Festival of Lights Tucson

Are you searching for a place to relax and experience a winter wonderland first hand? There is no need to look further than the festival of lights in Tucson!

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If it is not your first time seeing a Christmas light show, you cannot find the same fun, excitement, and fulfillment in the city’s festival of lights. 

If you have not heard anything about the Christmas light festival in Tucson, you are probably skeptical whether it is a perfect destination or not. Don’t worry! In this comprehensive guide, you will know everything about the festival of lights in the beautiful city of Tucson. 

Without further ado, let’s dive into it!

Festival Dates

December is one of the most exciting times of the year. Apart from the chance to spend with your family, close friends, and other loved ones, the Christmas light festival is another much-awaited event of the long holiday season.

Who says any light exhibition is only for kids? The festival of light in the city is for people of all ages. As you see the homes in the Winterhaven transform into a winter wonderland, you will feel very nostalgic. It will bring back your childhood memories, taking your experience to the next level.

Every year, folks from the Winterhaven neighborhood adorn their homes with grandeur holiday displays and bright lights for the locals and travelers from other parts of the US to enjoy.
The festival of lights in Tucson started in 1949. Over the past decades, it has become a go-to tourist destination for many, especially during the Christmas season, making it popular in town and other nearby places throughout Arizona.

If you have visited the ZooLights at Phoenix Zoo, CitySkate in CityScape, Snowfall Westgate,
Polar Express Railway or Lights of the World in the Arizona State Fairgrounds, there are more destinations you cannot afford to ignore. The festival of lights in Tucson is another big Christmas event that will complete your experience.

Sometimes your iPhone camera is just not good enough

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

Tucson is home to exciting museums and historical sites. Some of them include the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Mission San Xavier del Bac, Saguaro National Park, Tucson Mountain Park, Old Tucson Studios, and El Presidio Historic District.

If you have explored most of them and are looking for something different, there is nothing to worry about! Tucson is also popular for its Winterhaven festival of light that you would love.
You can witness this light festival in the Winterhaven neighborhood, which is located near the Country Club and Fort Lowell in midtown Tucson.

There are also Winterhaven’s mobile tours you should consider, of course. These include trolley limo rides, hayrides, and party bikes. But these tours fill up quickly. So, make your reservation as early as possible for your convenience and satisfaction.

If you are on a budget, you can go to the Winterhaven neighborhood by car. But do not go thru the main entrance at Fort Lowell and Country Club as it quickly gets congested. Alternatively, Treat Avenue and Prince Road are the best routes.

However, there is no place to park outside the Winterhaven neighborhood. Fortunately, there are businesses nearby that provide paid parking.

Festival Hours

Although there is no fixed date, Tucson’s light festival is usually open to the public from 6 to 10 p.m. After a tiring day in the office, do not miss the chance of seeing how the Winterhaven neighborhood turns into a winter wonderland during the long holiday season.

Cost to Visit the Festival

Most festivals of lights have entrance fees. The Winterhaven light exhibition in Tucson is different. You can enjoy a variety of attractions in the neighborhood for free. Yes, there is no entrance fee. Kids, teens, and adults can explore the neighborhood without charges to pay.

But the organizers accept monetary and food donations for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. You do not only have an exciting experience but also make other people happy with your donations.

Weather and What to Wear

Like other cities in Arizona, the Winterhaven neighborhood in Tucson gets quite cold in December up to January.

When you plan to visit the light festival, do not forget to wear thick and comfortable clothes. Wearing a sweater, heavy-duty pants, and boots are advised to avoid any problem.

If you just drive thru at the Winterhaven festival of lights, fewer clothes will do.
Since it will be a long walk, make sure to wear some comfy shoes to reduce any pain and discomfort.
But the best you can do is to check on the news. So, watch the daily weather forecast to avoid any hassle.

Where to Sleep

If you are staying in Tucson for a week or two, it is ideal to look for the best accommodation, and your long search is over with the following hotels near the Winterhaven neighborhood:
Arizona Inn
Nothing is more fulfilling than having a comfy and high-quality accommodation in Tucson. With the variety of options to choose from, tourists highly recommend Arizona Inn. From the cozy rooms, quality food, recreational spaces, free parking to Wi-Fi, Arizona Inn has them all. If you are tired after a long escapade, the charm around the hotel is irresistible and relaxing, of course!

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tucson Mall
Another excellent choice is Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tucson Mall. Aside from a fantastic and welcoming customer support, the hotel is packed with style and luxury. As you go inside the inn, you will surely be mesmerized by the breathtaking design and architecture. It also prides itself on complete and quality amenities for your family escapade.

Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort
Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort is another quality accommodation you can not afford to miss. Like the Arizona Inn and Holiday Inn Express and Suites Tucson Mall, this ranch resort has luxurious and world-class amenities you will definitely fall in love with. From the friendly staff, competitive rate, to superb amenities, there is no place like Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort.

Where to Eat – Restaurants Nearby

After a daunting escapade, treat yourself to a sumptuous, healthy, and delicious meal in any of these popular restaurants around Winterhaven Tucson, Arizona:

Ghinis French Caffe
Are you craving some French cuisines? Worry no more! This is where Ghinis French Caffe got your back. It offers quality meals for breakfast and brunch. Also, it provides dishes for vegetarians / vegans. Feel free to browse its official website for further details.

Rosas Mexican Food
Who does not like chilaquiles, elote, pozole, tacos al pastor, tostadas, chiles en nogada, and other Mexican foods? If you have been into Mexican cuisine or you like to try something different, the Rosas Mexican Food will be your best bet. More than the quality food, expect a friendly staff that can accommodate your concerns and other queries.

Danny’s Baboquivari Lounge
A pub? A restaurant? A bar? Danny’s Baboquivari Lounge is a one-stop option you can ever have. The food is the best here and can satisfy your cravings and tastebuds. Every meal is available at a competitive price while taking its taste to the next level.

More Things to Do in the Area

Aside from the Winterhaven festival of lights, there are other things you can do in Tucson, Arizona. Some of them are highlighted below:

Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair
Are you fond of arts and shopping events? If yes, the Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair should be on top of your bucket list. Different businesses bring over 200 arts and craft booths together during mid-December. That’s not all! There are food vendors, street performers, and other musicians that will complete your stay in Tucson.

The Mini-Time Machine
Usually, museums are gigantic. But the Mini-Time Machine is different. Yes, it is not like the typical museum that we see in Arizona. Although it is small, it is packed with many things to explore. In fact, it is composed of around 275 miniature houses you should not miss.

So, what’s your thought? Visit the light festival in Tucson soonest!

Arik Akunis
Arik Akunis

My name is Arik Akunis and I have been in the field of lighting for over the last 20 years, I started my journey in the world of lighting in the lighting niche for events where I first came across a festival of lights and immediately fell in love with it.