7 Tips for Enjoying a Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Seeing a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a coveted experience, but it’s not always an easy experience.
Red Rocks Park is not for the weak of heart. (Seriously, if you have a weak heart, please talk to your doctor before attending a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre). It sits at over 6,000 feet in elevation and concert goers may literally have to climb hundreds of stairs to get to their seats. The reward is well-worth the effort, however, which is why we go back time and time again to one of the best concert venues in the world.
For those of us who are spoiled enough to have Red Rocks Amphitheatre practically in our backyard, we know that seeing a concert here is simply not simple. It takes experience and skills that we have been perfecting over the years to make your Red Rocks concert experience as easy as possible.
Here are our 7 Tips to help make your first (or next) concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre the best experience ever.
Don’t be late
Get to Red Rocks early and relax. It always takes longer than expected to get to Red Rocks. Weekday traffic is always a factor, and the line to get in the park can be another unexpected nightmare. Plus, the town of Morrison, Colorado, is further out of the way than you realize. Check out your GPS, decide what time you need to leave – and then give yourself an extra half hour or more. The earlier you get to Red Rocks, the less time you’ll be waiting in line and the more time you’ll be enjoying the lot scene.
Know Where to Park
Parking at Red Rocks can be tricky. There are several parking lot options at Red Rocks, and it seems everyone has a different preference for one reason or the other. There are five parking lots, and the staff will simply direct you to the closest one with available space as you pull into the park. If you are meeting up with friends, pick a lot beforehand so you know where to head when you pull into the park. If you want convenience, the Upper Lots require the least amount of walking. They also fill up the fastest, so you have to get there early to score a spot. The Lower Lots require some uphill hiking, so wear comfy shoes. If you end up in a lower lot, bring an extra beverage and allow more time for the walk into the venue. If you are looking for more of a party scene, the party busses and shuttles are required to park in Lower South Lot 2.
Consider a Shuttle
Unless you have a guaranteed DD (designated driver), party buses to Red Rocks are the way to go! If you really plan on partying, you should definitely jump on a shuttle or party bus. It’s the safe and smart way to go. Whether you are coming from Denver or Boulder, or somewhere in between, there are lots of options available to get you to and from Red Rocks safely. Shuttles will ensure you get to and from the venue safely for the cost of about $25 – $35 round trip. Some Red Rocks shuttles offer pre-game drinks and snacks – and even DJs on board to get the party started! Here are a few options to consider:
Be Prepared for the Lot Scene
Part of the Red Rocks concert experience is getting to tailgate in the lot before heading into the show. It’s great to meet up with your friends and take in the beautiful Colorado scenery. To fully enjoy your Red Rocks tailgating experience, here are a few things you may want to throw in your car:
What to Pack for a Red Rocks Tailgate
Cold beverages: Pack a cooler filled with a few tasty beverages to enjoy. Just remember, Red Rocks does NOT allow glass. They will confiscate your drinks, and that would be a total bummer.
Snacks: Don’t forget to eat. This seems like the dumbest thing to tell people, but people forget to eat all the time.
Water: Drink lots and lots of water. Remember, folks, Red Rocks sits at about 6,500 feet in elevation. Between the altitude and the alcohol, concert goers party so hard in the lot that they don’t even make it to the show (or they don’t remember making it to the show). Stay hydrated.
Sunblock and Shade: If you’re doing it right, you’ve gotten to the Red Rocks parking lot when the sun is still pretty hot. Put on some sunblock, and enjoy your beers under your canopy. You’ll make friends with the people parked next to you, since they probably didn’t bring shade.
Chairs: Sit a spell – under your shade canopy. You’ll be up on your feet dancing all night, so take a moment to let those feet rest up!
The More You Know
Weed is legal in Colorado, but smoking weed in public is NOT legal. I have seen friends get fined in a Red Rocks parking lot – not for open alcohol containers, but for smoking pot. If you are planning on smoking, be discreet and watch out for law enforcement roaming around.
Know What to Bring Inside
At some point, you need to decide to leave the Red Rocks lot scene and start heading into the amphitheater. My plan of action is to start heading in at least an hour before the show starts. That gives enough time to make the trek, get situated in our seats and reconnect with friends. Heck, I even have time to use the bathroom, fill up water, grab a beer and enjoy a bite to eat before the show gets started.
Before you head into the Red Rocks concert venue:
- Clean up after yourself. Red Rocks isn’t just a concert venue. It’s a beautiful recreational park, and we want to leave it that way. Don’t trash the parking lot.
- Give yourself plenty of time. The walk to the entrances at Red Rocks can take awhile, so don’t forget to grab a cold one for the trek and the line. If you parked in a lower lot, you’ll probably be periodically breaking to catch your breath. Once inside the amphitheater, be prepared to walk up another hundred stairs or so to get to your seat.
- Grab everything you need. Once you’re in Red Rocks Amphitheatre, you’re in. There’s no re-entry at Red Rocks – plus, your car is way further than you think it is. Make sure you have everything you need before you walk away from your car.
What to Bring Into Red Rocks
Your Ticket: Make sure you have your concert tickets, and then make sure your friends have their tickets. And then double-check for your ticket again. Keep them in a safe, DRY spot. (Wet tickets are worthless if they can’t be scanned!)
Water: You can bring non-alcoholic sealed beverages into Red Rocks, so bring water. If you are with a large group, consider carrying a few gallons of water to keep everyone hydrated. Empty camelbacks and reusable water containers are also allowed. However, don’t bring something you don’t want to lose. You may set your water bottle down and never see it again once the lights go down.
Snacks: It’s wise to pack a sandwich or something substantial to eat in the show – especially if you get in early to see the opening bands (which you should). Plus, food inside is pretty pricey, and you could waste a lot of time standing in line. (Red Rocks does NOT allow whole fruits – so slice up that apple before heading in!)
Rain Jacket: It seems like Red Rocks Amphitheatre has its own eco-system, and you can never trust the weather forecast. Whether it says it or not, always plan on the chance of rain. Also, don’t bring your favorite rain jacket. They are probably one of the most commonly lost items at Red Rocks. (Red Rocks does NOT allow umbrellas.)
Long-sleeved shirt or hoodie: Once the sun goes down behind those rocks, the temperature can drop significantly. You’ll want a long-sleeved layer, even if it’s just for the walk out.
Cash: It’s way easier to grab a beer from the vendors walking right by your seat than to have to stand in line, so bring cash!
Blanket: If you are with a large group, you’ll want to head in early and mark off your space with a blanket or sheet. Technically, you cannot save seats for friends – so make sure you have a good-sized group with you. (Red Rocks does NOT allow tarps.)
Know How to Find Your Seats
Your Red Rocks concert ticket will tell you whether you have General Admission (GA) or a Reserved Seat number. This can vary for every show at Red Rocks, so be sure to ask one of the many staff members where your ticket gets you. Often GA will be the first few rows in the front and top, while the center rows are saved for reserved seating. Sometimes the entire place is GA, and sometimes the entire show is assigned seats. Rows 1 and 70 are always reserved for handicap seating. If you want to hang out with your group of friends, you should plan on heading in together to be safe.
Enjoy the Show!
Woo hoo! You’ve made it! Now, get up and dance – and enjoy a concert at one of the most incredible venues in the world. You deserve it.
Remember: Everyone deserves to have an amazing Red Rocks experience. Always respect your neighbors and be kind to one another.
A concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre is truly an incredible experience, but it can be overwhelming if it is your first time. Hopefully, these tips for attending a Red Rocks concert will help make your experience the very best.