It is the last weekend before Christmas and the first weekend of Hanukkah. Check out holiday activities in Tucson, Oro Valley and Marana. This weekend is filled with lights, trains, beer, festivals, freebies, fitness, art and some last minute shopping.
Mercado District Holiday Bazaar
This event is packed with family-friendly shopping and activities like puppet shows by a local puppet troupe. Other activities include local shopping vendors, holiday window installations, shops, restaurants, photo booths, mariachis, folklorico and more.
Where: Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento
Friday, Dec. 20-21, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend, but bring some money for shopping
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
Watch James Stewart experience what his home town would be like if he never existed in the festive atmosphere of the Fox Theatre downtown.
Where: Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St.
When: Thursday, Dec. 19, 7:30-10:30 p.m.
10 Reasons to give to United Way of Tucson this holiday season (Sponsored)
1. United Way of Tucson helps more than 155,000 Tucsonans every year
2. The biggest ROI! Every $1 donated yields a $5 impact
3. Every Tucson child deserves a high quality education
4. My Summer Library! Students in low-income areas receive 12 free books every year for their personal libraries
5. Every adult in Tucson deserves to thrive financially and in the workplace
6. The VITA program! Free tax-prep for anyone earning up to $66,000 annually
7. Every older person in Tucson deserves to retire and age with dignity
8. Comprehensive support for Tucson residents from Birth to End of Life
9. Days of Caring! Arizona’s largest volunteer event that brings together thousands to improve Tucson one project at a time
10. You’ll feel good knowing 100% of your gift stays right here in Tucson and will go towards building a thriving community!
Get more info here.
Oh Sh!t, I Forgot to Shop!
Shop a holiday pop-up market packed with local artisans, makers, curated vintage, sangria and charcuterie boards. Well-behaved pups are welcome to join the fun and take selfies with you and Santa.
Where: When + Where Co., 4441 E. Speedway Blvd.
When: Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 21-22, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend, but bring money to shop
Miracle on Congress Street
Santa and his elves will be downtown on Congress just west of Hub. In addition to Santa, the Miracle on Congress Street features free photos, free arts and crafts activities, Christmas music, live performances, free sugar-cookie and adult drinks, hot cocoa and coffee will be available for purchase.
Fridays, Dec. 6, 13 and 20, 4-10 p.m.
Saturdays, Dec. 7, 14 and 21, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sundays, Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Miracle on Congress St., 300 E. Congress St.
The Tucson International Jewish Film Festival (Sponsored)
The Tucson International Jewish Film Festival promotes independent, international film that celebrates Jewish culture and cultural diversity. This annual festival brings outstanding films from around the globe to Tucson-area screens. More than 3,000 festival attendees will gain a glimpse of Jewish lives that are worlds away and yet remarkably familiar. TIJFF is also one of the longest-running Jewish film festivals in the country and one of the longest-running film festivals in Arizona.
When: Jan. 5-19. 2020
Where: Locations throughout the Tucson area. Go here for more details.
Cost: Tickets start at $9 for JCC members and $10 for the public.
More info here.
Take your friends and relatives on a mule drawn hayride through the Meadowbrook subdivision near River and La Cholla while looking at festive holiday decorations.
Where: Holiday Hayrides, 2350 W. River Road
When: Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 13-26, 6-9 p.m.
Cost: $15 per person and ages 5 and under are free
Tucson Hop Shop's Annual Ugly Sweater Party
Deck the halls with holiday sweaters at the Tucson Hop Shop. Decorate a gingerbread house or just relax fireside. Wear your ugliest holiday sweater for $1 off your first pint.
Where: Tucson Hop Shop, 3230 N. Dodge Blvd.
When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 6-11 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend
Reid Park Zoo Lights
Enjoy a night at the zoo with beautiful twinkle-light decorations and animal sculptures. Santa will be there for pictures as well as live entertainment, food and snow to play in.
When: Dec. 5-30, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Zoo Ct.
Cost: $10 for adults, $6 for kids ages 2-12. Reid Park Zoo members get $2 off admission.
Santa at Little Anthony's Diner
He's making a list and checking it twice at Little Anthony's Diner all month long. Get a free photo with Santa when you bring in a non-perishable food item to donate to Tucson Community Food Bank.
