Oro Valley Festival of the Arts and Holiday Tree Lighting (copy)

Guests rush to take their photo in front of the tree. The lighting of the holiday tree at Oro Valley Marketplace took place on Dec. 4, 2021 as part of the Oro Valley Festival of the Arts and Holiday Tree Lighting event.

Free museum days, a tamale fest, Christmas tree lightings and Winterhaven ‚ÄĒ you don't have to break the bank to enjoy local¬†events in Tucson.

Here are 47 events that are free to attend this December.

Enjoy snowy evenings at La Encantada this December, as seen in this 2017 photo.

Enchanted Snowfall

Looking to enjoy a snowy evening? Head to La Encantada to see snow flurries, all while sipping hot chocolate and enjoying live entertainment. 

When: Thursdays-Saturdays through Dec. 23. Snowfall is 6-6:15 p.m. and 6:45-7 p.m. Entertainment is 6:15-6:45 p.m. and 7-7:45 p.m.

Where: La Encantada, 2905 E. Skyline Dr.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Art Corner with BICAS

Get free access to recycled bike art parts, tools and other materials and get creative! Once you're finished, you can donate your creation to BICAS or give a suggested donation to the nonprofit, if you're able to. Check in at the front counter before heading to the art area.

When: 4-6 p.m. Fridays

Where: BICAS, 2001 N. Seventh Ave.

Cost: Free to attend, donation suggested 

Visit the event page for more information.

Community Self-Defense

Jenna Herder teaches self-defense classes for women and the LGBTQ+ community.

When: 6-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1 for Female Friday; 6-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 for the LGBTQ+ class.

Where: Combat Krav Maga, 3273 N. Freeway

Cost: Pay what you can

Visit the event page for more information.


18th Tucson Tamal & Heritage Festival

This festival celebrating all things tamales is back for another year at Casino Del Sol. Attendees will enjoy a tamale contest, live entertainment, and food and artisan vendors. 

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

Where: AVA Amphitheater at Casino Del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road

Cost: Free to attend 

Visit the event page for more information.

Marana Holiday Festival & Christmas Tree Lighting 

Ring in the holiday season at Marana's holiday festival and Christmas tree lighting. Snap a photo with Santa, order food from one of 30 food vendors, watch live performances, shop from artisans, plus enjoy lots of kid-friendly activities like crafts, train rides and inflatables. At 6 p.m. Marana will light their 40-foot Christmas tree.

When: 3-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

Where: Marana Municipal Complex, 11555 W. Civic Center Dr.

Cost: Free to attend, bring money for food and shopping

Visit the event page for more information.

Oro Valley Festival of the Arts & Tree Lighting

Check out more than 100 Southern Arizona artists at this two-day festival, all while enjoying performances, food trucks, art activities and the lighting of Oro Valley's 35-foot tree alongside carolers and a parade. 

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3. The tree lighting is 6 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Oro Valley Marketplace, 12155 N. Oracle Road

Cost: Free to attend, bring money for shopping

Visit the event page for more information.

Holiday Festival Car Show and Tree Lighting

Forty Niner Country Club is hosting a car show and tree lighting to kick off the holiday season. Also expect games, inflatables, face painting, photos with Santa and a petting zoo. Bring an unwrapped toy as part of a donation drive!

When: 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 for the car show; 3-6 p.m. for the festival. The tree lighting is at 6 p.m.

Where: Forty Niner Country Club, 12000 E. Tanque Verde Road

Cost: Free to attend, bring money for shopping

Visit the event page for more information.

Free First Saturday at Valley of the Moon

Local fantasy park Valley of the Moon opens its doors for free this Saturday. The park will be hosting a donation drive for the city's shower trailer ‚ÄĒ donations in need include socks, underwear, gloves, beanies and hygiene items.¬†

When: 4:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

Where: Valley of the Moon, 2544 E. Allen Road

Cost: Free to attend 

Visit the event page for more information.

First Saturday ArtWalk

The Steinfeld Warehouse Community Arts Center is hosting its First Saturday ArtWalk this weekend, set to feature work made by local artists, a wine bar, music and the unveiling of a months-long show at Untitled Gallery.

