Located on Jacksonville’s south side, The Comedy Zone has been hosting some of the nation’s finest standup comedians for decades. Tucked away inside the Ramada Conference Center and Hotel, the Comedy Zone is a quaint, dim, charming nightclub venue filled with cozy tables and chairs. The thick carpet underfoot cushions the space further and keeps noisy shoes and squeaky chairs to a minimum. The small, gleaming wood stage is back-dropped by a large brick wall, reminiscent of so many other famous comedy clubs. Over the years, the stage has played host to a variety of national touring comedians and lots of local Florida talent. A full bar and a variety of burgers, sandwiches and appetizers are available to order, and can count toward the room’s industry-standard one drink or item minimum. Of course, that means comedy fans must be at least 21 years of age to enter the Zone.
When it opened in 1927, the Florida Theatre was the largest of 15 cinemas in downtown Jacksonville. Today, it's the city's last surviving vestige of that era's iconic architecture. Designed by New Yorker R.E. Hall and Jacksonvillian Roy Benjamin, the venue is a prime example of the Mediterranean Revival style, with a ceiling covered in glittering stars and a six-story proscenium arch. And even as the entertainment industry shifted towards television, the Florida Theatre survived by hosting interactive game nights and concerts from underground artists, including Elvis Presley. The space was renovated In the early 1980s, and today it returns to its entertaining roots by hosting live events and classic film screenings.
Professional belly dancers bring the ancient art form to the masses in Florida. Belly dancing uses natural body movements to create a low-impact, weight-bearing exercise that tones muscles, improves flexibility, and relieves stress. Class options are geared toward beginners through experts, and use props such as veils and finger cymbals.
Absolute Fitness for Women’s east and west locations serve as temples of dedication, where focused staff members help women of all ages to achieve their fitness goals in specialized, dedicated facilities. Both exercise studios boast areas with a specific purpose, whether it’s the cardio and weight-training rooms or the aquatics center featuring a large pool. Students 2 or older plié and prance through ballet lessons and jazz and hip-hop classes in a dance studio, and mirrored suites with hardwood floors house Pilates equipment such as reformers to help with major core conditioning.
With such ample square footage, Absolute Fitness for Women manages to combine fitness furnishings with a number of other services. Members relax and unwind in spas concealed in the locker rooms, and a child-care area is available. After an intense workout, visitors can replenish burnt calories with a snack in the bistro. Medically knowledgeable trainers also offer extensive physiotherapy services for a range of conditions, such as lingering injuries, headaches, dizziness, and neck and back pain. They utilize diverse techniques such as hydrotherapy (in-pool exercise) and electrical muscle and transcutaneous nerve stimulation, which is accomplished by building up an electrical charge while rubbing one’s head into shag carpeting.
Boasting more than 85 years of combined dance experience, Dance Elite Dance Club's friendly instructors fine-tune students' footwork with traditional ballroom, Latin, and swing dance styles across a spacious, hardwood floor. Thirty-minute private lessons give pupils one-on-one time with danceficiandos to polish techniques and learn any style of dance the studio offers. During 60-minute group classes, students can take a spin through the exposed-brick enclosed space, pairing up with a partner of any level to learn the graceful glides of the rumba, the quick twirls of a two-step, or how to win a staring contest during close tango embraces. Further fostering social encounters, the practice party invites Dance Elite students to boogie down for 90 minutes while brushing up on proper toe points and making new fleet-footed friends. Check the calendar for current class times and click here to see Dance Elite’s own shaking to the beat.
The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1949, and currently plays at the 1,800 seat Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall in the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts downtown. Over the years, the orchestra has hosted renowned artists such as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Luciano Pavarotti. It’s currently led by Music Director and Principal Conductor Fabio Mechetti, who has been in the position since 1999. He will be stepping down in May, but not until helming productions of The Marriage of Figaro and Verdi’s Requiem in the spring. The Jacksonville Symphony also partners with Duval County and three other public school systems to provide some 84,000 children the opportunity to both listen to and participate in youth-oriented symphony events. The orchestra’s charitable works, world-class facility and enduring star power have helped keep Jacksonville culture on the map for decades.