The weather is changing from a slight chilly breeze to a crisp drop in temperature, the turkey holiday is now the past and winter has just begun. All December-long there will be an abundance of inexpensive festivities to explore in the Greater Tacoma area. From tree-lighting ceremonies to Santa’s workshop, there are plenty of ways to indulge in the holiday season. While it may not be as extravagant or magical as Rockefeller Center, it is considerably cheaper, and just as fun.
ICE SKATING AT POINT RUSTON
Kick off the winter season with ice skating at Point Ruston. What was originally known as the Polar Plaza that once was located on Tollefson Square is now at the Grand Plaza at Point Ruston. The Polar Plaza’s new home is a reasonable alternative. Parking will be much easier, shops and restaurants are more accessible and the chances of running into some interesting downtown characters gets reduced to zero. Although the prices have increased, it’s still an affordable activity — even for those college students on a budget.
SANTA AT JOB CARR CABIN MUSEUM
If you’re searching for something along the lines of little to no money for the whole family to enjoy, check out the Job Carr Cabin Museum Dec. 2. Santa will be visiting Old Town from 1–3:30 p.m. and — photo ops with Santa will take place in the cozy cabin and light refreshments will also be provided. Everything will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Donations of non-perishable food items are suggested — it will go towards the collection box for St. Leo’s Food Connection.
POLAR BEAR PLUNGE AT POINT DEFIANCE
If you’re planning to stretch the holiday fun past Christmas, check out the Polar Bear Plunge at the Point Defiance Marina boat launch. Take a splash in the Puget Sound to kick off the New Year despite the freezing temperature! The Polar Bear Plunge is an annual tradition hosted by Metro Parks Tacoma — the cost is free and light refreshments will be provided. The plunge starts at 11:30 a.m. for children under the age of 10 and noon for adults. The event takes place rain or shine, as there will also be life jackets and lifeguards on duty. Although, if you plan to stay dry and warm, you’re more than welcome to hang around on shore to cheer on the swimmers!
Despite the gray, rainy wintertime, Tacoma is quite delightful — thanks to all of the creative light displays and Santas popping up here and there. Get the most out of the merriest season and start planning your holiday calendar!
NORTH POLE AT THE FAIR
Dates: Nov. 11–Dec. 23
Location: WA State Fair Events Center in Puyallup
Cost: $5, free for kids 2 & under
SANTA AT THE LEMAR CAR MUSEUM
Dates: Dec. 9 & 10, Dec. 16 & 17
Time: 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Location: LeMay Car Museum
Cost: Adults $18, students $14,
kids $10, free for kids 5 & under
LANTERN LIGHT FESTIVAL
Dates: Nov. 24–Jan. 7
Location: WA State Fair Events Center Purple Gate
Cost: Adults $23, kids age 3–12
$18, free for kids under 3
Dates: Nov. 24–Jan. 1
Time: 5:30–9 p.m.
Location: Spanaway Park
Cost: $14 per car
Dates: Nov. 24–Jan. 1
Location: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Cost: $10, free for kids 2 & under
FIRST NIGHT IN TACOMA
Date: Dec. 31
Location: Downtown Tacoma Theater District
HOLIDAY WITH LIGHTS
Dates: Dec. 3–31
Location: Wild Waves
Cost: Starting at $14.99
SANTA VISITS OLD TOWN
Date: Dec. 2
Time: 1–3:30 p.m.
Location: Job Carr Cabin Museum
JINGLE BELL RUN
Date: Dec. 24
Location: Wright Park
Cost: $10 before Dec. 20, $15
Dec. 21–23, $20 Dec. 24
POLAR BEAR PLUNGE
Date: Jan. 1
Time: 11:30 a.m.–noon
Location: Point Defiance Marina boat launch
FESTIVAL OF TREES
Dates: Dec. 1 & 2
Location: Greater Tacoma Convention Center
Cost: Adults $6, kids age 13–18
$2, free for kids 12 & under
INDIGO FROZEN FOUNTAIN ICE SKATING
Dates: Nov. 10–Jan. 2
Location: The Grand Plaza at Point Ruston
Cost: Adults $12.50, youth &
seniors $9, BYO skates $10