At the dine-in movie theater Star Cinema Grill, concession stands are obsolete. By pressing a button, customers signal a server and are able to order restaurant-style without disrupting their viewing experience or screaming at an usher for a lobster bib. From angus sliders to ice-cream floats, Star Cinema Grill's menu appeases all ages with its gourmet-pub cuisine served amidst the glow of screenings and first-run film releases.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Menopause the Musical has painted a vivid, rib-tickling portrait of four women confronting the troubles of middle age for audiences in hundreds of cities all over the world. The show tells the story of four strangers, meeting by chance at a department-store lingerie sale, who begin to commiserate on the travails of menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, and spontaneously breaking out in song-and-dance routines. Parodying a suite of hits from the '60s, '70s, and '80s, the musical's jaunty tunes encourage dialogue about women's health while eliciting copious chortles of recognition from guests. Patrons can choose from upper- or lower-level seating in the Stafford Centre's Performing Arts Theatre, enjoying straight-on views of onstage antics or simultaneously confronting acrophobia and theatrophobia via balcony-immersion therapy.
Athletic & Performing Arts Center is a one-stop shop for kids' fun and athletics. It was born when two of Houston's long-running kids' gymnastics and dance programs joined forces. Now under one name, the instructors lead a variety gymnastics classes from Teeter Toddler classes intended for tots 16 months-35 months old, to an assortment of tumbling classes for kids over 6 in a range of skill levels. Available dance classes include styles such as ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop. They also host open-play sessions, in which kids can blow off steam after a long day at the lemonade stand.
Jerit Pogue, the owner of the newly unified APAC, says that he and his fellow trainers and teachers love seeing the glow of accomplishment on the kids they train, whether they just walked off stage or mastered a new trick in practice. "We have kids who cry everyday because they don't want to leave," he says.
Handicap Accessible: No
Staff Size: 25–50
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Gymnastics and dance classes
Pro Tip: Come prepared for kids to have fun and learn.
In Houston, September beats out July and August for the hottest month of the year—it has nothing to do with the weather, however. The culprit behind the elevated heat level is the Houston Hot Sauce Festival. This annual event brings together exhibitors from across the country to sell and hand out samples of their signature hot sauces, salsas, jams, dips, and other spicy foods. Luckily, vendors also supply plenty of cool beverages, thus eliminating the need for bite-size fire extinguishers.
Live entertainment complements the spicy goods. Blues artists, jazz bands, and other musician play throughout the festival, and each day brings special events, such as salsa eating competitions or fire eating performances.
Also known as June Festival, Festa Junina celebrates the end of Northern Brazil’s rainy season by offering up thanks to Saint Anthony, Saint John, and Saint Peter. Though it sets up shop in Houston, the festival pays homage to the South American motherland with traditional Brazilian food, dances, and live music from Bacanas Brazilian Band, a dynamic quintet that sets the soundtrack to the daylong merriment and helps wake nearby birds from their springtime hibernation. As attendees stroll throughout the outdoor and indoor spaces, they can immerse themselves in quadrilha, or Brazilian square dancing, and play traditional games such as Pescaria, a fishing game where prizes are hidden inside wooden fish. Youngsters at the fest can enjoy the moon walk, carnival games, and face painting.