Starlight Drive-In – An Atlanta Tradition

Starlight Drive-In – An Atlanta Tradition

It seems as though Atlanta is ALWAYS changing.  I recently had a conversation about this constant evolution with a friend and we reminisced about some of our favorite “staples” that have recently or long ago been replaced by a new business, development, or scene.  Such is the evolution of the city, stagnation is never an option.  I hate to see business go but where one business may be sadly missed the excitement and energy created by a new business is essential for growth.  Even when mourning the loss of a favorite spot I get excited about the possibilities that new growth provide.

Much preferred to seeing a business close because of changing times is to see a brand evolve to meet the changing demands.  As someone that prefers consistency and doing business with the same brands over and over I am so happy that there are still businesses around that I have been to since childhood.  These brands have rolled with the punches and have evolved their business but have still remained true to what gave them their appeal to begin with.  The ability to evolve as a brand yet maintain brand identity is something all business must do if they are to stay relevant and open for any period of time.  Again, stagnation is not an option.

The Starlight Drive-In on Moreland Avenue in East Atlanta (kinda) is one such business that has been able to remain true to it’s brand yet evolve in such a way as to remain popular and profitable (I assume) for over 60 years.  That is impressive for any business but especially impressive for a business model and genre that is all but extinct these days.  I would venture to say that this was possible because starlight has re-branded itself over time to meet the demands of the marketplace and keep up with emerging trends and technologies while maintaining to it’s core function and unique style.  The Atlanta Starlight Drive-In opened it’s doors in 1949 with one screen but has added more over time to meet demand and increase profitability (again, an assumption).  Now there are six screens with a schedule that offers the latest features and some older favorites.  In 2013 Starlight brought its audio and visual systems up to par so now the viewing experience is just as high a quality as being at the theater.


I recently went with a group of friends to see Lucy, the new Scarlett Johansson feature, on a Saturday night and really enjoyed the experience.   First of all it was packed so it was good to see that business is good and the night was perfect which always helps.  We were able to park with our friends in a group of three cars and then sit outside alongside our vehicles and enjoy the show.  We brought chairs and had plenty of room to spread out and the sound is so good now that hearing was not a problem at all.  The audio and visual is perfect.  I did not use the bathroom facilities or the snack bar, but last time I was there the selection was good.  Overall the experience is unique and enjoyable, fun was had by everyone!

While texting with my mother on the way to Starlight that evening she reminded me that we used to go when I was a child.  Evidently I was loud and running around (basically nothing has changed:) but I do vaguely remember the experience 25 plus years later.  I remember loving it then just as I loved it on Saturday night which is pretty cool.  The Starlight Drive-In is a an Atlanta tradition that I hope continues, I would love to be able to take my kids there some day as well!

If you haven’t been I suggest checking it out.  This is what is NOW PLAYING.

Starlight 2


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