Missouri’s Outdoor Concert and Performance Venues (2024)

The stage glows in the night sky as a light breeze cools the evening air. Arms lifted high, the audience sways back and forth together as singing and laughter fills the amphitheater. Across Missouri, outdoor theaters, arenas and concert venues provide good times and magical memories all summer long. Music, comedy and plays aren’t the only attraction at Missouri’s outdoor venues. Forested hillsides, sparkling lakes, scenic parks and historic downtown districts add to the mesmerizing vibe. How can you not relax and enjoy yourself when the atmosphere is electric and you’re surrounded by the beauty of nature or a vibrant urban area?

Missouri has a number of outdoor venues for your warm-weather plans. Here are some top spots to enjoy live entertainment outdoors throughout the state.

Black Oak Amp

Set among the Ozark Mountains near Table Rock Lake, Black Oak Amp has been headlining the biggest names in entertainment for more than four decades. Some of these artists include Bob Dylan, Ozzy Osborne, George Jones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nelly and many more. Start the party in the courtyard with pre-show festivities that include music from upcoming artists, drinks and games.

For special entry and prime seating, purchase the VIP tickets. Those who choose this exclusive option will get VIP parking, superior seating in front of the stage, a private bar and restrooms, and a free buffet. The rest of the space is designed like a traditional amphitheater, with 8,400 seats. Whether you’re sitting in the VIP area toward the front or nestled in a blanket on the back lawn, the lush trees and the rolling hills, coupled with live music and a Missouri sunset provide an unforgettable experience.

Chesterfield Amphitheater

This venue is located at Central Park in Chesterfield, a western suburb of St. Louis, and can seat up to 4,000 individuals. The stage is wide and open while the green lawn fans out across an incline. Choose from stadium seats up close or bring a lawn chair and choose a spot on the lawn. A large lake sits behind the stage. When the sun goes down, the afterglow on the water’s surface is striking.

Chesterfield Amphitheater hosts a variety of tribute shows and movies under the stars. A concession stand and three container bars are located throughout the facility. There are also various food trucks and vendors for each event, so you will have everything you need. They even allow patrons to refill water bottles for free at the concession stand.

GrindersKC

Located in the heart of Kansas City’s Arts District, GrindersKC is within walking distance to galleries, breweries and artist studios. The venue itself was developed because of a love for live music and the arts. The facility has a stage, towering sculptures and seats 2,500 people. A preferred viewing option offers a separate entrance, air conditioning, private restrooms, a private bar and a viewing deck.

The viewing deck is located right next to Grinders Pizza – a restaurant featured on the Food Network. Grab some pizza and beer (plus wine and co*cktails) before the show. Whether you’re on the viewing deck or inside the main venue, this downtown location has delicious food and a great atmosphere.

Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

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Adjacent to the Hollywood Casino in St. Louis, Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, also known as the Saint Louis Music Park, holds 4,500 seats and offers outdoor and indoor seating. If you opt for indoor, you’ll have coverage overhead but can still enjoy a nice breeze from the open sides of the amphitheater. For outdoor, guests can make themselves cozy on the lawn and under the stars.

The benefit of this venue is the partnership with Hollywood Casino St. Louis. They offer several concert packages that include a percentage off your room and food credit for on-site restaurants – ranging from upscale bar food and barbecue to Italian and Asian dishes. Shuttle passes to and from the casino are also available for purchase. Be sure to get started early and enjoy the pre-concert patio party.

KC Live!

Kansas City’s Power and Light District is a nine-block neighborhood filled with restaurants, shops, bars, nightlife and lifestyle amenities, and entertainment venues. KC Live! is the premier entertainment destination in this downtown space, featuring a concert stage where musicians and bands perform weekly throughout the summer.

The complex itself is a lot to take in – but in a grand way. When standing in the main area, guests are surrounded by an industrial, two-level structure. When looking overhead, you’ll notice that the roof isn’t completely covered. Overhead, arched beams frame the open sky. This venue might be downtown, but with the sunlight streaming through the rafters, it feels like you’re outdoors.

Knuckleheads

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For a more intimate and casual setting, visit Knuckleheads. The establishment won several awards in the Kansas City Magazine’s 2022 Reader’s Choice. Rewind to 1899, Electric Park was built on the grounds where Knuckleheads now sits. The park had the first outdoor stage in Kansas City, and all these years later, there is still an outdoor stage. Featuring music and comedy, the venue has a lower area with standing room and seating, plus an upper deck with seating. In total, the space can accommodate about 1,100 guests. They have a concise menu featuring traditional options. Listen to live music under the stars, in a smaller – yet impressive – setting.

