What’s all the Bentonville, Arkansas buzz about? No longer a “small town,” this bustling cultural municipality is not only the headquarters for Walmart, the largest company in the world, but it is also the location for globally ranked Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the 21c Museum Hotel.
Sam Walton, Walmart’s founding father, would be pleased, it’s truly a city for all 4 seasons, offering something for everyone all year long.
Boasting world-class mountain bike trails, Oz1 Flying Club & Thaden Fieldhous, a lively culinary scene, craft breweries, award-winning restaurants, fabulous art galleries, boutiques, trendy specialty shops, a beautiful historic downtown square, 8th Street Market, soon to be Momentary and festivals of every kind.
Making Bentonville easily accessible from anywhere, the Northwest Regional Airport (XNA) has direct commercial flights to and from huge destination cities across the country.
Today, it is an epitome of opposites. Even though this rapidly growing city of some 50,000 is home to Walmart Stores, Inc and all the hubbub that a huge company headquarters brings, it has, for the most part, managed to retain its small town charm.
Its population is diverse, yet neighbors are still neighbors in the traditional sense of the word. Its people are friendly and willing to chat it up or help a person in need. Bentonville is definitely a wonderful place to live and visit for a plethora of reasons.
PLACES TO EAT IN BENTONVILLE
For you coffee aficionados, the city has many wonderful coffee houses including Onyx Coffee Lab (just off the Downtown Square), Joyhouse Coffee (just a couple of blocks off the Downtown Square on S Main St) and Heroes Coffee (SW 8th St). These delightful spots give new meaning to the word “coffee.” Oh my goodness! The aroma wafting out of the doorways lures you inside with promises of liquid deliciousness. If coffee is your thing, check out our list of Top 10 coffee spots, and try them all.
Onyx Coffee Lab – Only the most delicious coffee of your choice is served at Onyx. The baristas are very knowledgeable and will help you decide on the coffee drink that will best suit your taste buds. Their coffee is roasted at a sister coffee house in a neighboring city, accounting for the freshness of the flavors. Get comfortable and have a coffee while reading your latest novel, attending a meeting or chatting with friends. You’ll get hooked on Onyx, and that’s a promise.
Joyhouse Coffee – Coffee from the island and people of Haiti is shipped direct to Joyhouse to share with the people of Northwest Arkansas and its visitors. A full 50% of the profits is directed back to Haiti. If you enjoy a great cup of coffee and want to do a good turn, try Joyhouse.
Heroes Coffee – Roasts in small batches to insure flavor is up to standards, also provides some of the best, friendly service you’ll find anywhere. Gluten free snacks and smoothies are available. Atmosphere is cozy, and high nests are very cool. Even if you’re in a grumpy mood, you’ll leave feeling better. Try The Hero Latte – it’s yummy.
Breakfast lovers, check out The Hive at the 21c Museum Hotel, Pressroom, the heartbeat of the city, The Buttered Biscuit on Moberly, Ozark Bagel Co. or visit one of our other Top 5 Bentonville breakfast spots. After breakfast, If you’ve got kiddos with you, take them down to the splash park/ice rink (located just behind 21c).
The Hive Restaurant – Under the guiding hand of chef Mathew McClure, a six-time James Beard semifinalist, The Hive features refined country cooking. Great place to meet clients or meet up with friends in a comfortable yet professional atmosphere.
Pressroom – Just off the famed Bentonville Square, the Pressroom has tasty egg breakfast dishes, smoothies, granola, fruit, quiche and more. If you enjoy dining outside, there’s a patio where you can eat and people watch at the same time. Service is swift and friendly.
The Buttered Biscuit – Oh my! Are you in for a treat when you choose to have breakfast at this lovely restaurant. Of course, the biscuits are heavenly, but so are the Chicken Waffles, Shrimp & Grits, Biscuits & Gravy, Sunrise Skillet and killer Cinnamon Rolls. You can’t go wrong with anything you get, and the service and general atmosphere is welcoming and friendly. Breakfast image below is courtesy of Buttered Biscuit.
Ozark Mountain Bagel Co. – Serving a variety of freshly boiled and baked New York style bagels, this is a great place to grab a bagel on your way to work or play. They’ve even got a french toast bagel. Service is both friendly and efficient.
Bentonville has a number of excellent restaurants known for their fabulous brunch menus. Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie located on “A” St. just off the Historic Downtown Square, Pressroom, The Hive at 21c Museum Hotel, Eleven at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Louise in Thaden Fieldhouse all have excellent brunch menus that are exploding with flavors. Here is a list of the Top 5 Brunch spots in Bentonville.
Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie – Featuring a unique Sunday brunch menu filled with amazing menu items including a scrumptious Country Breakfast, to-die-for Carrot Cake Waffles, three different Benedicts, Strawberry French Toast and much, much more. Business travellers, family and friends will all be comfortable in its rustic/chic atmosphere.
Pressroom – Relax with a delicious cup of coffee or a glass of wine while you experience the joys of of Waffles & Chicken, Baked Egg & Chorizo, Ham Benedict and Gravlox Platter to name but a few of the tasty brunch menu selections. Ambience is lively and service is practiced and swift. If the weather is nice, try the patio.
The Hive – Sleep in a little later, relax and dine at The Hive for brunch. The Hive Benedict, Blueberry Pancakes, Smoked Salmon Toast and a Power Brunch Bowl are all featured on the menu. Ingredients are locally sourced wherever possible, making the flavors burst with freshness. After brunch, take a look around the 1st floor of the 21c Museum Hotel. The entire experience will be memorable.
Eleven @Crystal Bridges – Besides dining in the most beautiful setting you can imagine, Eleven’s Sunday brunch is definitely also spectacular. Featuring High South Cuisine including a biscuit and gravy bar and a buffet with fried chicken, smoked trout, hand-cut bacon, shrimp and grits, locally sourced fresh veggies, house-made pastries and desserts and a delightful Bloody Bar. Eleven provides a brunch experience you’ll never forget.
Louise – Located within Thaden Fieldhouse and with indoor and outdoor seating facing the runway so you can watch the planes take off and land, Louse features a unique brunch experience not soon to be forgotten. Menu items include Biscuits and Gravy, Belgian Waffles, Buttermilk Pancakes, Chicken and Waffles, Avocado Toast, Smoked Trout Toast and more. Beer and cocktails are also available.
If you’re ready for lunch or just a quick bite to eat think about Table Mesa (modern Latin cuisine), Crepes Paulette (award-winning crepes), Blu Fresh Fish Marketplace (seafood flown in daily), Oven & Tap (wood-fired pizza), Station Cafe (mouthwatering burgers) or check out the many outstanding Bentonville Restaurants on our current Top 10 Bentonville Restaurants list.
Table Mesa – Upscale and stylish, Table Mesa features Latin cuisine including starters, soups, salads, burgers, quesadillas, a variety of delicious house specialties, enchiladas and more. The full bar has cold beer, cocktails, margaritas and a good selection of wines. Service is quick and efficient.
Crepes Paulette – If you have a craving for out-of-this-world crepes, then take your taste buds to this wonderful specialty restaurant. Regardless of which crepe you choose, you will be delighted with the taste sensation that explodes in your mouth. Order at the counter, and your crepes will be brought to your table.
Blu Fresh Fish Marketplace – Has the freshest seafood in the area. It’s flown in fresh daily from both coasts and the gulf, and oh my, is it ever flavorful. You may either dine in or carry out. Try one of the scrumptious baskets, a Snapper sandwich or Fish Fajitas. All are just downright amazing. Sushi Bar is fantastic too!
Oven & Tap – Specialty is a wide variety of wood-fired pizzas including red sauce and garlic oil based with some vegetarian options. Also has killer meatballs. Whether you’re a single, couple, family or small or large group, food is always on point. Consistency is key in the restaurant business, and Oven & Tap has a well-honed handle on food, atmosphere and service.
Station Cafe – Formerly located on the Downtown Square, but now in a great new location with a wonderful new building and outdoor seating area at SE 6th St. Has the best steakburgers and fries you’ve ever put in your mouth.
Home to a first class culinary school, and many shops, restaurants, food trucks and stores within and around the outer rim of the facility, 8th Street’s allure is that it truly has something for everyone. Bike Rack Brewing Co. (local hangout & microbrewery with large outdoor seating, music and comedy), The Holler (eats, drinks, work spaces and full size shuffleboard), Markham & Fitz (all things chocolate), Juice Palm (healthy, organic juice and smoothies), Hill Folk (clothing and gifts), Yeyo’s el Alma de Mexico (authentic Mexican street food), Dough Zone (authentic Asian street food), Sweet Freedom Cheese (cheese shop, food trucks and more. Go early, stay late, you’ll love 8th Street.
