Once Thanksgiving ends, it’s officially the start of the holiday season. While you may have a busy weekend of Black Friday shopping, decorating, and breaking out the Christmas music, make a little time in the schedule for events around town.
CHI Franciscan Polar Plaza (now until Jan. 1)
Lace up your skates and visit the temporary rink near the Tacoma Art Museum. Admission is $11 and includes skate rental. Buy tickets onsite. If you already have your skates, admission is only $8. There are discounts for youth, seniors, and military. If you’re bringing a non-skating guest, it’s $5 per guest.
71st Annual Holiday Tree Lighting at the Theatre on the Square (5 p.m., Nov. 26)
Tacoma’s tree lighting has been a tradition since World War II. The annual lighting takes place outside the Pantages Theater. Come at 5 p.m. for caroling in the lobby of the historic theater and stay for the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. Santa will be there, too!
Downtown for the Holidays (noon-5 p.m., Nov. 27)
Celebrate the start of the holiday season in downtown Olympia. There will be a parade down Capitol Way at 3 p.m. and a tree lighting at 4:30 p.m. All day, starting at noon, are photos with Santa, music, and a gingerbread village in the Washington Center for the Performing Arts lobby.
Zoolights (Nov. 25-Jan. 1)
See more than 600,000 sparkling, LED lights at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. This holiday tradition is perfect for a warm cup of cocoa while you walk the zoo grounds. New this year is a new Wondrous Walruses scene. There also is the classic Flame Tree — a tree wrapped in 30,030 green and purple lights.
Fantasy Lights at Spanaway Park (Nov. 24-Jan. 1)
The two-mile drive around Spanaway Lake is decorated with twinkling beautiful lights for this holiday tradition. If you love a winter’s night looking at lights, but don’t want to get out of your car, this is the spot for you.
90th Annual Tree Lighting in Sumner (6-8 p.m. Nov. 26)
Head to the Ryan House Museum for a festive night and tree lighting. Meet at Heritage Park at 6 p.m. where downtown merchants will provide refreshments. There’s a three-block walk along decorated Main Street to the museum where the tree will be lit. The museum will have a Christmas Open House from 6-8 p.m.
Gingerbread Jamboree (Nov. 26-27)
The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is hosting a celebration of all things gingerbread at the Hotel Murano Bicentennial Pavilion. There are workshops daily at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There will be candy buffets and a whole lot of frosting. Cost is $40 per family of four, with $5 for each additional house. The $40 entry includes one house and additional houses are $25 each. Bring you Children’s Museum membership for a 10 percent discount!
Small Business Saturday (Nov. 26)
Break out of the big box store and shop at a local vendor. The South Sound has no shortage of makers, artists, and local shops. We have a few suggestions.