Melodic Bliss at Western Outdoor Music Venues and Amphitheaters

Activities, Outdoor & Adventure

If you’re headed to the West Coast, these impressive outdoor music venues and amphitheaters provide unique concert experiences

The Western half of the U.S. offers some of the best outdoor music venues and amphitheaters because of the awe-inspiring landscapes and naturally large expanses. Several times a year, music festivals and outdoor concerts can be found throughout numerous states out west. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best music venues on the West Coast (where the weather is, after all, reliably warm). Nothing like singing under (and to) the stars. 

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater (Colorado)

In 1905, John Brisben Walker, then-owner of Cosmopolitan, purchased 4,000 acres of land just outside of Denver. The area didn’t look like it could offer much, consisting of thick cuts of sloped rocks that seemed as though they were better off left untouched, but to Walker, it was the site of a long-held dream.

He envisioned it as a space “where artists would perform on a stage, nestled in the perfect acoustic surroundings” of the rocks (which would come to be known later as Red Rocks). As preparations for this began, it was not long though before Walker lost touch of what he set out after, with later dreams turning out to be especially whimsical (Walker wanted to install a replica of Mt. Rushmore into the rocks). Nevertheless, centuries later, the fruit of Walker’s original dream can be seen at this amphitheater, nestled in the perfect surroundings of the rocks, stars, and the great Colorado outdoors. Music, as Walker believed, was meant to be played here.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre (redrocksonline.com)

Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles, California)

Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, with a front-and-center view of the Hollywood sign, the Hollywood Bowl delivers some of the most pleasing sights and sounds in the city (Then again, the Greek Theatre would like to have a word.) That the Bowl is shaped like an orbital dome cut neatly down the middle only adds to the fun. Just look at the artists that have performed here in the last few decades as proof, ranging from The Beach Boys, The Beatles (who ended up releasing a live At The Bowl album), to John Legend and Ozzy Osbourne. 

The Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles has hosted some incredible musicians over the years. Photo credit: Chris Long

Star-studded outdoor music venues include The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles which has hosted some incredible musicians over the years. Photo credit: Chris Long

Gorge Amphitheater (Grant County, Washington) 

In a review written in the summer of 2021, one commenter put the Gorge, plainly: “If you like outdoor concerts, this is for you.” Indeed, the amphitheater, some 20 minutes from Quincy–the closest city–sits at 1,000 feet elevation, just above the Columbia River. It boasts views of valleys and the river’s stream that zigzags between them. Though a rare warning, here: such views may distract you from what’s happening on stage. In pictures submitted by reviewers, the crowd often includes those in awe of the performers, and those in awe of the sky. But with a capacity just shy of 30,000, it won’t take long to bring you back into the mix.

Gorge Amphitheatre | Latest Events and Tickets (georgeamphitheatre.com)

Greek Theatre (Los Angeles, California)

Although this theater is only an 11-minute drive (in good traffic) from the Hollywood Bowl, rarely do attendees actually end up leaving the Greek. The venue (which, in comparison is smaller to the Bowl, with just 5,900 seats) is intimate and inviting, tucked among bunches of pine trees. Located in Griffith Park, just at the bottom of the hill before the Griffith Observatory, it also offers a view that rivals its counterpart’s: the other side of Hollywood and beyond that the Bowl can’t see. 

Greek Theatre (lagreektheatre.com)

Christina Perri performing at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Photo by Justin Higuchi via Flickr

Christina Perri performing at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, one of the premier outdoor music venues in the West. Photo by Justin Higuchi via Flickr

Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater (Park City, Utah)

Started during the summer of 2022, Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater started holding a concert nearly each day up until August. The Summer Series is part of its beloved Deer Valley Music Festival. Groups can enjoy watching the stars under the stars in this idyllic woodland spot. They offer pre-orderable Deer Valley Gourmet Picnics, food and beverages for sale on-site, capacity for 4,500 concert goers and incredible landscapes surrounding the amphitheater. 

Park City Summer Concerts | Deer Valley Resort

Mesa Amphitheatre (Mesa, Arizona) 

Taking note from the several golf courses nearby, the Mesa Amphitheatre keeps its grounds in top shape. Its lawn, which is cut into fine, spiral rows, is covered in smooth, rich grass, the kind made for lying back and looking up at the sky. But if you came for the music, not to worry: the grass has got you covered for that, too. Just put one hand on the ground and the concert, all its notes and vibrations, will be felt in your palm. The grass here does it all.

Mesa Amphitheatre

Cuthbert Amphitheater (Eugene, Oregon)

At the Cuthbert, the mission statement is to make music better live, but especially outdoors. With a commitment to holding shows rain or shine, the venue makes it easy to deliver on this promise with a sculptured lawn that includes seasonal flowers, a beer garden, booths, and, of course, its tortoise-shell shaped stage. How could live, outdoor music not be good? Cuthbert wouldn’t know.

The Cuthbert Amphitheater

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By Hailey Johnson

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