Less than a month from now, school will be back in session for most students and families across the country, and the summer tourist season will wind to an end. If you’re expecting out-of-town guests during the last weeks of summer vacation — and we know you are, because everybody and their mother wants to visit the Mile High City — and are wondering which of Denver's plethora of musical experiences might be worth their time, we have a list of music venues perfect to give them a glimpse into what makes Colorado unique.
8. Red Rocks Amphitheatre
This one is obvious. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is a special venue, with fantastic views of Denver and the Front Range from the seat of a geological wonder. Those interested in the history of, and more information about, the park can visit the Trading Post, the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and the Visitor Center. Check the website for seasonal hours. Hiking, biking and sightseeing in the park is available to view the red rocks of Red Rocks before you experience a one-of-a-kind show from international and local bands, or a movie as part of the Film on the Rocks series. Just don't climb the rocks!
7. The Fox Theatre, Boulder
The Fox is located in the University Hill (“the Hill”) neighborhood of Boulder, the heart of CU Boulder’s entertainment and nightlife for college students. Before the show, you can easily explore the area’s coffee shops, tattoo parlors, smoke shops, music store Albums on the Hill, and local restaurants (including a lot of great late-night food, because it is a college town, after all). And if your friends from out of town don’t see enough dreadlocks back home, they’ll surely see them in Boulder.
6. Paramount Theatre
Apart from the Paramount's being a striking art-deco space and one of Denver’s oldest theaters, its location makes it a great venue for visitors. Your friends can spend time on the 16th Street Mall before the show; although it's the most tourist-heavy part of Denver, the pedestrian mall does offer street performers, prime people-watching, shopping, and cuisine from fast food to higher-end restaurants. Plenty of transportation and hotel options make it easy for visitors as well.
5. The Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark
Chautauqua is located at the foot of the spectacular Flatirons of Boulder. The park is open for hiking and picnicking and has cabins and cottages for rent. The historic auditorium is the state's oldest music venue and provides an atmospheric setting for dances, talks, film screenings, theater performances, and musical acts like Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Andrew Bird and more.
4. Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
Like any good outdoor amphitheater in Colorado, Fiddler’s Green boasts some great views of the mountains. At one of the larger venues in Colorado (18,000 between the lawn and the fixed seats), out-of- towners can also get a glimpse of the suburbs down south in Greenwood Village. Most shows feature mega-acts of all genres, and concert-goers can take the light rail from downtown Denver.
3. The Soiled Dove Underground
The Soiled Dove is a great-sounding room southeast of downtown Denver, and perfect for a more laid-back concert setting. With a restaurant upstairs and tables for seating downstairs, the venue is perfect for your friends who prefer more comfort than that provided by sweaty rock-club gigs.
2. Planet Bluegrass, Lyons
Planet Bluegrass provides a prime opportunity to show your friends and family the beauty of Colorado’s scenery in a setting that suits stringed instruments and folk tunes. Located outside of Boulder, Planet Bluegrass has a scenic setting right along the St. Vrain Creek in the tiny hippie community of Lyons. The venue hosts several roots and bluegrass festivals throughout the summer, as well as the Wildflower Concert Series. The town is the site of the original Oskar Blues brewery, and a good place spot to highlight Colorado's craft-beer culture for visitors.
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1. Ogden Theatre
The Ogden Theatre is one of several venues on Colfax Avenue — the longest commercial street in the U.S. — that hosts international touring acts and local ones on their way to making it even bigger. Built in 1917 and serving as a movie theater and vaudeville theater for many years, today the Ogden is a standard concert venue, surrounded by colorful bars, lounges and restaurants, with plenty of opportunity for your out-of-town visitors to get a taste of Denver past and present.