Northern Colorado’s third largest city, Loveland, Colorado, is home to one of the largest sculpture gardens in the country, a nationally-famous valentine re-mailing program, and huge regional attractions like Budweiser Event Center and The Promenade Shops at Centerra. Driving through the city on I-25 you’ll get a sampling of its suburban character, but with just a little more exploration you’ll find a distinct small-town charm, a thriving arts community, and a group of people who love and #LiveLoveland.
Today, we’re sharing a handful of reasons this NoCo city is one of our state’s best destinations. Keep reading to learn a little history, discover a few statistics and celebrate local business.
Loveland, Colorado is known across the entire country as The Sweetheart City. The origin of that name goes back to the mid-1940s to postmaster Elmer Ivers and marketing extraordinaire Ted Thompson. Together, this duo made the annual Valentine re-mailing program a national sensation. To this day, the entire city transforms in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Throughout the month of February, we enjoy the Valentine Re-mailing Program, the Thompson Valley Rotary Heart Program, an exclusive Grimm Brothers Brewhouse beer, and the Loveland Fire & Ice Festival.
And during the rest of the year, we get lovely reminders of our city’s sweet nature with programs like City with HeART which promotes both public art and local business.
Loveland has a low unemployment rate, great public schools, a calendar filled with family-friendly events and easy access to outdoor spaces and recreation. In short, it’s the perfect place to raise a family — and we’re not the only ones who think so! In 2017, SmartAsset ranked Loveland amongst the top 10 places to raise a family in Colorado. This particular study considered metrics like the percentage of families living in poverty, high school graduation rates, the percentage of residents who are children, average housing costs, median household income, crime rate, annual cost of placing a child in a care center and the percentage change in home values.
It’s no secret Colorado housing costs and cost of living are rising and that rise isn’t limited to big cities. However, Loveland is sandwiched between two of Colorado’s most popular destinations: Fort Collins and Denver. This puts it in an ideal place for commuters, families looking for more space, or anyone looking for lower costs near large attractions. In 2018, Livability ranked it the second most affordable city in the state. And within the Northern Colorado region, the Sweetheart City offers a low average home cost that was about $32,000 less than Fort Collins in 2017 and approximately $20,000 less than Fort Collins in the first quarter of 2018. For more information on these numbers, check out our Regional Market Statistics.
At an estimated 2.6% in March 2018, Loveland’s unemployment rate is amongst the top five best in Colorado. This is, in part, thanks to the city’s location in the middle of three of the top employers in the region: Colorado State University in Fort Collins, University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and University of Colorado in Boulder. Other major employers include Agilent Technologies, the Thompson School District (one of the best districts in the state!), McKee Medical Center and Wal-Mart Distribution Center.
According to the US Census Bureau, the median household income between 2012 and 2016 was $59,353.
But you won’t be in Denver or Fort Collins. That means you get to enjoy the attractions of big city living without the hassles. And Loveland boasts three distinct atmospheres: small-town character near downtown, suburban character in the middle and rural character on the outskirts. Which one will you choose?
Our long list of artistic ventures in Loveland includes fine arts, public arts, live music, theater and huge annual events that bring together all four (and more!).
Loveland is home to the historic Rialto Theater which opened in 1920, the Art in Public Places Ordinance which designates one percent of the city’s capital projects for the purchase and maintenance of art, Benson Sculpture Garden and Sculpture in the Park which is the largest outdoor juried show and sale in the United States. So, if you’re looking for art or a community that supports your art, Loveland is a great place to start!
Developed around Lake Loveland and Boyd Lake State Park, Loveland sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains on the borders of Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests. And that’s just looking west! To the east, residents have access to Pawnee National Grassland so you could explore the mountains and the plains in the same day!
Photo courtesy of Door 222
Home to some of Northern Colorado’s best local restaurants, Loveland is quickly becoming a foodie paradise. When you’re looking for farm-to-table, head to Door 222; when you’re craving eye-popping flavor, swing by Mo’ Betta Gumbo; and when you need Northern Colorado’s best BBQ, go directly to Nordy’s.
Photo courtesy of Grimm Brothers Brewhouse
Long overshadowed by the beer giants in Fort Collins, Loveland is finally garnering critical attention for its community of craft beer greats. That list includes the oldest brewery in Loveland, Grimm Brothers Brewhouse; in addition to producing some of the best beers in Colorado, the team brews The Sweetheart City’s annual Valentine’s Day beer, The Bleeding Heart. You can learn more about Grimm Brothers in our blog post Meet the Team Behind Grimm Brothers Brewhouse in Loveland, Colorado.
And, for more information on Loveland’s breweries, check out The Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries from Greeley to Loveland, Colorado.
Following a similar growth pattern as the rest of Northern Colorado, the Loveland housing market is both stable and steadily growing. According to data from our 2017 Annual Report, the average sale price of homes sold in the city increased by 12% from 2015 to 2016 and then by 9% from 2016 to 2017. With the average price still under $400,000, that makes Loveland one of Northern Colorado’s most affordable and most promising markets. Buying a home now promises further appreciation in the coming years — and you’ll get to watch as the art, the food, the beer and the lovable character of our Sweetheart City blossom.
Tell us why in the comments below!