Zoo Lights

This list of things to do around Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Sahuarita and more includes virtual events by local businesses and organizations, drive-in movies, open-air events and markets.

Remember to follow CDC guidance about protecting yourself and others from the spread of coronavirus. Pima County has mandated face coverings for everyone over age 5 in public if 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained. A mandatory nightly curfew is in effect all throughout Pima County from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. beginning Tuesday, Dec. 15 and expiring when the county's infection rate per 100,000 people falls below 100. The infection rate as of Tuesday, Dec. 15 was 1,300 cases per 100,000 people. 

Things change quickly these days, so check for the latest information. Links are included with every activity listed.

Virtual Events 💻📲

Winter Solstice Celebration and Poetry Reading

Join MOCA for celestial poetry readings in celebration of Winter Solstice. This online event will mark the turning of the seasons. Dot Devota and Raquel Gutierrez will read new poems related to the sublimity of Winter Solstice.

When: Thursday, Dec. 17, 6-7 p.m.

Cost: Free, registration required

Visit the MOCA Tucson Facebook event page for more information.

Explore El Nacimiento with #This is Tucson and the Tucson Museum of Art

Join us on Facebook Live to learn about El Nacimiento, an elaborate 800-piece nativity installation that is one of Tucson's most unique holiday traditions. Kristopher Driggers, the museum's curator of Latin American Art will share more about this Tucson treasure's history and the larger role of nativity scenes in art. 

When: Thursday, Dec. 17, 5:30 p.m. 

Cost: Free

Visit the #ThisIsTucson Facebook event page for more information. 

Give United: United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona

Big Challenges call for Big Solutions. Now More Than Ever, GIVE BIG. GIVE UNITED.

Chef Spotlight: Wild Arizona Cuisine with Brett Vibber

Tune in to Facebook Live for an interview and virtual cooking adventure with Arizona Chef Brett Vibber, founder of Cartwright's Modern Cuisine and new restaurant, WILD. If you miss the livestream, the event will also be available for viewing later on the AARP and SAACA Facebook pages.

When: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 6-7 p.m.

Cost: Free

Virtual Sugar Plum Tea Boutique

Ballet Tucson's Virtual Sugar Plum Tea Boutique is now open! Shop for holiday finds and beautiful items from the comfort of your own home. All proceeds from your purchase support Ballet Tucson, helping future dancers.

When: Shop is open until Sunday, Dec. 20

Visit the Ballet Tucson Boutique website for more information.

North Pole Experience: Virtual Magic Show

Join Magician Michael Howell for some virtual holiday fun! This jolly, interactive event will feature Santa, puppets, dancing, magic, aerialists, vocalists and much more!

When: Saturday, Dec. 19, noon to 1:15 p.m.

Cost: $10-$20 per household

Visit Magician Michael Howell's Facebook event page for more information.

Sips with Scientists: Let’s Talk Camera Traps

Join Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for a laugh and learn at this virtual and educational happy hour. This week you will meet two passionate scientists who utilize trail cameras to study wildlife in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

When: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Facebook event page for more information.

Mike Kanne with Crooked Tooth Brewery

Watch a Facebook live performance of local singer and songwriter, Mike Kanne on Crooked Tooth's Facebook page.

When: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 6 p.m.

Cost: Free, but remember to grab a brew to-go from Crooked Tooth to enjoy with the performance

Visit Crooked Tooth's Facebook event page for more information.

Drive-thru and drive-up events 🚗

Drive-thru Cookies with Santa

Join Santa and Tucson Parks and Recreation for drive-thru cookies with Santa! Drive alongside Santa in his snow globe and remember grab your jolly goody bag with crafts and treats for the kids.

When: Wednesday-Thursday, Dec. 16-17, 4:30-6:30 p.m.


Wednesday, Dec. 16 : Donna Liggins Center, 2160 N. Sixth Ave.

Thursday, Dec. 17: Randolph Center, 200 S. Alvernon Way

Cost: Free, 150 goody bags are first-come, first-serve

Visit the Tucson Parks and Recreation Facebook event page for more information.

