Jazlyn Cerpa, 4, posts her letter to Santa, asking for ponies and a teddy bear, at a letter-writing station outside a home on Bentley Avenue during a busy opening night for the 2021 Winterhaven Festival of Lights.

This list of things to do around Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley and Sahuarita includes events by local businesses and organizations including markets, music and more.

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

A home on Christmas Avenue has a distinctly desert feel with a saguaro of lights and rooftop mountain range during a busy opening night for the Winterhaven Festival of Lights in Tucson on Dec. 11, 2021.

Winterhaven Festival of Lights

Celebrate the season by walking through the multiple streets of lights in the Winterhaven neighborhood. Bring a donation (canned food or cash) for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. 

When: Daily, Dec. 11-26, 6-10 p.m.

Where: Winterhaven neighborhood, 3235 N. Country Club Road

Cost: Free, wagon rides and food available for purchase

Visit the website for more information. 

Wanderland at Tucson Botanical Gardens

Take a walk among thousands of luminarias and Korean lanterns at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, plus enjoy holiday music and a 10-foot-tall succulent tree.

When: Every Wednesday through Sunday until Jan. 2, 5:30-7 p.m. and 7-8:30 p.m. Check the schedule here. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. 

Where: Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way

Cost: $4-$15

Visit the website for more information. 

This holiday season, buy 4 gift certificates, get 2 free (Sponsored)

Purchase gift certificates for 60-, 75- or 90-minute massage sessions at iBalance Wellness Spa. Buy them online or at any of iBalance Wellness Spa's three Tucson-area locations. Click here!

ZooLights 2021: Holiday Magic

Enjoy a night at the zoo with beautiful twinkle-light decorations and animal sculptures. Sip hot cocoa as you stroll through a lit wonderland filled with falling snow, visits with Santa, scheduled entertainment and sweet treats.

When: Daily through Dec. 30, 6-8 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.

Marana Christmas Tree Display

Visit a 25-foot Christmas tree musical light display in Marana. This Christmas tree has musical synchronized dancing lights and walkways you can experience with family and friends. Perfect for family photos and night entertainment. 

When: Daily through Dec. 31 every hour from 5-9 p.m. 

Where: Town of Marana, 11555 W. Civic Center Dr.

Cost: Free to attend, food available for purchase

Visit the event page for more information.

Photos with Santa at the Tucson Mall

Get your holiday shopping done and then take photos with Santa all in one spot at the Tucson Mall.

Themed days:

Visit with Santa: Daily, Now – Dec. 24

Pet Night: Monday, Dec. 20

Where: Tucson Mall, 4500 N. Oracle Road

Cost: Visiting Santa is free, but the price of photos varies.

Visit the website for more information. 

Photos with Santa at Park Place Mall

More Santa fun is happening at the Park Place Mall, now until Dec. 24. Beat the long lines and reserve a time to meet the big guy. You can also save some money if you buy your photos in advance.

Themed days:

Visit Santa: Now – Dec. 24

Pet Night: Monday, Dec. 20

Where: Park Place, 5870 E. Broadway

Cost: Visiting Santa is free, but the price of photos varies

Visit the event website for more information.

Christkindl Market

Hop in the car and drive to Vail for a holiday fun-filled event with pictures with Santa, dancing, performances, shopping, kid activities, raffles, food trucks, and a tree lighting at 7 p.m.

When: Thursday, Dec. 16, 5-8 p.m.

Cost: Free to attend, food and drinks available for purchase 

Visit the event page for more information.

Discovery Night at Children's Museum Tucson

Discovery Night includes bilingual story time, interactive pop-up science experiments, and art projects, plus access to the rest of the museum's exhibits.

When: Thursdays, 5-7 p.m.

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

Cost: Free

Visit the event page for more information.

Miracle on Congress Street

Kids can visit with Santa and enjoy ice cream from Hub Ice Cream. Adults can purchase festive drinks from the bar.

When: Friday-Saturday, Dec. 17-18, 4-6:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 19, noon to 4 p.m. 

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

Cost: Everything is free except the cocktails. Donations for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona are encouraged

Visit the Facebook page for more information.

Visitors admire the lights during the 2018 Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul.

Holiday Lights at Tohono Chul

Walk amid live music along paths lit with more than a million twinkling lights. Enjoy treats and a handful of vendors. Masks are required.

When: Friday-Saturday, Dec. 17-18, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Where: Tohono Chul, 7366 N. Paseo Del Norte

Cost: $6-$17; kids under 5 years old and under enter for free

Visit the event page for more information. 

Marana Christmas Express 

Grab the kids and enjoy a train ride through Christmas light displays in Marana. Tickets are sold online only.

When: Friday-Sunday, Dec. 17-19, 5-9 p.m. Also find dates Monday-Thursday, Dec. 20-23

Where: Marana Christmas Express, 14950 N. Trico Road

Cost: $15 per person online, ages 2 and under are free

Visit the event page for more information.

The Heritage Holidays Market

Visit the Heritage Holidays Market at The Dunbar for hot chocolate and food, and to support local Black businesses. A COVID-19 vaccine clinic will also be onsite. 

