From Colorado ski resort concerts and historic-watering-hole jam sessions to powerful theatrical performances, Colorado is rife with live-entertainment options to enhance your winter itinerary
On the Slopes
There’s something oh-so-Colorado about catching a ski-resort concert, where live music unites goggle-tanned rippers and shredders after a day of powder play.
The MusicFest at Steamboat Resort (Jan. 5–10, 2019)
Six days, more than 130 hours of performances by Texas and Americana bands and Steamboat’s Champagne Powder™ make this fest a longtime fav. Venues range from mountain-base stages and slick ballrooms to intimate acoustical settings. Packages include lift tickets, entry for all shows and lodging (book early to snag ski-in/ski-out options).
Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series (dates throughout the ski season)
Mitten-wearing fist pumpers gather in downtown Aspen, Aspen Mountain’s Gondola Plaza or Snowmass’ Base Village for this free concert series featuring songsters from a variety of genres. Past acts include Reel Big Fish, Umphrey’s McGee and Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Spring Back to Vail (weekends, late March and mid-April)
Taking place over two weekends, this end-of-the-ski-season affair includes a schedule of free concerts at various locations throughout Vail and concludes with the epic World Pond Skimming Championships. What's pond skimming? It is a tradition that typically takes place on a ski area or resort's closing day and involves costumed participants who attempt to ski, board or sled down a hill and across an icy pond.
Crested Butte Après-Ski Concerts (dates throughout the ski season)
After a day on Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s pristine slopes, cruise over to Butte 66 Roadhouse & Grille at the base of the Red Lady Express chairlift to enjoy a brew and free live music. Hobnob with friends on Butte 66’s deck, where the tunes, killer views and nibbles like chorizo nachos make it worth staying bundled up.
Breckenridge Ski Resort Spring Fever (March TBA–April TBA, 2019)
Breck’s month-long calendar of parties, concerts, and skiing and riding competitions is a great way to ease the pain of a fading ski season. Highlights include free concerts at the base of Peak 8; the closing weekend luau in April (suckling pig included) and the Imperial Challenge, a pseudo-triathlon where strapping powderhounds bike 6 miles, ascend by foot to the summit of Peak 8, then ski or snowboard down to the finish line.
Off the Slopes
Just a few places to find applause-worthy live shows all over the state.
If walls could talk … these legendary sites would have rockin’ stories to tell.
- Boulder Theater
This up-close-and-personal concert hall built in 1906 is known for presenting a mix of musical genres. Stop at George’s next door for a pre-show Mile High Manhattan.
- Sheridan Opera House
Completed in 1912, the “Crown Jewel of Telluride” is a fitting backdrop for legendary winter happenings like February’s Telluride Comedy Festival and March’s Telluride Tribute Fest, a gathering of tribute bands that’ll have you digging out your fanny pack and parachute pants.
- Paramount Theatre
One of the many smashing concert venues in Denver, the Paramount Theatre’s neon marquee has welcomed show-goers since 1930, when it opened as a movie house. Now the theater hosts comedians, touring bands, authors and more.
Intimate Musical Settings
Fantastic libations and intimate stages characterize these acoustics-infused watering holes.
Appreciate tunes by jazz musicians in Denver’s RiNo (River North) District, and sip classy cocktails like The Last Word, a mix of Spring44 Gin, Green Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur and lime.
- Sarah’s Lounge in the Christiania Lodge
The vocal stylings of lederhosen-clad Helmut Fricker (he yodels and plays the accordion!) make Sarah’s Lounge a Vail Village hot spot on Friday evenings in the winter.
- Lucky Joe’s Sidewalk Saloon
This Fort Collins joint has all that you could ask for: a full calendar of live acts, delicious Irish and American fare and great daily specials (the $2 bloody marys on Sundays are an excellent prelude to participation in open-mic night).
Catch popular masterpieces and inventive new works at Colorado performing arts institutions.
- Denver Performing Arts Complex
Home to the region’s largest group of theater professionals, there’s always something to see at the DPAC, from cabaret and comedy shows to Tony Award-winning productions.
- Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre
A matinee or evening show by this critically acclaimed theater company is a treat after exploring the wealth of galleries in Trinidad’s Certified Colorado Creative District. Learn more about Colorado Creative Districts >>
- Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
Theater is just the beginning at this cultural center, which also hosts concerts, film festivals and dance performances, and houses an impressive art museum.
- Breckenridge Backstage Theatre
Breckenridge’s intimate community theater boasts a year-round schedule of engaging and thought-provoking shows.
- Performing Arts in Colorado
- Big Performing Arts in Colorado’s Small Towns
- Cultural Capital: Colorado Arts & Entertainment