This story was created by #ThisIsTucson and underwritten by the Tucson Jewish Community Center, hosting the Hot Chocolate 10K/5K/1K Fun Run Sunday, Dec. 15. Thank you for supporting the local organizations that support us!
It can sometimes feel like the entire month of December is devoted to running around to various holiday activities and functions, crossing things off the holiday to-do list, bundling up with a blanket and Hallmark movie, and subsisting purely on caffeine and sugar (hello, festive coffee drinks and cookie exchanges).
But it's also the most wonderful time of the year to take advantage of some pretty cool outdoor activities.
Here are a few ideas that are so fun the whole family will want to be part of the action.
Ice skating at Tucson Holiday Ice
For the first time ever downtown Tucson has an outdoor skating rink, making all our winter wonderland dreams come true. Spend an afternoon, or evening (it's really pretty lit up with lights at night) gliding across the ice then warm up with a hot meal nearby.
Don't forget to bring socks (they're required) and gloves (those are strongly recommended).
Where: 45 N. Fifth Ave. (next to the MLK apartments).
When: Nov. 29 through Jan. 5, 2020, check here for hours.
Cost: $15 adults, $10 ages 12 and under. You can also rent skate assists for $5.
Find running water in Sabino and Bear canyons
Seeing running water is a treat for us desert dwellers and thanks to recent rain the water is flowing in both Sabino and Bear canyons.
A 20-minute walk on the paved road or on the trails will get you to a great viewing area to see the creek in Sabino, and you can continue your hike for as long as you'd like exploring the the trails. Pack a picnic and enjoy a meal al fresco at any one of a dozen picnicking areas in the canyon.
Where: 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road
When: Every day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. but closed on Christmas Day.
Cost: A day pass is $5.
Meet me at Maynard's
Everything is better with a friend and you can run or walk through downtown Tucson with hundreds of other folks and families every Monday rain or shine and even on holidays.
Things get going at 5:15 p.m. on the patio at Maynard's Market & Kitchen, where participants can check in and then set out for a 4-mile walk or run through the heart of downtown and Fourth Avenue, there are also shorter route options if you're short on time or energy.
Each time you check in, your attendance is tracked and with eight check-ins you'll earn a free shirt and 15 check-ins will get you baseball cap. Strollers are welcome and so are four-legged friends on leashes, so the whole family can join in.
Where: Maynards Market & Kitchen, 400 E. Toole Ave.
When: Every Monday. Check in starts at 5:15 p.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m. You walk or run the route at your own pace.
Sunday Stroll and Roll
Join other walkers, bike riders or runners every Sunday this month on this three-mile route that starts and ends at two different farmer's markets.
Food, socializing, and a walk on a sunny, but crisp winter morning? Sounds like a blast to us.
Pro-tip: This is just one of several active events organized throughout the city by Beyond Tucson, you can see more here.
Where: Meet at the Heirloom Farmers Markets at Rillito Racetrack, 4502 N. First Ave.
When: Every Sunday in December starting at 9:30 a.m.
Find more information here.
Holiday Archery Shoot
Join in holiday fun at the Naranja Park Archery Range where there will be holiday-themed games including snowman-shaped targets, a Nightmare before Christmas archery zone, and a 14 target 3-D fun shoot on the west walking course. For ages 8 and up. Bring your own bows and arrows.
Where: Oro Valley Archery Range
When: Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m. to noon
Cost: Free. Raffle tickets available for purchase to raise funds for the archery range and Oro Valley Junior Olympic Archery Development.
Walk around Winterhaven
Every bit of movement counts so why not get your steps in while ooh-ing and aah-hing at the twinkling lights and creative holiday displays in Tucson's most holiday spirited neighborhood.
Celebrate the season by walking the streets of Winterhaven. Bring a donation for the Southern Arizona Community Food Bank (canned food and cash donations are always accepted).
Where: The neighborhood is bordered by Prince Road to the north, Country Club Road to the east, Fort Lowell Road to the south and Tucson Boulevard to the west. See a map here.
When: Dec. 14-29, 6-10 p.m.
Cost: Free. Canned food donations and cash donations for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona are are accepted at each entrance to the neighborhood.
Hot Chocolate 10K/5K/1K Fun Run (Sponsored)
Start the holidays off right with some exercise... and a treat at the end!
Bring the family to The J on Sunday, Dec. 15 to participate in a 10K, 5K or 1K Run/Walk. The 10K/5K will be a timed run/walk, while the 1K is a non-timed fun event that you can run or walk, starting in the sculpture garden. Every finisher will receive a custom local HF Coors mug.
The event is FREE for kids 6 and under with registered parent (shirt not included, but available for an additional charge).
When: Sunday, Dec. 15, 6:30-10 a.m.
Where: Tucson JCC, 3800 E. River Road