Memorial Day Weekend Staycation

Devils Backbone Jumping

Sticking closer to home this Memorial Day weekend? You aren’t alone. After all, staycations — with less stress and a lower price tag — are the new vacation. Consider spending a night (or better yet, two or three) in Loveland. Here are our top choices for what to do, see and eat, along with where to lay your head this Memorial Day Weekend 

DAY #1: Greater Loveland

Ride the Rails

The Buckhorn Northern Railway train sits at the platform in North Lake Park while passengers load.

A visit to Lake Loveland is a must while exploring the Sweetheart City. Located in the center of town, Lake Loveland features a pretty public park on its north shore, called North Lake Park, with fishing access, playgrounds, sport courts and fields, an amphitheater and picnicking areas. Its also home to the Buckhorn Northern Railroad, which opens Memorial Day Weekend with an upgraded tunnel, featuring “rock” walls, a mock mine shaft, 3D printed crystals and a painted mountain mural. At just $1 per ride, this authentic replica of a local steam train also 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. 

Fish at River's Edge Natural Area

People fishing along the shore of the ponds at River's Edge Natural Area.

The five ponds at River’s Edge Natural Area are ideal for fishing, and two of the ponds – Bass and Dragonfly – feature ADA-accessible fishing docks. This 163-acre Natural Area situated alongside the Big Thompson River also includes 3.8 miles of natural-surface trails for walking, bicycling, fishing access and wildlife viewing, as well as three picnic shelters, an amphitheater, environmental education stations and restrooms. 

SEE: Exquisite Artwork & Love Locks

A sculpture of a frog at Benson Sculpture Garden and the Love Lock sculpture at teh Loveland Visitor Center.
  • Exquisite Artwork – Explore one of two renowned sculpture gardens. It may sound crazy but youngsters love racing among sculptures (some of them are pretty wild) displayed across acres of natural and landscaped gardens. Tweens and teens won’t admit it, but some of the artwork is kind of cool. 

    • Benson Sculpture Garden (1125 W 29th St., Loveland) has provided a beautiful and unique outdoor setting for showcasing sculpture since 1985. Currently, there are 178 sculptures on permanent display by world-renowned artists. 
    • Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra in Loveland (5971 Sky Pond Dr., Loveland) is a one-of-a-kind outdoor exhibit featuring 82 monumental stone sculptures from Zimbabwean artisans displayed across 26 acres.  

  • 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 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 

EAT & DRINK: BBQ & Mediterranean

Lunch – Before you make your way into town, head east off I-25 at the Loveland exit for Nordy’s Bar-B-Que & Grill (4360 St. Cloud Dr., Loveland). Voted “Best BBQ in Northern Colorado,” this locally- and family-owned Loveland favorite has been operating since 2008. Try the Rib Platter, Kylee’s Hot Mess or Ronnie’s Brisket Dip if you’re looking for recommendations. 

Dinner – Dine on traditional Greek and Mediterranean dishes at NoCo’s own Café Athens (5865 Sky Pond Dr., Loveland). Located at the Promenade Shops at Centerra, walking distance from Courtyard Loveland Fort Collins, dinner at Café Athens allows for a little shopping pre- or post-meal. Combine the outing with a visit to adjacent Chapungu Sculpture Park for a truly quintessential Loveland experience.  

STAY: Courtyard Loveland

Courtyard by Marriott Loveland, Colorado in front of Longs Peak

With it’s convenient location across from the Promenade Shops at Centerra and adjacent to Chupungu Sculpture Park, Courtyard Loveland Fort Collins is a great basecamp for visitors hoping to experience Northern Colorado’s outdoor activities, arts and adventure. The pet-friendly property also includes The Bistro for breakfast, dinner, Starbucks coffee beverages all day, and beer and wine in the evening. 

DAY #2: Big Thompson Canyon

Hike Devil's Backbone

Before you enter the canyon, stop for a hike along a stunning two-mile strip of Dakota sandstone at Devil’s Backbone Nature Trail. Visitors can hike to find the “keyhole,” a unique arch within the backbone, or enjoy a portion of the 12 miles of trail in the 2,198-acre Devil’s Backbone Open Space, connecting Rimrock Open Space to Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. This is a great local option for little legs (and attention spans). 

