Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In - Miami

7271 SW 168th Street,
Palmetto Bay, FL 33157

50 cars

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In 2010 Josh Frank opened the original Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In in Austin, Texas, “concentrating on indie films, art house, cult, Gen X/Y, childhood favorites, and drive-in classics” as stated on the Blue Startlite’s website.

In 2013, Josh brought the concept to Miami, FL, opening this second location originally at 70 NW 29th Street in the Wynwood neighborhood near O Cinema.

From the website‘s “About Us” page: “What makes a ‘mini urban drive-in?’ It is small, intimate, and right in the heart of the city. It recreates the historical drive-in experience without the long drive to the countryside and without the vast expansive parking lot feel.”

The drive-in includes a digital projector, a professional inflatable screen, and a cute small camper-trailer which serves as the box office and concession stand. Sound comes through your car’s radio as well as the cinema’s speakers. Their website says 15-50 cars can be admitted per night and movie-goers may also walk-in or bike-in without a car. It is also rentable for private events.

Made of portable components, the drive-in has relocated three times within the Miami-Dade County area: first to the parking lot behind the Coconut Grove Playhouse at 3500 Main Highway (June 2014), then a parking lot in Kennedy Park at 2476 South Bayshore Drive (September 2015) also in the Coconut Grove neighborhood, and as of February 2016, to 7271 SW 168th Street in Palmetto Bay, off Old Cutler Road on land that had been the location of the Old Cutler Inn restaurant for many years near the historic Deering Estate.

The drive-in also sometimes holds screenings at the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park east of downtown Miami at 4020 Virginia Beach Drive, reached via the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Business is seasonal and the Miami version of the Blue Starlite spends the summer in Minturn, Colorado in the Rocky Mountains as “the highest drive-in in the country“.

Contributed by David_Schneider

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

David_Schneider on January 31, 2017 at 12:08 pm

The Palmetto Bay location is amongst a cluster of businesses around an intersection in an otherwise residential area, including a Starbucks and a Sir Pizza across the street, two gas stations, a Subway, and a Farm Store next door. Getting here from the north can be a nice drive down Old Cutler Road.

The Deering Estate, open to the public, is the original building in the area and is one of the oldest structures in the county.

Cinema Treasures page for the original Austin, TX location.

Blue Starlite in the media page.

Newspaper Articles:

At current Palmetto Bay location:

“Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in Invokes Nostalgia in New Palmetto Bay Location”

“The Blue Starlite Urban Drive-in Gets New Home on Old Cutler Road“

When it was at Kennedy Park:

“Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in‘s ‘Blue Starlite By The Bay‘ at Kennedy Park”

When it was behind Coconut Grove Playhouse:

“Blue Starlite Drive-in Finds New Home at Old Coconut Grove Playhouse“

When it first opened in Wynwood:

“Blue Starlite Miami Urban Drive-in Announces Grand Opening”

“Boutique Drive-in Movie Theater to Open in Wynwood”

“Blue Starlite Miami Urban Drive-in Opening: Inside Wynwood‘s New Vintage Movie Theater”

When it’s at Virginia Key:

“Blue Starlite Drive-in Theater Expands to Virginia Key Beach”

Blue Starlite’s webpage for summers in Colorado.

Trolleyguy on February 12, 2017 at 12:26 pm

I don’t believe that these pop-up locations should be listed. They only exist for a short time like food trucks.

David_Schneider on February 12, 2017 at 5:15 pm

The drive-in has been listed along with the regular conventional theaters on the physical Miami Herald’s movie times page since 2013, and it might be of interest to locals living here, so I created a Cinema Treasures page for it.

The drive-in has relocated from its primary Miami addresses when the circumstances of the land it is on eventually change, not just because it is portable.

natalie66 on May 12, 2018 at 1:18 pm

I was trying to look for this drive-in theater and it seems like it is closed. Is it reopening in the future, at a different location, or have we officially lost any hope of a drive-in theater in Miami-Dade County?

Trolleyguy on May 12, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Website is down. Only mention on Facebook is for the original one in Austin TX.

David_Schneider on May 16, 2018 at 4:07 pm

I emailed Blue Starlite using an address on the Austin location’s website asking about the status of the Miami location, if it had moved to Colorado, and pointing out it is still listed in the Miami Herald with no films scheduled.

They responded on May 15th: “We had a temp location in CO, but our main and home location is in Austin. Miami has been a satellite location. We do hope to get back there and open up again!”

So it sounds like the Miami location is closed until further notice.

David_Schneider on July 25, 2020 at 4:50 pm

natalie66, because indoor cinemas are temporarily closed and social distancing is required in response to the coronavirus pandemic, two drive-ins popped up in northern Miami-Dade County: Carflix at the Dezerland amusement park, and another, the Hard Rock Stadium Drive-up Theater, where you park your vehicle…. on the field where the Miami Dolphins play football!

(Outside the stadium on the plaza part of the property is the Fountain Plaza Open Air Theater, where moviegoers sit outdoors.)

It appears these venues may be temporary… This Miami New Times article as well as the Hard Rock Stadium homepage say the drive-up theater is scheduled to run through August 2nd…. And this brief tv news story about the opening of Carflix mentions it was scheduled to close in early July.

If this post is therefore a little late, it still serves to indicate that these places had existed if they never reopen. : )

Another Miami New Times article from May 29th, 2020:

“Drive-In Movie Theaters Pop Up Across Miami and Fort Lauderdale”

David_Schneider on September 28, 2020 at 1:43 pm

To add to my comment above this one, I found two more drive-ins that have popped up: Florida City Cinema in southern Miami-Dade County, and Carpool Cinema, whose website says “The first and only boutique drive-in theatre in Wynwood”, although as I mention in my description at the top of this page the Blue Starlite’s first Miami-Dade County location was in Wynwood. : )

And if you’d rather just set up a theater in your backyard, here’s an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer reprinted in the July 26th, 2020 Miami Herald:

“How to Set Up an Outdoor Home Movie Theater”

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