Where & When: What To Do This Weekend

Let Santarchy reign! Plus a rock and roll garage sale, two nights of Ted Leo shows, and an all-day holiday movie festival, and lots more in this weekend's nightlife picks.

Thursday, December 6: Shopping during the holidays is nice—but it’s even nicer when you know that proceeds from your purchases are going toward a good cause. That’s why you should check out the U Street Fundraising & Shopping Social this evening. From 6 to 10, many of U Street’s most fashionable boutiques (Nana, Simply Home, Caramel, and more) will offer discounts, gift certificates, and prizes. Ten percent of the evening’s proceeds will go to the Patricia M. Sitar Center for the Arts, a DC youth arts organization.

Always wanted to break out that inner cowboy (or cowgirl)? Head to McFadden’s (2401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-223-2338) for a one-night-only mechanical-bull-riding contest. The competition runs from 9 pm to 1 am, and whoever can hang on the longest wins prizes. (It’s unclear exactly what—boasting rights, perhaps?) There’ll be drink specials as well. Yeehaw!

Friday, December 7
: Ted Leo is one of the hardest-working guys in rock—and the effort pays off during his live show. Leo brings his high-energy punky rock and enormous charisma to the 9:30 Club (815 V St., NW) for shows tonight and Saturday. For just $15, you won’t get a more thrilling, sweat-drenched, dance-filled night.

Feeling crafty? Head to the Wreath Making Workshop at Tudor Place (1644 31st St., NW). Using its supplies, you can make your own unique wreath to hang on your door during the holidays. Materials include cedar boughs, magnolia leaves, holly, and pinecones. Register in advance by going here. $35; 10 am to 11:30 am or 2 pm to 3:30 pm.

Saturday, December 8: I have to admit something: One Saturday night a few months ago, I flipped on the TV for a moment, saw that the channel was showing National Treasure with Nicholas Cage, and then proceeded to sit for the next two hours and watch the whole thing. I can’t explain it, but there was something mysteriously appealing about the film’s utter cheesiness. That’s why I’m kind of excited for the sequel—and especially for the Real “National Treasure” Family Day at the National Archives (Constitution Ave. and Seventh St., NW). The event is a family-friendly scavenger hunt through the Public Vaults, along with lessons on codebreaking and a screening of the first National Treasure movie. Noon to 3:30; free.

Let Santarchy reign! Santarchy is basically what the word sounds like: lots of Santas, with a dash of anarchy thrown in. People dress up in their best Santa costumes and proceed to freewheel around the city, whether stopping to sing carols in front of the White House or downing a couple of beers at a local bar. Feel free to participate yourself, or just watch the action. The meetup starts a bit before 2 pm on the steps of the National Museum of Natural History (Tenth St. and Constitution Ave., NW). As the organization’s Web site says: “There is no good reason to dress up in cheap Santa suits, run around town, sing songs, have strangers sit on our laps, and decide who is naughty or nice—but it’s a lot of fun.” Indeed.

Hoping to catch the Kennedy Center’s annual Messiah Sing-Along on Sunday, December 9, at 2? This morning’s your chance to queue up for free tickets. They’ll be given away in the Hall of Nations beginning at 10 am—but the Kennedy Center recommends you get there as early as 7 because the line can get long. Limit of two per person.

The Besties, who play incomparably twee and catchy and just all around lovely indie pop, are at Galaxy Hut (2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington) tonight. 9:30; $5.

Sunday, December 9: It’s a full day of holiday movies at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike). For $7, you can sit from 11:45 to 9 watching It’s a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf, and others. If one film doesn’t float your boat, you can leave and return later in the day to continue watching. Purchase tickets here.

Rock ’n’ Shop at the Black Cat (1811 14th St. NW; 202-667-7960) combines two of my favorite things: rock (of course) and shopping. The event, which starts at 8, is basically a large garage sale/craft fair, with a DJ spinning tunes. You can find everything from records to indie T-shirts to posters. Plus you can drink beer while gift hunting! Doesn’t get much better than that. Free.

Enjoy these weekend picks? Then you may enjoy the following nightlife information as well:

A roundup of cozy bars where you can drink by the fireplace.
The Happy Hour Finder, a database of hundreds of great local happy hours.
Our events calendar.
A guide to local holiday markets for unique gift shopping.
What to do this New Year's Eve.

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