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7 Iconic Colorado Music Venues for Summer

By Lisa Blake

Summer in Colorado means a nonstop stream of live music under the stars and brilliant blue skies, over the rails and up the rocks. Start planning your trip to these iconic Colorado music venues and get ready to rock.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

A show between Red Rocks’ two 300-foot monoliths is a milestone event. The natural geographically formed stage delivers acoustic perfection and some of the biggest names in music. The Grateful Dead, The Beatles and U2 have all performed here. Feel the breeze from the top and watch the sun set over Denver at this world-famous venue in Morrison.


Chautauqua Auditorium

For more than a century, stars such as Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter and BB King have enjoyed playing at this open-architecture venue near Boulder. Amazing acoustics reverberate throughout what locals lovingly refer to as “the barn” and minimal modifications have been made since its opening in 1898. Kick back among rustic Oregon fir beams and take in an intimate performance – the venue holds only 1,326 guests – at this National Historic Landmark.


The Mishawaka Amphitheatre

Head up the scenic Poudre Canyon northwest of Fort Collins for this tucked-away riverside gem. The Mish is a no-frills mountain venue featuring a year-round bar and restaurant (try their buffalo burger with a pint of Odell’s craft beer). The outdoor lodgepole-pine stage hosts genres spanning indie to jam bands May through September in a setting that’s pure Colorado.


Telluride Town Park

During winter, this southwest Colorado resort town is known for its epic skiing. Come summertime, all eyes turn to Town Park and its equally impressive annual festival calendar. The permanent outdoor stage plays host to legendary multi-day bluegrass, jazz and blues gatherings. Pair top-billed musicians with 360-degree box canyon views and convenient adjacent campgrounds and you’ll quickly see why folks travel from all over the world to land here.

Telluride Town Park

Rancho Del Rio

This funky, off-the-path rural “resort” is situated near Bond (take I-70 west past Vail, hang a right) and is the ideal summer rafting, camping, concert-going trifecta. Water-lovers flock to the Colorado River headwaters for stellar whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing and trout fishing and then set up base downriver at Rancho where the stage, cabins and campsites rest on the riverbank, providing a postcard backdrop for laid-back music and arts festivals.


Planet Bluegrass Ranch

Set alongside the St. Vrain River in the small mountain town of Lyons, this open-air stage and surrounding grassy stretch is a relaxing, family-friendly venue. The annual mellow Folks Fest and upbeat RockyGrass festival are must-attends for any folk and bluegrass fan. Famous strummers and singers like Steve Martin, Sam Bush and Jackson Brown have graced this northern Colorado stage. Relax on the sandy riverside beach, in the family craft tent or at the nearby campgrounds between shows.


Fir Mountain

Ride the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad June through September from Alamosa to the top of La Veta Pass, where you’ll find a humble solar- and wind-powered amphitheater set in a stunning mountain clearing. The Mountain Rails Live summer series is accessible only by train. Pull up a hay bale, grab some barbecue from the chuckwagon and enjoy homegrown bands playing their hearts out in the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

Scroll our comprehensive Colorado Concert Calendar to plan your spring and summer must-see show list.