Not only is Red Rocks Amphitheater one of the best venues in Colorado, it’s one of the best in the world. Sitting proud, overlooking Denver, Red Rocks has a myriad of parking areas that cater to the classic tailgater. There is something magical about tailgating at Red Rocks – like a festival within itself. Enjoy food and drinks with friends in one of the most beautiful settings you’ll find around before heading up the ramp and stairs for the main show. Parking areas are all on premises––the attendents will direct you to the closest open lots–– and there are usually porta-potties on each lot for those in need. Here’s a tip: leave yourself lots of time when you get to Red Rocks; the walk from some of the parking areas to the stage is deceptively long, and it’s always uphill.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
1701 Mile High Stadium Cir.
Denver, CO 80204
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No matter what sponsor’s name it follows, Mile High stadium is one of Denver’s brightest gems. Tailgaters relish in the mass expanses of on-site parking surrounding the Sports Authority Field at Mile High stadium. There are some seasoned tailgaters that are a hoot to watch and interact with during Broncos games, but the outdoor stadium also hosts concerts during the warmer months. Names like U2, the Colorado-based band The Fray, and the Vans Warped Tour have all performed at Mile High. The staff at the stadium are pretty agreeable about tailgating, but they take a dim view of rule-breakers and will revoke your permit and kick you out if you’re too out-of-hand.
There is something to be said about having the distinction of being one of the best venues in Denver when you’re not actually in the center of the city. That’s Comfort Dental Amphitheatre for you. Formerly Fiddler’s Green, this is an oasis of tailgating joy located about 15 minutes south of downtown Denver. Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube have graced the stage with their presence one more than one occasion, but you’ll also see bands like Slipknot, Godsmack and Incubus roll through. Be aware that the tailgating scene can be hit-and-miss––most of the parking is located in fields and open areas surrounding the venue and tailgating is usually kept to a few folks who band together.
1st Bank Center
11450 Broomfield Lane
Broomfield, CO 80021
The 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, formerly the Broomfield Events Center, is a half hour drive north of downtown and is home to the Denver Roller Dolls, a local girls roller derby team. When the ladies aren’t zipping around the rink doling out blows to their opponents, the venue features some amazing musicians. In 2012, the center played host to a list of varied musicians, including Neil Diamond, The Black Keys, Tom Petty and Radiohead. To tailgate, hit up one of two parking lots on the north or west sides up to two hours before the show. You’ll pay $10–$15 to park and tailgate at the 1st Bank Center.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
6000 Victory Way
Commerce City, CO 80022
While this venue mainly serves as the Colorado Rapids’ permanent home and soccer lovers’ home-away-from-home, it also hosts events like summer fireworks, the annual World Cup of Wine & Beer, and of course, concerts. 2012 will see the band Phish take the field for the second time as they wrap up their summer tour. Tailgating at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is allowed in any of the venue’s stadium lots. You’re welcome to bring your grill along for barbecuing and tents, coolers and chairs for staving off the heat, as long as they don’t get in the way of other tailgaters’ good time. Take note: it’s against the venue’s rules to openly consume alcoholic drinks in any of the the park’s parking lots.