When: 4-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

Where: Steinfeld Warehouse Community Arts Center, 101 W. Sixth St. 

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Great Paper Airplane Fly-off

Kids ages 6-14 can compete in the Great Paper Airplane Fly-off by making and throwing their paper airplane to see whose goes the farthest.

When: 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

Where: Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Road

Cost: Free to attend, register online

Visit the event page for more information.

Cookies with Santa

Desert Valley Pediatric Dentistry is hosting a free event for kiddos this Saturday. Expect an ornament creation station, face painting, train rides and free photos with Santa. 

When: Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

Where: Desert Valley Pediatric Dentistry, 4140 E. 22nd St.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Winterfest in Sahuarita

Shop from a vendor market, watch a light parade, tree-lighting ceremony and live ice sculpting, order a bite to eat from food trucks, and more at Winterfest in Sahuarita.

When: 3-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

Where: Sahuarita Town Hall, 375 W. Sahuarita Center Way

Cost: Free to attend, bring money for food

Visit the event page for more information.

Beer + Bikes

This bike ride goes along The Loop to 1912 Brewing Co. for a beer or two, followed by a ride back to Button Brew House for food truck bites.

When: 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

Where: Button Brew House, 6800 N. Camino Martin

Cost: Free to attend, bring money for brews and food

Visit the event page for more information.

La Fiesta de Guadalupe honors the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint, and will feature live music and dancing.

Fiesta de Guadalupe

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is hosting its annual Fiesta de Guadalupe with music and dancing, plus food and art vendors. 

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3

Where: DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, 6300 N. Swan Road

Cost: Free to attend 

Visit the event page for more information.

Winter Wonderfest

Local nonprofit Make Way For Books is kicking off the month with free books, games, crafts and food.

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3

Where: The Coalition Space, 311 E. Seventh St.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Visit with Santa in Main Gate Square

Santa will be visiting Main Gate Square throughout December!

When: Noon to 3 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 3-17 

Where: Main Gate Square, 814 E. University Blvd.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

First Thursday at Tucson Museum of Art

Visit the Tucson Museum of Art every first Thursday of the month for pay-what-you-wish admission, gallery activities, live music and a cash bar. This month's event will also feature a trunk show with textile crafts, a panel on weaving and memory, and Gigi's Fusion food truck.

When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7

Where: Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave.

Cost: Pay what you wish

Visit the event page for more information. 

A small crowd gathers to watch Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin light the first of eight candles on Tucson's tallest menorah signifying the first night of Hanukkah at El Presidio Park in downtown Tucson in 2022.

Chanukah at Downtown Tucson

Celebrate Chanukah at the 40th annual lighting of what's dubbed Tucson's tallest Menorah. In addition to the lighting, there will be music, crafts and treats.

When: 5-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7

Where: El Presidio Park, 160 W. Alameda St.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Annual Tree Lighting Celebration + Holiday Food Drive

Head to Loews Ventana Canyon Resort's annual tree lighting, with a food drive benefitting the University of Arizona Campus Pantry. Enjoy live music, face painting, cocktail specials and visits with Santa.

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7

Where: Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Dr.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Discovery Nights at Children's Museum Tucson

Visit Children's Museum Tucson for a free night of science and art, including story times and pop-up science experiments. 

When: 5-7 p.m. Thursdays

Where: Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S. Sixth Ave.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Gardening Hour

Learn about gardening and bring home clippings all while connecting with The Garden Kitchen team. 

When: 7-8:30 a.m. Thursdays

Where: The Garden Kitchen, 2205 S. Fourth Ave.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Framed by a prickly pear cactus sculpture made from bicycle gears, Ben Pawlowski labels some of the items up for bids for the preview of the 17th Annual BICAS Art Auction Fundraiser and Community Celebration at the Whistle Stop Depot, 127 W. 5th St., on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012.

BICAS Art Auction

Local nonprofit BICAS is hosting its 26th annual art auction filled with bicycle-themed art. Enjoy a night of art, music, drinks and food. This is BICAS' largest fundraising event of the year.

When: 5-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 8-9. Bidding ends Saturday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. 

