Red Rocks Amphitheater

This legendary rock concert venue boasts outstanding acoustics thanks to soaring rock walls that hug the stage. 

Everyone who’s anyone has played here, from opera singers and orchestras to The Beatles, U2, Neil Young, Coldplay and Jimi Hendrix. Musicians consider the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Denver, to be one of the best venues in the world to play at, with its magical, almost spiritual, atmosphere.

Sit amongst towering sandstone rock faces that show the scars of millions of years of history. Ship Rock stands to the south of the stage and Creation Rock towers over the northern end. Smaller formations sloping at various angles — some as much as 90 degrees — help to form this breath-taking amphitheater 6,450 feet (1,966 meters) above sea level.

The cluster of formations was originally known as the Garden of Angels, and it’s not hard to see why. Entrepreneur John Brisben Walker had the idea to turn it into a music venue and hosted a series of concerts between 1906 and 1910. Later, it was bought by the City of Denver and seating for 9,450 people was added, as well as a permanent stage. Concerts are held regularly during summer; check the official website for details.

There’s plenty to do at Red Rocks, even when there’s not a performance. Take a guided tour, or hike or cycle within the 268-acre (351-hectare) park. The Visitors’ Center is open year round. It has a restaurant open for lunch and brunch, a gift shop and a gallery. Come before 10 a.m. to catch a daily tour (for a small fee) through the amphitheater, backstage and to the Red Rocks Hall of Fame.

Trading Post Trail offers a 1.4-mile-long (2.25-kilometer) walk winding through rock formations, valleys and meadows. There’s also the Red Rocks Trail, a multi-use path for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre is located near the town of Morrison, about 30 minutes by car from downtown Denver. Numerous shuttle bus services run daily from hotels throughout Denver.