Tucson is home to a lot of interesting people, places, and things, and any person, no matter their interests, would be hard-pressed to find a festival in Tucson that is not right up their alley. Tucson is a beautiful, varied community, and as such we have our fair share of amazing festivals that draw in crowds by the thousands each and every year.
If you’re new to Tucson, or just new to getting into the Tucson social scene, there are some pretty great festivals that you need to add to your to-do list. There are events all throughout Tucson and the surrounding communities year-round, but we have gathered together the very best, most unmissable festivals that you need to be attending this season.
Nightfall at Old Tucson: Oct 1 - 31
The scariest festival by far, horror and Halloween fans are drawn year after year to the utterly creepy and always enjoyable Nightfall turns Old Tucson Studios into a fright-fest that has to be experienced at least once (if not annually!) Ghouls, zombies, and monsters of all ilk roam the studio town, treating guests to frights of all kinds.
Tucson Meet Yourself: Oct 7 – 9
If there’s one thing that Tucsonans have in spades, it’s character. Tucson Meet Yourself is an annual festival that takes place all around Downtown Tucson every October. Tucson Meet Yourself is all about presenting visitors with local cultures, communities, and traditions through art and experience. Tucson Meet Yourself has been a local tradition since 1974!
All Souls Procession: Nov 5 – 6
November 1 is the infamous Day of the Dead, but every year Tucsonans take a cue from Mexican culture and honor those they have lost and the experience of death with the Dia de Los Muertos or All Souls Procession. Tucson’s very own Mardi Gras, the All Souls Procession is a mark of Tucson pride, drawing tens of thousands of participants every single year. The procession is a group walk of a few miles, usually from 4th Avenue to Downtown. The costumes, props, art shows, and finale performances are nothing short of spectacular. Bring your camera, folks!
El Tour de Tucson: Nov 19
Tucson is really big on bikes, and El Tour de Tucson is the culmination of that passion for two-wheeling. Every year, nearly 10,000 cyclists from all around Tucson take part in the U.S.’ largest perimeter bicycling event, boasting upwards of 106 miles of cycling all across Tucson. For those looking for a fun, short day of cycling, there’s the Fun Ride, where you can bike from ¼ to 11 miles with the entire family.
Winterhaven Festival of Lights: Dec 10 - 26
Every year, thousands of Tucsonans head on over to Winterhaven night after night for 67 years to see one community’s gorgeous light display to celebrate the holiday season. People come to see the community in droves, and recently Winterhaven has brought more ways to see the lights, including a group bike, a hayride, and even a trolley. Though entry is always free, the Winterhaven Festival of Lights does ask that visitors bring a donation to the Community Food Bank. Last year the festival collected $24,000 and 42,316 pounds of food for the Community Food Bank! Help them the record this year!