If you get hungry and want a quick bite, it may be time to check out some of the taste tempting food trucks around the city. Trucks of every kind including pizza, crepes, cajun, mexican cuisine and much more are conveniently situated throughout Bentonville. Food Trucks Bentonville, Rogers, Bella Vista, Pea Ridge has a great list of Top 10 food trucks in the area. Use it as a guide, and save yourself the time and energy of trying to find the ones with outstanding food and service. Some that we solidly recommend are Crepes Paulette (award-winning crepes across from 21c Museum Hotel) and Yeyo’s (downtown on W Central).
Crepes Paulette Food Truck – Located just across the street from 21c Museum Hotel, this is an award-winning food truck boasting the best gourmet crepes, both sweet and savory, in the Northwest corner of the state. Have out-of-town guests? Take them down to this delightful open-air setting and let them experience these dreamy crepes first-hand. Sure winners are the scrumptious La Foster and Spicy Piggy.
Louisiana Influence – Located at 8th Street Market, this delightful food truck serves up some of the most delicious, authentic Cajun food you’ll ever put in your mouth. Using her family’s trusted Gulf coast inspired recipes, chef Brooke Born delights your taste buds with yummy red beans and rice and Jambalaya. You’ll love it, trust me!
Indian Dhaba – Large portion, authentic India classics are awaiting you when you choose Indian Dhaba. Service is swift and friendly and the popular food flies out the window of this amazing little truck. Try the Mint Chutney or the Vada Pav. Cuisine is bursting with flavor and spiced just right.
Yeyo’s Food Truck – Mexican street tacos and burritos made with fresh grown ingredients right off the owner’s family farm. Freshness does account for some of the amazing flavors, but experience and know-how also dovetail to create tastiness you’ll return to again and again.
Dinner can be either elegant or casual, but in all cases the cuisine and service should both be outstanding and so they are at Preacher’s Son (housed in stunningly beautiful restored Gothic Revival church), Yeyo’s el Alma de Mexico (a great Mexican restaurant located at 8th St Market), Fiamma 1873 (Italian restaurant on the Historic Bentonville Square), Freds’s Hickory Inn (long standing BBQ and steak restaurant on North Walton Blvd), Doe’s Eat Place (melt-in-your-mouth steaks on S Walton Blvd), River Grille (elegant atmosphere and delicious steaks on McClain Rd), Tavola Trattoria (authentic Italian cuisine just off the Downtown Square) and Eleven (located in Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art).
Preacher’s Son – Features a menu that is entirely GF, yet the flavors literally explode in your mouth. Chef Matthew Cooper creates beautiful food from locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. The Halibut, Pork Chop and Scallops are all amazing, and the service is impeccable. The serene setting and the amazing food make for a memorable experience.
Yeyo’s el Alma de Mexico – Offering delicious Mexican street tacos, burrito bowls delightful atmosphere, cold beer and other libations and friendly efficient service, Yeyo’s got its start from its food truck, which is still in operation next door to The Meteor Guitar Gallery. It’s a counter order system, but they do bring your food to you.
Fiamma 1873 – Upscale restaurant with wonderful, attentive service. Experience perfectly prepared and cooked Italian cuisine paired with a delicious wine from their ample wine selection. Food is always heavenly no matter which dish you order. Owner is on top of things, and makes it a point to ask you how your meal is.
Freds’s Hickory Inn – Iconic BBQ and steak place with some Italian dishes. This is premier slow-cooked hickory smoked barbecue and mouth-watering steaks. There’s a super patio and music on Thursday – Saturday nights.
Doe’s Eat Place – If you are craving a big, thick steak (manhole size), Doe’s does not disapoint. Delta Style Tamales and succulent shrimp are also on the menu. Unless you’re a.big eater, you can expect to take some of your meal home. Service is practiced, quick and friendly. Doe’s has been a Bentonville staple for many generations, they know how to do it right.
River Grille – A fancy restaurant if there ever was one, which specializes in fine dining at its best. Serving seafood, USDA Prime steaks, poultry, chops and a fantastic wine selection. Great place to celebrate a special occasion or to pop the question. Dining room is warm and welcoming, and features expertly upholstered chairs and dark wood paneling.
Tavola Trattoria – Using fresh, quality ingredients, and serving consistently delicious Italian, Mediterranian and American food in stylish, cozy surroundings, Tavola is an excellent Bentonville restaurant choice. Always delicious, any dish you choose will be unforgettable. The staff is friendly, efficient and eager to make your experience with them a complete success. Is also open for lunch, and has a wonderful Sunday Brunch.
