8 Local Experiences to Gift this Holiday Season

By Margo Greenman

oly orthoFinding the perfect Christmas gift can often be a challenge. While we are sometimes struck by a moment of brilliance that leads us to the perfect present, more often than not, the hunt for the ideal gift can turn holiday cheer into a holiday headache.

This year, skip the mall and save the migraine by giving your loved ones a locally sourced experience – no gift wrap necessary.

See the City Three Ways
If your purse strings don’t stretch far enough to gift a trip abroad, spoil the travelers on your Christmas list with the opportunity to view their locale in a new way.

  • sailing south puget sound
    Gift an adventure afloat with Destiny Harbor Tours.

    Plunge Into the Puget Sound
    The Puget Sound boasts breathtaking views no matter your vantage point, but some of the most memorable views are those seen while afloat. Help the sightseer on your Christmas list get their sea legs while touring the region aboard Destiny Harbor Tours. Captain Tom Drohan started Destiny Harbor Tours as a way to give people a chance to experience the Puget Sound firsthand. Destiny Harbor Tours offers a variety of pre-scheduled tours, as well as special tours and events. Check the calendar online here, or contact Destiny Harbor Tours for more information about upcoming events, pricing information and more.

  • Tour the Town
    Art lovers will love a tour on the Duchess of Downtown tour bus. Taking Tacoma’s Third Thursday Art Walk to the next level, the Duchess of Downtown shuttles art lovers through the city, stopping at art-centric galleries, museums, studios and more along the way. But, that’s not all – tour-goers also enjoy playing games, winning prizes, and mingling with other art lovers, all while the the bus transports them from stop-to-stop. Tickets are $25 and available online at Brown Paper Tickets. For more information about upcoming tours, visit Duchess of Downtown online, or contact Duchess of Downtown organizer, Angela Jossy, here.
  • Survey the Skies
    See the city from a bird’s eye view with a scenic flight across the Puget Sound. Whether you want to scope Mount Rainier or view your house from way up high, Pavco Flights provides custom flight itineraries to meet the personalized requests of their guests. Give the sightseer, adventure seeker, or airplane lover on your Christmas list the gift of flight this holiday season with an in-air tour on Pavco Flights. Flight prices are based on a per hour cost and range depending on the aircraft chosen. For a full list of planes, prices and more, visit Pavco’s website here.

Gift of Learning
Nurture the life-long learner on your list with the gift of hands-on education. Many Tacoma-area businesses offer the community opportunities to learn new skills or advance existing ones. From Glass arts to craft spirit making, there’s a perfect class for everyone on your list.

  • Artists can cultivate their glass blowing talent at the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio.
    Artists can cultivate their glass blowing talent at the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio.

    Glass Blown Artistry
    Wow the artist on your gift list with an experiential class at the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio. Offering mini sessions, two-day workshops, six-week courses and more, there is a glass blowing class for artists of all skill level. Classes include all the tools and materials necessary for getting started, and each session is led by an experienced glass blower. Class prices vary, so visit the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio’s website for pricing information and class details. You can also learn more about what happens in the hot shop here.

  • Bootlegging Made Easy
    While Washington State still prohibits the distilling of spirits at home, Heritage Distilling Company in Gig Harbor invites bourbon loving adults ages 21 and older to take the reigns behind a copper still and create their own batch of the hard stuff. Heritage Distilling Company’s MyBatch program is the perfect gift for the craft spirit lover on your list. The MyBatch classes cost $99 per person. For more information about Heritage Distilling Company or their MyBatch program, visit Heritage Distilling Co’s website.
  • Shake It Off
    Help cultivate your loved one’s passion for fancy footwork with a gift certificate to Tacoma’s Studio 6 Ballroom. Located in the heart of Tacoma’s art-centric 6th Ave, Studio 6 Ballroom provides the South Sound community with private or group dance lessons in a variety of styles ranging from East Coast swing to bellydance. Dance lessons range in price, so purchase a gift certificate in the amount of your choice and let your twinkle toed certificate recipient choose the lesson that’s right for them.

Just for Fun

  • Indoor Explorer
    The adrenaline junkie on your list will love a membership to Tacoma’s indoor climbing gym, Edgeworks. With more than 10,000-square-feet of climbing and a top-out bouldering section to boot, mountain lovers can get their dose of rock climbing no matter the season. Membership rates vary, and a variety of climbing classes are available in addition to regular rock wall use. For a full list of rates and classes, visit Edgeworks’ website here.
  • Enjoy a day of relaxation at Olympus Spa with a $33 day pass. Photo courtesy of Olympus Spa.
    Enjoy a day of relaxation at Olympus Spa with a $33 day pass. Photo courtesy of Olympus Spa.

    Indulge the Senses
    How many people do you know who never take the time to care for themselves because they’re always putting others first? For the people on your Christmas list who never take time out of their busy schedules for themselves, pamper them with a trip to a Tacoma-area spa. Gift a day pass ($33) to Tacoma’s Olympus Spa, or a pamper-ific pedicure at Julep Nail Parlor. There are many spas throughout the region, all specializing in a variety of services from hair and massage to nails and more.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Tacoma and the surrounding South Sound are brimming with experiential opportunities for everyone on your Christmas list, perfect for gifting an experience your loved ones will never forget.


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