Arkansas is known as “The Natural State” for its abundance of protected nature areas, mountains, and bodies of water. Washington County, located in the northwestern province of the state, is no exception. Due to its location nestled in the Ozark Mountains, it is a region with lots of outdoor activities and natural splendor.
Fayetteville, AR, is the seat of Washington County and the third-largest city in Arkansas. It’s a thriving community of almost 90,000 people. It is considered one of the most desirable places to live in the south. It was named the fourth-best city to live in by U.S. News in 2021 and cracked the top 50 in the Forbes rankings of best cities for business.
Additionally, Fayetteville is the home of the University of Arkansas. It is colloquially known as the “Track Capital of the World,” owing to the success of the University’s track and field squad over the years.
With a highly educated population, a business-friendly atmosphere, and a very high quality of life, it’s no surprise that Fayetteville will have something for everyone. From big-city amenities to quiet natural parks, there’s bound to be something exciting to do here for everyone, no matter what their preferences might be.
Here are 21 of the most exciting things to do in Fayetteville, AR:
Table of Contents:
- 1. World Peace Fountain
- 2. Dickson Street
- 3. Fayetteville Ale Trail
- 4. Fayetteville Farmers Market
- 5. Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium
- 6. Jerry Jones-Jim Lindsey Hall of Champions Museum
- 7. Baum-Walker Stadium
- 8. Bud Walton Hall of Champions Museum
- 9. Walton Arts Center
- 10. TheaterSquared
- 11. George’s Majestic Lounge
- 12. Terra Studios
- 13. Clinton House Museum
- 14. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
- 15. Arkansas Air and Military Museum
- 16. Prairie Grove Battlefield Park
- 17. Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
- 18. Razorback Greenway
- 19. Lake Fayetteville
- 20. Wilson Park
- 21. Kessler Mountain Regional Park
I. THINGS TO DO IN DOWNTOWN FAYETTEVILLE
The downtown area of Fayetteville is the heart of the city. It’s a charming area with all types of unique businesses, well-maintained gardens, and classic architecture. The neighborhood also hosts many local events, bringing the community together in various ways. Shopping, dining, and nightlife abound in this beautifully traditional neighborhood.
1. World Peace Fountain
A private sculptor completed this iconic Fayetteville landmark in 2002 for about $450,000. The ten-foot bronze sphere added some much-needed public art to the area, with a twist! The World Peace fountain is uniquely interactive. Visitors can spin it around on its base as if it were a typical desktop globe! The message of the art is clear, too: all around the globe, in 100 different languages, it reads, “may peace prevail on earth.”
2. Dickson Street
Dickson Street is Fayetteville’s breath of life! There’s always something to do here: morning, afternoon, or evening. The road is full of unique businesses, including shops, galleries, restaurants, and bars.
Early in the day, locals can sip their morning coffee at all the local cafes. Shoppers crowd the street all through the afternoon. The bars and restaurants come alive every night of the week with live music, billiards, and televised sports. The excitement is unmatched anywhere else in Arkansas!
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3. Fayetteville Ale Trail
Northwest Arkansas has a long-standing tradition in craft breweries, and the ale trail is the perfect way to experience it. Interested drinkers can visit the Fayetteville visitor center to obtain a “passport” at no cost. That’s all it takes to start on the journey of sampling 17 of the area’s local brewpubs!
Many call downtown Fayetteville home, but some are in neighboring Springfield, Rogers, Bentonville, Eureka Springs, and Siloam Springs. Once all 17 breweries stamp the passport, the holder can redeem a prize from the visitor center!
4. Fayetteville Farmers Market
Like most Farmers Markets, the one in Fayetteville is committed to providing fresh local produce for the community. Everything sold there is grown within 60 miles of the city, guaranteed. They are also open year-round on Saturdays and Tuesdays during the day. So no matter the season, the locals can pick up some fresh Arkansas products.
II. ATTRACTIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
Considered one of the nation’s top research universities, the University of Arkansas strives to provide top-notch opportunities for its students. It was founded in 1871 and typically served about 27,000 students per year.
The picturesque campus itself is worth visiting for the view alone! It features multiple places to take in the Ozark Mountains. There are also plenty of reasons for the public to visit the University, none more popular than the sports!
5. Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium
Rather than travel out of state to enjoy a professional football game, the people of Arkansas take pride in cheering for the University. Historic Razorback Stadium has been home to the University’s football team since 1938. Don’t worry, though; it isn’t falling down.
The school financed a vast renovation project on the stadium in 2018, so the fans can enjoy modern amenities while cheering on their favorite squad.
6. Jerry Jones-Jim Lindsey Hall of Champions Museum
As a bonus trip after the game, people will want to check out this exciting display of history. It’s effectively a sports memorabilia museum, honoring and preserving the century-old tradition of Razorback football. Sports historians won’t want to skip this one while visiting campus.
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7. Baum-Walker Stadium
One of America’s favorite sports pastimes is the game of baseball. The University of Arkansas takes its baseball seriously. Baum-Walker Stadium can seat 10,000 fans and is considered one of the finest facilities in the nation for catching a college baseball game. The atmosphere here can’t be beaten. The program is excellent, too, most recently reaching the college world series in 2018.
8. Bud Walton Hall of Champions Museum
The final part of the University of Arkansas sports tour is the Bud Walton Museum. It displays over 100 years of sports memories from the basketball and track teams. Through this lens, it may contain the most prestigious exhibits of them all, considering the success of the track program. They’re consistently ranked #1 in the country!
