Our Favorite Mountain Town Music Venues

Across Colorado, small mountain towns thrive as tourist destinations but also boast some of the state’s most exclusive and sought-after music venues.

Music venue with crowd
Photo by Dave Decrescente.

While the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater brings the big bands to town, it’s not the only Colorado stage these artists will be storming this summer. For a more intimate, and often cheaper, experience, visit our favorite small-town venues.

In Vail, The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater hosts a variety of summer events, including the Vail Dance Festival and the weekly free concert series Hot Summer Nights. The stunning Rocky Mountain backdrop will transform into an island oasis as The Beach Boys take the stage this August.

Fervent festival lovers should have no problem getting their fix this summer. The Rocky Mountain Folks Festival at Planet Bluegrass Ranch offers a tranquil retreat along the St. Vrain River in Lyons. Spread out on the grassy meadow while enjoying performances by your favorite folk artists and locally brewed beverages. Or, surround yourself with stunning mountain views at the Telluride Jazz Festival or the Telluride Bluegrass Festival at The Fred Shellman Memorial Stage. Camping is allowed during festivals, providing a truly unique experience. Pitch your tent for The Infamous Stringdusters performance in June.

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Satiate your symphonic and orchestral spirit at The Michael Klein Music Tent with the Aspen Music Festival and School. Resembling the tented white peaks of Denver International Airport, the canopy boasts the acoustics of a concert hall combined with the allure of an openair concert. Performances range from Beethoven’s classics to contemporary arrangements.

Dance through over a hundred years of music history at The Mishawaka. This historic venue in Poudre Valley has evolved from an indoor music hangout to a world-class outdoor amphitheater and restaurant. Owners Dani Grant and Matt Hoeven restored The Mish to its former glory after a forest fire threatened its existence in 2012. A group of firefighters, equally sentimental about the music venue, fought to save it, leaving behind a note reading “Love Live The Mish.” Feel the love while seeing Moe., The Disco Biscuits, and more.

Missed out on Red Rocks tickets for your favorite artist? Score tickets to see those same acts at Aspen’s iconic and incredibly intimate Belly Up or Dillon Amphitheater, boasting a backdrop of stunning lake views.