Free & Frugal Summer Fun in Loveland

One Sweet Summer in Downtown Loveland.

MUSIC & MOVIES

Sounds of Summer

The annual One Sweet Summer event series, headquartered at The Foundry Plaza, brings residents and area visitors together to enjoy Downtown Loveland, with live music, outdoor patio dining, kids’ days, fitness options and more. All events are free and open to the public. Check the schedule for options each week.

2024 One Sweet Summer lineup:

Live Music at Chapungu Sculpture Park

Catch the annual Sounds of Centerra concert series at Chapungu Sculpture Park each Friday in July. Concerts take place on the Chapungu Great Lawn from 7 to 9 p.m. and are free to the public. Enjoy treats for purchase from Heaven’s Popcorn and Paradise Cream. Visit the Centerra tent for sunscreen and more. Participants receive a coupon for a BOGO deal at The Promenade Shops and are entered in a drawing for a Centerra Date Night Prize Pack for two. Remember a blanket or camp chair and add these dates to your calendar:

  • July 12: Face Vocal Band
  • July 19: That Eighties Band
  • July 26: Soul School

Loveland Summer Concerts

Presented by the Rialto Theater and free to attend, this quintessential summer event returns to the Foote Lagoon Amphitheater in Loveland on select Thursdays in July. Concerts start at 7 p.m. and seating is first-come, first-served. Check the Rialto Theater Facebook page for up-to-date information.

2024 Loveland Summer Concert Series lineup:

  • July 11: Titonic
  • July 18: Last Call Romance

Rialto Theater: Kids-Family Movies

Free for all ages, Rialto Theater kids-family movie options vary by date and take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. No reservations or registration required. Kids ages 2-16 can join Rialto’s Kids Movie Club to earn prizes with free movie attendance.

2024 Free Kids-Family Movies lineup:

  • July 9: Cars
  • July 16: Shrek
  • July 23: Mulan
  • July 30: Robin Hood

ACTIVE OPTIONS

Fair Grounds Park sign

Picture-Perfect Parks

  • Fairgrounds ParkFairgrounds Park provides easy access to the Big Thompson River, perfect for wading and splashing on warm days. The younger set favors the Tot-Land and Spray Park (seasonal), while visitors of all ages are drawn to fishing the river, walking the rec trails, ogling the sculptures, sampling the skate park, hitting homers at the batting cages, and shooting hoops on the basketball courts.
  • North Lake Park – Located in the center of town, Lake Loveland features a pretty public park on its north shore – called North Lake Park – with fishing access, a park, playgrounds, sport courts and fields, an amphitheater and picnic areas. The park is also home to the Buckhorn Northern Railroad, a tot-sized authentic replica of a real steam train that runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day (closed Mondays) for just $1 per passenger per ride. Not free but certainly frugal and well worth the spend. Check out the latest upgrades to the tunnel, featuring “rock” walls, a mock mine shaft, 3D printed crystals and a painted mountain mural. The ride includes 1,588 feet of track, a depot, water tower, a gasoline-powered engine, two open passenger cars, a cattle car, and a caboose. Operating since Memorial Day 1977, the train supports 32 trips per day, 6 days per week, until it closes each Labor Day.
  • Loveland Sports Park – A favorite for good reason, Loveland Sports Park features two inline hockey rinks, a skate park, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, loads of athletic fields, a playground and picnic areas.
  • Mehaffey Park – This 64-acre oasis is beloved by kids – young and old – for its Adventure Playground, skate park and pond. Parents love the artwork and sculpture. You’ll also find a variety of sport courts and fields, a 9-hole disc golf course, an Arboretum, a rec trail, and picnic areas.
  • Viestenz-Smith Mountain ParkViestenz-Smith Mountain Park is a park and natural area nestled along the Big Thompson River and U.S. Hwy 34 in the Big Thompson Canyon. Originally opened in 1926, the park has been restored twice due to the Big Thompson floods in 1976 and 2013. The park features picnic areas, shelters, a fishing platform, a kid zone, sculptures, an overlook and more. Duck into the nature cabin to learn about the area history and resident wildlife.

Splash Parks

These FREE and fun finds will cool you down quickly. Loveland’s water zones are strategically located across the city, welcoming swimsuits and splashing around for all-ages fun in the summer sun.

The Pools

There’s nothing that says summer quite like a trip to the local swimming pool. Loveland has two great options, depending on personal preference and the Colorado weather. The Winona Pool is Loveland’s outdoor heated swimming pool and it’s a popular place to cool off from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The location also features an AquaClimb climbing wall and a concession stand. There is a fee for entry.