Eleven – A more beautiful setting you could not ask for. Dine under the curving dome of the museum, which is gently nestled between two ponds. What could be better than watching the stars while you feast on High South comfort food including such specialties as Pork Cheeks, Chicken Pot Pie and Za’atar Rubbed Flat Iron Steak.
If your sweet tooth is begging for attention, then you must stop in at one of Bentonville’s wonderful dessert shops like the delightful Spark Cafe (located next door to the Walton 5 & 10 on the Square), Markham & Fitz (fabulous chocolate in many forms at 8th St Market), Sweet Dream Creamery (across from 21c Museum Hotel), Trash Creamery ( on SW A St) and , of course Kyya Chocolate (on the Downtown Square)
Spark Cafe Soda Fountain – Specializes in all things ice cream including cones, cups, shakes, malts, sundaes, banana splits, sodas, coffee (hot and cold) and more. It’s a fun place to visit after you see the The Walmart Museum and the prices are very reasonable. Be careful, this place is addictive.
Markham & Fitz – Features chocolate bars, confections, desserts and cocktails. Come in and taste the difference in bean-to-bar production. If it can be made with chocolate, Markham & Fitz either has it or will whip it up for you. Fun place to visit at 8th St. Market.
Sweet Dream Creamery – Food truck across from 21c Museum Hotel serving homemade ice cream in many unique flavors including Onyx Coffee Bean, Toasted Honeycomb, Salted Caramel and more. Get a cup of ice cream and eat it under the shade nearby.
Trash Creamery – A funky 80’s style ice cream shop that features a build your own method. Pick a base ice cream and then ‘trash it up’ with a wide variety of add-ins. Fun place to take the kids on a hot afternoon.
Kyya Chocolate – Right on the Bentonville square and featuring all sorts of chocolate bars. Buy some for now, to ship or to take home later.
THINGS TO DO
Crystal Bridges – World-renowned Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was founded largely through the efforts and financial support of Alice Walton, the daughter of Sam and Helen Walton. This amazing museum sits on 120 acres of beautiful wooded scenery including huge sculptures, streams, ponds and landscaped walking and multi-use trails.
With an endowment of $1.2 billion by the Walton Family Foundation, Crystal Bridges is recognized as one of the richest museums in the country. Since opening in 2011, more than one million people have seen its exhibits. It comes as no surprise that it is listed among the top museums worldwide.
Housing art from the colonial era to the present, no visitor to the city should leave without seeing this spectacular world-class museum. Exhibits include masterworks by Georgia O’keeffe, Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhal, to name but a very few.
In addition to the permanent collection, the museum offers many outstanding events and temporary exhibits throughout the year. The museum, through its many art related events and classes, is central to the lives of the people of Northwest Arkansas.
Schools around the area schedule outings to the museum for art classes, giving many children an opportunity to see magnificent art for the first time. For many, it is the highlight of the school year..
The museum structure is stunningly beautiful, which is highly regarded around the globe as a superb architectural accomplishment. Designed by Moshe Safdie, the museum’s glass-and-wood design, with its gently curving pavilions, is curled around two spring-fed ponds.
Centrally located within the museum and featuring High South and home cooking is Eleven, a chef-driven restaurant set in an awe inspiring venue. Plan to have a drink or dine at Eleven, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
The permanent exhibition is free to all, and is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Amazeum – Located just across from Crystal Bridges, Amazeum, an interactive children’s museum, offers a delightful, magical space for children to play and learn. Your kids will love the experience, and will want to return again and again.
Museum of Native American History – Privately owned by David Bogle, this museum of Native American history, art and culture spans some 14,000 years and has more than 10,000 artifacts.. Exhibits are beautifully and logically displayed to provide an entertaining and educational experience. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
Compton Gardens & Conference Center – Formerly the home of local physician Dr. Neil Compton, savior of the Buffalo River, this is a preserved local woodland and garden which is open to residents and visitors alike. Located just a few blocks off the Bentonville Square, it’s the perfect place to relax and take in what it means to commune with nature Bentonville style.
Peel Mansion & Heritage Gardens – Built in 1875, Peel Mansion offers a wonderful opportunity to see what it was like to live in those days. The Peel Mansion is a carefully constructed example of the Italianate Villa Style. The gardens are exquisite, and are often used for special occasions. Self guided tours are free.
The Walmart Museum – Created to highlight the accomplishments of Mr Sam Walton and other members of the Walton family, the museum features a chronological look into the founders life and the history of Walmart. Whether you own stock or not, this is a museum not to be missed. Admission is free to all.
