Franciscan Polar Plaza

Holiday skating in downtown Tacoma. Half-price skating on Dec 12 & 13!

We were looking for an activity that was local, had a holiday feel, would appeal to everyone with us, and was inexpensive.  We found the perfect place at the Franciscan Polar Ice Plaza ice skating rink.  It’s in Tollefson Plaza, directly across Pacific Avenue from the Tacoma Art Museum in downtown Tacoma.

There is a Christmas tree stand, peddling their pines and firs, right as you enter the doors to the temporary ice rink structure.  In the first “room” you find several benches for lacing up your blades of glory.  If you don’t own a pair of skates, they have plenty to rent for only $2. 

For refreshments before, during, or after your excursion, there is a table selling coffee, hot chocolate, hot cider, cookies, muffins, and other treats.

The next set of doors leads you to the rink with a tent-like structure over it.  It is closed on 3 sides by vinyl panels that help to reduce the wind sneaking though.  The open side faces Pacific Ave and gives a nice view of the lights, both holiday and headlights, that line up the street.  Random people stroll by and smile at the Norman Rockwell-ish antics taking place on the ice.

The night we were there, the rink had a smattering of people coming and going but my daughter had the place pretty much to herself.  They played a mix of Christmas and contemporary music which had the effect of adding to the festive holiday atmosphere without feeling like you were being beaten over the head with it.

There were plenty of places for a non-skating mom like me to sit but they were all below the rim of the rink so I couldn’t see her skating while I sat.  I alternated between standing and sitting which had the additional benefit of creating movement to generate heat for my freezing limbs.  I came somewhat prepared for chilly conditions but with that cold wind racing through the rink, I was chilled to the bone by the time we left.  A hot cup of coffee helped but a few more layers of clothing on my next visit will take care of that problem.

We were there for half-price skate night and there are two more left, Wed Dec 12th and Thur Dec 13th.  They have many different events planned including live music on most Saturdays.  This Thursday, Dec 13 from 5-7pm, is a fun event in conjunction with the Tacoma Art Museum called Sip and Skate.  You can flex your creativity in making a gingerbread house creation all your own, enjoy some yummy hot chocolate, and take a few spins around the ice rink when you feel the need to take a break from construction.

There is a listing of all the great events (real camel rides, even!) here, along with hours, prices, and parking information.

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