Outdoor music venues allow us to combine two of our favorite things: concerts and the great outdoors! These beautiful, open-air venues will turn your concert experience up a notch. Soak in your surroundings, the sounds and the summer air at these fabulous, legendary venues:
1. Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO
No list of outdoor venues would be complete without this natural wonder. Tucked into a stunning outcrop of stone (red-hued, of course), the breathtaking views of the Colorado landscape are enough to impress, not to mention the list of world-class acts that grace the stage. You’ll find great hiking and biking trails nearby and Denver and its many amenities are just ten miles away. If you’re staying in the Mile High City be sure to check out Union Station, the former railway station turned restaurant and bar hub.
2. Hollywood Bowl - Los Angeles, CA
The iconic Hollywood Bowl has hosted performances by the world's leading musicians since 1922. As the largest natural outdoor amphitheater in the United States, the Southern California landmark certainly deserves a spot on this list. In addition to being a stunning venue for concerts of all types, it's also a popular park for picnicking. Those interested in learning more about the venue's rich history should check out the Hollywood Bowl Museum.
3. The Gorge - George, WA
One of the biggest and most iconic outdoor venues in the world, the Gorge has hosted some of the most legendary names in music against the breathtaking background of the Columbia River. Camping is available onsite but if you’re looking for less rustic accommodations, book a rental! Nearby Quincy is a quick 20 minutes away but if you’re willing to drive further (say, an hour) head up to scenic Wenatchee where you can get your fill of good food, wine, and more river views (check out the vibrant Pybus Market).
4. Greek Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
Known simply as “The Greek,” this historic venue was built in 1929 and has been hosting some of the most legendary musical acts imaginable. Tree-lined Griffith Park makes for a picturesque and intimate setting to experience a wide variety of shows, from Jackson Browne to Colbie Caillat to Lenny Kravitz. Located in the heart of L.A., you won’t be short on things to do outside the concert. Griffith Park itself offers miles of hiking trails in addition to golf, swimming, and grassy places to picnic.
5. Ravinia - Highland Park, IL
Ravinia is a relaxing and fun summer long music festival located in a sprawling park north of Chicago and features artists that range from Steely Dan to Lady Gaga in addition to being the summer residency of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Bring a picnic or enjoy a meal at one of their restaurants, like the upscale Park View or more laidback Picnic Grove.
6. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts - Vienna, VA
This breathtaking venue hosts more than 100 performances, from concerts by legendary musicians like The Beach Boys, Santana, and Frankie Valli, to big-name musicals, every summer. With 117 acres, a visit to Wolf Trap will feel like a fabulous retreat. In addition to its summer performances, visitors can enjoy the park year round by picnicking, hiking, and even sledding during the wintertime.
7. Klipsch Music Center - Noblesville, IN
The Klipsch Music Center is the largest outdoor venue in the Indianapolis area. Its massive size allows thousands of people, over 20,000 in fact, to enjoy its shows, and makes it the perfect space for music festivals. Two of the venue's big-name shows have included Ozzfest and Mayhem Festival.
8. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater - Wantagh, NY
This stunning outdoor venue sits on the glistening waters of Zachs Bay on Long Island, creating a truly remarkable concert view. Enjoy the beautiful (but busy) beaches of Jones Beach State Park while you’re here or hit up Wantagh Inn for a beer and some comfy Irish fare.
9. Merriweather Post Pavilion - Columbia, MD
Music greats including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead have all performed at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Built to house the National Symphony Orchestra, guests to the venue can watch their favorite performers of all genres, from country, to electronica, and everything in between. A fun fact about the venue is that world-famous architect Frank Gehry designed the space, so bands and attendees alike will certainly be impressed by the space, in addition to its stellar sound system and video screens.
10. Boston Pavilion - Boston, MA
Each summer from May through September, an impressive list of some of the most recognizable musicians take the stage at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. It's location on Boston Harbor near Rowes Wharf's many restaurants, makes it a super convenient destination, with a lovely harbor breeze to boot! Its 5,000-person capacity makes it also one of the largest venues in the area, and its top-notch sound system and cool lighting capabilities to ensure that an awesome concert experience is had by all.
11. Starlight Theatre - Kansas City, MO
This theater’s castle-like facade and stage have become an icon of Kansas City since it opened in 1950 and, with a seating capacity of nearly 8,000, Starlight is awesome but intimate nestled amidst the trees of Swope Park. Catch a rock show or a Broadway performance, perhaps after you visit the Kansas City Zoo next door. The Applause Club serves dinner at the theater before Broadway performances but if you’re there for a concert grab some soul food at Niecie’s, just a few minutes away.
12. Saratoga Performing Arts Center - Saratoga Springs, NY
Saratoga’s beautiful outdoor venue hosts a variety of the world’s best musical artists, not to mention the New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition to the beautiful music and cultural icons available, Saratoga is located in the heart of a state park and boasts hiking trails to geysers and mineral springs. There are plenty of dining options onsite but for a preconcert cocktail, check out Jazz Bar on-site, and for some classic fried chicken, head to Hattie's.
13. The Crosby Theatre - Santa Fe, NM
The striking architecture of this open-air venue houses the Santa Fe Opera. The sweeping roof offers protection from the elements if needed but doesn’t block the stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape and sunsets over the Jemez Mountains. The opera house is just 15 minutes outside Santa Fe, where you can take in the Georgia O’Keefe Museum or fill up on New Mexico’s legendary green chile in stew form at The Shed or enchiladas at Tomasita’s.
14. McMenamin's Edgefield - Troutdale, OR
A truly unique destination, Edgefield is a renovated country farm estate near Portland where entertainment abounds. Grab a bite and a drink at one of ten (yes, ten) bars and restaurants on site. Indulge in the many activities Edgefield has to offer, including a spa, soaking pool, golf course, and movie theater.
15. Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater - Park City, UT
There may be nothing quite like watching live music amidst the glow of a setting sun over Park City’s green hills. The resort theater houses Utah’s symphony and opera in the summer along with a variety of big names, like Diana Krall and the Gipsy Kings this year. Plenty of easy food options are available, including the Brass Tag restaurant, but for the best outdoor experience, preorder one of their gourmet picnic baskets. Then you can find the perfect grassy spot, eat your artisan cheeses, and bask in the sunset to great tunes.
This article was written by content contributor Katie Vaughan and edited by Tripping.com Content Specialist Lexi Perman.