Vina Robles Amphitheatre at night, image

At the Vina Robles Amphitheatre, the night sky accompanies the stars onstage.

Five Top Outdoor Amphitheaters in the West

Road Journals—Summer-into-fall is the season to get outdoors, and not just for camping, picnics, and hikes. At an outdoor amphitheater, you can soak up the rays or gaze at the stars while enjoying the show from a seat or, at some venues, a grassy bank. Add a picnic, and you'll double-down on the fun. Here's a selection of five top outdoor amphitheaters around the West.

Paso Robles, Calif.
Set on an oak-studded hillside next to its namesake winery, this 3,300-seat venue features everything from luxury boxes to general lawn seating, with no seat more than 150 feet from the stage. Among the acts you can catch this summer is Smash Mouth (Aug. 13).

Saratoga, Calif.
With a stage backed by a dramatic Spanish-style portal, this 2,500-seat venue built in 1958 will host Goo Goo Dolls & Daughtery (July 21), Nickel Creek (Aug. 4), and a full slate of other performances through October 16.

Ivins, Utah
Located in a spectacular red-rock canyon, this 1,920-seat amphitheater will present three family-friendly musicals in alternating repertory: The Little Mermaid (May 29–Oct. 18); The Wizard of Oz (June 5–Oct. 17); and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Aug. 1–Oct. 16).

Berkeley, Calif.
Cal Performances programs all the acts at this historic 8,500-seat venue on the campus of U.C. Berkeley, with upcoming events including a sure-to-sell-out Yo-Yo Ma performance of selections from the Bach Solo Cello Suites (Aug. 12) and concerts by the Dave Matthews Band (Aug. 22–24).

Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.
Towering pines frame this 1910 theater with 540 seats. Two live productions are on tap this year: Shrek! (Aug. 24–Sept. 28), and Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (Oct. 3–19).

Photography courtesy of Vina Robles Amphitheatre

This blog post was first published in July 2014. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.