Denver, Colorado, may not have a ton of live music at their downtown bars, but it makes up for it with its impressive number of concert venues. Whether you’re looking for a sold-out arena or a local band at a hole-in-the-wall, Denver has it all.
Check your calendars and get ready to attend a bunch of concerts at these six live music venues in Denver:
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
The Grizzly Rose
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox
Let’s get started!
1. Red Rocks Amphitheatre
To experience incredible views of Colorado while watching a concert, head to Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Built in 1941 at 6,450 feet above sea level, this amphitheater has witnessed performances from icons such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross, and Bruce Springsteen. Performing at this venue is an honor for artists, as it has become such an iconic location.
When going to a show, it’s best to get to this venue nice and early, since there’s plenty to do aside from just attend the show. You can visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, go on several hikes within Red Rocks Park, or tailgate in the parking lots. You’ll either park in the Upper North Lot (closest to the venue) or Lower North Lot, but either way, it will be a long walk to your seats! You’re allowed to bring non-alcoholic drinks, empty reusable water bottles (which you can just fill up with water from the restroom), and backpacks into Red Rocks (though you can purchase water, beer, and cocktails at their various bars). I recommend bringing a blanket or cushion to sit on since the seats are just wooden benches, and an extra layer in case you get cooler as the night goes on.
This is the only music venue I’ve been to where I wanted to sit further back so that I could enjoy the full view of the stage and the surrounding landscape. But wherever you sit, you’ll definitely enjoy the show!
2. Buffalo Rose
To get out of the city and enjoy a live show in a small-town environment, head to the Buffalo Rose in Golden, Colorado. It’s only a 20-minute drive from Denver and is located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
The Buffalo Rose, which is right next to the iconic “Welcome to Golden” sign, has been hosting all different kinds of music—from country to rock to jazz—for 150 years. Visitors to this old building can reserve a table and chairs near the bar, stand with the general admission by the stage, or hang out in the VIP section upstairs. But no matter where you watch the show, you’ll have a great view! If you’re hungry, you can order food from the bar. Just know that it’s not your typical pub grub: They serve bison burgers, fish and chips, and even southwestern eggrolls. For drinks, you can sip on beer, wine, or any of their cocktail creations.
Before you feel the pulse of Golden from Buffalo Rose, I recommend trying the taste of Golden by taking a tour of the famous Coors Brewery just down the street.
3. Ball Arena
Denver’s Ball Arena seats 20,000 fans for Denver Nuggets basketball games, Colorado Avalanche hockey games, comedy shows, and blow-the-roof-off concerts. This is where you’ll see music from big bands and famous artists like Keith Urban, My Chemical Romance, Carrie Underwood, and Post Malone.
The Ball Arena is conveniently located right next to downtown Denver, so you can enjoy a night out before and after the show. Depending on the concert you attend, there may be a standing area (pit) in front of the stage, or it might be a seated-only event.
The most popular time for concerts are during the NHL and NBA’s off-season, which is typically summer and fall. You can also catch special events like Cirque du Soleil and Disney On Ice throughout the year.
4. The Grizzly Rose
Grab your dancing shoes and your cowboy hats and head to Denver’s favorite country bar and dance hall: The Grizzly Rose.
At this live music venue, you’ll find a massive dance floor, pool tables, arcade games, and not one, but two mechanical bulls! Every night of the week, there’s something fun happening at the Grizzly Rose. On Wednesdays, they have free dance lessons so you can learn the choreography for country shows. On Thursdays, ladies drink cocktails for free from 8 p.m. to midnight for ladies’ night. And on Friday and Saturday, there’s live country music!
Big country names like Lainey Wilson, Chase Bryant, and the Eli Young Band play at this bar and dance hall, drawing in Coloradans who love to two-step. And, rumor has it that this was Eric Church’s favorite venue to play at before he started selling out arenas.
You can catch a live concert at ticketed events or simply pay a $10 cover fee on other live music nights.
5. Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox
If you’re looking for dinner and a show in the Mile High City, there’s no better place than Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox.
The historic building in downtown Denver was erected in 1890, and the walls have quite a story to tell. The brick building was once a brothel, then a sex shop, then a peep show lounge before becoming Denver’s sexiest spot to indulge in food, drinks, and live music.
Now, as part of the Edible Beats brand, Ophelia’s maintains much of its sultry history. Take a closer look at what’s around you to see authentic items like old photos of the building’s past, gorgeous nude paintings (including Ophelia herself), pinball machines on display as bar tops, and vintage wallpaper designed with microphones and guitars. Ophelia’s offers music every night, from live bands to solo artists to DJ dance parties, all of which light up the whole building. You can either watch the show from the upstairs cocktail bar and lounge while you dine (I highly recommend their roasted green chili cornbread, Cuban plantains, and brothel chicken sandwich) or head downstairs for an up-close and personal show. And on the weekends, you can enjoy bottomless mimosas along with a free show during your brunch—it’s a guaranteed hangover cure.
Soak in the history of this infamous building as you come back again and again for amazing live shows.
If seeing live music in a small dive bar is more your scene, head to HQ on South Broadway. This independent music venue and bar hosts Colorado’s local bands, DJs, and all sorts of live concerts and fun events throughout the year.
Most nights, you can find a packed event going on here, whether it’s live music or a burlesque show. For music, you’ll want to join them for Dark Tuesdays where they bring the underground to light with darkwave, EBM, and synthpop music. And on Wednesdays, you can get a chance to take the stage yourself during their karaoke nights!
This bar is a great spot to catch a local band or independent traveling artists. Just know that this popular venue only offers seats at their bar, so prepare to stand—and maybe even mosh—at their shows.