Winter time is rearing its merry head, and Pierce County provides many exciting opportunities to celebrate the season with your loved ones or even solo. Don’t let the holidays or the cold weather keep you indoors — go out and enjoy these seven wintertime events sure to boost your Christmas spirits!
Dates: Nov. 23–Jan. 6
Time: 5–9 p.m.
Location: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
What’s the holiday season without all of the festive lights? At Zoolights, patrons take a stroll through Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium at night to see the thousands of holiday lights on display. The exhibits set up through the zoo are made up of a total of 700,000 Christmas lights — from magenta lights in the trees to lit-up life-sized animals.
SPANAWAY FANTASY LIGHTS
Dates: Nov. 22–Jan. 1
Time: 5:30–9 p.m.
Location: Spanaway Lake and Park
Cost: $7–14 per vehicle
Don’t let Zoolights steal all the thunder — Spanaway Fantasy Lights is definitely one to put on your holiday bucket list. Being the biggest drive-thru holiday light display in the Northwest, Fantasy Lights is the perfect entertainment if you wish to enjoy the lights from the comfort of your own car. Fantasy Lights even provides the holiday tunes with a special radio station — FM 95.3 — dedicated solely to the arrangement of the lights.
JINGLE BELL RUN
Date: Dec. 24
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Wright Park
Need something to burn off those holiday calories, or looking to enjoy a great run? The Jingle Bell Run is a 5k competition — great for a jog that you, your loved ones and even your pets can walk or run in. The Jingle Bell Run is the last installment of the “Run The Parks” races for the 2018 season.
Bonus: Wear a holiday-themed costume for a chance to win an awesome prize!
TREE PICKING AT DOUBLE FOUR TREE FARM
Date: Nov. 23–Dec. 15
Times: Tuesday–Friday noon–4 p.m. Saturday–Sunday 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Location: 4217 72nd St. E, Tacoma
Looking for a real Christmas tree to add to your holiday decor? Consider cutting down this year’s tree at Double Four Tree Farm, located only a few miles from the UW Tacoma campus. Bundle up with your friends and family and search this tree farm’s 22 acres for your perfect Christmas tree. Once you find one, you can either cut it down yourself or have one of the assistants cut it for you. There is also the option to choose from one of the many pre-cut trees that range in type and size. Double Four Tree Farm also sells holiday wreaths, tree stands and other festive accessories. When you stop in there, make sure to grab an apple cider and an ornament for your beautifully cut tree from their gift shop!
Dates: Nov. 14–Feb. 2
Times: Monday–Thursday 4–10 p.m., Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sunday noon–10 p.m.
Location: 5005 Ruston Way, Ruston
Skate your heart out on Point Ruston’s ice skating rink! Bring a friend or even your entire family — the Frozen Fountain welcomes all ages and skill levels. Starting this year, the ice rink will be open Nov. 14–Feb. 2, 2019 — an entire month longer than previous years. You can also turn your skate into a full afternoon of fun by visiting one of the nearby restaurants or cafes. Sip on a hot chocolate from Jewel Box Cafe or eat lunch at Wild Fin, Mio Sushi or Farrelli’s Pizza before or after you skate around the ice rink. There’s nothing better than having a little fun on the ice during the holiday season!
DOWNTOWN TACOMA MARKET — HOLIDAY EDITION
Date: Dec. 9
Time: 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Location: Court House Square
Cost: $1 entry fee
Still looking for that last minute gift? Have no idea what to get your aunt’s boyfriend who shows up at holiday parties for some reason? The Downtown Tacoma Market hosts a variety of local vendors who are there to help. This holiday edition will have festive gifts and treats sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. With several vendors and food choices — such as Lift Bridge Coffee and en Rama — you can enjoy brunch and other decadent food as you stroll through the market.
POLAR BEAR PLUNGE
Date: Jan. 1
Times: 11:30 a.m. and noon
Location: 5912 North Waterfront Dr., Tacoma
Start off the new year with a daring act — plunge into the cold water of the Puget Sound. The Polar Bear Plunge — an annual free event put on by Metro Parks — allows attendees to jump into the Puget Sound with the safety of life jackets and company of lifeguards. All ages are welcome to jump, as the Polar Bear Plunge offers two different jump times — a Cub Plunge for children 10 and under, and an Adult/Family Plunge. After the jump, participants are ushered into warming tents, complete with free hot chocolate and purchasable holiday treats. Take the Polar Bear Plunge and kick off 2019 with a splash.