When thinking of unique concert venues in Colorado, the Red Rocks Amphitheater will come to mind. This state is home to many other places with their own slices of magic.
Here are a few to check out:
107 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs; lulusdownstairs.com.
Stepping into this Manitou Springs music venue might feel like stepping back in time. Legends such as Ray Charles and Tina Turner have played in space before. In its revamped new life, Lulu’s has an upstairs bar and listening room with decorations a steward’s dream come true. A larger room and a bar area are located downstairs.
Western Jubilee Warehouse Theater
433 E. Cucharras St., Colorado Springs; westernjubilee.com.
This hidden Colorado Springs gem is a home for cowboy music. Western Jubilee doubles as a recording studio and venue, a small, casual venue with theater seating and a stage covered in quilts and decorated with dozens of guitars and banjos. It’s a rare experience, as Western Jubilee typically hosts 10 or fewer concerts a year. The venue has no scheduled shows, according to its website.
Black Forest Community Center12530 Black Forest Road, Black Forest; blackroseacoustic.org.
Need to escape ? Catch a show in this log cabin-style concert hall built in 1929 and surrounded by towering trees. The Black Rose Acoustic Society holds shows here twice a month, inviting musicians from all over the country to play.
These shows are family-friendly, but they’re notorious for getting rowdy. There’s a reason they invented the “Black Rose Stomp,” when audience members clap so much that the building’s oak floor shakes.
Tank Center for the Sound Arts
233 County Road 46, Rangely; tanksounds.org.
It wasn’t built to be a sonic wonder of the world. It was built around 1940 as a railroad water treatment facility. The Tank, as it is now called, has since become a musical treasure trove, a place where musicians record and perform live. For most Colorado residents, it would be a hike to get there. But it would be worth the trip.
1012 Front Loop, Buena Vista; ivyballroom.com.
Inside the Surf Hotel, a place beautiful enough to host many weddings, is a ballroom where you might find a band jamming on stage or a fancy dinner party. The Ivy Ballroom, which overlooks Buena Vista Whitewater Park, has hosted top artists such as Leftover Salmon and Rising Appalachia. Concerts also take place outside.
308 Harrison Ave, Leadville; taboroperahouse.net.
Few sites can say that they are located in the highest city in the country. The opera house is also over 140 years old and undergoing a $15 million rehabilitation. On stage, you’ll find songwriting events and other performances this summer.
201 W Lodgepole St., Dillon; dillonamphitheatre.com.
It’s the kind of outdoor venue where your eyes could venture away from the stage to take in the nearby lake and up-close views of the Rocky Mountains.
The amphitheater hosts free concerts on summer weekends and attracts impressive artists such as Bob Dylan, String Cheese Incident and Trampled by Turtles.
Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater
530 S Frontage Rd E, Vail; grfavail.com.
Here is another place to enjoy the beauty of nature. The amphitheater overlooking the Vail Valley has 1,260 covered stadium-style seats and room for more spectators on the grassy hillside. It hosts a series of free summer concerts.
The lion’s den
2022 East Colfax Ave, Denver; lionslairlounge.squarespace.com.
Denver is full of places to listen to live music, from Your Mom’s House to the iconic Bluebird Theater. Lion’s Lair stands out as the oldest independent concert hall in the city. It opened in the 1930s as the Playboy Club. The grungy space hosts perform nightly on the same stage once played by artists like The Black Keys.
900 Baseline Road, Boulder; chautauqua.com.
Musicians have been performing here for over 120 years. The barn-like auditorium at Colorado Chautauqua, which is a National Historic Landmark, has hosted music legends such as Lovett, Joan Baez, Amos Lee, Mary Chapin Carpenter, BB King, Ziggy Marley and the Indigo Girls.
The Caribou room
55 Indian Peaks Drive, The Netherlands; thecaribouroom.com.
In 1972, producer James Guercio converted a barn into a recording studio on a ranch on the road to the ghost town of Caribou. It became a destination for artists such as Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Chicago and John Lennon until it closed in 1985. Near this same area is The Caribou Room, a former warehouse designed to be zero waste and powered by solar energy with a capacity of 500 people.
Armory Performing Arts Center
300 Strong Street, Brighton; brightonarmory.org.
Built in 1921, this building was once used to store weapons and military equipment and served as the headquarters of a Colorado National Guard infantry division. In 2011 it was transformed into a place where you will find a lively program of events.