Like stepping into a time machine, the renovated venue enchants guests with its subtle extravagances: intricate arches in Moorish Revival style, regal wood-and-brass seats and a surreal skyscape painted on the ceiling. From the classic marquee outside to the inviting lobby lounge inside, the Olympia has endless potential.
And, fortunately, the theater's undergoing its own personal renaissance, quickly rising to become the premier entertainment venue it once was. Its 2015-2016 schedule of events is a good indication of that.
Walking past it, you'd never know this was what awaits within Olympia Theater — Photo courtesy of Olympia Theater
Last year, the theater played host to a number of big-name entertainers, from comedian Wanda Sykes to Latin rock band Cafe Tacvba to indie rock group Neutral Milk Hotel (the latter of which sold out almost immediately).
But the theater's 2015-2016 season will undoubtedly be its most impressive one yet, following the previous year's recipe of booking popular, impressive acts in music, comedy, dance, film and literary entertainment.
Their season opener is a 3D concert by German electro-pop group Kraftwerk, a band that has been performing since the '70s and influencing electronic music ever since. With their strong cult following, the show sold out in less than a week.
Famed Latino comedian Paul Rodriguez will be headlining the Latino Kings of Comedy in October. The show will also feature Alex Reymundo, Joey Medina and Manny Maldonado in stand-up acts that are sure to go over well with the multicultural Miami crowds.
The Olympia often partners with others like the Miami International Film Fest for special events — Photo courtesy of Olympia Theater
Another group with a cult following is the Scottish '90s alt-rock band Jesus and Mary Chain, who will also be hitting Olympia Theater in October. In conjunction with local subculture events company Poplife, the theater will serve as the venue for a live performance of PsychoCandy, the band's pioneering album, which turns 30 this year.
Writers and other literary events fans will be excited to book their seat for The Moth Mainstage: Bait & Switch, an event featuring live storytelling performances, with proceeds benefiting WLRN, Miami public radio.
November's biggest event will certainly be a live performance by indie musician Sufjan Stevens, whose most recent album, Carrie and Lowell, has been hailed by numerous sites as one of the best releases of 2015.
And then there are the Olympia's monthly events, like In The Lobby Lounge...WORDS!, a literary event on the first Wednesday of the month, and In the Lobby Lounge...Jazz!, happening on the second Wednesday of the month.
The theater has also partnered with the Miami Book Fair International and New World School of Arts for additional programming later in the season.
Built in 1926 as a silent movie palace, Olympia Theater has managed to survive and thrive for decades in downtown Miami.
One of only two atmospheric theaters in Florida, the Olympia was designed by famed architect John Eberson, who gave it its signature look, making guests feel as though they are at an al fresco theater in the Old World.
Once host to high-ranking acts like B.B. King, Etta James and Elvis Presley, the theater has undergone several renovations over the years, and it's finally emerging as a choice venue for both film and live entertainment.
If you're curious to see the beauty of the Olympia up close, your best bet is to purchase a ticket to one of these shows.