Sprawling across 100 acres in the verdant, picturesque Spokane Falls, Riverfront Park beckons with awe-inspiring visual and auditory wonders. The newly constructed SkyRide invites visitors to survey the land from above, swooping across the Spokane River and past city hall, where they can wave to their favorite comptroller. Back on the ground, the historic Looff Carousel, built in 1909, whirls riders around on 54 horses, two Chinese-dragon chairs, one giraffe, and one tiger, and a tour train chugs through the park on a 30-minute narrated jaunt. Among other attractions, such as the Sculpture Walk and pony rides, Riverfront Park houses an enormous IMAX theater with one of the largest indoor screens in the Pacific Northwest. Standing 53 feet high and stretching 69 feet wide, the screen is slightly taller than the average human and displays crystal-clear two-dimensional images, which are complemented by the sounds of a booming, wraparound surround-sound system.
On a crisp November evening in 1945, just two months after WWII finally ended, the giddy murmuring of moviegoers floated through a lobby lushly decorated with rose-colored carpet, brown oak walls, and columns tiled in purple. As impressive as these appointments were, they paled next to the lobby?s other ornamentation: congratulatory telegrams from the likes of Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, and Ginger Rogers, nestled alongside flowers from well-wishing movie studios. This was the opening night of The Garland Theater, and its excited guests were about to watch a double feature of It?s a Pleasure and Double Exposure in a stadium-style theater that could seat 1,000 among its powder-blue and Italian-red walls.
Today, the family-friendly theater continues to welcome cinephiles and popcorn bloggers, but it keeps ticket prices down by playing its blockbusters slightly after their initial releases. Since undergoing a total renovation this year at the hands of current owner Katherine Fritchie, The Garland now hosts 540 spacious seats, modern sound, and a state-of-the-art digital projection system. Events such as Totally Tubular Tuesdays, which feature classic movies such as Peewee's Big Adventure or The Matrix, boast even cheaper admission. After the credits roll, moviegoers head to the theater?s cocktail bar with full kitchen, Bon Bon, for a Point of No Return with gin, flamed rosemary, and absinthe mist or a Candy Pear with Clear Creek pear brandy and black walnut bitters.
Though watching a movie in a cinema has its charms, watching the same movie against a backdrop of trees and mountains ignites all the senses. This is what Epic Events aims to do through its outdoor productions and inflatable movie screen rentals. Throughout the Pacific Northwest, the event company sets up sprawling screens in parks, on college campuses, and atop roofs. From there, moviegoers can take in classic and modern films as they stretch out beneath the stars and whisper their favorite lines to cinema-loving squirrels.
Renovations can be perilous—when swapping in new technology and modern comforts, it’s easy to lose sight of a favorite haunt’s original charm. But even after a 2012 overhaul that added two new screens, digital projection, and surround sound, Roxy Theater retains a vintage vibe from the neon sign standing at attention on the façade to the 1934 carbon-arc projector displayed in the lobby.
Today, Roxy Theater boasts more space for its visitors with a bigger concessions area that the Inlander describes as resembling “an old soda shop with chrome and cherry red accents.” The theater serves hot dogs, ice cream, candy, and fresh popcorn. Guests can also earn perks and cut down lobby time by preordering their concessions for the evening through an online rewards program.