7 Must-Visit Scenic Colorado Music Venues

Do you think music sounds the same no matter where you go? Think again. In Colorado, not only will you hear the difference, you’ll feel it.

A sweeping view of all of the attendees at a Red Rocks show in Morrison. In the forefront of the photo is one of the jutting red rocks, to the right of which sits the main stage, all under dark-blue skies.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver in Morrison, CO
A sweeping view of the backs of attendees' heads in front of the Dillon Alphitheatre in Dillon. Behind the amphitheatre is the deep-blue reservoir, behind which are tall and craggy mountain peaks under a blue summer sky.
Summer concert on the lake at Dillon Amphitheatre, Dillon, CO
A photo of the backs of attendees' heads looking onto the wide, lit-up stage under the elaborate paneled ceiling of the Benedict Music Tent in Aspen.
A concert in Aspen's Benedict Music Tent
A photo from the left side of the stage at Telluride Town Park, showing the performer on stage and the hundreds of attendees dancing to the music. Behind it all are tall green hills and distant craggy mountains underneath a bright sky.
A summer concert at Telluride Town Park, Telluride, CO
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From the incredible acoustics at one of the world’s most unique venues to music festivals that echo through the Rocky Mountains, melodies in the Centennial State naturally sound richer. And paired with open-air venues surrounded by stunning views of towering peaks, blue alpine lakes and clear night skies filled with sparkling stars, there’s no question about it — music shines brighter in Colorado. 

Wherever your travels take you within our four corners, find opportunities to experience your favorite artists like never before at these must-visit outdoor venues. 

1. Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Morrison
The naturally occurring, acoustically perfect, jaw-droppingly scenic Red Rocks Amphitheatre is the mother of all outdoor music venues. Built into rock formations just outside of Denver, this venue is renowned for its impeccable acoustics, and it’s been captivating audiences and musicians alike for more than 100 years now. The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, U2 and The Grateful Dead are just a handful of big names among the countless legendary acts that have rocked this world-famous stage under the stars. See the concert calendar.

2. The Fred Shellman Memorial Stage

Telluride
The jagged, 14,000-foot peaks of southwest Colorado tower over Telluride Town Park, providing 360 degrees of mountain views. This pristine scenery creates an impossibly beautiful live music setting for the annual Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, Telluride Jazz Celebration and Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Camping right in the park is popular during days-long musical events and summertime shows. See the concert calendar.

3. Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

Vail
Looking out over the Vail Valley, locals know that the Ford Amphitheater lawn is the place to be on clear evenings when the star show above is often as impressive as the on-stage performance. Lounge on the lawn or get a little closer to the action with pavilion seating. Sprays of wildflowers and the piney slopes of the Gore Range frame the stage, creating a perfect setting for popular events such as Vail Dance Festival, Bravo! Vail Music Festival and the free Hot Summer Nights series. See the concert calendar.

4. The Folks Fest Stage at Planet Bluegrass Ranch

Lyons 
In a secluded valley north of Boulder sits the open-air Folks Fest Stage with a sprawling, grassy field perfect for spreading out blankets to enjoy relaxed folk shows. The St. Vrain River runs parallel to the Lyons venue, so take a refreshing dip after soaking up some high-altitude sun. Past performers have included the likes of Brandi Carlile, Jackson Brown and Steve Martin at the RockyGrass Festival in July and the Folks Festival in August.

5. Benedict Music Tent at Aspen Music Festival and School

Aspen
Echoing the look of Denver International Airport’s white peaks, the Benedict Music Tent's canopy features the acoustics of a concert hall and the romance and freshness of an open-air tent. Surrounded by Mount Elbert and Mount Massive, the highest and second highest peaks in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, respectively, as well as fellow fourteener Capitol Peak and the Maroon Bells, this venue is encompassed in striking natural beauty. Shows here include student recitals from the Aspen School of Music, Jazz Aspen Snowmass and the Aspen Chamber Symphony. See the concert calendar.

6. Dillon Amphitheater

Dillon
Sailboats crisscross the crystal-blue alpine lake that serves as the backdrop for this stunning mountain-town stage on the banks of Lake Dillon. The summer schedule is usually packed with live music concerts throughout the week, spanning genres of alternative, bluegrass, country and rock. Sit back and relax as you catch a vibrant summer sunset and a show from established and emerging artists worth seeing. See the concert calendar.

7. Mishawaka Amphitheatre

Bellvue
The Mish — as it’s known locally — was in danger of a permanent shutdown in 2010, but within a few months, new ownership rescued the beloved live music venue northwest of Fort Collins in Bellvue. Set on the wooded banks of the Poudre River, the lineup of jam bands draws big crowds to the endearingly rustic lodgepole-pine stage. Shows like Leftover Salmon, Toad The Wet Sprocket and The Wailers keep the Colorado-cool vibe here alive. See the concert calendar.

Want more?

Check out these small Colorado towns with big performing arts scenes and find your perfect music festival.

Images: Red Rock Amphitheatre, courtesy of Visit Denver, The Convention & Visitors Bureau/Steve Crecelius; The Dillon Amphitheater, courtesy of the Town of Dillon; Benedict Music Tent, courtesy of Alex Irvin; Telluride Town Park, courtesy of Benko Photographics; Fir Mountain, courtesy of the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad