Even with all the outdoor activities available thanks to warmer weather and long, sunny days, and even with annual family reunions and road trips in the mix, summer remains prime time for movie lovers. There’s something about the freedom of the season that loosens our schedules and lets us find ways to spend a couple hours in darkness, exploring fantastic worlds, intimate storytelling and, sometimes, simple excuses to laugh our asses off. Here are a few ways to help make the movies part of your best summer.
Spokane's Garland Theater
I’d recommend a trip to the Garland Theater any time of year, really, because I love the place. Discounted movie prices ($5, and just $2.50 on Wednesdays), a nice little bar in the lobby (Bon Bon), top-notch grub to enjoy while you watch (get yourself a Porky’s Revenge sandwich and thank me later) all make it a sweet spot for catching a flick. In the summer, in addition to their regular programming, the Garland adds in free shows for kiddos every Monday through Friday at 9:30 am during summer break. And the Garland’s Summer Camp series of classics — of both the cult and traditional varieties — has some great ones on tap this summer, including The Goonies (June 19), They Live (June 26), Stand By Me (July 10) and The Outsiders (Aug. 7). Keep up at garlandtheater.com.
Experience A Movie Under Moonlight
Many of us know the feeling of trying to create a romantic movie date night at home, only to realize that no matter how tasty the takeout, how pretty the flowers, how expensive the wine or how good the movie, you’re still basically just camping out on your couch like most nights. And that’s OK! But if you really want to make a special evening, maybe leave it to the pros, like the folks at Spokane’s Moonlit Movies Co., who will set up an intimate bubble tent in the outdoor locale of your choosing, and fill it with a table, rugs, cozy pillows, cushions and blankets, as well as a screen and projector, for you to watch Casablanca, When Harry Met Sally, Blue Is the Warmest Colour — whatever your romantic jam is. Check out the available packages at moonlitmoviesco.com.
Upcoming Movie Screenings in Spokane
A couple spots in the area add movie screenings to their diverse array of activities each year, and this summer is no different. The HUB Sports Center is a place that on normal days is full of pickleballers, volleyballers, martial artists and more. On July 30, though, they’ll screen one of the all-time summer classics, Jaws, on their outdoor screen at 8:30 pm, and you can bring a car full of fans for $25.
The Pavilion in Riverfront Park hosts free movies in July and early August at 8:30 pm, and the lineup includes Cruella (July 6), Encanto (July 20), Ghostbusters Afterlife (July 27) and The Princess Bride (Aug. 3). So pack a blanket or a chair and settle in for a beautiful night outside. More information at hubsportscenter.org and riverfrontspokane.org.
Spokane's Drive-In Theater
While the pandemic led to the creation of pop-up outdoor movie screens both in parks and backyards, there’s no beating the experience of going to a real old-timey drive-in. And the Inland Northwest actually has one in Colville’s Auto-Vue Drive-In Theatre, which has been screening flicks in the summer since the 1950s. It’s 70 miles or so north of Spokane, so you can enjoy a mini road trip, some small-town ambience, and then a double-feature at dusk. The Auto-Vue’s season typically runs until just after Labor Day, and you can scope out the schedule on the theater’s Facebook page. It’s only $7 for an adult ticket, $3 for kids 11 and under, and on Sunday nights you can cram a car full of friends and family in for just $15 total. The box office opens Fri-Sun at 8 pm. For details, Facebook: Auto-Vue Drive-In Theatre.