Colorado, with its mountainous topography, iconic Flatirons and expansive plains, is a nature lover’s dream. And if said nature lovers want to jam out at a high altitude — next to a series of towering red sandstone rocks — there’s a place for that, too.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the only naturally occurring, open-air and acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world, is perched 6,450 feet above sea level in a transitional zone where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains. It’s also home to impressive flora and fauna native to both regions.
Located about 15 miles outside of Denver, Red Rocks provides a picture-perfect setting for concerts, performances, recordings and more, and it has hosted such events for more than 100 years. The venue has seating for 9,525 spectators and has hosted the likes of U2, Sting, The Beatles, the Grateful Dead and more. Along with the entire Red Rocks Park, it received National Historic Landmark designation in 2015.
For visitors to Denver, a day trip to the amphitheater is a breezy 25-minute drive. Travelers don’t need to wait for a scheduled performance to pop in; during my visit, I noticed several families, hikers and tourists stopping by just to soak in the views. The park is open to the public every day from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset on non-show days.