Each year, Polar Plaza fills Tollefson Plaza across from Tacoma Art Museum with holiday cheer. More than that, it brings something unique to the South Sound—an ice skating rink! And while there’s nothing more festive than strapping on a set of blades and taking to the ice (or falling on the ice, if you skate anything like I do), Polar Plaza also hosts a number of special events, from games to music to food donation collections for the Tacoma Rescue Mission.

“There is just nothing like gliding along the ice,” says Roxanne Miles, Business & Performance Manager at MetroParks, one of the partners in bringing this event to town, along with CHI Franciscan, the City of Tacoma, and Columbia Bank. “It makes the winter and holiday season feel complete – especially for us in the Northwest who didn’t grow up with frozen ponds and major snowfall. We want a trip to the rink to be a favorite family tradition that sparks lifelong memories!”

Polar Plaza Ice Skating
Visit Polar Plaza to skate, or watch for special events that take place throughout the season. Photo courtesy: MetroParks Tacoma.

And, indeed, Polar Plaza has become a frosty tradition to many. With the rink’s prime location right downtown, it serves as more than a rink. It’s a community hub. Visit the Tacoma Art Museum across the street after your skate, or grab a bite to eat at any number of restaurants nearby, or visit the rink for one of the special event nights. It’s easy to make a day or night of your skating outing. It’s also one of the finest winter date ideas in town.

Plus, the rink is covered so you can skate even if there’s rain, show or other nasty weather.

Of course, you can simply go skating, but just about every day the rink is open, there’s something going on to spice things up. “We have many dates where ‘hands-on fun’ is added to the on-site experience and a Thursday night clothing and canned good collection with the Tacoma Rescue Mission,” says Miles.

Polar Plaza Tacoma
Polar Plaza’s covered ice skating in downtown Tacoma has become a tradition to many. Photo courtesy: MetroParks Tacoma.

That’s right. You can do some good while you don your skates. Each Thursday evening that Polar Plaza is open, Tacoma Rescue Mission will collect donations. In return, you get $1 off of general admission.

Each Saturday night, there will be a DJ bringing tunes to skate to. There will be an Ugly Holiday Sweater Fest, Make-It Take-It holiday decoration craft nights, candy giveaway nights, karaoke and more. Other special events run the gamut. “Most of the special functions are provided by Metro Parks Tacoma’s staff who are experts in helping the community have fun, get connected and stay active!” adds Miles.

For the full lineup of events at the rink, check out the Polar Plaza events calendar.

And what if you don’t know how to skate? Never fear. For young ones, there are double-bladed skates that fit over shoes to help give them more stability. There are also support “gliders” for those who are new to the ice and not confident they can stay upright. Or you can cling to the wall until you get the hang of it!

Ice Skating Gliders
For younger skaters, there are double-bladed skates and gliders to help them learn to skate. Photo courtesy: MetroParks Tacoma.

If all you want to do is skate, you can get your skate on until January 1, but the rink is closed November 28-29, December 5-6, December 12-13 and on Christmas day.

Cost to skate is $11 for general admission, $5 for kids 5 and younger, $3 if you don’t plan to skate, and $8 if you have your own skates to bring in. You can also get a five-skate pass for $45. Anyone with a First Night button (downtown Tacoma’s New Year’s Eve celebration) gets in for $8 on December 31.

Polar Plaza is located across Pacific Avenue from Tacoma Art Museum at 17th and Pacific. For more information, visit Polar Plaza’s website or call 253-305-1022.

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