The Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater is Denver’s top concert venue – a natural, open-air amphitheater formed by a pair of 300-foot-high red sandstone monoliths with seating for 9,450. It was featured in the film “U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky.”
The amphitheater also is used for movie showings, Easter services, high school graduations and special events from spring through fall.
The amphitheater is flanked by the monoliths Ship Rock on the south and Creation Rock on the north. Seats were built of the same red sandstone in the 1930s, along with a stage backed by a large rock and rock outcroppings to provide excellent acoustics.
The first concerts were performed here from 1906 to 1910 on a temporary platform, and the city bought the property in 1927. Mayor Ben Stapleton arranged for the federal Civilian Conservation Corps and Work Projects Administration to build the stage and seating area, based on plans prepared in 1936 by architect Burnham Hoyt.
The venue was formally dedicated in 1941, though construction continued until 1948.
The Beatles performed at Red Rocks in 1964, and the other concerts have drawn such diverse artists as the Grateful Dead, Carole King, John Denver, Earth Wind & Fire, Jimi Hendrix, Widespread Panic, R.E.M., The Carpenters, Rush, Ben Harper and Jethro Tull.
The 868-acre park also features dinosaur tracks from 160 million years ago and fossil fragments from the 40-foot sea serpent Plesiosaur and the marine reptile Mosasaurus, plus a mixture of pines and prairie where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains. There are trails for hiking and bicycling.
The Dinosaur Ridge Discovery Center at Red Rocks Park offers an overview of relics of prehistoric life at nearby Dinosaur Ridge. It’s located at 17681 W. Alameda Parkway — Entrance No. 1 to Red Rocks Park.