As one of the primary destinations for music in the nation, Denver boasts a plethora of diverse venues that lend themselves to all types of musical genres. With local talent abounding along with up-and-coming and top draw stars, Denver attracts audiences from all over the world to hear the best in musical fare at some of the most alluring theatrical venues in the country. Here is a sample of some of the top theaters in and around the city.
Red Rocks Amphitheater
This open air amphitheatre was originally designed by Mother Nature and little has been done to tamper with her perfect acoustics. Spectators are surrounded by up to 300 foot monolithic sandstone peaks and some of the most sensational views of Denver. Concerts at Red Rocks began in the early 1900’s and have continued throughout the years. In the 1930s, architect Burnham Hoyt helped to re-design the amphitheater, making it more comfortable without changing its inherent beauty. Today Red Rocks is home to many big concert bands that tour the nation and it is considered one of the best venues in the world. Open from May to September, Red Rocks sponsors additional activities, such as hiking and camping.
Comfort Dental Amphitheater
Located in Greenwood Plaza near the Denver Technological Center, this 18,000 seat amphitheater is the largest in the Denver metro area, with 7,500 formal seats and an open seating area on the expansive lawn. The venue officially opened in 1988 and was known as Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater until it was later renamed Coors Amphitheater after the beer company. Open from May through September, here audiences can experience every type of musical fare. Some past famous names include Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, Heart, Counting Crows, and Maroon 5. This October, Comfort Dental hosts the notorious Uproar Festival.
The Pepsi Center
At the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, just at the edge of downtown Denver, the Pepsi Center boasts magnificent views from its wide open arena where large musical events, sports and other entertainment make for an amazing evening. Have dinner and take in a concert in this exciting venue that opened in 1999 with Celene Dion at the helm.
Boettcher Concert Hall
Home to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Boettcher is a magnificent symphony hall in the round, allowing audiences an intimate setting in a grand space. With 80 percent of the seats within 65 feet of the stage, theater-goers are up close and personal with musicians while experiencing some of the best acoustics in any concert hall, worldwide. The 2,362 custom-designed seats are made for comfort, which adds to the appeal of this state-of-the art theater.
Elie Caulkins Opera House
As another part of the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the Elie Caulkins was originally known as the Denver Municipal Auditorium when it completed construction in 1908. It is in this structure that the Democratic National Convention was held at that time, and since then the opera house has hosted numerous conventions, concerts, operas, circuses, and more. After a nearly $100 million renovation in 2005, the opera house shone anew with impeccable enhancements. The Elie Caulkins Opera House is now the home of Opera Colorado and the Colorado Ballet, in addition to the occasional touring Broadway show.
Built in 1907 as roller rink, the Fillmore was originally named Mammoth Gardens and then the Mammoth Events Center. Renovations in 1999 were inspired by the Fillmore West in San Francisco, and like that renowned rock concert venue, Denver’s Fillmore has attracted a legion of famous musicians such as David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Coldplay and many more. For rock aficionados, the Fillmore Auditorium is the place to go to see the latest and greatest musical acts in an environment that recalls the energy of the 1960’s.
Built in 1919, the Ogden Theater was the place where people came to hear organ recitals and lectures or watch dance and vaudeville acts. Here the famed Harry Houdini performed his amazing feats, bringing the theater into an even greater spotlight. In 1937 the Ogden became a movie theater where it remained so through the 1980s. After closing, it reopened in 1993 as a live performance venue and now is considered one of Denver’s premier concert halls, hosting up to 150 concerts per year.
Built by visionary architect, Temple Buell in 1930, the Paramount is the only theater in Denver that has kept its original Art deco glamour. With its unique façade and decorative, nostalgic interior, the theater opened as a movie house and was welcomed by a crowd of 20,000 in celebration of the silent move, “Let’s Go Native.” With its jazz age appeal, the Paramount provides a dramatic setting for the many rock and dance productions, films, and Wurlitzer organ recitals that are mounted on its stage throughout the year. Listed in National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and as a historic landmark in 1988, the venue provides an interesting contrast for many of the musical lineups that make the venue so alluring.
The Bluebird was originally named after the well-known Denver druggist and grocer, John Thompson, when it was built in 1913. It was renamed in 1922 when it became a popular movie house. After many years of operation and subsequent decline, the theater reopened as a music venue in 1994 where it remains as one of Denver’s favorite stages for contemporary rock shows.