Historic Downtown Square:
There are many walking, hiking and biking trails around the downtown and museum areas. Have a bite to eat at one of the old or new restaurants, and then take a leisurely stroll around the quaint and beautiful town square. Visiting the Square is a rare opportunity to see first hand a community square in operation.
Looking around Bentonville’s Historic Downtown Square and off streets you’ll find bike trails, delightful boutique shopping, amazing restaurants, The Walmart Museum (history of the big box giant and its founder, Sam Walton) and Spark Cafe (ice cream parlor extraordinaire) and many other one-of-a-kind businesses. Dog owners will love 3 Dog Bakery, and sports fans will enjoy Bleachers.
Surrounding the Square and also in the downtown area are delightful shopping boutiques, Ozark Mountain Bagel Co., Kyya Chocolate, Bleachers, Remedy Road, In Season, Elysian, and much, much more. Stand in the middle of the square and note those shops that appeal to you, and then zero in on a few for a fun shopping spree.
Kids Things To Do:
What are the top kids things to do in Bentonville? Being a family friendly city, Bentonville has tons of wonderful things for kids to do. There are special events and festivals throughout the year with activities specifically designed for children, such as outdoor movies on First Friday evenings, the summertime Splash Pad that converts to a delightful skating rink in the winter and holiday parades, to name just a very few.
Year-round kid’s activities can be found at Crystal Bridges and Amazeum (an interactive museum for children), which both have regular programming for the kids. Additionally, there’s Trike Theatre, Skylight Theater, Climb Bentonville, Kids Bike Park, Coler Mtb Preserve, Bentonville Community Center with indoor and outdoor pools, Memorial Park outdoor pool and numerous parks and multi-use trails that are scattered throughout the city. Then there is the Spark Cafe (just in front of the Walmart Museum) where you can get a single dip of yummy ice cream for 99 cents. Here’s a list of fabulous things to do for your children throughout NWA.
Restaurants throughout Bentonville and all of Northwest Arkansas offer kids eat free meals. With this list in hand, you can easily afford a family dining experience.
Kyya Chocolate – Boasting the first bean to bar chocolate company in Arkansas, Kyya features dark chocolates, white chocolates, milk chocolates and various infused chocolates. Step inside the inviting store, smell the aromas and taste the delicious difference in Kyya Chocolate.
Bleachers – Selling sports memorabilia with a quality selection of Arkansas Razorback clothing and other memorabilia. Great place to get a gift for the sports fan or sports participant in your family.
Remedy Road – Specializing in women’s apparel, handbags, accessories, home decor, children’s clothing and much more. This lovely boutique is filled with items handmade by talented artisans in India and other impoverished countries. 10% of the profits are donated back to the people who make the different items sold in the shop.
In Season – Owned and operated locally and offering authentic southern hospitality, friendliness and a real passion for helping you develop a signature lifestyle. Arkansas gifts are also featured as are gold and semi-precious stones jewelry. This is a full service shop including alterations.
Elysian Boutique – A women’s clothing store for the young professional, classy teen or the mom who wishes to stay in style. Featuring tops, dresses, sweaters, jackets, blouses, kid’s clothing and more.
Located on the grounds of Crystal Bridges and in conjunction with the museum, Buckyball is a 30-ft tall illuminated sculpture by Leo Vallireal. It’s aluminum tubing is covered with LED lights, and it is capable of displaying 16 million distinct colors. Engage your senses with the beauty of nature and the night sky while watching an exciting colorful light display. Must see exhibit!
Bentonville Farmers Market:
For more than 40 plus years from around the 3rd week in April to late October, on Saturdays from 7:30 AM – 1:00 PM, this producer only farmers market has provided fresh grown food and artisan crafts all around the beautiful Bentonville Downtown Square. Vendors sell everything from coffee to delicious pastries to every imaginable kind of locally grown produce. Get up early and come on down for an opportunity to meet and visit with the friendly people of Bentonville, and bag some freshly harvested organic produce or crafts in the bargain. It’s great fun for all ages, and even the dogs and kids have a great time.
Bentonville is a mountain biker’s paradise, unlikely, but nevertheless, it’s a bike mecca. It is widely recognized as a premier destination for mountain biking. The International Mountain Bicycling Association has given a Silver Ride Center to the city. During the year it plays host to multiple fun and challenging cycling events. Here are the Top 10 Mountain Biking Trails in NWA.
Razorback Greenway – Part of the scenic 36-mile Razorback Greenway, it’s a multi-use trail which connects all of Northwest Arkansas, runs north through Bentonville and connects Bentonville to Lake Bella Vista. Connecting Bentonville landmarks, the Greenway is a boon to area cyclists.
