Grab your lawn chair—and maybe a rain jacket, too. Festival season is here, and the Centennial State has an abundance of picturesque outdoor venues where music lovers can catch a concert under the stars. Whether you’re looking for an intimate performance by your favorite local jazz artists at City Park or hoping to relive your pop-punk phase with All Time Low in a world-class amphitheater, here are our favorite spots to catch some sweet sounds this summer, along the Front Range and beyond.

Denver Botanic Gardens

The Summer Concert Series at Denver Botanic Gardens. Photo by Scott Dressel-Martin, courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens
  • Best for: Gardenside concerts al fresco
  • Capacity: 2,500 in the round at UMB Bank Amphitheater
  • If you go: If you bring a chair, the total upright height may not exceed 28 inches (and they will check). Make it easy on yourself and rent one at Marnie’s Pavilion for $10.
  • Hot picks for summer 2024: Emmylou Harris, DeVotchKa, and Watchhouse with Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves

Music at Denver Botanic Gardens is a uniquely lush experience. Enjoy concerts in the round with world-renowned artists in the UMB Bank Amphitheater during the annual Summer Concert Series, taking place over 10 evenings in June, July, and August. Looking for something more off the beaten path? Attend the weeknight Evenings al Fresco series, during which talented local musicians perform among the daylilies and ponderosa pines as you stroll. Note that while food is available for purchase at the gardens, booze is not. If you prefer, you may bring your own food and beverages to either series; alcohol must be in its original container. 1007 York St.

City Park Jazz

One of the free summer concerts at City Park Jazz. Photo by Sammy Emerson Photography
  • Best for: Hot jazz in the Mile High City
  • Capacity: As many as City Park can hold—come one, come all
  • If you go: If you’re planning on bringing your own booze, remember that only alcohol up to 3.2 percent is allowed in the park, and no glass containers are permitted.
  • Hot picks for summer 2024: The Summer Concert Series includes Roka Hueka, Stafford Hunter and Jazz Explorations, Mistura Fina, Zimbira, Hazel Miller and the Collective, and the Denver Jazz Orchestra

On June 2, volunteer-run City Park Jazz kicks off its 38th year of a Mile High City tradition: hosting the genre’s best and brightest Colorado-based acts. Over the course of 10 Sunday evenings, enjoy jazz, blues, funk, soul, and Latin-fusion performances at the bandstand of Denver’s crown-jewel park. The series prides itself on entertaining a diverse demographic of music lovers at the pavilion beside Ferril Lake. Best of all, every concert in the series is free, and a varied selection of affordable food truck fare is available on-site so you never have to step away from the listening session. 2001 Steele St.

Levitt Pavilion

Levitt Pavilion. Photo by Faith Allen
  • Best for: Family-friendly concerts on green space aplenty
  • Capacity: 7,500 for ticketed shows and nearly 20,000 for free shows
  • If you go: To get the full experience at the free concerts, bring your own blankets, lawn chairs, and soft-sided coolers, and be sure to RSVP online to guarantee entry.
  • Hot picks for summer 2024: Levitt’s ticketed concerts this season include Super Chill featuring the Polish Ambassador, Dark Star Orchestra, and the Beach Boys

With an expansive lawn and open seating, Levitt Pavilion has enough real estate for everyone to sprawl out and enjoy a summer serenade—without sitting on top of one another. This Ruby Hill nonprofit offers more than 50 free outdoor concerts per year and aims to pay artists 40 percent more than other local venues on the Front Range. This summer’s free concert lineup includes Buffalo Nichols with Bison Bone, Sunny War with Grant Sabin, Brazilian Day, and Shakedown Street. Consider becoming a VIP for either free or ticketed shows to support Levitt’s mission of increasing access to high-quality art. 1380 W. Florida Ave.

Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

The Arvada Center Summer Concert Series featuring the Colorado Symphony. Photo by Amanda Tipton Photography
  • Best for: High-quality, community-focused access to the arts
  • Capacity: 1,500
  • If you go: As part of the Arvada Center’s acknowledgement that its facilities are built upon the ancestral lands of the Tsétsėhéstaestse (Cheyenne), Hinono’eiteen (Arapaho), Nuche (Ute), and Oceti Sakowin (Lakota) nations, it offers complimentary tickets to Native individuals. Contact the box office at (720) 898-7200 for further information.
  • Hot picks for summer 2024: Spin Doctors with Cracker, Melissa Etheridge, Tower of Power, Corinne Bailey Rae, and the High Kings with Gaelic Storm

