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Things To Do in Spokane: Second Run Movies With a First Rate Experience

One of the best things to do in Spokane is discovering spots that only locals seem to know and love. If ever there was such a spot it’s the Garland Theater, with it’s vintage vibe, second run movies and a bar that is steps from the concessions. But before we take a deeper look at the Garland, let’s look at a couple of other local treats.

Hidden Tricks of Spokane

Every community has their hidden tricks and gems. One of my favorites is the “secret dessert” at the Onion downtown.  The hot fudge dipping sauce takes this delight over the top (Pssst… ask your server about the deep fried Oreos. They are a culinary treat)

Another local trick is that farthest Eastern window at Dicks Hamburgers is where you will find the fastest line.

If I mention more, I risk being run out of town.  However, there is one piece of information that I can share without relocating my family. It is the Garland Theater and it’s a local treasure.

Read 5 Fun Things To Do In Spokane

The Garland Theater.

The Garland theater is a historic 40’s era single screen movie house located in central Spokane.  The theater is a bookend to the historic and revamped Garland District.  The theater show second run films but offers a top tier experience.  They even have special event movies.

For me, seeing a film at the Garland is by far a more enjoyable experience than catching a flick at a modern theater.  Sure the seats might recline at the Regal Theater at Northtown Mall,  but the experience of taking my family to see the not so latest releases is probably akin to the experience my parents and grandparents had when they watched Dick Van Dyke dance across the screen.

How about another throwback,  the price of the ticket.  At just $5 a head I can afford to take my family to a movie.  Heck, even the concessions are reasonably priced.  For $17 you get a large refillable popcorn popcorn, candy and a large soda.  For just $70, you can by an annual pass.  With prices like that, I don’t need to sell my organs for the family to see all the new Star Wars movies.

A Beer & A Movie

Before Samuel L. Jackson was swinging light sabers or saving passengers from all those snakes on that Mother F plane.  I remember him having a conversation with John Travolta about having a glass of beer in the theater (Pulp Fiction anyone?).  That blew my 18 year old mind.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that one day I would drink a beer in a theater while watching Thor clash with the forces of evil.

I’ve found that the beer in the theatre thing comes in handy when fulfilling parental duties by watching Pixar’s second latest film. Is it just me, or is alcohol sometimes the only way to get through kid-flicks?  FYI, I don’t think there is enough beer to get me through Paddington 2.  Just sayin’ (Opinions are not necessarily those of Clever Neighbor).

Photo by Author

PBR in the cheap seats at the Garland Theater in Spokane, WA.

The Bon Bon Bar

Just of the The Garland Theater’s concession area is the Bon Bon. It’s a great little bar.  They have specialty cocktails and the traditional trivia & Bingo nights.  Don’t assume it’s just another bar though.  It may be small, but it has a cool retro vibe.  Wether you want a pre-show cocktail or a chills spot to enjoy, it gets two thumbs up from me.  Super huge bonus, you can take your drink to the movie.

Host A Private Screening

In case you didn’t know, Spokane has been the setting for a number of films over the years, thank in no small part to North By Northwest which is located close to Downtown Spokane. Let’s say you just inherited a good sum of money and have always dreamed of producing a film starring your best friend and your dog. The Garland Theater is available for rent! They are glad to host a screening party for your film before it’s sent off to Cannes or Sundance.

Beyond screenings, they host corporate events, team building exercises, Holiday parties and more. Click here to learn more.


A Spokane Experience

Before you head to the show, recognize that this is a unique experience.  I grew up going to a second run theater in my hometown Oxnard, (which is almost as nice as it sounds).  Anyway, I don’t know how shaving 8 bucks off of a ticket changes the dynamics of the audience but it really does.  You’ll see folks talking to each other up and down the aisles. If you go to a matinee you might even get a 1 year old serenading you for an hour and a half.  That being said, it’s kind of awesome. The Garland Theater provides a sense of community that you don’t get at a modern theater.

The Garland Theater is not simply a movie experience, it’s a Spokane experience.  Folks from all over the community come to meet up and enjoy a films and maybe a beverage or two. It’s a safe place to visit with your neighbors. It’s fun. Folks are there to have a good time. The minor distractions are more humorous than annoying.

All in all, this gem isn’t known too well or widely by outsiders, but to us locals it’s a treasure. So if you are looking for some things to do in Spokane this week or weekend, check out the Garland. It is a treat!

Parting Shots

If I had one complaint, the lights come on after the film a little too quickly.  Weird?  Not really. If I had a wish I’d ask Pixar to make a movie that doesn’t make me cry.


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