Back to Guides

Franciscan Polar Plaza 3: Ice-skating boogaloo

The downtown Tacoma ice rink returns, better than ever

Since the Weekly Volcano is involved, we couldn't let the rink just a rink. Nope. Similar to last year, we're hosting live bands at Polar Plaza 7-9 p.m. every Saturday.

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

Franciscan Polar Plaza is the place to be once winter hits. Think you can find something better to do than busting out some ice skates? Yeah, good luck with that. Polar Plaza is on its third year of setting up an ice-skating rink decked out in wintery goodness at Tollefson Plaza, just across from Tacoma Art Museum. With two fabulous years behind them, the Plaza folks put their heads together and found a few key ways to make this ritzy rink even better for 2013.

"Polar Plaza is now a Tacoma family tradition," said Cameron Fellows, deputy director at Tacoma Art Museum and ice rink aficionado. "I'm just so thrilled with the response we've received from the community to skate and plan their outings with us. This year we have more seating for non-skaters and fun events planned, from live music every Saturday night to broomball leagues during the week. It's a great opportunity to make lasting memories with your friends and family."

What's New in 2013:

1. More Polar Plaza

Polar Plaza opens Friday, Nov. 22 this year - a full week earlier than last year.

2. More Places to Sit

Polar Plaza is an open-air ice rink that measures 96 by 46 feet. The configuration of the rink is the same as last year, but this year there is more in store for non-skaters - more places to take a break or sit and watch your more ice-inclined friends do triple lutzes.

3. A Photo Booth

There will be a photo booth at the rink this year. Plan on cramming into the booth, squishing your faces together and documenting your memories.

4. Advance Ticket Sales

Also new this year is how you can buy your tickets. You can now buy your tickets in advance at Costco or at Even better: tickets sold at Costco are 25 percent off.

5. More Live Music

Similar to last year, the Weekly Volcano will host live bands at Polar Plaza every Saturday from 7-9 p.m. Bands will cram into a corner in a space we like to call the Electric Salchow Stage. Yes, it's named after a figure skating jump Brian Boitano might perform to the music of Five for Fighting on the Today show. We can name it whatever we want. Anyhoo, bands will provide an awesome soundtrack for butterfly jumps, cherry-flips, layback spins - but mostly moves such as the unstable skating, the fall, the skid and the mixed-gender collision. Oh, there will be Friday night karaoke, too.

6. Broomball

I know what you're thinking - what the eff is broomball? Turns out, it's kind of like hockey.

"Broomball leagues are starting to form on Tuesday nights. Broomball is similar to hockey; there are special sticks and a ball, but without skates," Fellows said. "There's been talk about broomball since we opened in 2011, and now we're going to give it a try. The public is welcome to stop by and watch."

7. More Stuff for Kids

Polar Plaza has partnered with the Children's Museum of Tacoma to offer a skate party Sunday, Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Also, for younger skaters who are still getting a feel for ice skating, there will be special double-bladed skates available that offer more stability on the ice. The Kent Valley Skating Club will join the party to assist skaters young and old alike. Tickets for the skate party are available at and cost $4. After the party, the Seattle Thunderbirds will take to the rink from 2 to 4 p.m.

Some of the good stuff on tap from last year is also back for more in 2013. Thursday nights will be theme nights - watch for themes posted on the Polar Plaza website. Count on plenty of fun arts and crafts activities on theme nights as well as in the heated entry tent. As with any self-respecting winter activity, there will be hot beverages and cookies ready to add some coziness to your day at Polar Plaza, too.

FRANCISCAN POLAR PLAZA, Friday, Nov. 22-Sunday, Jan. 12, Tollefson Plaza, 17th and Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, $4-$8, $2 skate rentals,

Electric Salchow Stage

7-9 p.m., Saturdays

11/23: Kareem Kandi Band

11/30: SweetKiss Momma

12/7: Rebekah Ann Curtis and Guests

12/14: Strangely Alright

12/21: Kurt Lindsay Band

12/28: Kim Archer

1/4: Leah Tussing & Rafael Tranquilino

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search