjoy tasty holiday treats. You’ll also be joyfully entertained by music and dance performances throughout the evening. General public admission is open Fridays & Saturdays, December 1st-16th from 5:30 – 8:30pm.

For a wild good time, get your tickets for Zoo Lights at Reid Park Zoo. The holiday festivities offer jingle bells, falling snow, Santa Claus, animal-theme light sculptures, hot cocoa, and free cookies in addition to thousands of sparkling bulbs.

Similarly, the Tucson Botanical Garden also hosts Lights Up! A Festival of Illumination. Luminarias, twinkling lights, and decorated trees adorn the property. You can also expect a visits from Santa, along with festive live entertainment throughout the evening. This year’s event takes place November 24 – January 7, 2024.

Looking for a festive neighborhood? The Winterhaven Festival of Lights is one of the longest-running Tucson Christmas Events. This neighborhood of lights is free to visit, but they ask that families bring some food or money to donate to the local food bank. It takes place December 9-25, 2023 from 6 – 10pm daily.

Are you visiting Tucson for the holidays? These are our picks for the best Tucson resorts for families.

Christmas Parades in Tucson

downtown tucson parade of lights
Parade of Lights, Photo by flickr/Shylan Erskin

Bask in the glow of lighted floats, performers, and holiday music during the annual Downtown Parade of Lights. This one-night event usually takes place in Downtown Tucson around mid-December. This year it will take place on December 16, 2023 at 6:30pm.

Tucson Christmas Events & Festivals

 oro valley festival by
Oro Valley Holiday Festival of the Arts, Photo courtesy of SAACA

Every year, Oro Valley hosts the Holiday Festival of the Arts & Tree Lighting Celebration. This two-day event brings holiday cheer through live performances, family art activities, and artisan vendors. But the main is event is the lighting of the glorious 35-foot tall Christmas tree.

This year’s event takes place December 3-4, 2023.

Want to experience a Tucson snowfall? Head to the courtyard at La Encantada mall Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays starting November 24th and continuing through December 23rd. Enchanted Snowfall begins each evening starting at 6 PM and features live entertainment, complimentary hot chocolate, and falling snow.

Looking for more to do? Here are our favorite things to do in Tucson with kids.

Tucson Christmas Concerts & Plays

christmas in tuscon gaslight theater
Gaslight Theater, Photo by Gaslight Theater

Enjoy good food and comedic performances at Tucson’s dinner theater, The Gaslight Theatre. The theater offers complimentary popcorn with the ticket price. After you’re seated, you can choose to purchase dinner or dessert from a provided menu.

Gaslight Theatre’s holiday shows often sell out. Be sure to get your tickets fast for their latest holiday comedy. This year’s show will be Gaslight’s A Smalltown Christmas and it runs November 9, 2023- January 7, 2024.

At Fox Tucson Theater, families can choose from a variety of holiday shows presented throughout the seasons including holiday classic films, a Nutcracker performance, and festive concerts.

Experience the magic of Christmas at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra holiday show, Holiday Magic with Cirque de la Symphonie December 9- 10, 2023. Combine the thrill of the circus with the joyous strains of holiday classics.

In contrast, a more classical experience can be found at the Christmas at San Xavier Annual Concert. Here you’ll enjoy Bach, Schubert & Fauré, along with some holiday season favorites. December 6-7, 2023

Check for deals on family-friendly hotels in Tucson.

See the Nutcracker

tuscon christmas events Southwest nutcrackert ballet
Tucson Regional Ballet’s Southwest Nutcracker, Photo by Guy Atchley

For many families, December wouldn’t feel like December without tickets to the famous ballet about Clara and her Nutcracker. Traditionalists will appreciate the professional elegance of Ballet Rincon‘s production as it presents its annual Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Ballet.

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra will also be hosting the Nutcracker will be performed December 21-23, 2023.

Christmas Races for Kids

Photo by flickr/Paisley Scotland

Sign up for the Vail Jingle Trail 5K (December 9) and Santa’s Little Helper 1K . Once there, you’ll be greeted with jingle bells for your shoelaces at the registration tables. Afterward, enjoy complimentary refreshments.

Live Nativity Christmas Events in Tucson

Live Nativity, Photo by flickr/Tommy Lee Kreger

Sunrise Chapel Luminaria Desert Walk invites community members to wander through lighted paths while listening to a narration of the Christmas story. This event is free but monetary donations and food items for the local food bank are welcome

Redeemer Lutheran also offers a live nativity. This annual drive through nativity leads visitor on a journey through the Christmas story. See scenes depicting the foretelling of Christ’s birth, shepherds, and Jesus in the manger. At the end, listen to, or participate in singing carols and hymns.

Is there a Tucson Christmas event we missed? Does your business have updated information to share? Email [email protected] and tell us about it!

Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across the country.

Pin this to bookmark all the holiday fun; we update it yearly:


Special thanks to Stephanie Sheaffer who wrote the original version of this post. 

Featured photo by: Shutterstock