December Fest! - 23 Tacoma Events

We love Tacoma and community events, but don’t even think about trying to make it to all of them! Enjoy the list!

We love Tacoma and community events, but don’t even think about trying to make it to all of them! Enjoy the list!

Let the festivities commence! Well, continue commencing (I understand that’s not correct), but as I write this, December is still a few days away and I’ve already been to two holiday markets. This list is not just about markets - if you’re looking for those, don’t worry, they’re here - it’s also about other things happening in the community this month like art exhibits, a fix-it fair, some Harry Potter flair, ideas for the darkest day of the year, and a parade too!

Regarding those ubiquitous holiday markets, at their best they’re not only about shopping for gifts, they’re about seeing and acknowledging the people who make things, they’re about taking it a bit slower, looking at a face instead of clicking “order now.” So, go be an in-person person. You can vote for your local community, your local artists, and your local small businesses with your dollar and your enthusiasm. So, if you’re feeling the community spirit, or looking for some local gifts this month, just come back to this list to see what’s cookin’.

1. Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Now - January 6th, 2019 (closed Christmas Eve)
5 - 9 pm
5400 N Pearl St, Tacoma

  • Tickets range from $6 - $12 (purchase online or at the door)

  • Check out the special military discount nights: Dec. 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19

  • Over 700,000 lights and the South Pacific Aquarium is open too (new Pacific Seas Aquarium is closed during Zoolights)

  • This is a big time Tacoma holiday tradition!

Image from    L’Arche Farm

Image from L’Arche Farm

2. Wonderful Wreath Workshop at L’Arche Farm

Saturday, December 1st
10 am - 3 pm
11716 Vickery Ave E, Tacoma

  • Free admission

  • Caroling, holiday craft making, and even paper making!

  • L'Arche is a vital community of people with and without developmental disabilities with a wonderful mission of revealing each person's gifts. 

  • If you can’t make it to this event, take a look at the wreath making class on the 5th!

3. 3rd Annual YWCA Holiday Market at YWCA Pierce County

Saturday, December 1st
10 am - 4 pm
405 Broadway, Tacoma

  • Free admission

  • Shop for crafts by local makers - pottery, jewelry, prints, apparel, bath & beauty

  • 15% of all sales benefit the YWCA

  • Free parking in the YWCA lot

4. Christmas Regale at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum

Saturday, December 1st
11 am - 4 pm
5400 N Pearl St in Point Defiance Park

  • Tickets range from $8 - $10, or $35 for a family of 2 adults and up to 6 kiddos ($0 for ages 3 and under)

  • Old-fashioned Christmas event features a 19th Century style Father Christmas (this is a beautiful chance for a photo with Santa)

  • Play parlor games, make ornaments. learn dances, hear stories around the campfire, roast and grind your own coffee beans, and make Christmas crackers!

Image from    Handmade PNW

Image from Handmade PNW

5. 4th Annual Village 253 Handmade Market & Mingle at Union Club

Saturday, December 1st
3 - 7 pm
539 Broadway, Tacoma

  • Free admission, free food, free kids’ craft

  • 30 local makers - this is truly a wonderful list of vendors with too many handmade goods to list: jewelry, dolls, soaps, botanicals, chocolates, treats, and way more

  • Charity raffle benefits Oasis Youth Center and makers are generously donating 10% of all their sales to Oasis as well!

6. Gig Harbor Night Market at 7 Seas Brewing Co.

Sunday, December 2nd
2 - 8 pm
3006 Judson St, Ste 110, Gig Harbor

Image from    Santa Parade 2018
  • Free admission

  • Local artists and vendors galore

  • Music, food, drink, and a special visit from Santa!

  • hosted by the outstandingly popular Tacoma Night Market and 7 Seas Brewing Co.

  • Note: in future the Gig Harbor Night Market will be on the 1st Saturday of each month from 5 - 10 pm, so mark your calendars!

