Red Rocks Amphitheatre is more than just the coolest concert venue in Colorado. It's one of the most unusual in existence.
In fact, it is the only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world.
The sound here is impressive, and so is the atmosphere. Imagine a stage carved into the side of towering red rock formations and sandstone walls, surrounded by breathtaking nature. It's no wonder Red Rocks has drawn all of the most influential names in music, from the Beatles to opera stars and beyond. Red Rocks has been a popular music venue for more than 75 years. It opened (in its current form) on June 15, 1941, although the formation itself is hundreds of millions of years old.
But live music is just the beginning of what Red Rocks offers. Here are six ways to celebrate the venue — beyond the obvious live music.
1. Hike the trails nearby.
Music may be in the spotlight here, but this is Colorado, after all, so outdoor rec and fitness is another important aspect of Red Rocks. Surrounding the stage area, you can find more than 800 acres of vistas, prairie, animals, birds and even dinosaur bones. Red Rocks Park is where the plains meet the mountains, so the natural geological features here are unique and varied. This is a great place to hike with your family.
2. Dine with a view.
The Ship Rock Grill is the on-site restaurant, built around two huge boulders both inside and out. For breathtaking views, dine on the outdoor deck. You can even book dinner here before your show, or just visit for the photo opps.
3. Get active on the rocks.
The popular Yoga on the Rocks events bring thousands of yogis together on the stairs of Red Rocks every summer, to experience the venue from a different perspective. But take note: This event often sells out quickly, so if you want to join in, plan ahead. There's also the Red Rocks Fitness Challenge. Turns out, that mountainside of stairs can also equal a killer workout. The challenge is an eight-week fitness program.
Or check out Fitness on the Rocks, where thousands of people gather together to exercise. Last year, numbers hit 7,000.
4. Look for vacation packages.
Some local hotels offer special Red Rocks packages, often tied to a popular concert or activity. For example, in the past, the Hotel Teatro in Denver offered a "Red Rocks Recharge Package" that was wellness centered. The deal included a private transfer to Red Rocks and entry to participate in Yoga on the Rocks or Fitness on the Rocks, or a self-guided trail hike through the mountains of Morrison.
Hotel Teatro also offered a Rock Package that was more about the party side of the amphitheater. Guests got a free cocktail, tour of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame (which you should add to your Red Rocks bucket list no matter what), private transportation to Red Rocks for a concert and a late check-out the next day (not until 2 p.m.).
Tip: Look for hotel packages (as well as events) that donate a portion of the money to Preserve the Rocks, a fund committed to restoration and preservation in the Red Rocks area.
5. Take an educational tour.
Want to learn more about the geology and music history? Set up a private group tour, from the visitor center. You'll see different educational displays, watch a documentary and the "best of" concert footage and learn all about the nature surrounding this only-in-Colorado venue.
6. Watch a movie under the stars.
Film on the Rocks is yet another way to enjoy Red Rocks. The annual event features various films — often cult classics, like "The Breakfast Club" and "The Shining," shown on a big, big, big screen on the stage. Find a spot on the stairs and relax under the stars; every seat is a good one.