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree Sing-along Drive-in

Dance, sing and rock n’ roll! Join Michael Martinez and Amanda Gremel for the Live Theatre Workshop annual Christmas show. This outdoor drive-in show can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own car or you can wear face mask and sit in lawn chairs in front of your vehicle.

When: Friday-Sunday, Dec. 18-20. Shows are at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Where: Live Theatre Workshop, 3322 E. Fort Lowell Road

Cost: $30-$45 per vehicle

Visit the Live Theatre Workshop Facebook event page for more information.

Santa Cruz River Farmers' Drive-thru Market

Hop in the car early to get first dibs on fresh produce and tasty treats at the Santa Cruz Farmer's Drive-thru Market.

When: Thursdays, 8-10 a.m.

Where: Mercado San Agustin, 165 S. Linda Ave.

Cost: Free to attend, but bring money for drive-thru shopping

Visit the Santa Cruz River Farmers' Market Facebook page for more information.

Community Food Bank Distribution

Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona will have a drive-thru food distribution at Kino Sports Complex for the month of December. Bring a photo ID and if you are enrolled for the senior food box, bring your yellow card.

When: Thursday, Dec. 17 and Tuesday, Dec. 22, 8-11 a.m.

Where: Kino Sports Complex, 2500 E. Ajo Way 

Cost: Free

Open-air Events 😷

Holiday Caroling with Havin' A Blast

Visit the Oro Valley Marketplace for a jolly caroling quartet performance at Oro Valley Marketplace.

When: Friday, Dec. 18, 4-6 p.m.

Where: Oro Valley Marketplace, 12155 N. Oracle Road

Cost: Free

Johnny and Jack at Firetruck Brewery in Oro Valley

Check out the new Firetruck Brewery in Oro Valley with live music from Johnny and Jack on the patio.

When: Thursday, Dec. 17, 6 p.m.

Where: FireTruck Brewing Oro Valley, 9630 N. Oracle Road, Suite 110

Cost: Free to attend 

Visit the FireTruck Brewing Oro Valley Facebook event page for more information.

St. Philip's Plaza Winter Celebration and Ballet Tucson

Finish your last-minute shopping with local artists, handcrafters, makers and food vendors at the annual Winter Celebration at St. Philip's Plaza. Afterward, enjoy a performance by Ballet Tucson, while you stroll the plaza in the open air at St. Philip's Plaza.

When: Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 19-29, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: St. Philip's Plaza, 4280 N. Campbell Ave.

Visit the St. Philip's Plaza Market event Facebook page for more information.

Outdoor Holiday Bazaar

Small businesses will be set up in the festival grounds of the MSA Annex for the Mercado District's Holiday Bazaar, a three-day holiday pop-up market.

When: Friday, Dec. 18 and Saturday, Dec. 19, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Where: MSA Annex, 267 S. Avenida del Convento

Visit the MSA Annex Facebook event page for more information.

Snow Globe Santa at the Oro Valley Marketplace 

Take selfies with the Snow Globe Santa and visit the warm glow of the holiday tree.

When: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 4-6 p.m.

Where: Oro Valley Marketplace, 12155 N. Oracle Road

Cost: Free

Classic Car Shows at Little Anthony's Diner

Join Little Anthony's Diner for a classic car show with DJ John. Diner treats are available at Little Anthony's Diner and at their outdoor grill. Face masks and social distancing are required at this event.  

When: Saturday, Dec. 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Little Anthony's Diner, 7010 E. Broadway Blvd.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the Little Anthony's Diner Facebook event page for more information.

Miracle on Congress Street

This magical holiday pop-up event returns downtown this time at Playground Bar and Lounge for believers of all ages. Santa will be on the rooftop waving to all, and you can drop off a letter in the mailbox set up outside in front of the Tucson Together mural on the east side of the building. Santa's elves will be giving out free kids scoops of peppermint ice cream from the Hub Ice Cream Parlor truck and adults can enjoy a holiday-themed cocktail next door at Hub Restaurant and Ice Creamery. Free parking is available at the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown. 

When: Friday-Saturday, Dec. 18-19. Santa will appear from 4-6:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from noon-4 p.m. on Sundays. 

Where: Playground Bar and Lounge, 278 E. Congress St. 

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

Visit the Miracle on Congress St. Facebook page for more information. 