Ride a Horse

Trail riders at Sylvan Dale Ranch in Loveland

Family-owned Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch (2939 N. Co. Rd. 31D, Loveland), lets you channel your inner cowboy with a 1- or 1.5-hour horseback ride on the 3,200-acre property. See eagles soar above the red cliffs while mule deer seek the cool shade of the ponderosa forest. The ranch is located near the entrance to Big Thompson Canyon. 

Souvenirs and More

The Dam Store at the mouth of the Big Thompson Canyon

Don’t miss the Dam Store, just past Sylvan Dale, for souvenirs, buffalo jerky, and a bird’s eye view of the falls from the lookout tower. Family owned and operated since 1969, the Dam Store is a beloved stop on this storied route. 

Try the Pie

Colorado Cherry Company Pie

Visit the Colorado Cherry Company (1024 W. U.S. Hwy. 34, Loveland) for homemade pie. As you head up Highway 34, look for a rustic white building decorated with cherry bottles, and a “Cherry Tree” marquee. The fresh-baked pies are a longstanding local delicacy, and there are lots of other products for sale, from fruit preserves to pie filling, to hot sauces and more. 

SEE: Spectacular Scenery

When you reach Drake, take a worthwhile detour north onto C.R. 34. The curvy canyon leads you through the cute burg of Glen Haven. The high rock walls and narrow valley offer spectacular scenery and the road ends in Estes Park, where you can turn around and head back down Hwy. 34 to Loveland. 

EAT & DRINK: Burgers, Brews & More

A beer from Berthoud Brewing next to a Burger, Fries, and milkshake from Dairy Delite in Loveland.

BreakfastLocated in a 1905 farmhouse on the same property as renowned local sculptor Jane DeDecker’s studio, Muse Coffee & Tea(1629 W. 8th St., Loveland) has been serving up tasty coffee drinks and yummy homemade sandwiches and soups since 2012. The coffee shop’s name and ambiance draw from the city’s arts-friendly atmosphere. It’s owned by DeDecker and her husband, Kyle Dallabetta, and is filled with beautiful artwork by DeDecker. 

Lunch Pull in for car-hop service at the Dairy Delite (3080 W. Eisenhower Blvd., Loveland) and step back in time. Locals love the ice cream, but you’ll also discover great burgers, hot dogs, fries, chicken fingers and more. 

Dinner Berthoud Brewing Company (1480 Cascade Ave., Loveland) is a family-owned operation that claims an unwavering commitment to Americana culture, using real ingredients and traditional styles. The Loveland location is home to the brewery’s production facility so find 20 brews on-tap, plus a wood-fired pizza oven (dough is made with yeast from their beer) and a variety of other family-friendly favorites, including wings, burgers, grilled cheese options, sammies, salads and a dedicated kids’ menu. 

DAY #3: Downtown Loveland

Play at the Arcade

Arcade Players in the Flipside Loveland

At The Flipside (140 E. 4th St., Loveland) get nostalgic with old-school pinball or Pac Man, challenge the kids to air hockey, take aim at Skee-Ball, test your skill at the Toy Crane, try a new game or three, and – if you’re over 21 – enjoy a cocktail or cold brew.

Laser Tag and More

Laser tag players enjoy firing lasers at Loveland Laser Tag

Loveland Laser Tag is home to Northern Colorado’s largest laser tag arena and so much more, like the indoor ropes course, bumper cars, 4D motion theater, laser maze, climbing wall, and arcade. The three-level 5,700-square-foot laser tag arena is still the G.O.A.T. 

Throw an Axe or Two

Axe to Grind
  • #1 AxeHole (137 E. 4th St., Loveland) is Loveland’s latest axe throwing venue. Opening soon in the heart of Downtown Loveland the new venue will book groups of four on each lane (guests can book multiple lanes for larger groups). There’s also a VIP option. 
  • Axe to Grind (217 E 3rd St., Loveland) is the perfect spot to try one of the fastest growing sports entertainment challenges across the U.S. — axe throwing. Basic sessions include coaching along with game play, so beginners gain confidence and skill quickly. Minimum age to play is 10 years old. 