Where: Little Anthony's Diner, 7010 E. Broadway Blvd.
When: Friday-Sunday, Dec. 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
MOCA Campfire and Holiday Sale
Join MOCA as they say goodbye to 2019 with a peaceful campfire and whimsical holiday sale. Shop with local artists and stop by the campfire to roast marshmallows, drink warm cider and listen to Celtic holiday music.
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, 265 S. Church Ave.
When: Thursday, Dec. 19, 6-8 p.m.
A Christmas Story
Will Ralphie get his Red Ryder air rifle? Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the wintry exploits of youngster Ralphie Parker, who spends most of his time dodging a bully and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift.
When: Friday, Dec. 20, 7-9 p.m.
Holiday Parade at Tanque Verde Swap Meet
The swap meet is hosting a merry event. Festivities include decorated floats, Santa Claus, Santa's helpers, shopping, and family fun.
Where: Tanque Verde Swap Meet, 4100 S. Palo Verde Road
When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 7-9 p.m.
Cost: Free, but bring money if you want to shop
Drive-in Movie: Elf
Add to your holiday season with this extra special drive-in movie at the Oro Valley Community & Recreation Center. The movie will begin at sundown (approx. 5:45 p.m.) with heaters and hot cocoa. Plus, you might see Buddy the Elf himself!
Where: Oro Valley Community Center, 10555 N. La Cañada Drive
When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 5:30-8 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend.
Open Forge at Desert Metal Craft
Join Desert Metal Craft for an all-ages open house to try your hand at blacksmithing. Bring your own projects to work on, or let us suggest something.
Where: Desert Metal Craft, 544 E. 24th St.
When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 9 a.m. to noon
Princesses at Winterhaven Festival of Lights
Take your little ones to go visit with their favorite princesses at the Disney House in Winterhaven.
Where: 2818 E. Farr St.
When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 6-8:30 p.m.
Marana Christmas Express
Enjoy a 20-minute train ride through amazing Christmas light displays, let the kids bounce on jumping pillows, visit the petting zoo, take pictures with Santa and listen to Christmas stories while sipping hot chocolate.
Where: Marana Christmas Express, 14901 N. Wentz Road
When: Fridays-Sundays, Dec. 6-22; Monday, Dec. 23, 5-9:30 p.m.
Cost: $10 per person at the gate; kids under 34" are free
The Sun Link Streetcar will magically transform into The Pueblo Express as it transports caroling families and merry elves to see Santa at Main Gate Square. Ring in the holidays with festive activities including special holiday musical performances by The Walden Grove Choir and Adam Townsend in Geronimo Plaza along with the lighting of the menorah, storytime, marshmallow roasting and snow.
Where: Main Gate Square, 814 E. University Blvd.
When: Sunday, Dec. 22, 2-5:30 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend, don your favorite pajamas and help earn a donation to Angel Heart Pajama Project.
Jácome Plaza lights and movies
Visit Jácome Plaza downtown for the ultimate photo op. Thousands of lights adorning the trees in the park, along with a giant lit ornament you can walk through! In addition, visit the giant community Christmas Tree. And Friday Food, Fun and Flix is back! Come to the park and watch "Home Alone 2 Lost in New York".
Where: Jácome Plaza (outside the main library), 101 N. Stone Ave.
When: Fridays, Dec. 20, 7 p.m.
Cost: Free, food vendors will be serving up hot chocolate and popcorn. You are also welcome to bring your own food. Games such as life-size chess, connect four, corn hole, foosball and checkers will be available all day in Jácome.
Southern Solstice: A Winter Fire Ritual in the Sonoran Desert
Cirque Roots is back again this year with a Winter Solstice experience featuring fire dancing, acrobatics, aerial, and stilt dance. Remember to bring your own chairs and blankets.
Where: Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, 3482 E. River Road
When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Cost: $10-$50, ages 10 and under are free
Hanukkah Events 🕎
Chanukah Menorah lighting in downtown Tucson
Join the 37th annual lighting of Tucson's tallest Chanukah Menorah outside City Hall in Downtown Tucson. There will be latkes, doughnuts and crafts.
Where: 160 W. Alameda St.
When: Sunday, Dec. 22, 5-6 p.m.