Lakeside Ashland

Located about 15 miles south of Columbia, Lakeside Ashland offers a variety of entertainment. While music and comedy make occasional appearances, this site is known for showing outdoor movies and hosting sports watch parties. Most of the space is grassy, and you’re encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on the lawn. For those who want the drive-in experience, there is VIP front-row parking. The venue has a full concession stand and beer window. The menu includes items you’d find at a movie theatre: pretzels with cheese, nachos, burgers, hot dogs and more traditional choices – plus popcorn, of course! Be sure to upgrade to unlimited popcorn so the whole family can snack all night. Admission is charged per car, so a family can get in for an inexpensive rate.

MU Healthcare Capital Region Amphitheater

This 65-plus-year-old outdoor venue in Jefferson City was recently renovated and hosts local, regional and national acts. Surrounded by large trees, it has 500 reserved and 300 terrace seats, plus more than 1,700 seats on the lawn. There are food and beverage trucks for your dining convenience.

The MU Healthcare Capital Region Amphitheater might be smaller, but the opportunities here are extensive. The venue is situated in Ellis-Porter Riverside Park on the southeastern side of Jefferson City. Visitors will find a swimming pool, playground areas and picnic sites. The Missouri River is nearby and visible from the Ellis-Porter Riverside Overlook. Arrive to your concert early and make a day of it. Have a picnic lunch, play in the sun and swim in the pool during the afternoon, and end your day listening to live music under the night sky.

Ozarks Amphitheater

Located a little south of Lake of the Ozarks, the Ozarks Amphitheater is entering its 10th season and has seen the likes of Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, Dierks Bentley and Cody Johnson. Their schedule features musical artists and comedians. The 10,000-seat amphitheater has a premium party deck (with tables and bar tops) and a premium tent (with several tables) near the stage. The Ozark hills form a backdrop for the stage, and as the sun goes down, the view is breathtaking.

The location has in-house concessions and food trucks. They feature a specialty drink made with blackberry moonshine and lemonade – named Rain or Shine – a nod to the fact that they’re a rain-or-shine venue. A bonus about Ozarks Amphitheater is that it has partnered with lodging locations nearby. If you book one of these stays, you will have shuttle service to and from the venue. You can find those options here.

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Starlight Theatre

The Starlight Theatre is one-of-a-kind. It’s the oldest and largest continually operating nonprofit performing arts center in Kansas City. It opened in 1950 and houses nearly 8,000 seats. The stage itself is a sight to see. On each side, towers replicate those of a castle.

The property has everything you could want or need for a musical show or concert. Concessions feature a variety of tastes, like hotdogs, polish sausage, pizza, burgers and tacos. If you want a more exclusive experience, join the Applause Club – Broadway Dining provides a full, pre-show meal with appetizers and dessert. Concert Dining offers early access entry, a selection of light hors d’oeuvres, private restrooms and more.

The Muny

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Starting out on a grassy spot between two oak trees more than a century ago, the Muny is the nation’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theatre. It is located at Forest Park in St. Louis and holds nearly 11,000 seats. The venue mainly shows Broadway and musical adaptations, but their seasons are filled with shows for the whole family.

Arrive at the venue early for dinner and a show. Guests have the option of eating a gourmet dinner at the Culver Pavilion or bringing a picnic to enjoy on the lawn. There is also a café and concessions for quick and easy bites. Whatever your dining preference, The Muny invites you to arrive early so you can savor every moment of the night. That also includes “the show before the show.” Pre-show admission, live performances and activities for kids are included in the price of admission.

Thunder Ridge Nature Arena

Thunder Ridge Nature Arena is a few miles from Branson in Ridgedale. After a decade of planning, developing and constructing, this outdoor amphitheater is described as a “musical postcard from Mother Nature.” Spearheaded by Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, this event space – which can accommodate 18,000 guests – was designed with beautiful architecture that is enhanced by panoramic views of Table Rock Lake and forested Boston Mountain vistas.

Start out your music-filled evening at the Fan Zone – a tailgate party with food vendors, beverages, shopping opportunities, games and more. Inside the amphitheater, you will have access to various dining options: barbecue, burgers, snacks and full-service bars. Thunder Ridge also has Ticket and Travel Packages. Get tickets, hotel accommodations, parking and special amenities all in one bundled package.

Missouri’s Outdoor Concert and Performance Venues (2024)
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