The Fox Theatre
Dopapod Dead and Company After party at The Fox Theatre. Photo by Sam Berenson

Best Large Venues for Live Music


You don’t have to drive to Denver to hear the big-name musicians. Boulder is home to several famous concert venues that attract bands, from chart-toppers to shining up-and-coming acts.

There’s the historic Boulder Theater right in downtown. University Hill’s Fox Theatre, which Rolling Stone named the fourth-best music venue in the country. Head to the foothills to enjoy your tunes at the scenic Chautauqua Auditorium.

If you’re looking for a great show on a world-class stage, here’s a look at Boulder’s top large music venues.

Boulder’s Ultimate Guide to Music & Entertainment

This article is part of a larger series. To see all the articles in this Ultimate Guide, click here.

Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St.

The Fox Theatre is a live music venue located on University Hill. Rolling Stone Magazine named it the fourth best music venue in the country. The building itself was originally built in the ‘20s. Famous musicians who have performed there include Jack Johnson, Snoop Dogg, The Killers, Dave Matthews Band, Sublime, Bonnie Raitt, Skrillex and more.

In 2017, the Fox celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Boulder Theater
The Boulder Theater’s iconic exterior. Photo by Jim Heckel

Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St.

The Boulder Theater is another large music venue in town that attracts notable performers. Here, you can see live music as well as film, stand-up comedy, dance and more. The building is historic and beautiful, built Art deco-style in 1906. It’s reportedly haunted.

Chautauqua Auditorium
A peek at the Chautauqua Summer Concert Series. Photo courtesy Benko Photographics/Colorado Chautauqua Association

Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road

This is a music venue truly unique to Boulder. It’s stationed in Chautauqua Park at the base of the Flatiron Mountains. It’s sometimes referred to as “the barn,” because it doesn’t have a separate heating and air conditioning system. It hosts music as well as speakers. Notable artists to perform live here include BB King, Ziggy Marley, Lyle Lovett, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Chris Isaak.

Local tip: Although the auditorium is indoors, dress in layers or bring a jacket if it’s chilly outside. Mother nature heats and cools the auditorium, so it is subject to her whims. 

eTown Hall, 1535 Spruce St.

eTown is a nationally known, syndicated radio program that you may have heard on National Public Radio. In fact, this show, recorded in Boulder, is heard on more than 300 radio stations and podcasts around the world. Its home base: eTown Hall, a multi-purpose building that happens to also be a live music venue. If you can score tickets to eTown, you can witness a radio show being produced and recorded live in front of you, and it may feature live music, as well as interviews with the musicians.

Dairy Arts Center
Aerial dance performers with Frequent Flyers Student Company prepare for a show on the stage at the Dairy Arts Center. Photo by Jim Heckel

Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St.

The Dairy Arts Center is home to a wide range of arts in Boulder, from visual exhibitions to a ballet school and more. It also has a theater that regularly hosts live music. Highlights include a matinee music series called Soundscape (a chance to hear live music at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, if you’re not an evening person), Jazz At The Dairy and One Night Only, which brings artists (some nationally known) to the stage for (you guessed it) one night only. Check the website for its music schedule.

Macky Auditorium Concert Hall, University of Colorado campus, 1595 Pleasant St.  

The Macky Auditorium is a large (more than 2,000-seat) venue on campus that regularly hosts live music, opera and more. Macky is also home to the college’s band, opera, jazz and orchestra programs. The building itself is dramatic, with Neo-Gothic architecture.

Boulder Dinner Theater, 5501 Arapahoe Ave.

If theater and music are what you’re craving, the Boulder Dinner Theater is a fun destination. This long-standing venue (since 1977) brings quality to the stage. It claims some of its company members have gone on to perform on big stages in New York and Hollywood, been cast in movies and TV shows and even been nominated for Academy Awards.

Smaller Stages

Here are a few of the smaller, yet equally exciting, venues around town that often hold live music events: the Laughing Goat Coffee Shop, Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, Bohemian Biergarten, Caffe Sole, License No. 1, Rayback Collective, Dark Horse, Boulder House, Tahona Tequila Bistro.

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