Hanukkah Dinner and Klezmer Concert
This annual tradition of a Hanukkah dinner starts at 5:30 pm by lighting the Millstone Family Menorah, then dinner with tasty latkes, kosher brisket and sides. There is also a vegetarian option on request.
During dinner, the ZemerZemer Klezmer Band will entertain with light jazz. After dinner, Cantorial Soloist Marjorie Hochberg will host a Hanukkah sing-a-long.
Where: Temple Emanu-El, 225 N. Country Club Road
When: Sunday, Dec. 22, 5:45-7:30 p.m.
Cost: Members $30, non-members $35, $9 ages 3-12 and free ages 3 and under
Hanukkah Candle Lighting
There will be candle lighting, storytime at the PJ Library, crafts and a performance by the Or Chadash Religious School Youth Choir.
Where: Handmaker, 2221 N. Rosemont Blvd.
When: Sunday, Dec. 22, 3-4:30 p.m.
Munch on latkes with all the trimmings and other Hanukkah goodies. Bring your menorah and three candles for the second night of Hanukkah.
Where: Ruth & Irving Olson Center for Jewish Life, 190 W. McGee, Suite 140
When: Monday, Dec. 23, 5-6:30 p.m.
Read to a Dog
Keep your kids busy over the holidays by reading to therapy dog. These pups love to have books read to them and they never criticize your reading skills.
Where: Kirk-Bear Canyon Library, 8959 E. Tanque Verde Road
When: Monday, Dec. 23, 6-7 p.m.
The Polar Express
Meet the train conductor at the door and get your ticket punched, plus there will be special guest appearances by Santa, and Kit! Get your face painted in the lobby and don't miss the coloring station and story-time in the downstairs lounge before the movie.
Where: Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St.
When: Monday, Dec. 23, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.
Holiday Express with Santa at the Maynard's train museum
Get a chance to talk and take a photo with Santa in front of the 1673 Locomotive. Enjoy holiday music, write a letter to Santa, see the museum’s bilingual exhibits and live action model trains, listen to the storytelling of the Polar Express, climb into 1673, and check out the arts and crafts show.
Where: Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N. Toole
When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Decorate Ornaments with Santa Cow
Have breakfast with Santa Cow and finish up letters to Santa before Christmas! Decorate ornaments to hang on your tree too, and make snowflakes.
Where: Chick-fil-A, 4585 N. Oracle Road
When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 9-10 a.m.
Cost: Free to attend
Dashing Through The Lights Fun Run
Join The Running Shop for a fun 4-mile social run starting at the store, through Winterhaven and then back to the shop for hot chocolate, cookies and shopping. Go early for a chance to win some cool raffle prizes.
Where: The Running Shop, 3055 N. Campbell Ave.
When: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 6 p.m.
Ugly Sweater Party and Customer Appreciation Buffet at CBC
Grab your sweater and join the brewery for Christmas movies, food, and drinks. The brewery and the Jersey Grill will be providing a free buffet of pasta, garlic bread, salad, and dessert. Please bring something to donate to the Endurance Project to help those in need. Check out the Facebook event for the list of items needed. All items will be assembled and given away Christmas morning at the Tucson Convention Center.
Where: Catalina Brewing Company, 6918 N. Camino Martin
When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 6-8 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend, but bring money for drinks
Deck the Halls with Bruce and bullets, fa-la-la-la!
Celebrate the holidays with everyone’s favorite holiday action movie.
When: Friday-Saturday, Dec. 20-21, 10-11:55 p.m.
Die Hard 80s Dance Party
Dress in your finest 80s attire or in theme. The DJ will be playing 80s music videos on two projectors all night. Plus get some free Die Hard buttons, take selfies in the photo booth and drink themed drinks.
Where: Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. Fourth Ave.
When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
1912 Hot Toddy Tasting
Have you ever been curious to know what a Hot Toddy would taste like with a beer?
Stop by 1912 Brewing Co. and taste a couple flavors made of liquor, water, honey, herbs, and spices, and guaranteed to warm you up this weekend.
Where: 1912 Brewing Co., 2045 N. Forbes Blvd., Ste. 105
When: Sunday, Dec. 22, 2-5 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend, but bring money for toddies!
Christmas Episodes of "The Office"
Watch all the Christmas episodes of The Office and visit Molecular Munchies with some sous vide goodness.
When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 7-10 p.m.