Come in from the Cold — 15 Fun Winter Activities to Enjoy in Pierce County

Pierce County Library
Photo courtesy of Wes Burk/Pierce County Library.

Let’s face it. The weather around these parts will be less-than-sunbathing skies for the next few months. There is no way around that until that whole global warming fad kicks in, although the Puget Sound might be underwater by then. But that is a discussion for another time.

tacoma link light rail
Simply riding the Tacoma Link light rail from the Theater District to Freighthouse Square provides an afternoon of family adventure.

Until fossil fuel’s effects on the earth kick into high gear and give everyone a mahogany- toned tan, however, we are left with the weather we have — rain and clouds through Puget Sound’s winter and spring. Deal with it. Here are a few tips to stay sane with a few indoor — as well as some outdoor — activities for the next few months.

For the adventure-minded introverts among us, there is always the simple outing of taking the Tacoma Link from the Tacoma Dome Station to the end of the line at the Theater District for some antiquing, giving special attention to the fan favorite toys from the 1970s and 1980s along the route. I mean really, no kid would want to miss out on seeing an aluminum Dukes of Hazard lunchbox with a thermos, a collection of Star Wars Pez dispensers, or handcrafted wooden train sets at bargain prices. Just diving into the shelves and display cases creates all sorts of fun discussions over the curiosities. Exploring the many floors of Sanford and Sons could fill an afternoon, but the trip isn’t over with Antique Row.

Tacoma CIty Blocks
City Blocks gets the creative juices flowing with just a few glimpses of what people can do with a few bricks of plastic. Photo credit: Ali Shaliker.

Take the link back and hit the Tacoma Book Center for walls upon walls upon walls of everything literary. If it has words, the shop has it at great prices. For the day-trip topper, visit City Blocks, the Lego shop in Freighthouse Station, formally Freighthouse Square, to test those building and creativity skills.

For artsy folks, Third Thursday Art Mingle offers free museum admission and one-night only arts and gallery events throughout downtown Tacoma, so there will be something for everyone each month. It’s well worth putting on the family calendar, over and over again.

Dockyard Derby Dames Tacoma
The Dockyard Derby Dames make for family fun that is both athletic and theatric. Photo credit: Steve Dunkelberger.

Sports fans should check out the Tacoma Stars, which actually has games in Kent’s Showare Center, to get their fix of indoor soccer, or the Dockyard Derby Dames for some rough and tumble roller derby action that can best be described as a mix between NASCAR and football. There’s a track. Teams race around it while bumping and crashing into each other from time to time to thwart the other team from getting through the melee. Of course, you could also just skate safely around a rink to the thumping beat of 1990s rock songs at places like Rollin’ 253 and Skate Tiffany’s.

For even more straight forward kiddo fun, indoor playgrounds like the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Odyssey One, and Pump It Up offer activities to wear kids out at a nominal price. For a mix of coffee shop and indoor playground, there is University Place’s Frog n Kiwi Cafe, which happens to be just feet away from the city’s branch of the Pierce County Library System, making it a twofer stop for activities.

With 20 Pierce County Library System branches located across Pierce County, opportunities for reading, playtime and educational fun are always well within reach.

Pierce College science dome
Pierce College’s Science Dome is the only planetarium in the South Sound. Photo courtesy: Pierce College Science Dome.

Get in from out of the rain while still gazing up at the stars at Pierce College’s Science Dome — the South Sound’s only planetarium. The 58-seat digital planetarium is regularly open to the public and also plays host to a variety of special events.

But let’s face it: rain happens. When you don’t feel like running from the weather, embrace it instead with a walk in the rain. Splash in some puddles, get muddy and come home for some cocoa. It’s the Northwest, after all.