Top 5 Live Music Venues in the United States


There are few summer activities better than seeing live music outdoors, so we asked musician Richard Giddens to share his favorite outdoor music venues

The Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Hills Los Angeles

Distance from Downtown Los Angeles: 8 miles

The Hollywood Bowl is probably my favorite venue in Los Angeles. It is the quintessential let’s feel like we are getting out of town, but stay in town and say that we didn’t kind of places. If you enjoy putting out a blanket, bringing a picnic, and listening to the LA Philharmonic, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, David Byrne, or seeing John Williams conduct all of his famous film scores, then this is the perfect place for you.

How to get there: RelayRides recommends that you rent a Prius in Los Angeles for a economical and ecological choice. Mizra’s Toyota Prius is the perfect choice

The Henry Miller Library, Big Sur, California

Distance from San Francisco: 151 miles

Ever feel like losing yourself with some amazing music in the middle of California’s Giant Redwood’s? Just hop on the historic Pacific Coast Highway and head three hours south of San Francisco, there you will find the Henry Miller Memorial Library. A hot-spot known as a destination for live music, art, literature and movies, this beautiful venue is a definite must for enjoying an outdoor show. Whenever I am in Northern California, I’ll always check to see if there is a great concert. Plus, make the most out if the experience by camping near-by.

How to get there: RelayRides recommends that you make the most of this breath taking drive and rent a BMW in San Francisco. Sophie A’s BMW 3 Series convertible is a stellar option

The Gorge, Quincy, Washington

Distance from Seattle: 159 miles

If one of your favorite bands is playing at the Gorge, there is no reason not to make the 2+ hour drive from Seattle to the amphitheater? Located right near the Coumbia River, the Gorge is one of the most picturesque venues in America. If I have the opportunity to head there again in the near future, I’d probably rent a convertible and sleep with the top down in one of their camp sites. Just plan on getting there early to reserve a site for an experience that you will never forget.

How to get there: RelayRides recommends that you rent a Mini Cooper convertible such as Devin’s Monster Mini S Convertible

Red Rocks, Golden, Colorado

Distance from Denver: 15 miles

Red Rocks is on nearly every music lovers bucketlist of venues to visit for good reason–Red Rocks Amphitheater is probably America’s most beautiful and famous outdoor venue. Its location was chosen because it has perfect acoustics for live music. Built in 1906, Red Rocks has long been a personal favorite among the most legendary musicians of the last century. Calling it the world’s perfect music venue probably wouldn’t be a stretch.

How to get there: RelayRides recommends that you rent a Subaru like Michael’s Subaru Impreza for a sporty commute to this amazing venue

The Falcon, Marlboro, New York

Distance from New York City: 75 miles

Only an hour and a half drive up the Hudson River from NYC, The Falcon is one of the BEST venues to hear some of todays best Jazz outside of New York, it has been called “The Village Vanguard of the Hudson Valley”. Just saying, in 2011 I got out of NYC to stay with a dear friend and his family during Hurricane Irene, we went to The Falcon and the electric duo of Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana came to fill in for a band that couldn’t make it because of the storm. It is that kind of place!

Ravi’s Honda Civic is the perfect way to get to this amazing venue

Richard Giddens is a musician based in Brooklyn, NY. He has played with such artists as Charlie Haden, Larry Goldings, Ideal Bread, Joe La Barbara, Mary Halvorson, The Chapin Sisters, Peter Bernstein, Robert Glasper, Taylor Ho Bynum, Randy Brecker and Arturo Sandoval, among many others.