The Tucson Festival of Books is a two-day event on the University of Arizona Campus that celebrates books, authors, illustrators, and readers.
Founded in 2009, TFOB is the fourth-largest book festival in the USA and draws visitors from all over the country.
The fest features more than 300 presentations, 350 authors, and 200 exhibitors. There are book signings, panel discussions, food vendors, children’s and Science City programming, and dozens of free activities for all ages on the University of Arizona Mall.
Festival organizers project that this year’s event will draw about 135,000 participants.
What are the dates for the 2019 Tucson Festival of Books?
The 2019 Tucson Festival of Books will be held on Saturday, March 2 and Sunday March 3.
What is the location of the Tucson Festival of Books?
The Tucson Festival of Books is held on the University of Arizona Campus in midtown Tucson.
What are the hours?
9:30am-5:30pm on both days
Why would I go to the Tucson Festival of Books?
- To meet your favorite local and national authors
- To attend workshops about writing, literacy, publishing, and social media
- To visit the children’s area – crafts, games, storybook characters, and more
- To meander through Science City
- To purchase books (and get them signed on-site!)
- To nosh on local treats from food trucks, area restaurants, and bakeries
How much does it cost?
What is the parking situation?
Parking at the University of Arizona is complimentary in surface lots and in the Park Avenue and Highland garage during Festival weekend. The Cherry Avenue, 6th Street, Tyndall, and Main Gate garages are available for $5 per vehicle; free entry is granted after 4pm. Use of public transportation is strongly encouraged. Both the SunTran bus system and the SunLink street car provide convenient alternatives to parking at the University of Arizona.
What should I wear?
Temperatures in this region in mid-March range from 48°F to 73°F, often with blue skies and lots of sun. The temperature is rarely below 40 degrees or above 84 degrees. Aside from the workshops/lectures, the festival is mostly outdoors so good walking shoes and light layers are best. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats are also recommended. The festival happens rain or shine!
What should I bring with me?
A camera for any fun characters you may meet! You may also want to bring water bottles, snacks, cash for food and/or souvenirs, and a picnic blanket.
Are bathrooms available?
Is outside food allowed at the Tucson Festival of Books?
Yes. Feel free to pack a picnic basket or a few snacks to tide you over in between sessions and activities.
What dining venues are available on-site?
There are a number of food truck style eateries and booths. Chick-fil-A is also on-campus in the Student Union – serving up chicken nuggets, chicken sandwiches, milkshakes, iced tea, and lemonade.
What restaurants are located near the Tucson Festival of Books?
So many good ones! You might want to consider some of our favorite places that are within a 2-mile radius:
- The Fix, Arizona’s Mac & Chz Headquarters, 943 E. University Blvd (less than 1 mile away) – mac & cheese, salad, sandwiches, burgers
- Illegal Pete’s, 876 E. University Blvd (less than 1 mile away) – burritos, tacos, nachos
- Time Market, 444 E. University Blvd (less than 1 mile away) – produce, bakery, coffee, sandwiches, soup, pizza
- The B Line, 621 N. 4th Ave (about 1 mile away) – breakfast, burritos, pasta, salad, sandwiches
- Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink, 101 E. Pennington St (1.4 miles away) – lunch, dinner, spirits, wine, beer garden
- Cafe Poca Cosa, 110 E. Pennington St (1.4 miles away) – upscale urban bistro, “imaginative Mexican cuisine,” menu changes twice daily, reservations required
- Maynards Market & Kitchen, 400 N. Toole Ave (1.5 miles away) – indoor + outdoor seating, sandwiches, salads, beer + wine
- La Cocina, 201 N. Court Ave (1.6 miles away) – brunch, lunch, dinner, sandwiches, salads, southwestern fare, indoor + outdoor seating, live music
- 47 Scott, 47 N. Scott Ave (1.7 miles away) – neighborhood bistro, dinner daily (4-10pm), happy hour (4-6pm), weekend brunch
- Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails, 135 S. 6th Ave (1.8 miles away) – dinner, desserts, happy hour, gourmet American cuisine prepared by a renowned chef
- Cafe a La C’Art (inside Tucson Museum of Art), 150 N. Main Ave (1.8 miles away) – Monet inspired garden patio, pastries, breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Culinary Dropout, 2543 E. Grant Rd (1.9 miles away) – classic meals, cocktails, bar, live music, weekend brunch
BABIES & KIDS
Can kids attend the Tucson Festival of Books?
Yes! In fact, there is an entire area designated specifically for children.
Should I bring a stroller?
Maybe. A stroller could be useful as you walk the length of the mall with little ones. Note, however, that foot traffic is intense and navigating a stroller through the crowds can be pretty tiresome. A baby carrier might be your best bet for infants.
Is there a designated area for nursing moms?
Yes – there are several different lactation areas on the University of Arizona campus. Consult this Family Resource Map for a full list of changing tables, family restrooms, and lactation rooms.
Are changing tables available?
Yes- in the restrooms. There are also some grassy areas that would be just fine for changing diapers. Trash cans are plentiful.
What about my other “baby” (dog, cat, etc)?
From the TFOB website: “Service dogs are welcome, but please leave all pets at home. The event is very busy and can be upsetting to our four-legged friends.“
Is the Festival wheelchair accessible?
Yes. Read more about disability access at the Tucson Festival of Books.
Can I have my wedding at the Tucson Festival of Books?
It’s not really a wedding-venue – unless you want an audience of 120,000 people on a super crowded university campus. ;)
WHERE TO STAY
What hotels do you recommend for visitors to the Tucson Festival of Books?
Is the Tucson Festival of Books active on social media?
What else do I need to know before I go to the Tucson Festival of Books?
This is a popular event! Crowds can be thick and the number of booths can be overwhelming. Our number #1 tip is to use the event schedule to plan ahead. Be sure to make use of our top 10 tips for maximum fun.
That just about covers it. Have a great time!