Are you planning a family trip to Tucson? This Southwestern city offers lots of family-friendly attractions and activities, including the Reid Park Zoo, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and Breakers Water Park as well as many parks and family resorts. You might want to plan your trip around one of Tucson’s many family-friendly festivals. Choose your favorite among music, rodeo, Christmas lights, or folk art events.
La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros
This rodeo event happens every February in Tucson. The Thursday before the rodeo begins there’s a rodeo parade in Tucson, and it’s such a big deal that local kids traditionally get the day off school to attend the parade. The rodeo’s events include roping, riding, barrel racing, and steer wrestling. The festival also includes barn dances and junior rodeo events. A rodeo is a living history event in a way, a connection to the American West and its cowboy traditions.
Tucson Jazz Festival
The Tucson Jazz Festival is a massive, 10-day event that takes place each January. The music happens at venues all over the city. Admission is $35 to $45 for all the shows except for a few highlight performances, or you can stop by the Downtown Jazz Fiesta for free. Look for a hotel in downtown Tucson so you’ll have a convenient place to rest or change between events.
All Souls Procession
The All Souls Procession is a community event that draws 100,000 people into the streets each year in early November to celebrate the dead. Everyone is invited to be part of the event, and participants are encouraged to dress up, make a mask, create a puppet, or find another creative way to remember, honor, release, and embrace those who have gone before. This can be an emotional experience for those who’ve experienced loss and could be just right for older kids who have lost a loved one.
Winterhaven Festival of Lights
This community Christmas light show is a Tucson tradition dating back to 1949 and is a gift from the residents of Winterhaven to the local community. You can tour the light display on foot or on a hayride, a party bike, or a trolley limo — but those options are popular, so make reservations if you want to use them. The lights are on display from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., during the annual festival, which starts in early December and stretches through Christmas. Bring canned goods to donate to local food banks.
Meet Yourself Folklife Festival
This is a massive festival that celebrates the folk and ethnic communities of Southern Arizona every October. Get to know the local populations through their foods, performances, folk art demonstrations, music, exhibits, and more. The festival takes place across six festival areas, and one of the highlights is the traditional dances of the Pascua Yaqui tribe and the Tohono O’odham nation.
Planning your Tucson travel around one of these events could give shape to your entire trip. These are all family-friendly events that welcome people of all ages to share in local Tucson traditions.