For a break from the sunshine (or the rain) head to Chilson Recreation Center, home to two indoor pools, a water slide, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, a steam room, and a variety of aquatics programs. There is a fee for entry.

Lounge Along the River’s Edge

The 163-acre River’s Edge Natural Area is situated alongside the Big Thompson River and includes five ponds that are ideal for fishing, plus 3.8 miles of natural surface trails for walking, bicycling and wildlife viewing. You’ll also find three picnic shelters, an amphitheater and environmental education stations tucked underneath a broad canopy of mature trees perfect for peeping. Natural Areas are pockets of land that provide convenient access to the outdoors, help minimize urban sprawl and provide habitat for wildlife and native plants.

Devils Backbone Jumping

Conquer the Devil’s Backbone

For impressive views, hike along a stunning two-mile strip of Dakota sandstone at Devil’s Backbone Nature Trail. Even visitors with shorter legs and attention spans can hike to find the “keyhole,” a unique arch within the backbone. The destination makes for a great reward, and the hike allows for expending loads of energy. There is a $10 fee to access Devil’s Backbone Open Space. Need a little more time outdoors? Continue along the full 12 miles of trail in the 2,198-acre Devil’s Backbone Open Space, which also connects to Rimrock Open Space and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. The area is perfect for hiking, biking, horseback riding, running, wildlife viewing and observing nature.

Explore Big Thompson Canyon

One of the state’s most iconic routes, Hwy 34 through Big Thompson Canyon, connects Loveland to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. The spectacular drive features stunning scenery and Big Thompson River access along 25 miles (one way). The rural route highlights the splendor of nature – no matter the season – with a side of nostalgia. Pull over to snap pics of at these beloved stops along the way: the Dam Store for an aerial view of the falls from the lookout tower onsite; the Colorado Cherry Company for fresh-baked pies; Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park for a picnic and the play structures; and a detour at Drake onto C.R. 43 through Glen Haven and on to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Lovelock Sculpture located by Lake Loveland

Local Art

Love Lock Sculptures

With a name like LOVEland, a visit would be incomplete without locking your love on one of the two love lock sculptures. The LOVE sign, located at the Visitors Center, is the largest of its kind in the U.S. Buy a lock (or bring your own) and engrave it for free inside the Visitors Center. The second sculpture, shaped like a heart, lives at Lake Loveland with the majestic Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. Be sure to grab your lock at the Visitors Center before heading out to the lake. When you post your photos on social media, tag us for a chance to be featured! #Visitloveland #lovelandlovelocks

Hunt for HeARTs

Did you know there are heaps of fiberglass hearts – each 5-feet tall and 4.5-feet wide (perfectly pint-sized) – “hidden” in Loveland? The City with HeART™ program is a great way to engage every member of the family in exploring the city as nearly 50 hearts are scattered throughout. Download or pick up a HeART map at the Loveland Visitor’s Center and hunt to your heart’s content. The program is supervised by the Loveland Chamber of Commerce and each heart is individually sponsored, named and designed by an artist.

The art scene that surrounds Loveland is truly special. Every day, I am learning just how special this city is and am continuing to learn more about the treasures this place holds. I highly recommend booking a foundry tour and seeing for yourself. Tours are held on Thursday mornings at 9:30 a.m., and a reservation is required. The tour is $5 per person, and there is a 10-person maximum for each tour group. If you are interested in making a reservation, please call the office number: (970) 667-1114 or email shelby@artcastings.com.

Play Among the Art

Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra showcases 82 monumental stone sculptures from Zimbabwe across 26 acres of natural and landscaped gardens. We know, we know…getting littles to tour sculptures is like trying to get them to eat green beans. Chapungu is different! Walking trails meander along the Greeley and Loveland Irrigation Canal, over bridges and through varied vegetation, there’s loads of open space to explore and a kid-approved hill to climb in The Children section of the park. Who knows? The kids might just enjoy this cultural intro without realizing it – like hiding spinach in a smoothie. Chapungu is free and open daily. Paths are wheelchair- and stroller-friendly.

Home to 187 permanent sculptures, Benson Sculpture Garden wows with natural and human-crafted beauty. Sculptures are nestled among 10 acres of grassy lawn dotted with mature trees, native plants and tranquil ponds. Take a free tour of the park or meander through the sculptures on your own; the park is the perfect place for kids to run, jump, play and explore. The park’s children’s garden is the perfect destination to see some of the more kid-centric pieces, including “Alligator,” a high-fiving dog (“High Four”), a banana on skates (“On a Roll”), and several sculptures featuring children. Benson Sculpture Garden is a free public park founded in 1985 and new pieces are added annually. Paths are wheelchair- and stroller-friendly.