In pursuit of something a little more posh? This Arvada nonprofit regularly hosts some of the Denver area’s most essential ensembles, including the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra and the Colorado Symphony. Conveniently located a couple of miles up Wadsworth Boulevard from Olde Town Arvada, the center has an exciting lineup for each year’s Summer Concert Series in the Center’s outdoor amphitheater. Prefer show tunes to rock music? The venue’s (indoor) theater season kicks off at the end of August with Waitress, followed by Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really. 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada

Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre

  • Best for: Legacy acts in an earth sculpture
  • Capacity: 17,000
  • If you go: In addition to the 7,000 fixed seats and lawn space for 10,000 additional general admission guests, high rollers can reserve a private box that includes seating for four to 10 guests, reserved parking, and access to the Subaru VIP Lounge, which features a full bar and private restrooms, ensuring you won’t miss a note while waiting to use the loo.
  • Hot picks for summer 2024: Noah Kahan, Pixies and Modest Mouse, Hootie and The Blowfish, Dave Matthews Band, and Hozier

It only seems fitting that this massive Greenwood Village amphitheater, which now hosts chart-topping recording artists, began itself as a work of art. Today, it’s the largest outdoor venue of its kind in the metroplex, but landscape architect George Hargreaves originally designed Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre as a large-scale earth sculpture—a sloping grass bowl built directly into the surrounding landscape. The venue hosted community festivals and special engagements with the Colorado Symphony before transforming into a world-class amphitheater with the addition of a formal stage and fixed seating in the mid ’80s. As participants in AEG 1EARTH, Fiddler’s Green is committed to reducing environmental impact through means of recycling, environmentally preferable products, and energy- and water-saving efforts. 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Greenwood Village

Planet Bluegrass

Float and relax while enjoying indie-rock and bluegrass. Courtesy of Benko Photographics/Planet Bluegrass
  • Best for: A weekend of tubing, camping, and dancing
  • Capacity: 12,000
  • If you go: Per the Festivarian Bill of Rights, “Festivarians shall have plentiful access to free, filtered, local drinking water,” so don’t forget your favorite refillable vessel.
  • Hot picks for summer 2024: Sarah Jarosz, the Brothers Comatose, and Dan Tyminski will be at Rockygrass (July 26 to 28), and the Wood Brothers, Bonny Light Horseman, and Brittany Howard will play at Rocky Mountain Folks Festival (August 9 to 11)

Tucked away in the northwest corner of charming Lyons lie the enchanted festival grounds of Planet Bluegrass, where festivarians can enjoy “music, mountains, and the uninhibited pursuit of happiness” in the home of the same producers responsible for the storied Telluride Bluegrass Festival. The annual Rockygrass and Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, held in July and August, respectively, are must-hear events for Front Range residents and out-of-town travelers alike. The North Saint Vrain Creek runs through the property for wading or tubing in between sets of booty-shaking bluegrass surrounded by glowing red-rock formations, culminating in an experience that can only be described as pure mountain magic. 500 W. Main St., Lyons

Mishawaka Amphitheatre

The Mishawaka Amphitheatre. Photo by Dave DeCrescente
  • Best for: A rustic riverside romp
  • Capacity: 950
  • If you go: Be sure to reserve shuttle service as parking is extremely limited at the venue. All concertgoers are strongly encouraged to ride the shuttle.
  • Hot picks for summer 2024: Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway, Lotus, Old Crow Medicine Show, the Infamous Stringdusters, and Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

Known affectionately as “The Mish,” this riverfront restaurant and outdoor venue in Bellvue started as a dance hall after motorcyclist and musician Walter S. Thompson stumbled across the site in 1916. Get there early to enjoy icy Odell Brewing Company suds with your lunch while you watch bighorn sheep graze along the nearby hillside, then pile into the amphitheater, which blends into the wooded landscape. The rugged beauty of surrounding Poudre Canyon offers plenty of summery outdoor activities like rafting and fly-fishing, too, so you can set up camp and plan an entire weekend around driving up the Cache la Poudre–North Park Scenic and Historic Byway from Fort Collins. 13714 Poudre Canyon Highway, Bellvue

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

A Shakey Graves concert at Red Rocks. Photo by Shane Monaghan
  • Best for: A spiritual music experience
  • Capacity: 9,545
  • If you go: Hold out for a bucket-list artist, because this otherworldly atmosphere pairs best with music that moves you. Fortunately, each star-studded season has a genre for everybody.
  • Hot picks for summer 2024: Maggie Rogers, All Time Low, Sarah McLachlan, Maren Morris, Diana Ross, Vampire Weekend, Mt. Joy, and Big Wild