When: Friday, Dec. 17, 5-8 p.m.

Where: The Dunbar Pavilion, 325 W. Second St.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Polar Express Story with Santa

Visit this event for a story time with Santa, plus enjoy special treats and photo opportunities. 

When: Friday, Dec. 17, 5-6:30 p.m.

Where: Our Play Place, 3951 W. Costco Dr.

Cost: $17, two adults are included with children's admission

Visit the event page for more information.

Holiday Bazaar in the Mercado District

Spend your afternoon rummaging for treasure with more than 60 vendors in the Mercado San Agustin area.

When: Friday-Saturday, Dec. 17-18, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento

Cost: Free to attend, but bring money for shopping

Visit the MSA Annex website for more information. 

Holiday festival at Tanque Verde

Get your last-minute holiday shopping done with 40 local artists and crafters at this art festival. 

When: Friday-Saturday, Dec. 17-18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost: Free to attend, bring money for shopping

Visit Art Attack AZ event page for more information.

Winter Wonderland

Celebrate the holidays with free hot cocoa, s'mores, Christmas lights and a live nativity scene.

When: Friday, Dec. 17, 6-8 p.m.

Where: Foothills Community Church, 3301 W. Overton Road

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

La Encantada's Enchanted Snowfall

Watch faux flurries fall in the open-air shopping center courtyard at La Encantada shopping mall. During these snow-filled weekends there will also be live music, hot chocolate provided by Blanco Tacos + Tequila and caroling. Bring the kids or make it a date night.

When: Friday-Saturday, Dec. 17-18, 6-6:15 p.m. and 6:45-7 p.m.

Where: La Encantada 2905 E. Skyline Dr.

Cost: Free

Visit the website for more information.

Santa at Little Anthony's Diner

He's making a list and checking it twice at Little Anthony's Diner. Get a free photo with Santa when you bring in a non-perishable food item to donate to the local food bank.

When: Friday-Sunday, Dec. 17-19, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

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

Cost: Free with a food bank donation

Visit the event page for more information. 

Walkabouts at Valley of the Moon Tucson

Grab the kids and strollers and head over to Valley of the Moon. Walk the  enchanted holiday paths, weird grottos, man-made caves, an enchanted garden, a wizard tower, an elevator to an underground maternal bunny ward and twinkling lights. A limited number of people will be admitted every 20 minutes from 6-8 p.m.

When: Friday-Sunday, Dec. 17-19 and Friday, Dec. 24, 6-8 p.m.

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

Cost: $3-$5

Visit the event page for more information.

Anita Street Market, 849 N. Anita Ave., serves as a grocery store for the neighborhood and is a widely known tortilleria patronized by people from all walks of life.

Nana and Tata’s Miracle in Barrio Anita

Anita’s Street Market is hosting the annual Nana and Tata’s Miracle in Barrio Anita, with hot dogs, candy, popcorn and drinks, plus raffles and gifts from Santa. The goodies are while supplies last.

When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Anita’s Street Market, 849 N. Anita Ave.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the Facebook event page for more information.

Labyrinth: '80s Dance Party

"You remind me of the babe..." Get dressed up in a "Labyrinth" theme or '80s attire and join Surly Wench for a late night party. This event will have themed drinks, lights, video projectors and music videos.

When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Where: Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. Fourth Ave.

Cost: $5 at the door, 21+ event

Visit their event page for more information.

Elves Gone Bad: A Pirate's Christmas

Get your ticket from Unscrewed Theater for this interactive holiday show featuring pirates, Santa and his elves. This event is available in-person and online. 

When: Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 18-19, 1-2 p.m.

Where: Unscrewed Theater, 4500 E. Speedway

Cost: $5

Visit the event page for more information.

Winter Wonderland at International Wildlife Museum

Stop by the International Wildlife Museum to meet Santa, play reindeer games and make holiday crafts.

When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 10 a.m. to noon. Santa will be at the museum 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Where: International Wildlife Museum, 4800 W. Gates Pass Road

Cost: Winter Wonderland is included with museum admission. $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 4-12. Bring your own camera for photos with Santa

Visit the Facebook event page for more information.

Afternoon patrons enjoy brews at Casa Marana Craft Beer + Wine, 8225 N. Courtney Page Way

Casa Marana Christmas Bazaar 

Visit Casa Marana for their first Christmas Bazaar, featuring Christmas music, ugly sweaters, drinking games and a market with art, candles, shirts, woodwork and more.

When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 4-10 p.m. The market is 4-8 p.m.

Where: Casa Marana, 8225 N. Courtney Page Way

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

Visit the Facebook event page for more information.

Holiday Fun at AZ Hops and Vines

Take a scenic drive to AZ Hops and Vines this weekend for some holiday fun. The vineyard will have a charcuterie tastingugly sweater show and live music from the County Line.

When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 1 p.m.

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

Cost: Some activities are free, others have a fee

Visit the AZ Hops and Vines page for more information.

Laser holiday magic

Watch a laser show synced to holiday music at Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium.

