Step Inside the Bullocks Wilshire Building, for One Day Only

The Wilshire Boulevard landmark, now part of the Southwestern Law School, will open the doors to ticketed guests.

What to Know

  • Sunday, Aug. 4; tickets are timed
  • $25
  • Sales end at noon on Aug. 3

Maybe you bought your first garbardine suit there, the one you wore to your first job interview.

Maybe your granddad was an employee in the shoe department, or your aunt always swanned through the doors each December in order to pick out holiday gifts for the family.

Or maybe, just perhaps, you've never seen the inside of the legendary Bullocks Wilshire Building, which once served as a handsome home for the well-known department store chain.

Of course, it wasn't just the range of goods once sold at 3050 Wilshire Boulevard that Southern Californians remember; the Art Deco design, and architectural elegance straight out of an early '30s screwball comedy, won many fans' hearts over the decades.

Those merchandise-oriented decades came to a conclusion in the 1990s, when the Southwestern Law School purchased the stately spot, which had already been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

And for the last quarter century or so, if you're a member of the public, and not a student, it has been rather challenging to peek inside.

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But not totally. Peek, you certainly can, if you secure a ticket to a self-guided tour, on Sunday, Aug. 4. Timed tickets are available for $25, but be sure to get yours by noon on Aug. 3.

If you haven't called upon this historic treasure in a number of years, you'll see that the school's renovation efforts have enhanced many of its splendid Art Deco details. And while the shop counters have long since been replaced by the necessities of a law school, the walls, doors, and built-in flourishes tell the tale of when it was first built.

Which was, yes, 1929, an era that saw several notable, still-standing structures rise around Los Angeles, including the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which preceded the Bullocks Wilshire Building by a couple of years.

The Bullocks Wilshire Building may no longer be a store, but it is a store for knowledge, which is lovely.

And that people can saunter inside once a year, much like your aunt did when she needed to pick up a few gifts back in 1953, is a beautiful bridge to an elegant slice of SoCal's retail past.

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