The Mile High City has a mile-long list of fantastic live music venues.
There’s a little bit of everything for music lovers says Matthias O’Meara, from smaller intimate clubs to take in the city’s eclectic local music to large-scale breathtaking amphitheaters that take advantage of Denver’s incomparable landscape.
Some are primarily bars or restaurants that support live music, while some are long-gone landmarks now turned into dedicated live music venues that add richness to Denver’s nightlife scene. There’s jazz, country, metal, pop, and acoustic. All that’s missing is your ticket.
Red Rocks Park ; Amphitheatre, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, Colo.
Few music venues say Denver more than the iconic Red Rocks, a gorgeous and majestic outdoor venue built into the natural rock landscape just 30 minutes away from the city. Expect big names, great views, and an always unforgettable experience.
Upcoming shows to catch: Gorgon City (April 14); Glass Animals (June 14); Chicago/Brian Wilson (June 16); The Black Keys (July 13); Bonnie Raitt (Aug. 11); My Morning Jacket (Aug. 26 & 27)
Mission Ballroom, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, Colo.
Denver’s newest main-stage venue has been drawing big-name shows in state-of-the-art venue that can scale its capacity depending on the crowd size or artist preference. Located at the north end of the RiNo District, this is a great indoor venue and should be on every music lover’s list of venues.
Upcoming shows to catch: Ministry (April 10); The Flaming Lips (April 25); Lourde (April 27); Modest Mouse (May 23); Bright Eyes (June 30); The Decemberists (Aug. 12)
The Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer St., River North Art District (RiNo)
The Larimer Lounge is a Denver institution, long revered for its no-nonsense setting and its support for musicians looking for their big break. Yes, there’s not a lot of room (did we mention the bar is old-fashioned), but the drinks are cheap and the chance of seeing the next big alternative or punk rock band is strong.
Upcoming shows to catch: Pierce Murphy album release (March 6); Penelope Scott (March 22-23); Gayle (April 9); Metalachi (May 22)
Bellco Theatre, 700 14th St., Downtown
A great music venue within a humongous convention center? That’s not something you see every day, but the Bellco at the Colorado Convention Center is larger but still somehow intimate, seating about 5,000 and maintaining a very inclusive schedule of musical theatre, subdued concerts, and straight-up rock shows. You can thank the great acoustics for that.
Upcoming shows to catch: Ana Gabriel (Feb. 27); West Coast Music Festival (March 18); Alicia Keys (Aug. 25)
Bluebird Theater, 3317 East Colfax Ave., Congress Hill
The Bluebird has been in the live music game for nearly 30 years, but it dates to 1913 when it opened as a movie house. It’s a not-to-miss landmark, with an old-school marquee and a classic-but-hip overall vibe.
It’s on the smaller side, seating around 500 but multi-tiered, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get to see some of the best live indie music in the city here. Rolling Stone once named it one of the Best Clubs in America.
Upcoming shows to catch: Joshua Radin (March 2); Fu Manchu (April 2); Mystery Skulls (May 1)
Dazzle, 1512 Curtis St., Downtown
Dazzle is unlike anything else in Denver, an old-school — and authentic — jazz-supper club. It’s laid-back and intimate, with fantastic cocktails and food to compliment the rotating lineup of artists ranging from local to international. Influential magazine Downbeat even named it one of the top 100 jazz clubs — in the world.
Upcoming shows to catch: Purnell Steen ; the Five Points Ambassadors (Feb. 24); Sarah Mount ; the Rushmores (March 25); John Primer (April 22)