Best known for its top-notch wilderness areas, Loveland captures the hearts of tourists and locals alike with its vast recreation options, unique shopping opportunities and peaceful atmosphere. The Rocky Mountain town boasts a low crime rate, and Money Magazine has named it one of the 10 best places to live in the nation. Located just south of Fort Collins and about 45 miles north of downtown Denver, Loveland provides easy access to Colorado's social hot spots while creating an eclectic charm all its own.
Families make up the bulk of the population thanks to the town's safe atmosphere and expansive park district, and professionals flock to Loveland for its booming employment opportunities. The town also represents a unique arts scene, drawing sculptors, painters and other artists from all over the country.
Locals have plenty to love about Loveland, like its "bike library" that lets you check out a bike for free to explore the city's huge network of trails. Housing prices may vary drastically from the upscale homes on the mountainside to smaller dwellings in town, but every family can enjoy a constant view of the Colorado Front Range. Whether you're walking through Benson Sculpture Garden or buying up the latest fashions at the Promenade Shops at Centerra, you're sure to fall in love with Loveland the moment you arrive.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Catering to both locals and tourists, Loveland's dining selection features popular chains like Perkins for cheap eats as well as local establishments like Next Door Food & Drink for fine wine and tapas. You find authentic international fare like the Vietnamese Pho Lan around town, but pubs, breweries and American grills make up the core of Loveland's restaurant offerings. Head downtown or drive along the main avenues to discover mountainside culinary creations to fit every budget.
Stop by Henry's Pub in downtown Loveland for locally sourced dishes, the best fish and chips in the region and an upbeat atmosphere where even kids feel welcome. The fried pickles always hit the mark, and gluten-free diners can rejoice as this home-town pub has created an extensive gluten-free menu complete with pasta.
For a night out with your sweetheart, split some tapas at Next Door Food & Drink. When in doubt, order the bacon-wrapped dates and duck taquitos to enjoy an elegant meal without sacrificing flavor. Cap off your experience with a black walnut Manhattan, and don't forget to order some cayenne caramel corn to go.
Fitting in with Loveland's rustic atmosphere, the city's nightlife scene includes plenty of old-school bars and taverns like the local getaway Burk's Tavern. Stop in to find cheap Irish whiskey and a fun late-night crowd flocking in from the bars that close early. Be sure to select some tunes on the jukebox while you socialize since the Internet-ready machine can play nearly any song you can imagine.
If you want to taste the city's artistic side, head to the candle-lit Monroe's Lounge where you can listen to live music while sipping on a margarita. Stop by on a Wednesday night for some smooth jazz, or step up to the mic on Karaoke Fridays.
History & Culture
The area surrounding Loveland once served as a temporary home for the Arapaho and Cheyenne Native Americans moving through the area until the settlers began to push them out. Although homesteaders arrived in earlier years, the city began its true growth in 1877 when the Colorado Central Railroad began constructing a line through the settlement. Throughout the 1900s, agriculture gave way to manufacturing as the major source of employment in Loveland.
Experience Loveland's rich history for yourself at the Loveland Museum and Gallery, a small museum combining local history exhibits and thought-provoking art. Don't miss the museum's frequent art shows and poetry readings.
Fine art has been a core value of Loveland throughout the past decades as evidenced by its sprinkling of art galleries across town. Take a walk through the Benson Sculpture Garden to view vivid bronze sculptures of people and animals hand-crafted by local sculptors. Don't miss the annual Sculpture in the Park show to view more than 2,000 pieces from around the world.
The beauty of winter and the holidays presents another key aspect of this town's culture, so get into the holiday spirit with hot cider and goodie bags during the annual open house at the visitors' center. During the summer, enjoy some of the best concerts in the region at the Foote Lagoon Amphitheater.
With Interstate 25 leading to Denver and Eisenhower Blvd snaking into mountains, Loveland makes it easy to stay well-connected to the region. You don't find much for public transportation in this charming mountain town, but the COLT bus system takes you to some of Loveland's key areas. Most of Loveland's residents travel by car, an easy task thanks to the city's low traffic and abundance of free public lots and street parking in the downtown area.
Winters may be harsh, but summer in Loveland becomes a biker's dream with bike lanes covering nearly the entire city. Pedestrians have a tougher time due to the city's spread-out format, but the shopping centers and downtown streets cater more to foot traffic. When you're desperate for a quick ride, you can always call up a local taxi service.
Thanks to its affordable groceries, abundance of free entertainment and lower-than-average housing prices, the cost of living in Loveland falls just below average for Colorado. However, that doesn't stop the city from offering a diverse range of homes that run the gamut from rustic mansions to simple town homes.
You find few apartments around town, and most of the new complexes cater to a more luxurious lifestyle. If you do find a one-bedroom apartment, expect to pay anything from $900 to $1,000 per month.
Loveland's retail scene concentrates along Eisenhower Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue, creating a pleasant blend of shopping centers, boutiques and antique shops. If you're looking for basics like groceries, stop by one of the Walmart Supercenters or The Crunchy Grocer, a natural food store carrying heaps of organic produce and baked goods. If window shopping strikes your fancy, take a stroll through the Promenade Shops at Centerra.
The Outlets at Loveland may supply a few popular brands like Levi's and Izod, but the Promenade Shops at Centerra has the largest selection of lifestyle stores and upscale women's fashion brands in the city. Stroll past the iconic fountain wall in the main plaza before picking up some holiday cheer at Cozy Cottage Christmas and catching the latest blockbuster at Metrolux 14.
Head to the charming downtown area to find The Vintage Green, your one-stop shop for vintage items and antiques with an eco-friendly vibe. Shop here to find old knives and fishing reels and rugs made of recycled bedsheets. Just down the road, you find Cloz to Home, a vintage boutique with intricate jewelry and women's clothing.
Featuring snowshoeing in the winter and coveted hiking trails in the summer, Loveland's parks and recreation areas create year-round entertainment opportunities. For a small entrance fee, drive your sailboat, canoe or fishing boat to Boyd Lake State Park for summertime water sports, or enjoy a longer stay at the Cottonwood Campground perched right on the shoreline. You can also let your kids splash around the sandy swim beach or take a walk with your dog through the trails. The park officers can be sticklers, but the strict enforcement of park rules helps to maintain a tranquil atmosphere.
To dive even deeper into nature, hike the 12 miles of trails around the Devil's Backbone, a stunning group of rock formations surrounded by steep valleys. Pick up some drinking water at the trail head before hiking, biking or horseback-riding your way through the most beautiful landscapes of Larimer County.