When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 3:30-4:30 p.m. or 7-8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, 3:30-4:30 p.m. More showtimes are available through December.

Where: Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, 1601 E. University Blvd.

Cost: $9 for adults, $7 for kids ages 4-17

Visit the event website for more information.

Christmas party at We Rock the Spectrum

Enjoy a Christmas party at We Rock the Spectrum, complete with cookies, cocoa and Santa. Space is limited so make reservations in advance.

When: Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 18-19, 2-4 p.m.

Where: We Rock the Spectrum, 4811 E. Grant Road

Cost: $25 for kids. Accompanying adults can enter for free

Visit the Facebook event page for more information.

Sahuarita Winter Festival 

Hop in the car with family and friends and stop by this festival for holiday lights, music and tasty food trucks.

When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 5-9 p.m.

Cost: Free to attend, food available for purchase

Visit the event page for more information.

Family fun at the Historic Train Depot

Join the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum for photos with Santa and holiday music. There will also be an arts and craft show, kids crafts, a Polar Express reading and more.

When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N. Toole Ave.

Cost: Free. Canned food donations to the Community Food Bank are accepted

Visit the event page for more information. 

Carolyn Blair, owner of Life Under the Oaks Lavender Farm, pulls weeds as she preps a fragrant field of lavender just weeks before bloom season in May.

Victorian Christmas at the lavender farm

Life Under The Oaks Lavender Farm is hosting a Victorian Christmas event, inviting guests to wear their best Victorian attire and enjoy a holiday dinner among carolers. There will also be a lavender pop-up shop. Dinner includes lavender cheese stuffed mushrooms, lavender and orange roasted ham, lavender potatoes, lavender and citrus cranberry sauce, chestnut stuffing and fruit cake with a lavender honey glaze.

When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 4 p.m.

Where: Life Under The Oaks, 1221 N. Rancho Robles Road in Oracle

Cost: $75

Visit the website for more information.

Ugly Sweater Event at Old Pueblo Harley-Davidson

Visit Old Pueblo Harley-Davidson for an ugly sweater event. Those who wear an ugly sweater in the store will receive 10% off full-priced Harley-Davidson motor clothes merchandise. The event will also feature free cookies and hot chocolate for guests, while supplies last, and an ugly sweater contest with the chance to win a $50 Harley-Davidson gift card. 

When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Old Pueblo Harley-Davidson, 7503 E. 22nd St.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Foothills Happy Hour Market

Visit this market at the Foothills Mall for trinkets, live music, market mocktails, baked goods and a variety of Tucson artists.

When: Saturdays, 3-7 p.m.

Where: Foothills Mall, 7401 N. La Cholla Blvd.

Cost: Free to attend, bring money for shopping

Visit the Foothills Happy Hour Market website for more information.

Mimosas, Music and Market 

Enjoy your shopping in the open, cool shade and surrounded by peaceful flowing fountains at St. Philip's Plaza. Shop for uniquely handmade, handcrafted, homegrown and home-baked products at St. Philip's Plaza.

When: Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 18-19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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

Cost: Free to attend, but bring money for shopping

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

The Sun Link Streetcar stops at Main Gate Square, outside the old west gate of the University of Arizona in 2014.

Holiday Boulevard Bash at Main Gate Square

Stroll through Main Gate Square to enjoy holiday decorations, free photos with Santa, snow flurries, caroling, marshmallow roasting (at 1:30 p.m.), and crafts. "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" will be shown on an outdoor screen at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Merchants at Main Gate will be offering their own activities too, including a hot chocolate bar at Snakes & Lattes, cookie decorating kits at The Dutch, make-and-take cards at Posner's and more.

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

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

Cost: Free to attend, some activities may charge a fee

Visit event website for more information.

Dirty T Punk Rock Flea Market

This shopping pop-up has vintage finds, antiques, art, live tattooing, food trucks and a car show. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to stuff the hearse for the holiday season.

When: Sunday, Dec. 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Park Place Mall, 5870 E. Broadway near the Sears parking lot

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

Mercado Cenzontle Latinx Artisan Market

Visit this market to shop local Latinx businesses including self-care, jewelry, thrift clothes, art, home decor and more. There will also be food vendors and live music.

When: Sunday, Dec. 19, noon to 6 p.m.

Where: La Suprema Works & Events, 319 W. Simpson St.

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

Visit the Facebook event page for more information.

Santa, Pups and Pints

Bring your pups and have some fun on the patio at Crooked Tooth Brewing Company. Well-behaved leashed pups have a chance to take photos with Santa, while you grab a beer from the bar.

When: Sunday, Dec. 19, 2-5 p.m.

Where: Crooked Tooth Brewing, 228 E. Sixth St.

Cost: $10 for a digital file of your photo and to support local pets

Visit the event page for more information.

Jacob Acosta Holiday Show at Noble Hops

Stop by Noble Hops in Oro Valley for a live performance by Jacob Acosta, among mountain views and 28 beers on tap.

When: Sunday, Dec. 19, 5-8 p.m.

Where: Noble Hops Gastropub, 1335 W. Lambert Ln.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit the event page for more information.

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