Live music lovers, it’s time to add a few more spots to your bucket list. Check out our picks for the 10 most beautiful concert venues in the continental United States.
Opened: 1906Capacity: 9,525
(Image courtesy of Quan Ha via Flickr.)
You can’t have a list of the most beautiful venues in North America without talking about Red Rocks Amphitheatre. This geological phenomenon is the only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheatre in the world. Just 10 miles west of Denver, this open-air auditorium overlooks the city and beyond that, the Rocky Mountains. Currently, Widespread Panic holds the record for most sold out shows there with 54 under their belt.
Opened: 1938Capacity: 5,700 (Koussevitzky Music Shed) / 1,200 (Seiji Ozawa Hall )
(Image courtesy of Stew Stryker via Flickr.)
Nestled in the heart of the Berkshires, Tanglewood is a favorite tour stop for artists like Wilco, James Taylor, John Williams and the Boston Pops (the latter of which have called it their summer home since 1937). With one visit to the venue it’s easy to see why: 200-acres of green, green lawn overlooking Monument Mountain and Lake Mahkeenac make it the perfect place for families to post up and enjoy music all day long. Two venues sit on the property–Koussevitzky Music Shed and Seiji Ozawa Hall–and when they’re not being utilized for concerts they serve as music schools.
Opened: 1986Capacity: 27,500
(Image courtesy Al Case via Flickr.)
Considered by The Wall Street Journal as one of the most scenic concert locations in the world, The Gorge has played host to some of music’s most popular artists and festivals. Located 150 miles from Seattle, the venue sits at the foothills of the Cascade Range providing attendees with views of the Columbia River. In the last few years Sasquatch Festival has taken up residency at the amphitheatre, which offers camping to concert-goers.
Opened: 1952Capacity: 15,000
(Image courtesy Rebecca Sutter via Flickr.)
Jones Beach Theater is proof that beauty exists on Long Island. Sitting pretty along the Zachs Bay in Wantagh, NY, this 15,000-person amphitheatre has undergone several changes since it opened over 50 years ago. Originally used to host musicals, the venue didn’t switch over to concerts until the 1980s. It’s also had several makeovers–including a rehabilitation project due to Hurricane Sandy damage–and recently reversed it’s strict no-alcohol policy. Concert-goers lucky enough to be in the front row should expect to get their feet wet when the tide comes in.
Opened: 1977Capacity: 37,000
(Image courtesy Brent Ozar via Flickr.)
Located roughly equidistant between Madison, Milwaukee, Rockford and Chicago, this popular Elkhorn, WI tour stop has seen the likes of Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones and the Who grace its stage since it opened in the late ’70s. Due to competition with Wrigley Field and Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, this seasonal venue decided to close its doors for 2017 and refocus its efforts on the 2018 lineup.
Opened: 1929Capacity: 3,000
(Image courtesy of Garrett Ziegler via Flickr.)
Even the facade of this historic Brooklyn venue looks fancy, located on the busy Flatbush Ave since its opening in 1929. Formerly Loew’s Kings Theatre, the venue served as one of the five original “Loew’s Wonder Theatres” and presented a combination of movies and live vaudeville. After closing in 1977, the theatre sat practically untouched until a major overhaul in 2013-2014. Now you can catch some of the biggest names in music, podcasts, ballet and comedy grace the stage on any given night.
Opened: 1922Capacity: 17,500
(Image courtesy of Ian D. Keating via Flickr.)
A scenic jewel in the middle of an urban sprawl, the Hollywood Bowl has been delighting even the most jaded young starlets since it opened in 1922. The venue name speaks for itself: the mountain it’s carved into is shaped like a bowl, and it overlooks the Hollywood Hills (if you squint hard enough you can see the actual Hollywood sign in the distance). A SoCal staple, you can catch a myriad of artists ranging from the Los Angeles Philharmonic to Grateful Dead to The Weeknd.
Opened: 1966Capacity: 25,000
(Image courtesy of Ethan Oringel via Flickr.)
Another East Coast treasure, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC for short) is an amphitheatre located within Saratoga Spa State Park. In addition to the venue, the park grounds contain mineral springs, Olympic-sized pools, tennis and golf courses, and several fields for picnics, volleyball and more. The venue has been popularized by the band Phish, who frequently spend three nights there over Fourth of July weekend. It’s only a few miles from downtown Saratoga Springs, a quaint city in Upstate New York.
Opened: 1956Capacity: Unknown
(Image courtesy of Derek Bruff via Flickr.)
Folks who have ever watched PBS’ Bluegrass Underground may be familiar with this Tennessee venue, but those who haven’t: prepare to have your mind blown. Unlike anything else on this list, Cumberland Caverns is a concert venue IN AN ACTUAL CAVE. Not only can attendees enjoy live music in the “Volcano Room,” but they can also come early and do a walking tour of one of the United States’ longest limestone formations.
Opened: 1992Capacity: 16,800
(Official White House photo courtesy Pete Souza.)
With a name that includes one of the country’s most spectacular lakes, it’s kind of expected that this concert venue will provide beautiful views. And Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena does not disappoint. The youngest venue on this list, attendees of this seasonal amphitheatre enjoyed performances from Paul Simon, Lenny Kravitz and The Who just this past summer. The location is also perfect for West Coast road-trippers, as it sits right on the border of Nevada and California.
(Image courtesy Al Case via Flickr.)