Does music sound better at a mile high? The only way to find out is by checking out live music at one of Denver’s top concert and music venues. Whether you want to see a local punk band or an international singer-songwriter, Denver has a variety of DIY to orchestra-scale venues for tastes of all varieties. If you’re new in town or are visiting the Mile High City, check out the calendars of these venues to get acquainted with Denver’s diverse music scene.
Red Rocks Amphitheater easily tops any list of Denver venues, Colorado venues, and is arguably one of the top venues in the entire country. Red Rocks is an open-air amphitheater located directly in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains providing concert-goers with a great stage view and a wonderful view of Denver. The namesake red rocks tower around the stage creating a natural acoustic sound that no other venue can match. Red Rocks has hosted the most legendary names in performance since opening in 1906 including the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, John Denver, the Grateful Dead, Rush, and many more.
The Fillmore Auditorium attracts some of the top acts across the country including up-and-coming local artists. Opened in 1907 as the Mammoth Roller Skating Rink the Fillmore has been an after-school hangout, wedding hall, warehouse, nightclub, and more before officially being opened as the live music venue Fillmore Auditorium in 1999. The Fillmore is now one of Denver’s top venues to see local and touring musicians from across the world. The Fillmore has hosted Paramore, Marilyn Manson, Blink 182, and more. The venue was renovated in 2017 adding a backstage room, entrances and exits, and 50 more bathrooms.
If you want to see the biggest names in independent music live your best bet is Denver’s Ogden Theater. The Ogden is located in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and has been entertaining local and live acts since its opening in 1917. Though originally opened as a venue for vaudeville, organ recitals, and classical music, The Ogden now wows crowds with performers from around the world in its 1600-capacity main theater. Look up at the Ogden before stepping inside to enjoy its unique Mediterranean Revival-style architecture. The Ogden Theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.
The Oriental is found in Denver’s exciting Berkley neighborhood and has been hosting local bands and touring acts since 1972. The first thing you’ll notice when entering the Oriental Theater is the unique eastern-influence and exotic revival style that alludes to the venue’s name. The Oriental is primarily a music venue, but they also host comedy, film, and other entertainment. One of the Oriental’s unique qualities is its internal acoustics; the shape of the walls and stage provide natural sound amplification that’s hard to find in any modern digitally-enhanced auditorium.
The Bluebird is a Denver institution located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood along infamous Colfax Avenue. The Bluebird was opened as the Thompson Theater in 1913 before getting its Bluebird moniker in 1922. The venue has operated as a moviehouse and various other forms before being renovated in 1994 as a live music venue. The modern Bluebird theater garners local, national, and international acts in an intimate setting of roughly 500 occupants. The Bluebird Theater has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1997.
Your Mom’s House is not only a real venue — it’s one of the top independent dance and music venues in the Mile High City. Your Mom’s House is one of the smaller venues on our list at a capacity of 300, but the combination music venue and bar can throw a heck of a homemade show. If you’re looking for independent acts in punk, metal, or standup comedy — Your Mom’s House is the place to be. Your Mom’s House also hosts several themed nights like Throwdown Thursdays and Soul Funked Up Saturdays for good vibes even if there isn’t a band on stage. This new venue is quickly becoming one of Denver’s most exciting.
Fiddler’s Green is south of downtown Denver, but that distance from the busy city gives patrons of Fiddler’s Green easier access, better parking, and more elbow room. Though it isn’t in the heart of Denver, Fiddler’s Green draws several big-name acts, and its size makes it a perfect host for various music festivals throughout the year. The 18,000-person open-air amphitheater hosts a variety of acts from country to punk rock and has seen The Who, Tom Petty, Tina Turner, Santana, KISS, and many more names perform on its stage. All in a scenic venue overlooking the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
The multipurpose Pepsi Center opened for concert-goers in 1999 and has been drawing the biggest names in music since. The Pepsi Center is one of the largest venues on our list, but that size is necessary for the world-class acts the venue hosts like Lady Gaga, Fleetwood Mac, Carrie Underwood, and other popular names in music. The Center’s location in Lower Downtown (LoDo) puts you right in the middle of Denver nightlife. You can grab a bite to eat, go check out the show, then head back into the neighborhood for a nightcap.
Most of the locations on our list showcase modern music like rock and hip-hop, but you’ll need to visit the gorgeous Ellie Caulkins Opera House for a more refined concert. The world-class Ellie Caulkins seats approximately 2,200 people and has been introducing Denver to the world’s best voices and classical musicians since 1908. Known as Municipal Auditorium at the time, the venue was renovated in 1956 and again in the early 2000s, reopening officially as the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in 2005. Ellie Caulkins is currently home to Opera Colorado and hosts a variety of acts from classic masterpieces to video-game inspired live shows.
If you’re in Denver to party with the locals, set your sights on the Black Box in the heart of the city. The Black Box boasts low light, high energy, and some of the heaviest dance and bass music in the state of Colorado. The Black Box works closely with speaker manufacturer Basscouch to bring full-bodied and high-quality sound to the unique venue that can’t help but get patrons’ feet moving. The Black Box brags that their music is “danceable but not deafening” and has garnered multiple awards including Denver independent magazine Westword’s best new club, best EDM club, and best dance club.