Make an Escape

AtTime Emporium Escape Rooms (391 Denver Ave., Loveland) raid an ancient Pharoah’s tomb, solve a series of murders in Victorian London, or unlock the mysteries of the Wizard’s Tower. You can choose from three action-packed, immersive escape rooms based on whatever adventure sounds most appealing.  

SEE: Cats, Movies & Murals

NoCo Cat Cafe cat on counter
  • AtNoCo Cat Cafe (121 E. 5th St., Loveland) you can sip coffee or tea while cuddling adoptable cats. As the first cat café in the region, their mission is to provide a safe, friendly environment for cats and community members to socialize. To that end, adoptable cats and kittens are brought in from nonprofit partner Colorado Kitty Coalition cat rescue to roam free and – hopefully – be adopted. There is a $15 fee to enter the café and the money funds rehoming the cats. To date, more than 200 cats have been adopted. 

  • Head to MetroLux Dine-In Cinemas at The Foundry (285 East 3rd St., Loveland) and knock out two birds with one stone. Enjoy dinner at Scripted Bar & Kitchen AND catch a movie at the MetroLux Dine-In Cinemas. Our favorite features include reserved luxury recliner stadium seating and heated seats; enjoy in-seat dining with full bar. 

  • The Colorado Governor’s Art Show & Sale, one of the largest juried fine art shows to exclusively feature Colorado artists, will take place Saturday, May 11 through Sunday, June 9, 2024. Sixty-one Colorado artists will participate in the 33rd annual exhibit, plus the 2024 Legacy Artist, Clyde Aspevig, previously from Loveland. The show and sale feature an in-person exhibit at the Loveland Museum (503 North Lincoln Ave., Loveland) and both in-person and online fine art sales. The Governor’s Art Show includes sculpture, mixed media, oil, pastel, watercolor, and acrylic paintings from participating artists. To learn more, visit

  • Loveland’s public art scene is thriving. Check out these murals located throughout town: 
    • “Art Tools” by J.C. Milner (in the alley behind Artworks Loveland) 
    • “Little Piece of My Heart” (The actual title of this Mural is Unknown by Mike McPuff) (eastside corner of 4th Street and Jefferson Ave.) 
    • Ladyface” by Wildrose Hamilton (Alley-facing wall of The Gressiwick) 
    • “My Favorite Things” by DAAS (The Foundry parking structure exterior) 
    • Beettown” by J.C. Milner (5th street; in-between Loveland Museum and Beet Education Center) 
    • “Lady Day” by Sofia Ramirez (423 N. Cleveland Avenue northside of Black and Blues Music and Brews)
    • “Celebration of Music” by Morgan Gray (Alleyway E 4th Street) 
    • “Madre Natura” by Don Rimx (corner of 5th and Cleveland on the Beet Education Center) 
    • “Tree Swing at Chambers” Interactive Mural by Art2ya – Cindy Kittinger (119 E 5th Street – Chambers Plumbing and Heating)
    • “Elsie the Cow” by Ines (Cleveland Station – 5th Street) 

EAT: Diners & Strips

An egg dish on a table at Dougs Diner
  • Breakfast – Locally-owned Doug’s Day Diner (532 N. Lincoln Ave., Loveland) is the go-to for a hearty meal and friendly service, where nearly everything is made in-house from scratch. The Loveland mainstay serves up breakfast and lunch daily and guarantees you won’t leave hungry.  

  • Lunch – Northern Colorado original Comet Chicken (129 E. 5th St., Loveland) serves up tenders, power bowls, salads and sandwiches, featuring boneless, hand-breaded, all-white-meat chicken and fast service (plus some stylish merchandise) in downtown Loveland (and Fort Collins). 

From tranquil lakeside lounging to invigorating hikes and the rich tapestry of local art and culture, Loveland offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Whether you’re a local rediscovering our local gems or a visitor checking the Sweetheart City out for the first time, a staycation here promises to be a delightful retreat. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.