Red Rocks Amphitheatre: How to Survive your First Concert
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is hands down, the coolest venue in Colorado let alone the world. On top of the majestic rock formations that grant the venue a name, Red Rocks is home of some of the best acoustics in the nation, giving you a musical experience that is truly unforgettable.
Every year, my fiancé Robb and I try to make it out to at least one show. This year, we have definitely limited it since we are planning a wedding in August but there have been years that we have danced the night away here around once a week.
It’s just that magical. Imagine that warm sun on your skin fading to a brisk summer breeze as you fully immerse yourself in the perfect combination of nature’s beautiful creation and exquisite human made art. It’s quite intoxicating.
Top it off, the variety of art, music, and even fitness program keep you entertained regardless of your preferences. I’m a believer in variety myself, hence my immense joy of world travel so I love the fact that everyone and anyone can find something that they could get into at this theatre. Red Rocks is just so beautiful that I want everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy it.
So, how to do you survive your first concert? Ok, survive is a bit of an extreme word for something this fun but with hangovers aside, I want to give you the tips to have the best Red Rocks experience possible.
Unless you live roughly half an hour away like I do, I’m sure Red Rocks concerts aren’t super common. Don’t fret. I will help you make your trip as unforgettable as possible for your next vacation.
FINDING THE BEST RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE EVENT FOR YOU
Clearly, this is a no brainer. Most people will enjoy a show that they are into rather than a show they are not as into. As I mentioned before, Red Rocks Amphitheatre tends to have a wide variety of shows in all sorts of genres that you may like.
Personally, I like dance music but I have family members that are into country and enjoy great sets at the amphitheatre. Whether you like rock, hip hop, EDM, jam band or more, you will find exactly what you are looking for.
Even if music isn’t your thing, Red Rocks Amphitheatre hosts various events such as comedy shows, Movies on the Rocks, Yoga, and even training camps.
Ticket prices generally range from 50 – 100 bucks for general admission but obviously vary given the artist or activity. It’s a bit pricier than other venues in Colorado but boy is it worth it. Even broke just out of college Melanie always finds a reason to splurge on these shows.
For an extensive list of their events, please visit their website here.
This is especially important if you are from out of town. I mean, you made your way here, might as well take it all in.
Well, giving the event, the organizers may have pre-parties, after parties, or even signings near the venue. From what I have seen, this usually happens near Denver. To find those, usually you will want to check with the organizer of your event. The best way I find them is by following my favorite artists, record labels, and festival organizations on social media. They often will post these more underground events there.
As an added bonus, these events are often a great option if your Red Rocks show is sold out or too expensive. I’ve gone to after parties for events to get a bit of a taste of the event for a fraction of the costs. Often, the same artists playing that day might make a surprise appearance at the after party. How cool!
Now, if you want to really get in the Red Rocks Amphitheatre geological experience, there are amazing but simple hikes up by the venue. Before a show, anyone can hike up there for free until around four. The hikes right out of the parking lot are great for any skill level and sport beautiful overlooks of Denver’s sprawling neighborhoods while trekking through the gorgeous Red Rocks and natural vegetation. I’ve done a short one up there before and it was phenomenal, especially since it was a wet year and the vegetation was more lush than usual.
RELATED: Learn about the best red rock formations in the country here.
If you want a more challenging hike, I recommend Mt. Falcon right in Morrison. There are two trailheads to this hike depending what you are looking for. The first trailhead at the bottom of the hill sports a 7-mile hike up the mountain, which has many switchbacks, elevation gain and no shade.
The trailhead near the top is all flat, making it easier to picnic and see the sights if you aren’t looking for as heavy of a workout. At the top, there are several shorter loops making it a fun simple afternoon outdoor endeavor. Either way, you can find castle ruins, beautiful views, and nice spots to take a break throughout this trial.
This would be a great beginning to your Red Rocks vacation.
