It’s easy to love Loveland, the Sweetheart City, our little haven in the foothills. Just 30 minutes south of Fort Collins, an hour north of Denver, and less than an hour from Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, this city offers just about everything you could dream of, from outdoor adventures to local shopping and everything in between. And you don’t even have to leave the city!
During the winter, that fun goes festive with light displays and a winter festival. Snow blankets some of our favorite outdoor destinations, and the indoor entertainment keeps rolling at local venues, businesses and shopping centers. We rounded up the essential winter activities in Loveland, Colorado and included a few free things for budget-friendly fun. Enjoy!
Loveland Museum/Gallery began all the way back in 1937 and has grown into one of the state’s best museums. It’s also the only accredited institution in Northern Colorado. (Fun fact: only 5% of the museums in the United States are accredited!) Their collection includes pioneer artifacts and history exhibits and their calendar features rotating art exhibitions, family events, adult and youth classes, lectures, poetry readings, and more. To find out what’s currently available in the museum, check out the website.
Sweetheart City Racing is Loveland’s organizer of local running events. Year-round, they put together some of our community’s most beloved events, including the Bell Ringer in November, the Toy Drop in December, the Sweetheart Classic in February, and more. These events range from quick four milers all the way up to 25k races. You can learn more about upcoming events and register to run on the Sweetheart City Racing website here.
Photo courtesy of The Promenade Shops at Centerra
The Promenade Shops at Centerra is one of the largest tourist draws to Loveland as it is home to more than 75 specialty shops and restaurants. During the winter, The Ice Rink is added to that long list of attractions. Skate hours begin in early November each year, continue through the holiday season and the New Year’s Eve party, and usually, continue through February. Your admission lasts all day and includes complimentary skates and skate assistants at no extra cost! To get full pricing details and information on operating hours, click here.
Photo courtesy of Richard Haro Photography via Visit Loveland
Every year, Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra transforms into Winter Wonderlights. From mid-November through early January, the 26-acre park is illuminated by holiday string lights, twinkling bulbs, LED mappable snowflakes, illuminated stone sculptures as well as a music and light show every single night. And the best part is it’s all free and open to the public! For complete information on this year’s event, including the live performance schedule, check out the event page here, courtesy of Visit Loveland.
In 2019, our city got a brand new winter celebration: the Loveland Sweetheart Festival. This event in downtown Loveland celebrates Valentine’s Day and Loveland’s entire Valentine’s season with love, lights and one of the largest Love Lock sculptures in the country. Presented by the Loveland Chamber of Commerce and Visit Loveland Colorado, the festival will highlight the city’s rich history as the nation’s Sweetheart City and as one of the top art communities in the nation through art installations, attractions and contests.
The Love Lock sculpture is a 10-foot-tall and 30-foot-wide steel sculpture and attendees are invited to purchase a customizable love lock to secure on it. After the festival concludes, the sculpture will be moved to its permanent home in the Loveland Chamber and Visitors Center!
Other highlights at Loveland Sweetheart Festival include a laser show each night, art shows, contests, live music, and chocolate, beer and wine tastings.
Did you know Loveland, Colorado has been dubbed the Sweetheart City? This is in honor of our community’s famous Valentine’s Day celebrations which turn a single day into an entire month of fun. To learn more about Valentine’s Day celebrations in Loveland, including links and information about the largest re-mailing program of its kind, check out our blog post How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Nation’s Sweetheart City.
Long overshadowed by the beer giants in Fort Collins, Loveland is garnering critical attention for its community of amazing craft breweries. 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.
The team at this local art studio produces its own glass art pieces which you can purchase in the shop, and they also offer glass blowing classes. Owner Dan Daggett has more than 30 years of experience teaching the art to all ages and experience levels. Introductory classes begin with paperweights and ornaments, but participants can graduate to making cups, bowls and vases, too. For more information on these classes, click here.
The Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League are a minor league ice hockey team and they play right here in Loveland! Their typical season begins in September, continues all winter long, and wraps up in April. At Budweiser Events Center, you can cheer them on as they play teams from around the country, like the San Jose Barracudas, Stockton Heat, Tucson Roadrunners, Iowa Wild, Ontario Reign and more. Check out their current schedule here.
The story of the historic Rialto Theater begins all the way back in 1920 when this grand silent movie theater opened with 1,014 wooden seats. Today, the theater remains one of the finest entertainment destinations north of Denver but has much more comfortable seats. The performance hall hosts music, theater, film and community events featuring both national and local talents. And they honor their history by showing independent films monthly and silent films twice each year with live music accompaniment.
During the summer, Benson Sculpture Garden is famous as the setting of the Loveland High Plains Arts Council’s renowned Sculpture in the Park. But the garden is still a fantastic arts destination after the event wraps up. Absolutely free and open to the public, everyone is invited to explore the grounds and find all of the sculptures—there are more than 160! And when they’re blanketed in snow, the sculpture garden is certainly a sight to be seen.
The outdoor adventure doesn’t end in Loveland when the snow falls. Devil’s Backbone is one of the most impressive visible geologic landmarks in Larimer County and Devil’s Backbone Open Space offers 2,198 acres to explore! That land includes 12 miles of trail which connect to Rimrock Open Space and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space available for hiking, running, horseback riding, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, and during the winter, you can enjoy some of the most breathtaking views in Northern Colorado.
Whether it’s on our list or not, let us know what you’ll be doing in Loveland this winter! You can tell us in the comments below.