Where: Splinter Collective, 901 N. 13th Ave.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Tasting History: Squash

Learn about the origins behind squash and how it became part of Tucson's agricultural and culinary traditions. Demonstrations and tastings are part of the fun.

When: 9-11 a.m. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 8-9

Where: Mission Garden, 946 W. Mission Lane

Cost: Free to attend, donations accepted

Visit the event page for more information.

Winterhaven Festival of Lights

A holiday tradition for more than 70 years, the Winterhaven Festival of Lights makes its return on Dec. 9. Walk through this charming neighborhood decorated in holiday lights and displays. 

When: 6-10 p.m. Dec. 9-25. Local band Znora will be performing select days.

Where: Winterhaven neighborhood; north of Fort Lowell Road and south of Prince Road, west of Country Club Road and east of Tucson Boulevard.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Art After Dark at Children's Museum Tucson

Each month, Children's Museum Tucson hosts Art After Dark with local arts groups and free admission! This special edition of Art After Dark features an outdoor screening of "The Grinch," thanks to The Loft Cinema. 

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9

Where: Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S. Sixth Ave.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Bark in the Barrio

This dog-friendly event features adoptable dogs, games, food, music and local vendors. Your dog can even get a photo with Santa himself. 

When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9

Where: Armory Park, 220 S. Fifth Ave.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Saturday with Santa

Celebrate the holidays with the Arizona Diaper Bank's Saturday with Santa event, set to include a jumping castle and climbing wall, face painting and visits with Santa.

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9

Where: Arizona Diaper Bank, 1050 S. Plumer Ave.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Santa at Harlow Gardens

Kids can meet with Santa at Harlow Gardens, plus make their own ornament to take home.

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9

Where: Harlow Gardens, 5620 E. Pima St.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

A community member, left, and repairer and webmaster Pete Vieira solder a PlayStation circuit board at a Tucson Repair Cafe event.

Tucson Repair Cafe

Need something fixed? Bring it to the Tucson Repair Cafe to be fixed for free! All items are welcome.

When: 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9

Where: Xerocraft Makerspace, 101 W. Sixth St.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Second Saturday at Steam Pump Ranch

The second Saturday of every month is special at Steam Pump Ranch. Find historic tours of the grounds, demonstrations led by Archaeology Southwest, crafts for kids, vendors selling their artwork and a farmers market.

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9

Where: Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road

Cost: Free to attend, bring money for shopping

Visit the event page for more information.

Second SundAZe at TMA 

Visit the Tucson Museum of Art every second Sunday for pay-what-you-wish admission. Enjoy art-making, gallery activities, family yoga and performances. In this edition of Second SundAZe, you'll also find a Nutcracker ballet class and photos with Santa.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10

Where: Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave.

Cost: Pay what you wish

Visit the event page for more information. 

Ride with FUGA

Take a bike ride with organization FUGA, which advocates for mobility, accessibility and representation for Tucson's south-side and west-side communities. 

When: 8-10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 10; 6-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29

Where: Ward 1, 940 W. Alameda St., on Dec. 10; El Pueblo Center, 101 W. Irvington Road, on Dec. 29

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information. 

The Northwest Chanukah Festival

Chabad of Oro Valley is putting together a Chanukah celebration with music, free latkes and doughnuts, Jewish art, crafts, inflatables, cookie decorating, challah braiding and a menorah lighting. 

When: 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10

Where: Oro Valley Marketplace, 11695 N. Oracle Road

Cost: Free to attend, bring money for food

Visit the event page for more information.

Grand Chanukah Celebration

Chabad of Vail is hosting a community menorah lighting with doughnuts, latkes and a chocolate gelt drop.

When: 5-6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10

Where: Purple Heart Park, 9800 E. Rita Road

Cost: Free to attend 

Visit the event page for more information.

PJ Library Latkes + Laughter for Parents

This afternoon at the Tucson J is for Tucson parents. Expect mocktails, food and games.

When: 4-5:45 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13

Where: Tucson J, 3800 E. River Road

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Concerts in the Courtyard

Head to Marana for this monthly concert series. This month, enjoy music from Good Trouble. Food trucks will be onsite and you can get a free photo with Santa. Bring your own chairs or blankets!