THE TOWN OF MORRISON
Speaking of Morrison, the town of Morrison is quite adorable. It’s basically a little mountain town equipped with cute restaurants, gift shops, and a beautiful river lining Main Street.
Stop by and grab some ice cream, burgers, and more!
I personally haven’t eaten too much in Morrison so I don’t have any recommendations but the restaurants do look cute from the outside. One even has a rooftop patio.
Top it off with a hike at Mt. Falcon or Lair o’ the Bear Park to get all of your pre Red Rock festivities in action.
PARKING AT RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE
As any event goes, parking is an important part. Growing up in Los Angeles, parking at major events can easily turn into an expensive headache.
Luckily, this is not the case at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Red Rocks has multiple free parking spots throughout the venue but I normally park near the top lot accessible by the first entrance of the theater.
As an added bonus, you are definitely allowed to leave your car there over night, which yes, was told to us by staff at the venue and we do it almost every time. Drinking and driving is not only illegal, it is deadly, and I appreciate that Red Rocks lets you leave your car overnight so you don’t have to worry about it when partying all night. We like to drive one of the cars up and take an uber, cab, lyft or whatever back home to Denver.
Also note the culture of the parking lots. People often like to tailgate and pre-game before heading in the venue. So, bring your camping chairs, a cooler, music and all! You can’t grill or anything like that up there, but you certainly can have a few drinks. Make friends and get pumped up while saving a few bucks and bump up the music at the back of your car. I believe tailgating Red Rocks adds to the carefree experience of the night. I highly recommend doing this.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE STAIRS
We all suck at them. Unless you are really athletic (and probably avoiding the libations of the evening), you might struggle a bit with the stairs.
At first, I felt embarrassed by being incredibly winded before even getting to the show. Listen to the folks around you. Everyone gets winded.
Even if I’ve been a good girl and actually worked out all spring, the stairs may still be a bit of a task. Also, if you are from out of state, you may not be used to the elevation.
Now if you do want to prepare for this, simply exercising will strengthen the right muscles for your event. It’s stairs so obviously a stair stepper is your best bet in getting fit.
This is why Red Rocks hosts specialized fitness programs in their venue. It’s not as easy as you think.
Speaking of fitness, staying hydrated is important to allow your body to maximize it’s productivity, especially if you are drinking on a warm afternoon. Between the stairs, dancing, heat, and elevation, water is a must.
If you are like me, tap water is fine thrifty option to stay hydrated. One thing I always use is a Camelbak like on listed here. You can pretty easily fill your Camelbak in at any of the bathrooms, but they are usually at the bottom or the very top of the stairs, and well…. stairs. This is why the Camelbak is the best option for this venue.
Those who want to drink filtered water can simply buy some at the concessions. There are concessions at the bottom, middle and top of the venue on both sides making it way more convenient that tap water. The middle ones usually have a longer line than the bottom or top ones since, well, stairs.
Given that I usually go to dance shows, dressing up is a huge must for me. However, I believe that this can apply to any genre of music played at this venue.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre has a music festival vibe, regardless on who is playing. This is because it’s summer, it’s beautiful, it’s carefree, and people travel from all over the world to check it out. What perfect opportunity to get into character as you dance the night away.
When going to a show in Denver, it gets a bit awkward to go all in with costumes at a bar. Some places may even have dress codes that prohibit my creative juices from flowing. As a person who walks everywhere, it can also get a little uncomfortable wearing risqué costumes on the streets.
This is why I take the opportunity at Red Rocks. When else will you feel as comfortable to wear whatever you want on any time other than Halloween. Ok, I have some eccentric friends that dress up all the time, but for everyone else that may be a bit more reserved, these shows are your chance.
Grab that cowboy hat, butterfly wings, fishnets, or whatever and get a bit goofy. Red Rocks Amphitheater is the best place to create art and become whoever you want to be. It’s a judgement free zone and people love to accept and complement each other while there. It’s an experience worth having, even if just once.