7. 5th Annual 6th Avenue Santa Parade

Sunday, December 2nd
4:30 - 6:30 pm
On 6th Ave, starting at State St and ending at Alder

8. Wreath Making Class at L’Arche Farm

Wednesday, December 5th
10 am - 12 pm
11716 Vickery Ave E, Tacoma

  • $15 per participant

  • Learn how to make your own wreath and take it home to display or give away

  • If you’re looking for other opportunities to engage with the L’Arche community or to slow down and experience this season, consider visiting for Advent Prayer at 2 pm on 12/5 and 12/12 at 12302 Vickery Ave E, Tacoma

9. Memory Lame: An Unforgettable Installation at Collins Memorial Library

Installation open now - January 25th, 9 am - 9 pm
Artists’ reception Wednesday, December 5th at 6 pm
1500 N Warner, CMB 1021, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma

  • Free admission

  • Installation composed of salvaged books and handmade paper by Jessica Spring and Scott Gruber

  • Explore memory and its lack, changing methods of data storage, and take a moment away from the good old holiday spirit to feel something else for a while

  • Read more about the exhibit here and here

  • Image from @springtidepress

10. Arts Connect Fall Showcase at Wilson High

Thursday, December 6th
5:30 - 6:30 pm
1202 N Orchard St, Tacoma (classroom at the back of the school along N 11th)

  • Free admission

  • Support the young women of the Hilltop Artists’ Arts Connect Program

  • Live glass blowing demonstration at 5:50 pm

  • Peruse, admire, and perhaps even purchase handmade glass art created by these young Tacoma women

  • Proceeds generously donated to Tacoma Community House!

11. Grit Gatsby VIP Night Speakeasy & Artisan Marketplace at Opera Alley’s Ledger Building

Friday, December 7th
6 - 9 pm
704 Opera Alley, Tacoma

  • Tickets $25, age 21 +, available online

  • Presented by La Paloma Marketplace

  • Roaring ‘20s theme speakeasy party - costumes encouraged - “booze, bites, & burlesque” in a historic venue

  • Live music, craft and vintage vendors for Christmas gift shopping, no-host bar, photos with Santa

  • The festivities continue on Saturday with an all ages holiday market

12. Grit Gatsby Holiday Artisan Marketplace at Opera Alley’s Ledger Building

Saturday, December 8th
12 - 6 pm
704 Opera Alley, Tacoma

  • Admission $2 or $5 for a family

  • Presented by La Paloma Marketplace

  • Local makers and vintage vendors for holiday shopping in a historic venue

  • Santa photos on the velvet couch from 12:30-3:30!

  • gift wrapping station

13. 3rd Annual Downtown Tacoma Holiday Haul Crawl

Saturday, December 8th
10 am - 10 pm
All over Downtown Tacoma!

14. Oakes & Alder Holiday Market

Image from    Oakes & Alder

Image from Oakes & Alder

Saturday, December 8th
12 - 4 pm
2714 N 31st St, Tacoma

  • Free

  • Vendors, new products (think herbs, natural skin care, health, and beauty), food, beverages, and time to make merry

  • Oakes & Alder is a day spa and apothecary

15. Tacoma Tool Library Fix-it Fair at the Tacoma Public Library Main Branch

Image from    Fix-it Fairs

Image from Fix-it Fairs

Saturday, December 8th
1 - 4 pm
1102 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma

  • Free!

