By: Emily Beloate
In the 1980s and 1990s, there were multiple movies filmed on location in Spokane, the most well-known being Vision Quest with Madonna and Benny and Joon with Johnny Depp. There was a gap in media for a while, and not much filming was done in Spokane. But that changed recently when the Grammy Award winning duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis filmed the music video for their song “Downtown” in Spokane.
Filmed in July and released in August of 2015, “Downtown” featured many local, well-known places around Spokane. These two celebrities have given a renewed image to Spokane with their music video and have given pride to Spokanites everywhere. Aislinn Noone was working at Big 5 when Macklemore came into the store. Noone said “There’s something about a celebrity coming and taking notice of what people used to believe was boring and mundane.” Here are q few locations where Macklemore filmed his music video and brought some excitement to the city of Spokane.
Northtown Auto Liquidators
The store where Macklemore buys his Moped, it is known by Spokanites for the blow-up dog that chills on the roof. This store is at the mouth of the Garland District, one of Spokane’s most iconic neighborhoods. Dating back to 1910, the Garland District holds some of Spokane’s most historic buildings, including the Masonic Temple, Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle, and the Garland Theater. The Garland District is the location of many locally-owned businesses and Spokane-original products and services.
Martin Woldson Theater at the FOX
Seen as Macklemore rolls by on his Moped, the FOX Theater is one of Spokane’s most famous entertainment venues. Smack dab in the center of Spokane’s Entertainment District, the FOX Theater houses many different events throughout the year, including the Spokane Symphony, other music groups, dance troupes, and theater productions. Also in the immediate area is The Knitting Factory, the Bing Crosby Theater, The Modern Theater, Stage Left Theater, and other performance venues.
South Cedar Street
Though it’s highly unlikely that you’ll see a golden eagle chariot when driving down South Cedar, you can smile knowing that it happened in July when Macklemore came to town. Just north of where this part of the video was filmed is one of of the Rocket Bakery locations, a Spokane founded chain bakery that is popular among both locals and tourists. If you find yourself driving along Cedar, make a stop in Rocket Bakery and reflect on Macklemore’s past presence in that area of town.
Intersection at Howard and Main Street
The scene of this leather-vested rapper’s stand-off with his fellow musician. This intersection is a central location to many of Downtown Spokane’s hotspots. Look just beyond Macklemore’s head and you’ll see Atticus Coffee & Gifts and Boo Radley’s, two Spokane born-and-raised shops. Based on the book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” these sibling stores contain an array of gift items and doodads enclosed in an atmosphere of warmth, comfort, and coffee.
Just at the end of the street lies Rotary Fountain, one of the entrances into Riverfront Park. Riverfront Park is the home of the Spokane Falls, Looff Carrousel, Ice Palace Ice Skating Rink, IMAX Theatre, and many other attractions.
Fifteen steps to the left and you’ll find yourself in River Park Square, Spokane’s premier destination for shopping and dining. Complete with multiple levels, skywalks, and the hint of an outdoorsy theme, this mall has a variety of indoor activities to peruse and is a great option during all seasons.
The final moments of the massive crowd dancing around the streets take place on First Avenue headed west toward Browne’s Addition. Along First Avenue, there are many restaurants and stores to make a stop in. If you follow the dancers’ footsteps and go a little further, you’ll find yourself in Browne’s Addition, where there is Coeur D’Alene Park, the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture, and access to Spokane’s Centennial Trail.
Since its release, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Downtown” music video has brought a lot of pride to the Spokane area. Gwyneth Muscott, a Spokane regular who witnessed Macklemore filming in July, said “It was awesome to have Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, both Washington natives, publicize their home towns and return to their roots. Their quirkiness has integrated into Spokane, and Spokane gained more recognition because of them.” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have put Spokane and all of these locations back on the map for Spokane visitors.