Red Rocks, Morrison, CO
Talk about a Rocky Mountain high! Fledgling artists and platinum sellers dream of playing this majestic amphitheater carved into the mountains outside of Denver. Views of jagged cliffs and snowcapped mountains are equaled by natural acoustics that are considered a geological phenomenon. Just ask Bono and the Beatles, who’ve played here.
Largo at the Coronet, Los Angeles, CA
Songwriters like Fiona Apple and Nickel Creek and comedians like Patton Oswalt frequent this L.A. stage, where artists try out new material and collaborate with other famous regulars—often creating an unexpected collision of music and comedy.
The National, Richmond, VA
When this 91-year-old former vaudeville theater and movie house was renovated in the early 2000s, the owners spared no expense creating a posh, historic venue with period architecture and ornate details. It suits an upscale clientele, but also books EDM, indie rock, country, classic rock and metal.
The Beach at Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV
The four-star Vegas resort recreates MTV Spring Breaks of old with a stage smack in the middle of the outdoor pool. Never mind the summer heat; fans can watch 311 with their toes in the sand on the manmade beach or knee deep in the water during the summer concert series.
The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC
When artists like the Smashing Pumpkins, the Killers and the Beastie Boys wanted to roll out new material in an intimate setting, they chose this former ’50s roller rink in a sleepy mountain town. The 1,100 capacity club has elevated the city’s music landscape, pitting it against metropolises for A-list tours.
Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY
At this trendy Williamsburg neighborhood spot, concertgoers can actually bowl on one of 16 lanes while hip-hop mainstays like Talib Kweli, music legends like Elvis Costello, and Roots’ drummer and “Tonight Show” band leader Questlove (who spins most Thursdays) take the nearby stage. Talk about multi-tasking.
Preservation Hall, New Orleans, LA
Stepping into this tiny French Quarter fixture with its modest façade and antique interior is like stepping back in time. The room holds around 100 people, so customers squeeze in inches from a classic N.O. jazz band made up of local legends and second and third-generation players.