ZooLights 2020: Holiday Magic

Enjoy a night at the zoo with beautiful twinkle-light decorations and animal sculptures. Sip hot cocoa and warm up your hands as you stroll through a lit wonderland filled with the sights and sounds of the season at this Tucson holiday tradition.

When: Daily Dec. 16-23 and Dec. 26-30, with timed admission at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. 

Where: Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Zoo Ct.

Cost:  $7-$11, Zoo members get $3 off admission.

Visit the Reid Park Zoo website for more information. 

Desert Nights Downtown Lights

Stroll through 60 illuminated buildings, over 150 street trees tightly wrapped with lights and dozens of decorated storefronts in downtown Tucson.

When: Nightly through Dec. 31

Cost: Free 

Visit the Downtown Tucson Partnership website for more information.

Outdoor Pop-up Market at Pop Cycle

Shop several local makers and artists and finish up your holiday shopping at this outdoor pop-up market.

When: Saturday, Dec. 19, noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Pop Cycle, 422 N. Fourth Ave.

Cost: Free to attend, but bring money for shopping

Visit the Pop Cycle Facebook event page for more information.

Pop-up Playground Jam Session at Crossroads Silverbell District Park

Listen to some upbeat music with Marana Parks and Recreation at this pop-up playground event. Enjoy the park and playground with tunes and on-site activities. Peanut butter or jelly donations for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona are greatly appreciated during this event.

When: Saturday, Dec. 19, 9 a.m. to noon

Where: Gladden Farms Community Park, 12205 N. Tangerine Farms Road

Cost: Free to attend, drop-off a peanut butter or jelly donation to receive a fun prize

Visit the Marana Parks and Recreation website for more information.

Marana Outdoor Market

Cruise over to Marana for a pet-friendly shopping event! Shop for trinkets, oddities, art and food items. Plus, don't miss the goat selfie booth and free turkey raffles.

When: Saturday, Dec. 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cost: Free to attend 

Visit the Marana Outdoor Market Facebook for more information.

Sahuarita Holiday Artisan Market

The Sahuarita Holiday Artisan Market will feature over 45 artists to shop from and some tasty food trucks. 

When:  Saturday, Dec. 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 20, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

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

Visit the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance website for more information and updates.

Sahuarita Lights Walk Through

Sahuarita Town Hall put up their holiday lights! Stroll through the warm glowing lights in the open-air and take family selfies for the holidays.

When: Nightly through Dec. 31

Cost: Free

Visit the Town of Sahuarita Facebook event page for more information.

Santa Pachita at Monterey Court

Listen to live music at the Monterey Court Studio Galleries and Cafe. This will be a socially-distanced event and masks are required.

When: Friday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m.

Where: Monterey Court Studio Galleries and Cafe, 505 W. Miracle Mile

Cost: Free to attend, reservations available

Visit the Monterey Court Facebook event page for more information.

A Merry Mariachi Christmas and Tamales

Celebrate the season with live music from a mariachi band and tasty tamales. Social distancing required. 

When: Saturday, Dec. 19, 2-5 p.m.

Where: AZ Hops and Vines, 3450 Highway 82, Sonoita

Cost: Free to attend, but bring money for tamals and drinks

Visit the AZ Hop and Vines Facebook event page for more information.

The Downtown Clifton Artist Market

This fun holiday outdoor shopping event will have select vintage and White Mountain Steampunk items and more! Face masks are required and disposable gloves are available to the public.

When: Saturday, Dec. 19, 1-5 p.m.

Where: The Downtown Clifton, 485 S. Stone Ave.

Visit the Tucson Flea Facebook event page for more information.

Sunday Stroll and Roll 

This walk begins at the Beyond-Tucson booth located near the restrooms. Attendees will have an opportunity to shop around the St. Philip's Plaza Farmer's Market before turning back for the completion of the 2-mile walk.

When: Sunday, Dec. 20, 9:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Where: Rillito Park Race Track, 4502 N. First Ave.

Cost: Free, on your fifth time participating in the Sunday Stroll and Roll, you receive a $5 token that can be used at the Heirloom Farmers Market

Visit the Beyond-Tucson Facebook event page for more information. 

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