The Best Outdoor Music Venues on Earth

21 Comments

Nature’s Calling…With Drums

Kindl-Buehne Wuhlheide in Berlin.

Comments  (21)

Jul 13, 2012 —  As all-powerful as we humans think we are, the natural environment always comes around with its one-upmanship to remind us who’s boss. “Oh, biggest ship in the world? Bam! Take that Titanic.” (Yes, that’s how nature talks).

So it’s no surprise that we can have the fanciest sound systems and LED lightshows in the world, but sometimes there’s just no beating the acoustics provided by Mother Nature. Sometimes, concerts are meant to be heard in the cool air under the night sky instead of a flashing ceiling, and that’s what outdoor music venues provide.

Imagine watching Radiohead perform against the backdrop of the Hollywood sign while the sounds reverberate off the surrounding green hillsides. You can cozy up with a picnic blanket and a cold beer and be at peace with the music you love. And of course there are the places that haven’t forgotten about your need to move. You don’t have to be Wayne Rooney to step out onto the crisp grass of a national team soccer pitch to dance to a sold out Muse or Madonna show with the stars overhead.

Concerts at amphitheaters and stadiums replace enclosed spaces with scenery and an experience that’s all about the music. Below are the best outdoor music venues in the world that have perfected the combination of sight and sound for your viewing pleasure. 

  • 1

    Hollywood Bowl

    Amphitheater / Concert Venue / Landmark

    Hollywood Bowl - Amphitheater | Concert Venue | Landmark in Los Angeles.
    Los Angeles

    2301 North Highland Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90068

    323‑850‑2000

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  • 2

    Wembley Stadium

    Concert Venue / Stadium

    Wembley Stadium - Concert Venue | Stadium in London.
    London

    Wembley
    London HA9 0WS

    0844 980 8001

  • 3

    Nikon at Jones Beach Theater (Wantagh, NY)

    Amphitheater / Concert Venue

    Nikon at Jones Beach Theater (Wantagh, NY) - Amphitheater | Concert Venue in New York.
    New York

    1000 Ocean Pkwy
    Wantagh, NY 11793

    866‑558‑8468

  • 4

    La Pinède Gould

    Music Venue

    La Pinède Gould - Music Venue in French Riviera.
    French Riviera

    10 Boulevard Ardisson
    06160 Antibes Juan les Pins

  • 5

    Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (Vienna, VA)

    Concert Venue / Performing Arts Center

    Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (Vienna, VA) - Concert Venue | Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC.
    Washington, DC

    1551 Trap Road
    Vienna, VA 22182

    703‑255‑1900

  • 6

    Kindl-Buehne Wuhlheide

    Amphitheater / Concert Venue

    Kindl-Buehne Wuhlheide - Amphitheater | Concert Venue in Berlin.
    Berlin

    An der Wuhlheide 187
    12459 Berlin

    030 857581‑0

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User Comments

Chris M. Aug 16, 2012
Headed to the Hollywood Bowl this weekend. As far as I'm concerned a lot of these pavilion type things are very similar once inside. Some have grass seating and some don't, some are steep and some are flat. Wolf Trap, Hollywood Bowl, Ravinia, Alpine Valley, Walnut Creek. Which is not to say I don't love them, but they are all pretty similar. Then you've got places like Red Rocks, The Gorge, and Dalhalla. Never been to any of those, but I'm pretty sure they are a whole new level of awesome.
Danny M. Aug 16, 2012
Are you really comparing Wolf Trap to Wembley???
Anonymous Aug 16, 2012
Wolf Trap in DC is fine but it can't hold a candle to Wembley and the acts that have come through there lately have really tailed off. Hopefully it can pick it up.
Sandip S. Aug 7, 2012
I want to throw out the "Santa Barbara Bowl" for its old school charm where you end up having a simple connection with the artist. No fancy firework, no fancy lighting - just plain simple music.
Shirish J. Aug 3, 2012
Saw Coldplay at the Hollywood Bowl and it was one of the best concerts I have been too.
Alex K. Jul 31, 2012
I saw The Black Eyed Peas and Gwen Stefani a few years ago and the place was rockin'. The Bowl is such a great outdoor venue for a concert!
Danny M. Jul 30, 2012
You're calling Dudamel "amazing"?
Anonymous Jul 28, 2012
How about Hyde Park for the Queens Jubilee, saw Clapton, the who and Bob Dylan there in 1996. A phenomenal outdoor music venue!
Deepak H. Jul 28, 2012
I saw Coldplay at Hollywood Bowl too! EPIC!!
Paula P. Jul 27, 2012
I saw Coldplay at the Hollywood bowl in May, such a cool venue - they even offer seat cushions so you don't have to sit on the hard bleachers, although I feel like at concerts everyone should be on their feet anyway.
Paula P. Jul 27, 2012
I saw that concert too!! I'm not even a huge U2 fan and that was probably the best concert I've ever seen.
Chad F. Jul 26, 2012
Nothing is better than the Bowl during the summer!
Sara G. Jul 26, 2012
Going to Jones Beach is an important milestone in every tri-state area teen's life. The sound quality is amazing and the setting is perfect. Bummer that PNC Arts Center in NJ didn't receive an honorable mention - it's the perfect outdoor venue with both killer (expensive) seats, and bring-your-own-blanket cheap seats.
Anonymous Jul 26, 2012
I saw Coldplay at Wembley in 2009. Greatest concert ever!
Anonymous Jul 26, 2012
Finally went to the Hollywood Bowl for the first time last year. Saw Dudamel - amazing. Parking tip: park at Hollywood and Highland - buy a bottle of water from the vendor in the garage to get your parking validated and then walk up the rest of the way. You avoid the traffic and parking with the validation is cheap.
Anonymous Jul 26, 2012
My first outdoor concert ever was at Red Rocks in Colorado. I saw Dave Mathews perform Under the Tables and Dreaming. Awesome show.
Anonymous Jul 26, 2012
There is nothing like the Hollywood Bowl on a warm summer night in SoCal. I definitely try to go to a show every summer. This year, I saw Frozen Planet and it was awesome!
Nisha S. Jul 26, 2012
What about the Rose Bowl in Pasadena? I saw U2 perform there, and the energy in the massive outdoor arena was amazing!
Victor H. Jul 26, 2012
With so many outdoor music venues its hard to say which are the best. This is definitely a good list. I'm a little disappointed that Red Rocks Amphitheater didn't make the cut. Can I file for an amendment to this list?
Chris M. Jul 26, 2012
Saw Willie Nelson and the Family + the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at Wolf Trap, great setting for a picnic and a show.
Danny M. Jul 26, 2012
Don't forget the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Beautiful setting in Griffith Park to see awesome shows during the summer.
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