The flavors of the holidays

click to enlarge The flavors of the holidays
(Tucson Botanical Gardens/Submitted)
LightsUp! A Festival of Illumination offers thematic zones with custom-build decorations from local artisans.

In Tucson, there are chances to fill the holidays with a variety of experiences, including light displays, concerts, ballet performances, movie nights, theater, parades and themed experiences.

Check out these local activities.

Arizona Theatre Company’s “Scrooge!”


Arizona Theatre Company will bring its new holiday production “Scrooge!” Played by live musicians, the music is courtesy of Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer Leslie Bricusse. The role of Ebenezer Scrooge will be portrayed by Tony-winning actor Shuler Hensley, who has appeared in “The Greatest Showman,” “Van Helsing,” “The Legend of Zorro,” “Odd Thomas” and “Dexter: New Blood.”

Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Avenue, Tucson, various times, tickets start at $25,

Tucson Holiday Ice

NOV. 19 TO JAN. 7

Tucson Holiday Ice returns to Downtown Tucson to give people of all ages an outdoor skating experience. Sessions last 90 minutes and include skate rentals.

Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Avenue, Tucson, $22 adults, $15 children younger than 12, various times,

Old Tucson Yuletide

NOV. 24 TO DEC. 24

During Old Tucson’s Yuletide celebration, guests will feel as if they have stepped back in time. The movie set/theme park will be filled with holiday decorations, period characters, interactive experiences and live performances. The holiday celebration will also mix in a touch of the Old West.

Old Tucson, 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson, tickets start at $24, 5 to 10 p.m.,

“LightsUp! A Festival of


NOV. 24 TO JAN. 7

For the second year, the Tucson Botanical Gardens will offer six thematic zones, including Welcome Walk, Whimsey Way, Bedazzled Boulevard, Star Shower and Luminaria Lane as part of “LightsUp! A Festival of Illumination.” The display uses over a million lights, which also contain custom-built props from local artisans such as cypress-inspired spindle trees, light tunnels and curtains, punch-tin star trees, light curtains and luminaria chandeliers. One new addition this year is a holiday tree in the pavilion, which is decorated with birdhouses made by local volunteers.

Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson, timed tickets start at $14, various times,

“ZooLights! Holiday Magic”

DEC. 2 TO JAN. 7

Reid Park Zoo illuminates during “Zoo-Lights! Holiday Magic.” Through Saturday, Dec. 23, families can take photos with Santa. The experience also features falling snow in the Arctic Zone and holiday music. At the Zoo Café, guests can purchase a cup of hot cocoa. Visitors can receive a $1 discount by bringing two cans of food for the Community Food Bank or food or toys for pets for La Frontera.

Reid Park Zoo, 3400 Zoo Court, Tucson, ticket prices and times vary,

“The Muppet Christmas CaroL”

DEC. 2

Families will have a chance to see the classic Charles Dickens tale, retold with beloved Muppet characters in 1992’s “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” A half-hour before the show, guests will be treated to a Wurlitzer concert.

Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress Street, Tucson, tickets start at $6, 6 p.m.,

Ballet Tucson’s “The Sugar Plum Tea”

DEC. 3

During Ballet Tucson’s “The Sugar Plum Tea,” families can sip tea during “The Nutcracker”-themed experience. The event will include performances, delectable fare a “Nutcracker” boutique and a silent auction.

Tucson Marriott University Park, 880 E. Second Street, Tucson, check website for ticket prices, 2 p.m.,

Winterhaven Festival of Lights

DEC. 9 TO DEC. 25

Each year, Winterhaven homes showcase their holiday spirit with glimmering decorations and themed displays. The Festival of Lights started in 1949 and was inspired by the light display in Beverly Hills. Participation is voluntary, but many residents take pride in creating holiday displays each year. Guests can choose to see the lights by foot, a hayride, a party bike or a trolley. During the event, nonperishable food items will be collected for the Community Food Bank.

Winterhaven, entrances on Fort Lowell, Country Club, Prince and Tucson, free but food or monetary donations encouraged, 6 to 10 p.m.,

An Irish Christmas

DEC. 10

Performers from “Riverdance” and world-champion dancers will celebrate Irish traditions, such as making butter, chasing a wren on St. Stephen’s Day and drawing down the half door. The night of music and song will also feature Christmas carols from the Kerry Voice Squad.

Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress Street, Tucson, tickets start at $32.50, 7 p.m.,

“A Swingin’ Little Christmas” Starring Jane Lynch

DEC. 13

Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress Jane Lynch is best known for her roles in “Glee” and “Annie.” She released “A Swingin’ Little Christmas,” which harkens back to the 1950s and 1960s. The holiday show will feature guests Kate Flannery from “The Office” and Tim Davis, the vocal producer for “Glee.” They will perform with the Tony Guerrero Quintet.

Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress Street, Tucson, tickets start at $20, 7:30 p.m.,

Downtown Parade of Lights and Festival

DEC. 16

The Downtown Parade of Lights has been an annual tradition in Tucson for the past 29 years. It offers colorful floats, decorated cars, pop culture characters and entries from local organizations. The best place to see the parade is along Stone Avenue between Broadway and 17th Street or Sixth Avenue between Broadway and 13th Street. The festivities feature food trucks, vendors and live music from 4 to 6:30 p.m., when the parade starts.

Armory Park, 220 S. Sixth Avenue, Tucson, free admission, 4 p.m.,

Ballet Tucson’s production of

“The Nutcracker”

DEC. 21 TO DEC. 23

Ballet Tucson and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra present the ballet “The Nutcracker.” The story of Clara, her Nutcracker Prince is brought to life with Tchaikovsky’s score, performed by professional musicians. There is a limited VIP experience where guests take photos with the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall, 260 S. Church Street, Tucson, tickets start at $30,

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