One of the best things about Red Rocks is the communal feel of the crowd. People are just so friendly.
For example, we once lost Robb’s cell phone and some guy went way out of his way to return it back to me. This is just how it goes.
People are nice in the bathroom. People are nice when you struggle with stairs. If you are having a bad time, people will often share their water. Honestly, if you are struggling with anything, people will often go out of their way to help you. People want to get to know you.
With that being said, please return the favor. The reason people are great is because almost everyone takes the effort to be kind. If you are doing a general admission show, respect people’s spaces. People will respect yours.
Even if someone is being a jerk, I try my best to move along in a polite manor. It’s not worth ruining the experience for a petty argument.
I almost always make friends whenever I go here. I may not remember all the names or even the faces, but dancing along side with great people, even just knowing them momentarily creates an unforgettable experience. When you connect with the people, the music, and the crowd, it almost feels like nothing else in the world matters and just for that moment, you feel pure joy.
These feelings are what make the experience of Red Rocks stand out against the rest compared to other shows at other venues. When you go to a club, there is often an individualist vibe. Who has the most money? Who had the coolest crew?
At Red Rocks Amphitheatre, none of this matter. We are all together to create an interactive experience as a community. As I mentioned before, please return the favor. Be a good person at Red Rocks.
RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE STAFF
To go along with the good people, I cannot forget to mention the staff. At Red Rocks, you’ll notice nothing but smiles.
Every time, I interact with staff, they are helpful, friendly, and sweet. I assume this is because it is just an amazing place in general and most people are happy to be there.
Much like I said before, return the respect right back. Staff wants you to have fun but be careful at the same time. They aren’t trying to get you. They just want you to be safe and build a great experience for everyone.
If you are doing something wrong, try to be respectful when they critique you. Be kind. Be understanding. A lot of times, staff will be forgiving when catching you doing something bad. Just don’t get violent or anything like that. Be a good person.
So, there we have it! I hope you like my guide to help you make the most of your Red Rocks experience.
Are you heading out to Red Rocks Amphitheatre any time soon? Last time I’ve been to Red Rocks, I went to see Odesza and just as I expected, it was an experience I won’t soon forget. Please let me know about your past experiences or planned events in the future below in the comments.
I’m not going to lie, these are some of my favorite stories to hear about so don’t be shy.
Ty so much for all of the things you laid out for us first timers we are going to see Joe B. August 11 we can’t wait I will let you know how it went thanks again Girl from Rick
I hope you have a ton of fun up at Red Rocks Amphitheatre!
Red Rocks , I felt it became God’s playhouse when the Beatles played it in the day. Very Sedona feel . Love it and Love all
Wow! I bet seeing Beatles at Red Rock Amphitheatre was amazing!
Thank you for all of this. My husband and I are coming in from North Carolina to see Nathaniel Rateliff tomorrow. I used to live in Denver (for 5 yrs) but never saw a show there. SOOO excited to be back AND to see a show at RR!
We are staying at an Airbnb in Lakewood.
1) We are debating trying to park, or take an uber/lyft.
2) Is the hall of fame & trading post worth seeing?
3) How early should we get there if doors open at 6:30
What would you recommend? Also we aren’t in shape, so we’re worried about the uphill climb.
I am so sorry I missed this until now but I hope you had a great time! I usually drive and park there since you can leave your car overnight but Lakewood is a fairly cheap uber. I only recently checked out the hall of fame for a work event and it’s neat to check out, maybe during the day. Obviously the event was a bit ago so I don’t think this is that helpful but I’m sure you had a wonderful time. Welcome to Denver!
Hey! Thank you for this post! I’m heading out to Hard Halloween to see Gramatik and Kayzo! First time at Red Rocks your tips were great! Super excited!
Awesome! I totally wanted to go to Grammatik too but was out of town. I saw him at Sonic Bloom this past fall and it was amazing! I hope you had a great time. 🙂