III. ENJOYING THE FAYETTEVILLE ART SCENE
The arts are alive and well in Fayetteville. With some highly-rated local theaters and historic concert venues, the city boasts one of the most bustling scenes for live shows in the entire state. People all over Washington County flock to Fayetteville to catch shows at some of these great venues.
9. Walton Arts Center
The Walton Arts Center is Fayetteville’s most famous venue, consistently putting on a range of shows typically only seen in major cities around the United States. Walton hosts Broadway shows, musicals, and nationally-known musical acts. An estimated 348,000 people visit Walton Arts Center annually, taking in some breathtaking performances.
TheaterSquared is a famous regional theater founded in 2005. It’s the only such company in Arkansas with a year-round show schedule. It has a newly renovated theater that seats 60,000 fans. They don’t stop at the show’s productions, though. They are also a community leader in education, offering all types of theater programs for performers of any age.
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11. George’s Majestic Lounge
This music venue has been open since 1927 and has hosted a consistent stream of live concerts since the 1970s. It’s the oldest music venue in Arkansas. George’s boasts numerous distinctions within the state, including being the first racially-integrated bar in Arkansas, the first bar to offer color television, and the first pizza delivery service. But it’s most well-known today for being a terrific concert venue. Many nationally-known acts have also been performed here over the years, bringing a variety of musical colors to the people of Fayetteville.
12. Terra Studios
Terra Studios is not a live performance venue, but visiting there feels like an immersive experience. Terra is a nonprofit organization that creates a brighter future through creativity and art. The creative installations on display make this feel like the most magical place in town. It’s the home of the original Bluebirds of Happiness sculptures, tiny glass bluebirds that have been ordered over 8 million times! Your creative side will thank you for checking this place out.
IV. LOCAL MUSEUMS AND HISTORICAL SITES
A city with the diversity and history of Fayetteville is bound to have exciting educational opportunities. The local museum scene features art, military artifacts, a presidential home, and even an impeccably-preserved battlefield.
13. Clinton House Museum
When former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, lived in Arkansas, they called Fayetteville home. Their old house is now preserved as a monument to their contributions to Arkansas and the rest of the country. Political buffs won’t want to skip seeing the place where the Clintons made a name for themselves in the world of public service.
14. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Crystal Bridges takes its name from a nearby natural spring and the bridge incorporated into its architecture. In this way, the name perfectly encapsulates its mission: “to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature.” Crystal Bridges is a beautiful place to check out some exciting and profound visual exhibits.
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15. Arkansas Air and Military Museum
The unique thing about the aircraft housed at the Arkansas Air and Military Museum is that many of them are still operational! The museum explores and preserves the history of aviation in the state of Arkansas and the rest of the country as a whole. It’s an educational experience for anyone.
16. Prairie Grove Battlefield Park
Prairie Grove is a short drive out of Fayetteville but provides a one-of-a-kind look at an essential time in history. The entire compound was the site of the final American Civil War battle in Arkansas on December 7, 1862. During the battle, 2,700 American soldiers from the union and the confederacy lost their lives. Prairie Grove is well-maintained and now offers walking tours, driving tours, a museum, and one of the south’s largest reenactments of the Civil War every other year.
V. THE NATURAL WORLD OF FAYETTEVILLE
Despite all the big-city amenities that Fayetteville offers, the surrounding region is natural and beautiful, with plenty of landscapes and wildlife. Those who love the outdoors will get excited about how much open space there is to explore around Fayetteville. Here are a few of those opportunities.
17. Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
Gardening is an art as much as a science, and the local botanical garden is an apt demonstration. Over 70,000 people visit annually to take in the 12 themed gardens and Arkansas’s only butterfly house habitat. Not only can you drop in to admire the work, but they also offer workshops, classes, and lectures in horticulture.
18. Razorback Greenway
The shared-use trail called Razorback Greenway is primarily off the main roads and stretches for 37 miles. The greenway links Fayetteville to multiple other communities and dozens of local attractions. The trail is walkable in most places, but those with a knack for the outdoors can also choose to bike or take an off-road vehicle as far as they’d like down the trail.
19. Lake Fayetteville
Lake Fayetteville has 458 acres of land and 194 acres of water, serving the locals as a recreational destination since the late 1950s. While it was initially built as a reservoir for drinking water, an alternate plan was implemented within a decade, leaving Lake Fayetteville for swimming, fishing, and watersports. The dry land part of the property even has a disc golf course, a boat launch and marina, a softball complex, and watercraft rentals.
20. Wilson Park
Wilson Park is the oldest, most established park in the city. The 22.75 acres are directly in the town center, making it easily accessible to all Fayetteville residents. The park is unique for its public art installations, such as “the castle,” which attracts thousands of visitors annually. It also has a municipal swimming pool open from Memorial Day to Labor day each year. Often, you can see dog walkers on the one-mile trail.
21. Kessler Mountain Regional Park
This park is 620 acres located on the scenic Kessler Mountain. The park has deep community roots as the main venue for many prominent local sporting events. Trails go up the mountain from there, available for hiking or mountain biking. Concessions are available for spectators of the sports, too.
Fayetteville, Arkansas, is one of the most desirable communities in the entire U.S. south. It’s a great place to live for young adults, families, and retirees alike. Fayetteville’s diversity of activity and culture gives it an edge of excitement, usually reserved for big cities. With so many exciting things to do, there’s something in Fayetteville for everyone.
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