In pre-covid times, I frequently traveled domestically and internationally for work and would invariably forget a key item—a wall plug adapter, a USB-C microSD card reader, you name it. The easiest way to track down those items was usually the Apple store in whatever city I was in, so needless to say I’ve seen many of them, some more grandiose than others. Apple’s most iconic location, to me, is the one in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. I used to work a few blocks away on Madison Avenue, and whenever I needed a device repaired, I’d end up sitting at the Genius Bar beneath the Beaux-Arts building’s starry ceiling mural. Apple’s newest store, located in Los Angeles, won’t have quite the same energy as the Grand Central location’s perch above the bustling Grand Concourse, but it’s somehow even more extra—and I’m not just saying that because I live in LA now.
The company is opening an Apple store in downtown LA this week, but this isn’t just any run-of-the-mill Apple store. Apple in 2018 announced its plans for the landmark Tower Theatre, which was built in 1927 but has been vacant since 1988, and turned it into the most stunningly ornate retail store I’ve ever seen. Part of me is sad that a beautiful movie theater is now another site for slinging iPhones, but I’m also glad that this historic jewel is open for literally anyone to enjoy, no ticket required.
Click through to see photos of the store today—and what it looked like in its original glory.