When: 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14

Where: Marana Municipal Complex, 11555 W. Civic Center Dr.

Cost: Free to attend, bring money for food

Visit the event page for more information.

87th Annual Las Posadas

Las Posadas has been a neighborhood tradition at Carrillo Magnet School for more than eight decades. The main part of the event is a procession from the school through the Barrio Viejo neighborhood, which commemorates the journey Mary and Joseph made in search of a place for Mary to give birth to baby Jesus. 

When: Friday, Dec. 15

Where: Carrillo Magnet School, 440 S. Main Ave.

Cost: The procession is free to watch

Visit the event page for more information.

Free Outdoor Screening of "Elf"

Presented by Galeria Mitotera & Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, The Loft Cinema is putting together a free outdoor screening of "Elf" at the John Valenzuela Youth Center.

When: 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15

Where: John Valenzuela Youth Center, 1550 S. Sixth Ave.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

The 25th annual Parade of Lights in downtown Tucson on Nov. 30, 2019.

Downtown Parade of Lights

Back for its 29th year, the Downtown Parade of Lights will snake through the Armory Park area this holiday season. Last year's parade had more than 30 floats and 1,000 participants. Before the parade starts, a festival will take place at 4 p.m. with food trucks, vendors and music.

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. Festival begins at Armory Park at 4 p.m.

Where: Armory Park area, see the route here.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Winter Wonderland

Tucson Parks and Recreation is hosting a free family-friendly event with carnival games, crafts, live entertainment, hot chocolate and visits with Santa. 

When: 4-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16

Where: Quincie Douglas Center, 1575 E. 36th St.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Traditional O'odham Agriculture at Mission Garden

Attend this event to learn about Tohono O'odham agricultural practices, including demonstrations and talks about traditional crops like corn, beans and squash.

When: 8-11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16

Where: Mission Garden, 946 W. Mission Lane

Cost: Free to attend, donations accepted

Visit the event page for more information.

A new toy was the entry fee for the vehicles and owners at Ramon's Miracle on 31st Street Car Show in 2021.

Ramon's Miracle on 31st Street 

The Miracle on 31st Street Christmas party and toy giveaway has grown from a backyard barbecue to a seasonal celebration gifting toys to local kids for more than five decades. 

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17

Where: Greyhound Park, 2601 S. Third Ave.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

SnO-V: An Oro Valley Holiday Event

A snowy event is taking over Oro Valley! There will be snow, visits with Santa, games, crafts, food and drinks. 

When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21

Where:¬†Oro Valley Community Center,¬†10555 N. La Ca√Īada Dr.; but park at town hall,¬†11000 N. La Ca√Īada Dr.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Free Third Thursdays at MOCA

Third Thursday at Tucson‚Äôs Museum of Contemporary Art is a party. The art museum is open late with free admission ‚ÄĒ and free beer from Barrio Brewing Co. KXCI will be DJing!¬†

When: 5-9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, 265 S. Church Ave.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event site for more information.

Fire Show at Sky Bar

The Cirque Roots Fire Troupe puts on a 20-minute fire show every fourth Friday, right outside of Sky Bar. 

When: 8:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22

Where: Sky Bar, 536 N. Fourth Ave.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

The Star Wars Holiday Special

Catch a free screening of the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special ‚ÄĒ with the original TV commercials!¬†

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 27

Where: The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway

Cost: Free to attend 

Visit the event page for more information.

2023 Taco Bell New Year's Eve Downtown Bowl Bash

Arizona Bowl is hosting a party in downtown Tucson, complete with music, a silent disco, food trucks and beer stations. Fireworks and the big taco drop will happen when the clock strikes midnight (a tradition that Hotel Congress started in 2014, but handed off to Arizona Bowl several years ago). 

When: 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday, Dec. 31

Where: Downtown Tucson, 41 E. Congress St.

Cost: Free to attend, bring money for food and drinks

Visit the event page for more information.


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Gloria was born and raised in Tucson and is a 2018 University of Arizona grad. From wildflowers to wildlife, she loves all things Tucson and hopes to share her love of the city with readers ‚ú®