The Boulder Bubble is positively bursting with interesting things to do and see, including, but not limited to, ridiculously huge mountains, people that stuff themselves into clear plastic boxes, overpriced boutique stores, hipster restaurants and all manner of “extreme” outdoor sports. But among Boulder’s greatest draws for students are its music venues and the diverse acts that they book.
Here’s a guide to some of the area’s most well-loved venues.
BLUES AND GREENS RESTAURANT
Boulder Outlook Hotel, 800 28th St., Boulder, 303-443-3322
Located in the environmentally friendly Boulder Outlook Hotel, the Blues and Greens Restaurant is one of Boulder’s hidden gems when it comes to music venues. The dimly lit confines host bands, mostly blues and jazz, five nights a week. The small space makes for an intimate live experience, but with plenty of room to dance.
2032 14th St., Boulder, 303-786- 7030
The historic Boulder Theater is one of the biggest destinations for live music in Boulder, and it books some of the bigger acts.
“We really try to strike a good balance with the people we book,” says Kirk Peterson, the talent booker for both the Fox Theatre and the Boulder Theater. “Ultimately we want there to be something for everyone.”
This year’s lineup for the 1,000person venue includes a mesh of genres like hip-hop, electronic, bluegrass, jam, indie rock, metal and singer/songwriters.
The Boulder Theater also hosts a number of films throughout the year.
Shows to see this fall include The Head and the Heart (Sept. 23), Dr. Dog (Oct. 9) and The XX (Oct. 17).
637R South Broadway, Boulder, 303- 499-2985
CaffĂ¨ Sole is South Boulder’s coffee shop and music venue rolled into one. Sole features a Brad Goode Jazz Jam every Monday night, followed by other local samba, jazz and Brazilian bands Thursday through Saturday.
900 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303-442- 3282
While the all-wood Chautauqua Auditorium may call to mind the spiffiest barns around, don’t let it fool you. The historic auditorium, built in 1898, provides a classy stage for live music. Highlights this fall include Blind Pilot and Gregory Alan Isakov.
1922 13th St., Boulder, 303-449- 1922
Pearl Street’s go-to Irish bar, Conor O’Neill’s, books live music almost every night of the week. Sundays feature an acoustic jam session and a traditional Irish jam session, while Tuesdays are open stage and Wednesdays are open bluegrass pick nights. Other nights are often dedicated to local bands in genres ranging from bluegrass to funk.
1135 13th St., Boulder, 303-443- 3399
The Fox Theatre is the venue that many incoming University of Colorado Boulder students visit first. Its location on the Hill, as well as the many electronic and hip-hop acts that it brings in, make it an easy choice.
“The Fox does tend to get a bit of a younger crowd just because it is on the Hill and there is a really strong walkup culture with the student population,” says Peterson. “I think college kids these days are really into electronic and hip-hop music, and they’re really active in the scene and pursuing shows.”
Shows to see this fall include Angus Stone (Sept. 19), Papadosio (Nov. 15) and Perpetual Groove (Dec. 7).
THE LAUGHING GOAT
1709 Pearl St., Boulder
This coffee shop brands itself as a “community performance venue,” essentially meaning it features lots of cool, local indie bands that you may never have heard of. It’s a chance to let the music call an end to your study session.
MOUNTAIN SUN AND SOUTHERN SUN PUBS
MS: 1535 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-546- 0886
SS: 627 South Broadway, Boulder, 303- 543-0886
These twin pubs in Boulder serve up great beer, food and music. While the beer and the food happen all week, the music is only one night a week. Sundays are the Mountain Sun’s night to get groovy, while Southern Sun features live bands on Mondays.
2027 13th St., Boulder, 303-449-0120
Shine’s decorative murals and wide-open dance floor make it a great place to boogie down. The music at Shine is difficult to fit into any genre. Disco dance parties, Brazilian music festivals and salsa nights are just some of the offerings you’ll find there.
AROUND THE FRONT RANGE:
11450 Broomfield Lane, Broomfield, 303-410-0700
Plopped down like a stray spaceship among Broomfield’s over-watered hills, the 1stBank Center hosts national acts from Tom Petty to Skrillex. This year’s schedule includes Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson (Oct. 2), Sheryl Crow (Oct. 6) and Bob Dylan (Oct. 29-30). It’s also the home of the Denver Roller Dolls, a vicious roller derby squad.
1510 Clarkson St., Denver, 303-837-1482
The Fillmore Auditorium has been around since 1907. With its purple chandeliers and miles of open floor space, the Fillmore is great for a fun, rocking New Year’s Eve or Halloween show, and often brings in big acts for both. Shows to see this fall include Matisyahu and the Dirty Heads (Sept. 8), Citizen Cope (Oct. 5) and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (Oct. 26).
935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 303-832-1874
The Ogden books acts from musical genres across the board.
“We have bluegrass bands, hip-hop, indie bands and even some country with a little bit of twang to it,” general manager John Caprio says. “In the last couple of years, dubstep DJs have become really popular too, especially with the younger folks.”
To fill a capacity of 1,600 people, acts at the Ogden tend to be peaking in their musical careers.
“We’re booking bands that are starting to do really well, that have toured a couple of times and are starting to play bigger venues,” Caprio says. “But then we also get the big acts, like Atmosphere, who just played Red Rocks, who have already played the bigger venues and now want something a little more intimate.”
Shows to see this fall include Metric (Oct. 4) and Matt and Kim (Nov. 2).
Grill & Brew: 303 Main St., Lyons, 303-823-6685
Home Made Liquids and Solids: 1555 S Hover Rd., Longmont, 303-485-9400
Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Tap Room, 1800 Pike Rd., Unit B, Longmont, 303- 776-1914.
The Oskar Blues taprooms and restaurants, with locations in Longmont and Lyons, are pure fun for both the taste buds and the ears. Bluegrass and local bands are featured heavily.
1000 Chopper Circle, Denver, 303- 405-1100
Just outside downtown Denver, the Pepsi Center’s developing a reputation as a hip new venue to see the latest up-and-coming sensations. Except, not. Artists playing here are basically required to be legends. The Red Hot Chili Peppers come through Sept. 27, Madonna Oct. 18 and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Nov. 19.
RED ROCKS PARK & AMPHITHEATRE
18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, 720-865-2494
The acts that play Red Rocks are generally already pretty famous, and many of them sell out all of Red Rocks’ 9,450 seats. Thankfully, though, the huge steps of Red Rocks mean that you’re never too packed in, and always have a good view of the stage — even if the performers shrink to binocularworthy size. Shows to see include Reggae on the Rocks (Aug. 25), Mumford and Sons (Aug. 28) and Umphrey’s McGee and Railroad Earth (Sept. 14).
Don’t fret; you don’t have to drive. Alternatives to the car include the Hill Party Bus (www.thehillpartybus.com), Bus to Show (free for members of the nonprofit Basics Fund, http://bustoshow.org/calendar) and the RTD buses that run between Boulder and Denver and are free with your Buff OneCard (www.rtd-denver.com).