  • Volunteers are going to be ready to do their best to fix your item so Fix-it Fairs loves to know what you’re bringing ahead of time so volunteers can be prepared with the proper tools and supplies

  • This is a monthly event that changes location each month to keep it accessible

  • What kind of items? Jewelry, crockery, small appliances, clothing, toys, furniture

16. Santa Visits Old Town at the Job Carr Cabin Museum

Saturday, December 8th
1 - 3:30 pm
2350 N 30th St, Tacoma

  • Free

  • Photos with Santa by the cabin fireplace - digital photos by Lena Peterson of Salt and Ink Photo about a week following the event

  • Music and caroling from local choirs

  • Holiday craft for kids while you wait to see Santa

  • Cookies and hot cocoa from Old Town businesses while supplies last

17. Harry Potter & The Sacred Text at Theater on the Square

Saturday, December 8th
3 pm & 7:30 pm
901 Broadway, Tacoma

  • Tickets $22, $35, $45 - purchase online

  • Presented by Tacoma Arts Live (formerly Broadway Center for the Performing Arts)

  • Co-host Vanessa Zoltan of the popular Harry Potter & The Sacred Text podcast explores the text of Harry Potter not just as novel and fantasy, but as words and stories to instruct, inspire, and inform our lives.

  • Harry Potter lovers of Tacoma, get in!

18. Downtown Tacoma Market - The Holiday Edition at Court House Square

Sunday, December 9th
11 am - 4 pm
1102 A St, Tacoma

  • $1 admission

  • 40 local makers and vintage vendors

  • Live music/DJ, and Santa will be there too!

  • Stop in at Court House Square restaurants and cafes: en Rama, Lift Bridge Coffee, and OutPost Kitchen for cocktails, brunch, coffee, and sweet treats.

19. Krampus Holiday Bazaar at The Church Cantina

Sunday, December 16th
12 - 6 pm
5240 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma

  • Free - all ages (bar with ID)

  • Vendors, DJ, black Christmas Tree

  • Keep your eye out for Krampus (the one who keeps track of the naughty)

  • Ugly Christmas sweaters encouraged

  • Food and drink for purchase - get 10% off your bill if you show them your Krampus flyer

20. Winter Solstice

Friday, December 21st

The shortest day, the longest night, the beginning of winter. This could be the day you light candles throughout the house, the day you take a long walk in the waning light, the night you find a bit of time to watch the stars.

We’ve heard the sun rises straight out of the summit of Mount Rainier on the solstice, so this may be the day you get up early enough to find a mountain view and watch the sun come up.

Image from    The RedHot Tacoma

Maybe you want to visit The RedHot (2914 6th Ave) for their Darkest Day celebration of dark beers. It’s almost always a good day for The RedHot - vegan dogs and those Fritos nachos!

Whatever you do, just don’t let the day go by without noticing. Give it at least a moment. After this the winter gets deeper, but the daylight grows again.

21. The Tacoma Night Market at Alma Mater

Saturday, December 22nd
5 - 10 pm
1322 Fawcett Ave, Tacoma

  • Free

  • Art, vendors, community, live music, and DJ

  • Food and drink available from special vendors as well as from Honey and Matriarch on site

  • If you haven’t been to a Tacoma Night Market yet, it’s time to go!

22. All Ages Holiday Party at 2nd Cycle

Saturday, December 22nd
5 - 11 pm
1205 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Tacoma

  • Free

  • Holiday party potluck - bring a potluck item to share

  • bring friends, kids, loved ones, or bring yourself and make a friend

  • Some snacks and adult beverages provided by 2nd Cycle Community Cycle Center

  • Celebrate!

23. Girl Loves Cake Desserts Pop-up at Paper Luxe

Sunday, December 23rd
12 - 3 pm
2053 Mildred St. W.

  • Pop-up shop by favorite local macaron maker extraordinaire Girl Loves Cake Desserts

  • Flavor lists available as the event draws near

  • Purchase handmade macarons in beautiful colors and ingenious flavors

  • While you’re shopping for macarons, take a look at the array of cards, stationary, and gifts on the Paper Luxe shelves

We’ve celebrated our way through December and now we’ve reached Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We hope you’ve made it through with some peace, that you’ve found some quiet if you’ve been looking for it, or that you busted out to as many parties, markets, art openings, and community events as you could find if that’s they way like to live. No matter what, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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