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Festivals & Special Cultural Events / Destinations

It's difficult to keep up with the festivals and special cultural events in Tucson. It seems that every weekend brings another one. Please check the websites, as there can be changes of time.

Some of these are highly publicized and literally "stop traffic" all over town. Others may be "hidden gems" that you will enjoy discovering. Click on titles highlighted in blue to go directly to their websites.

Annual Festivals / Events

Tucson International Mariachi ConferenceThis is called a conference, but it is more accurately a series of workshops for aspiring and professional mariachi players. Several performances are scheduled during the week, with the big concert, the Espectacular Concert and Fiesta de Garibaldi, on Friday night. It's a grand celebration of all things mariachi and baile folklorico. Advance tickets are necessary for the Friday night concert.  April.



Tucson Gem and Mineral ShowThe largest gem and mineral show in the US is scheduled for the second full weekend of February. Extraordinary mineral, gem, fossil, lapidary and jewelry exhibits by some 250 retail dealers. See website for map of locations, which are concentrated around the Tucson Community Center. Late January-Early February.


African Market.   In conjunction with the Gem and Mineral Show, dealers in African arts set up their displays in an area near 22nd Street and I-10.  


El Tour de Tucson.   Bicycle race around the perimeter of Tucson. Event attracts casual bicyclists as well as nationally ranked. November. Good viewing opportunities in many locations.


Tucson Rodeo - La Fiesta de los VaquerosAnnual event that begins with extensive parade of horses, riders and floats representative of the Old West, and continues over several days with rodeo events. February.



Other Special Events / Destinations

Amerind FoundationAnthropological and archaeological museum and research center dedicated to Native American cultures and their histories. Located in the beautiful Texas Canyon in the Little Dragoon Mountains east of Tucson. Special exhibitions, tours and events. Museum is home to one of the finest private collections of Native American art and artifacts in the country. See directional signs on I-10. Museum open Tuesday through Sunday, 10am - 4pm


Tucson Botanical GardensSerene and beautiful gardens utilizing plants native to Southern Arizona. Special events, lectures, and gardening classes. Located at 2150 N. Alvernon Way (south of Grant Road). 520-32-9686


Singing Wind Bookstore.   Unique bookstore located on a ranch north of Benson, AZ. Winifred Bundy opened the store more than 30 years ago in the secluded ranch house where she lives. Her emphasis on new books dealing with Southwestern and Western themes attracts visitors from all over the world (the store has been extensively written about in many periodicals). Click here for a map to the bookstore.


Tucson Festival of BooksWeekend of readings by authors, both nationally known and local, and workshops and a mall full of booths at the University of Arizona campus. Scheduled for March.


Day of the Dead - All Soul's Procession, Annual walking parade down 4th Avenue. This is a joyous wonderful event--incredible creative costumes with one thing in common: each one celebrates the traditional Mexican Day of the Dead and the memory of spirits of the departed. Check newspaper for day & times.


4th Avenue Street Fair, Celebrate Fall and Spring by strolling 4th Avenue, enjoying street musicians & performers. Enjoy food of many varieties, and arts and crafts at over 400 booths.

           Winter Street Fair - December

           Spring Street Fair - March

Wings Over Willcox, A celebration of one of nature's most graceful and majestic species - the Sandhill Cranes - which stop in the wetlands south of Willcox to rest and feed during their annual migrations. Truly awe-inspiring. Celebration is January, although the cranes may not stick to this strict calendar.


Holualoa Tucson Marathon & Half Marathon, Get out your running shoes and enjoy a beautiful Tucson winter day as you run or walk this scenic mostly downhill roadway following the Catalina Mountains range. This is a official qualifying race for the Boston Marathon. Pre-registration required. December


Better Than Ever, Walk or run the Tucson Marathon or Half Marathon while raising dollars for Women's cancer research. The "Better Than Ever" program is underwritten by sponsors, thus ever dollar raised goes directly to cancer research. Register for group training sessions prior to the race in December

Kitt Peak National ObservatoryKitt Peak, located some 56 miles west of Tucson on the Tohono O'odham Nation, is part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, and hosts 19 optical telescopes, 3 major nighttime telescopes and 2 radio telescopes. It's a consortia of research institutions from around the world. There is a Visitor Center, open to the public, and there are special "Night Under the Stars" events in which visitors have the opportunity to look through the giant telescopes and talk with professional astronomers who are carrying out research at Kitt Peak. Click here for information on the Nightly Observing Program.


Tucson Meet Yourself.   Annual folklife festival which presents the broad array of cultures which have found a welcoming home in Tucson. Several performance stages around the downtown area, as well as food booths. Spread throughout El Presidio Park, Jacomé Library Plaza, La Placita Village, and the Old Pima County Courthouse complex. October. Friday & Saturday, until 10pm, Sunday from 11am to 6pm


Mariachi Musicians
Folklorico Dancers
Amber stones at Gem & Mineral Show

Geodes cracked open to display their crystals
Fossil specimens at Gem & Mineral Show
Dragonfly on Agave Cactus
Dealer displays wares at African Market

Gorgeous textiles at African Market

Day of the Dead Parade
Day of the Dead Parade participants
Sandhill Crane over Willcox
La Fiesta de los Vaqueros
El Tour de Tucson
El Tour de Tucson
Kitt Peak National Observatory west of Tucson
Kitt Peak National Observatory