Colorado is a popular destination for musical acts big and small. With a variety of incredible outdoor venues that expose audiences to scenic views of the Rocky Mountains, big names can’t help but want to play here. The state is also home to historic indoor theatres, snazzy lounges and other modern music spaces.
Experience top musical performances in the state at the 10 best music venues in Colorado.
Colorado’s most famous music venue is undoubtedly Red Rocks Amphitheatre, located in Morrison. This outdoor music venue is an open-air amphitheater that was created from the surrounding red rocks, which truly boast perfect acoustics. Huge names have taken the stage for more than 100 years now, including acts like U2, the Grateful Dead, the Beatles and even Jimi Hendrix. Red Rocks is by far one of the best music venues not only in Colorado, but in the entire country.
Known to locals as ‘the Mish,’ Mishawaka Amphitheatre in Bellvue is a gorgeous outdoor theater located along the banks of the Poudre River. The Poudre Canyon makes for a great backdrop as music lovers jam out to incredible bands on the rustic lodge pole pine stage. Although the outdoor amphitheater is only open from May to September, the Mish still hosts shows during the winter in its indoor lounge.
The Bluebird Theater in Denver originally opened in 1913 but didn’t become a Denver music mecca until 1994. This bustling theater hosts acts varying from heavy metal to up-and-coming singer/songwriters. The theater offers great sightlines and a balcony overlooking the space.
Dazzle Jazz in Denver is a jazz lover’s dream. This swanky venue has an inviting front room, known as the Dizzy Room, where guests enjoy prime dining, a plentiful martini list and the best jazz from local artists to beloved musicians. Dazzle Jazz offers free jam sessions in the Dizzy Room, making it a perfect place to find new music.
Located in Vail, the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is an outdoor venue with stadium-style seats and expansive lawn seating. During the summer this amphitheater is busy hosting festivals and concerts, such as the International Dance Festival. From the grassy hillside check out breathtaking views of the Rockies while listening to top musical performances.
The Black Sheep, awarded “Best Live Music Venue” in Colorado Springs for 10 straight years, hosts the best of local and national music acts in a variety of genres. Opened almost every night, the Black Sheep’s lineup is sure to please a variety of music lovers. Imagine Dragons, Macklemore and even Gwar have graced the Black Sheep stage.
Open in 2000 the Benedict Music Tent is coveted for its outstanding outdoor atmosphere. The tent’s design mimics the white peaks found in the architecture at Denver International Airport, and the venue’s removable sides allow more people to enjoy the thunderous acoustics. Located in Aspen, the Benedict Music Tent is simply another reason to visit this lovely mountain town.
Declared as a historic landmark by the city of Denver, the Paramount Theatre has been opened since 1930. Although this venue originally opened as a movie house, the 1,700 capacity space now hosts a variety of entertainment, from dance performances to rock concerts. The history of the Paramount Theatre is alive with its art deco architecture. In 1980, the Paramount Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The stage at Telluride’s Town Park has hosted big names, like James Brown and Johnny Cash, for 25 years now. Southwestern Colorado’s towering peaks encompass Telluride Park, making this outdoor venue incredibly scenic and perfect for summertime festivals. The most famous festivals at this beautiful live music setting are the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Telluride Blues and Brews Festival.
This music venue didn’t open under the name of the Fillmore Auditorium until 1999 but has made a name for itself in the music scene throughout the years. The historic space originally opened in 1907 as a skating rink. Acts such as the Grateful Dead, Marilyn Manson and The Who have played in this historic space. The Fillmore is a must-visit in the Denver area.