Summer season at Red Rocks Amphitheatre has been referred to as the “greatest music festival in the world,” and for good reason. Watching the sun sink over Denver while listening to your favorite band, surrounded by rust-colored stone formations taller than Niagara Falls, is an unparalleled experience. You have to work for it—when the Red Rocks website warns that you may have to hike to your seat, they mean it—but the tunes and views are well worth the extra effort. This year, we might get Diana Ross performing hits like “Upside Down” or Norah Jones crooning “Come Away With Me” on another magical mountain night. 18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison

Dillon Amphitheater

Dillon Amphitheater. Photo by Jenise Jensen
  • Best for: Lakeside lounging with a Rocky Mountain view
  • Capacity: 3,656
  • If you go: New this year, only clear bags (like a one-gallon freezer bag) are permitted. Camp chairs must be low clearance and cannot be more than 5 inches off the ground.
  • Hot picks for summer 2024: Portugal. The Man, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Trampled by Turtles, Jason Mraz, Shakey Graves, and Charley Crockett

Dillon Amphitheater has quickly become a Summit County staple following its multimillion-dollar facelift, completed in 2018. The renovation, which included an upgraded stage and new greenrooms, allowed the town of Dillon to book bigger acts. Concertgoers can lounge in the grass and enjoy a lakeside view, surrounded by dramatic vistas of the Tenmile and Gore ranges. Lulada Club kicks off the free summer concert series (called Mountain Music Mondays) on June 17, which includes the National Repertory Orchestra and Badfish in its lineup. 135 W. Lodgepole St., Dillon

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheatre

  • Best for: High art at a high elevation
  • Capacity: 2,565
  • If you go: Bring layers as temperatures dip once the sun sets and a raincoat because the show will go on, rain or shine.
  • Hot picks for summer 2024: Umphrey’s McGee, Brothers Osborne, Ziggy Marley and Lettuce, Slightly Stoopid, O.A.R., Amos Lee, and Indigo Girls

This state-of-the-art, multigenre concert facility surrounded by sweeping forest vistas is a must-experience in alpine Vail. Opened in 1987 in the presence of its namesake 38th president (and his first lady), Gerald R. Ford Amphitheatre came out of the gate as a legacy venue with Willie Nelson as the headliner of its first major performance. Just beyond the stunning amphitheater is Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the highest-elevation botanical garden in North America at 8,200 feet. Each summer, the Amp’s offerings include internationally renowned dance and classical music presentations as well as the free weekly Hot Summer Nights series. 530 S. Frontage Road East, Vail

Telluride Town Park

Telluride Brews & Blues
Telluride Blues and Brews takes over the mountain town every August. Courtesy of Telluride Blues and Brews
  • Best for: Epic Western Slope festivals
  • Capacity: 11,500
  • If you go: At 8,750 feet, be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and drink more water than you think you need, and factor in time to hop on the free gondola to Mountain Village, stationed just down the river.
  • Hot picks for summer 2024: Lyle Lovett, Leftover Salmon, and Sierra Ferrell will take the stage at Telluride Bluegrass (June 20 to 23), and catch Dumpstaphunk, Christian McBride, and Angelique Kidjo at the Telluride Jazz Festival (August 9 to 11)

Nestled at the end of a box canyon and surrounded by fourteeners, this park is perfect for revelries in stunning Telluride, a town that seems to have been built just for summer festivals. In addition to the legendary Telluride Bluegrass Festival, jazz lovers flock to the historic Fred Shellman Memorial Stage in August for Telluride Jazz Festival, a three-day festival which, this year, celebrates funk band the Meters. And for those who fancy a drink with their dancing, the 30th annual Telluride Blues and Brews closes out the summer in mid-September. 500 E. Colorado Ave., Telluride

Empower Field at Mile High

  • Best for: Catching big-name acts in the heart of the city
  • Capacity: 76,125
  • If you go: The stadium is a completely cashless facility, so be sure you have a credit card handy to pay at parking lots, box offices, and concession stands. Select ATMs and cash-to-card kiosks can be found throughout the stadium.
  • Hot picks for summer 2024: Zach Bryan, the Rolling Stones, Morgan Wallen, Kenny Chesney, and the Foo Fighters

Not only is Empower Field at Mile High the home of the Broncos, it also hosts the biggest musical acts that breeze through Denver. Last year, Taylor Swift held her sold-out Eras Tour at the field, but this year’s lineup is for country crooners: Zach Bryan, Morgan Wallen, and Kenny Chesney are set to take the stage at the massive open-air football stadium. Rock fans can catch the Rolling Stones on June 20 when they bring their Hackney Diamonds Tour to Denver. No matter which concert you catch, expect over-the-top theatrics like fireworks and drone shows. 1701 Bryant Street