Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of the most beautiful open-air concert venues in the world.
Are you a concert goer? What is the best venue you have been to and how was the accessibility? Sophie and I have been to several over the years and Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorodo is by far my favorite. Mainly for its outdoor beauty, fresh mountain air, and the amazing front row accessible seating.
Some venues I have found to be great for access and some less so, so I thought I would share with you my experience of Red Rocks. That’s not to say it’s the perfect venue for someone with a disability. Every venue has its flaws.
Even so, Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of the most popular outdoor venues in the world. Located just outside the west side of Denver, on your way up to the mountains. It is a completely outdoor venue, which plays rain or shine and has seats for over 9,000 people. Although, you can visit any time of the year to have a look. Living just over an hour away, I try to make it to at least one concert a year.
Arriving at the Venue
For Row 1: You can take any of the three entrances, but is easiest to take parking entrance 3, Red Rocks Park Road to Ship Rock Road. Then follow the signs to the Upper South lot. You will pass a few different security guards, just let them know you are needing the handicap parking for Row 1 and they will help point you in the right direction. Upon parking for Row 1, there is a shuttle that will take you to the entrance because the hill is far too steep to push up, trust me, I’ve tried! The paved handicap lot isn’t busy, so you won’t have to wait long at all for the shuttle. In fact, our driver hung out chatting with us while we tailgated in the parking lot. Once you are through the gate, it is just a short push to Row 1 where you will have your tickets checked and you can find your seats.
For Row 70: You can take any of the three entrances, but is easiest to take parking entrance 1, West Alameda Parkway. Then follow the signs to the Top Circle lot. To reach this, you will drive all the way to the top of the venue to a paved circular lot. You will then walk, or roll, down a hill to your seats.
During the concert
First, let’s talk about how breathtaking this place is! If you are in a wheelchair and sitting in Row 1, it is hard to see the entire venue because, well, sitting down you always get a crappy view. But if you stop on the side before going to your seat and look up, you will see rows and rows of people packed in between giant red rock walls. This venue truly is one of a kind.
Concerts typically start around 7pm and within an hour or so it will become dark. Each artist has its own visual preference of course, but they typically bounce all kinds of lights off of the rocks. If you want a view of the entire venue, don’t want to have your ears blasted, and don’t care how tiny the band looks, then Row 70 is a good choice. I have sat up there once, the view was unreal, but still prefer to be up front and center to the band.
A new perk to being in the front row is that you now have a server who you can order drinks or food from. This is nice because you don’t have to leave your seats during the whole concert. If in Row 1, it can be quite loud, so if you are sensitive to loud music I recommend brining earplugs.
As I mentioned before, Red Rocks is a venue that plays rain or shine, and if you know anything about Colorado’s bipolar weather, come prepared for anything. It occasionally rains here, but rain in Colorado never lasts longer than 30 min. and will usually clear to sunshine again.
There are accessible restrooms available at the top and bottom of the amphitheater. If you are seated in Row 1, they are available at the North Concession stand and the South ramp. If you are in Row 70, they are located in the Visitor Center with a family restroom just around the corner to Row 70.
Other Activities Besides Concerts
Concerts aren’t the only thing Red Rocks has to offer. In the summer time they offer various fitness events and it has also become a very popular spot for runners and fitness junkies.
The Colorado Music Hall of Fame is located at the Trading Post at Red Rocks, accessible from the top of the venue. Here there are many exhibits and photos of past musicians who have played Red Rocks. If you have time before the show, I recommend walking around here. It is cool to see all the famous musicians who have played here, such as, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, John Denver, and Tom Petty, just to name a few.
‘the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead…’
This year I was lucky enough to snag four front row tickets to Odesza. This is currently one of my favorite bands and the show was one of the best I have seen there yet. They had a drumline for most songs, which blew my mind. In the past I have seen various reggae artists, Yonder Mountain String Band, and The Head and the Heart. Red Rocks sells out very quickly, so you have to know what day and time tickets are going on sale and be on your computer.
If you love live music, then you definitely need to put Red Rocks Amphitheatre on your list of venues to see. Don’t let the fact that this is an outdoor venue in the mountains scare you off. As a wheelchair user myself, I really enjoy coming here and it doesn’t hurt that you can get the first row!
We want to hear about your favorite music venues for accessibility, view, seating, etc. Who have you seen there? Comment below to share yours!
Here you can find tickets on sale.