A Boulder experience is not complete without enjoying a performance at the Chautauqua Auditorium. For over a century, the Auditorium has held a special place in the hearts of artists, speakers, and all who visit, and has brought the latest in arts, culture and education to the Boulder community.
Heated and cooled by Mother Nature, the Chautauqua Auditorium is open from May through September and is a preferred performance venue by artists because of its incredible acoustics and unique architecture. Distinguished speakers such as William Jennings Bryant, Al Gore and the Reverend Jesse Jackson and a diverse array of performers ranging from the Reverend Billy Sunday and music legends such as Wynton Marsalis, Lyle Lovett, Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter, BB King, Chris Isaak, The Indigo Girls, John Hiatt, Los Lobos, Ziggy Marley, and many more, have graced its stage over the last 116 years.
Sometimes fondly referred to as “the barn,” the Chautauqua Auditorium was erected in 45 days for $6,700 and opened on July 4, 1898, as the tabernacle for the new Colorado Chautauqua. Before the 1899 season, panels that slide upward on ropes and pulleys were installed on the middle sections of the building and hinged double doors were fitted on the east and west ends of the wings to control the dust and wind.
The interior of the structure has witnessed only minimal modifications and remains lofty and open, with only unfinished timber supports interrupting the space and single piece beams of Oregon fir spanning the 80 feet expanse above. Originally, the Auditorium was built to accommodate 6,000 patrons with banks of risers built on the stage. In 1905, the bleachers were removed and replaced with dressing rooms at stage left and right and seats have replaced the original bleachers (with the exception of some benches in the general admission section). Today, the Auditorium hosts just over 1,300 guests per show.
The Chautauqua Auditorium was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Quirks and Tips
We love our Auditorium and all its wonderful quirks and are certain you will too. Here are a few insider tips to help you enjoy your Chautauqua Auditorium experience.
Designated accessible parking for persons with disabilities is available throughout the park. Please refer to a Colorado Chautauqua map for designated parking spots. All parking is “first come, first served.”
Service animals are permitted and admitted into the Auditorium. Each service animal must remain with its owner and be restrained. If any service animal interferes with other guests, corrective action may include rearranging seating or removal of the service animal from the Auditorium.
For accessibility questions or accommodations during a performance, please contact Public Events Manager, Julie Pomerantz at 303.952.1632 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No Food or Beverage Permitted Inside the Auditorium
Since the Auditorium is situated at a major intersection with wildlife and its walls are porous to the outdoors, we take all steps necessary to keep wildlife, our patrons and our venue healthy
Spilled food and beverages are attractants to animals and are therefore not permitted in the Auditorium. The 116 year old Auditorium is not equipped with plumbing or drains, making it extremely difficult to clean up and eliminate food odors and animal trace. Water in plastic bottles is permitted. Thank you for your cooperation!
Cameras and Recording Devices
Use of audio or video recording devices, professional cameras or cameras with removable lenses are not permitted in the Chautauqua Auditorium.
- Venue Policies
View our venue policies here.
- Plan your visit
Learn more about parking, transportation, food and beverage options, and lodging here.