1. If it’s the second Thursday of the month, then it’s time for the Torpedo Factory’s free Art Night. From 6 to 9, visitors can browse the art center’s 82 studios, meet artists, and nosh on free chocolate. After entering the prize drawing, head to the receptions of two new exhibits—“Pandora’s Box” at Target Gallery and the All-Media Membership Show and “The One Less Traveled” at the Art League Gallery
2. Yes, you can! Lima is hosting a political-rally-meets-singles-mixer Thursday called Class of Change Holiday Bash. The two-hour event starts at 7, and the subsequent party, which lasts until midnight, aims to pit “diverse, progressive people together.” DJ Whitecastle will spin hip-hop and reggae bangers, and admission is free. To RSVP, click here.
3. What do you get when you mix college garage rock with psych-pop and a brother/sister trio? A Sunny Day in Glasgow. The Philadelphia group brings its avant-indie show to the Red & the Black with the Torches and Young Republic Thursday starting at 9. Tickets cost $8. Show up early and pre-game at the venue’s bar with $3 rail drinks and beers from 5 to 8.
4. Tai Shan, the National Zoo’s young panda, might be heading to China, but cheer up with the zoo’s annual ZooLights event this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 6 to 8:30. Marvel at light sculptures, listen to keeper talks and musicians, and watch performances by Blue Sky Puppet Theater. $5 for FONZ members, $8 for nonmembers.
5. Kick off your weekend with some frozen Finnish flair by heading to the Embassy of Finland to see the country’s famed group Pink Twins mix up the turntables with some of Washington’s homegrown favorites, such as Adrian Loving, Aligning Minds, and Robin Bell. The event is free, but guests must RSVP here in advance.
6. Gear up for Hanukkah at the last weekend of the Washington Jewish Film Festival. More than 15 films about the Jewish experience and culture will be at various locations around DC through Sunday. Evening and weekend tickets cost $10, matinee screenings cost $6, and there’s a $1 discount for students and seniors. To see a full listing of films and schedules, click here.
7. Those who light a Christmas tree rather than a menorah can get in the holiday spirit with the AFI Silver Theatre’s Holiday Cinema festival, opening Saturday. Screening well-known Christmas classics such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as well as rare gems such as Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, the festival debuts this weekend with Home Alone and It’s A Wonderful Life and runs through December 24. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students, $8.50 for AFI members, and $6 for children. For a full schedule of films, click here.
8. Boat enthusiasts can head to the Annapolis Harbor for the free Eastport Yacht Club’s Annual Lighted Boat Parade Saturday. At 6, a regatta of more than 40 power boats and sailboats will light their seasonally decorated motors and masts before parading from Spa Creek to the Naval Academy and back to Eastport. A fireworks display will follow. For more information, call 443-621-9842.
9. Grab your kids, find your inner child, and head to Glen Echo Park this weekend as the Puppet Company brings the magic of Clara-Marie and her oversize toy to life in The Nutcracker. The 50-minute performance is Thursday and Friday at 10 and 11:30, Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 and 1. Tickets cost $10. For more information, click here.
10. With the Skins’ playoff hopes dashed and their season virtually over, you can do a 180 (or half axle) and transition from football to figure skating. Start by taking the family to the annual Motown Memories Holiday Ice Show Sunday from 1 to 3. A $5 suggested donation lets you catch some of Washington’s top figure skaters and synchronized teams as they twist and twirl to the sounds of the ’60s and ’70s.