10 things to do in Boston this weekend

BosTen is your weekly guide to events and cool happenings in and around Boston.

Fireworks explode during the annual Boston Common Christmas tree lighting. Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

Skip Netflix this weekend — here are 10 ways to get out of your home and not be bored in the city. If you’d like BosTen delivered to your inbox every Thursday, click here. Want more things to do? Check out our events calendar at You can also learn even more about awesome events around Boston by joining the BosTen Facebook group.

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Described as “Boston’s free nighttime contemporary art and light festival,” Illuminus will brighten the streets of the Financial District with light-filled art installations for the fifth consecutive year starting this Thursday. More than 15 artists will use light and technology to display their interactive works on buildings near 100 Summer St. (Thursday, Dec. 5 and Friday, Dec. 6 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; 100 Summer St., Financial District; free; all ages)

Boston Common Holiday Tree Lighting

Boston will continue its transformation into a winter wonderland with the Boston Common tree lighting just before 8 p.m. on Thursday, when the tree from Nova Scotia will be illuminated, quickly followed by a pyrotechnic display. The festivities will kick off around 6 p.m., and WCVB will broadcast live from the Common starting at 7 p.m., with appearances by multi-platinum singer-songwriter and Lexington native Matt Nathanson, award-winning Nova Scotian alt-pop stars Neon Dreams, Nova Scotian R&B singer-songwriter Zamani, and others. (Thursday, Dec. 5 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Boston Common, Boston; free; all ages)

Holiday Pops

Hear your favorite holiday classics, sing along with the symphony, and even catch a glimpse of Santa Claus during the Boston Pops’ holiday season, which kicked off on Wednesday with conductor Keith Lockhart celebrating his 25th year leading the annual celebration. This year’s concert centers around “The Polar Express,” with images from the 1985 book projected on the screen as the orchestra plays tunes from the 2005 film. (Now through Tuesday, Dec. 24 at various times; Symphony Hall, Boston; $25-162; all ages)

Tedeschi Trucks Band

South Shore native Susan Tedeschi built a strong solo career on the strength of her Southern-inspired Americana tunes, opening for the likes of the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, and rocking the crowd at Lilith Fair. Over the last decade, she and her husband, Allman Brothers Band slide guitarist Derek Trucks, have melded their musical talents to great effect with Tedeschi Trucks Band, and will play three straight nights of shows at the Orpheum starting Thursday. (Thursday, Dec. 5 through Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.; Orpheum Theatre, Boston; $33.50 and up; all ages)

Light Up Seaport

While it won’t have the fanfare, lengthy tradition, or Canadian tree of its Boston Common counterpart, this Seaport celebration will offer plenty of holiday cheer in its fourth year. Along with the ceremonial tree lighting at 7:15 p.m., the evening will feature holiday activities with food and drink from nearby Seaport restaurants and live music. (Friday, Dec. 6 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Seaport Common, 85 Northern Ave., Boston; free; all ages)

“The Slutcracker”

If “The Nutcracker” is too traditional or too expensive for your tastes, its raunchier, more affordable sibling “The Slutcracker” will bow at the Somerville Theatre starting Dec. 6. The burlesque parody created by Vanessa White in 2008 is not a family-friendly affair, but for those who prefer their ballet with a heavy dose of the risqué, “The Slutcracker” is just the ticket. (Friday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. through Tuesday, Dec. 31; Somerville Theatre, Somerville; $30; 18+)

Jolly Jaunt 5k

The Santa Speedo Run isn’t until next weekend, but you can get a holiday-themed run in seven days earlier with the Jolly Jaunt 5K. Runners will gather at the Boston Common in their best holiday attire for a race benefitting the Special Olympics. In keeping with the spirit of the season, organizers will dole out jingle bells for every runner and prizes for best holiday attire. (Saturday, Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Boston Common, Boston; $35; all ages)

Swedish Yuletide

Nibble on traditional Swedish waffles and sip a warm cup of Glögg (Swedish mulled wine) in the South End for Swedish Yuletide, a celebration of the country’s holiday heritage. The kid-friendly event features an assortment of Scandinavian vendors and live entertainment from the Swedish School of Boston. (Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Cyclorama, Boston; $10 GA, free for children under 13; all ages)

Jingle Bell Run

Lace up your sneakers and dash through the snow around Boston Common (or what’s left of it) at the annual Jingle Bell Run, a charitable 5k that benefits the Arthritis Foundation. (Sunday, Dec. 8 from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; Boston Common at the corner of Beacon Street and Charles Street, Boston; $40 to register for 5k or 1-mile run, $20 for kids run; all ages)


Cher still goes all out for her live shows at age 73, and her upcoming show at TD Garden this Sunday promises to be no different. The singer, actress, and Twitter freestyle poet will bring decades of hits and some carefully picked ABBA covers as part of her Here We Go Again tour, with funk group Nile Rodgers and Chic opening the show. (Sunday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.; TD Garden, Boston; $47.95 and up; all ages)

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