Five Reasons to Leave the House This Weekend

santa speedo runSanta Speedo Run photo by jrchapoy/Flickr


Anthony Williams' Urban Nutcracker

The Christmas season is certainly not complete without seeing Clara dance with the Nutcracker to Tchaikovsky's dazzling music, but why not mix it up with this modern take on the classic ballet, in its 12th season? Presented by Tony Williams Dance Center, the Urban Nutcracker combines the classic score that we all know and love with Duke Ellington’s jazz interpretation. And it features more than just ballet: urban tap, hip-hop, swing, flamenco, step, and jazz are all performed, so this is sure to appeal to anyone you know. The performance is meant to be a celebration of multicultural communities in Boston and features performers from all backgrounds. This year will present the first ever “Urban Nutcracker Comes Out,” on Sunday the 9th, which features a special performance by local LGBT groups and performers. “Urban Nutcracker” opens this weekend and runs through the 23rd.

Tickets $20-$125; Saturday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday. Dec. 9, 3:00 p.m.; John Hancock Hall, 180 Berkeley St., Boston; 617 236-1199;


Newbury Street Holiday Stroll

Kick off Christmastime in the shopping district that is quintessentially Boston. This annual event, sponsored by the Newbury Street League, will have stores up and down Newbury Street opening their doors to celebrate the season with special sales, giveaways, and contests. For example, Diane von Furstenberg will feature special DVF cupcakes and a hot cocoa bar and Stephanie's on Newbury will serve warm apple cider. Even if shopping isn't your idea of a good time, there will be plenty of holiday-themed entertainment and music, with live performances from local college music groups and the Santa Speedo Run passing through. Best of all? Santa and his elves will make an appearance. Check out the list of participants to prepare your shopping list.

Free; Saturday, Dec. 8, noon-4:00 p.m.; Newbury St. (from Arlington St. to Mass. Ave.); 617-267-2244;


Rent at Oberon

Become immersed in this revolutionary rock musical in Harvard Square, which tells the story of a group of musicians and artists living in New York City, struggling with HIV and AIDS. Despite these circumstances, the musical combines themes of love, life and death, friendship, and hope with an addicting rock soundtrack. Rent is still going strong after so long because it was able to feature a community and lifestyle that had previously been absent in American theater. This show, put on by the The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard, will have you singing “Seasons of Love” all week. Starting December 6, it will run through the weekend.

$15-$35; Dec. 6-10; 2 Arrow St., Cambridge; 617-547-8300;


“Slice of Little Italy” Pizza Tour

Yes, the North End is where the tourists go, but this isn't your typical tour of Boston oldest neighborhood. Explore the North End while sampling some of the best pizza in the city, and see five sites on the Freedom Trail, including Paul Revere's House and the Old North Church. On the two-hour tour, you will get three slices of pizza in between learning about Boston's history. The slices are all cheese slices in order to truly compare and contrast different styles of pizza, including pizza from an authentic wood-fired brick oven from the 1800s. If you make it to the end of the tour without being tempted by all the other delicious Italian food in the North End, you will even get a “pizza-related treat” at the end. Tours run daily.

$29; Daily at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.; North End, leaves and finishes at corner of Hanover St. and Cross St.; 781-864-3295;


Bye Bye Liver: The Boston Drinking Play

Boston residents know the dilemma on the weekend: hit the bars for a night of drinking, or have a sober night of entertainment and culture? Lucky for us, this satirical show combines both in a hilarious interactive play that explores the ups and downs of booze culture. Through skits, it covers everything from the girl we all know that can't handle her tequila to the hookup that looked a whole lot better the night before. Audience involvement is encouraged through fun fast-paced drinking games. The show originates from Chicago, and is now on stage in eight other U.S. cities.

$20; Friday, Dec. 7, 8:00 p.m.; Hennessey's, 25 Union St.; 773-904-8777;