Slaughter Pen Mountain Bike Park – A scenic single track trail located on the mountain just north of NW A Street and east of N Walton Blvd. While it does have progressive features, cyclists of all levels can ride. Its total length is 20.7 miles.
Coler Mountain Bike Preserve – offers 16 miles of diverse, challenging riding opportunities including flow, cross country, dual slalom, jump and more. Fun and exciting trail for the experienced cyclist.
Phat Tire – Need to rent a bike? Need quick and experienced repair? Need bike gear? Want to purchase a bike? Phat Tire does it all including organizing group bike rides, fittings, sponsoring events and much, much more. Conveniently located just off the square at 125 W Central, Phat Tire has helped make Bentonville a biking lifestyle city.
Climb Bentonville – is a championship yoga, fitness and rock climbing facility. Climbing challenges for people of all ages and fitness levels are available. Staff is patient, kind and experienced. Create a memorable experience when you hit the rocks at Climb Bentonville.
Urban Forest Axe House – This is the state’s first facility to be certified by the World Axe Throwing League. Great for individuals, groups, parties, friends and corporate events, this premier axe throwing venue offers a chance to acquire a new skill, all while having a ton of fun. Staff shares know-how on step-by-step technique, and there’s a real sense of accomplishment once you get your axe to stick.
The Holler – A local hangout offering indoor full shuffleboard, great food, drinks, places to work, think and meet. Watch the shuffleboard games, learn the lingo and play yourself. Staff is there to help you all the way.
A cool splash pad with many jets in the summer, and an ice rink in the winter, Lawrence Plaza located behind 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Bentonville is the perfect play spot for kids of all ages. No better way to cool down on a hot summer day than a visit to the Splash Pad, and no way to have more fun in the cold months than a spin or two around the ice rink.
Oz1 Flying Club – Based at Thaden Field (VBT) in Bentonville offers a chance for aviators and enthusiasts alike to experience the adventure and joy of flying in a variety of aircraft. With a focus on making flying more accessible to more people, the club is of great benefit to area aviation.
Located at Bentonville Regional Airport, Summit Aviation is a full-service aviation center, which includes a flight school and plane maintenance facility. It offers pilot training including helicopters, scenic tours and top-notch customer service for all aviation needs.
Central to the community’s aviation needs, this flying facility includes a restaurant facing the runway, a retail space, a large balcony situated so you can watch planes take off and land and an aviation exhibition center.
Currently, the city has 22 pieces of art on display including murals and interactive art. Most are situated along the trails and downtown Bentonville. As you stroll and ride about the about the city, see how many of these works you can find. From Sassy The Sasquatch located near Crystal Bridges (created from steel and bike chains) to Rainbow Springs, an interactive art sculpture at Lawrence Plaza (created from acrylic tubes and LED lights), to building and tunnel murals, these works are all uniquely Bentonville.
First Fridays – The first Friday of every month April – November is set aside for a different themed fun festival. It could be described as a giant block party, and is a great way for the community to come together to laugh, pat their feet to the beat of the music and enjoy themselves. Everyone is welcome, young and old, and all are guaranteed a great time.
Power of Music Festival – Benefiting the I’ll Fly Away Foundation, which raises money for the “You Can Fly” school songwriting program POM is held in early May and attracts many legendary Nashville songwriters.
BFF – Bentonville Film Festival is held in May. With a focus on gender equity and underrepresented talent in the entertainment industry, the festival strives to help change how this industry currently operates.
Around the Downtown Square and within a short walking or, if you prefer, driving distance are some unique late night pubs, bars and restaurants. They are typically staffed with friendly characters that are anxious to see that you enjoy your meal or libation of choice.
Undercroft – Located under the Preacher’s Son, a Top 10 restaurant if there ever was one, is Undercroft, a beautiful bar. It’s open until 1:00 AM Tues – Sat, and its mixologists are keen to keep you happy.
Pedaler’s Pub – Open 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM Tues – Sun features an Italian/ American menu with a focus on wood-fired pizza. Craft brews are on tap, and there’s a full bar. Service is fast and friendly, and if you’re a cyclist, you’ll fall into instant camaraderie as the owner is a devoted cyclist. There’s a large outdoor patio and live music too.
Scotch & Soda – Open until 1:00 AM on weekends and offering one of the largest selections of bourbon you’ll find around, there’s a great front patio area which is packed out in good weather. The food is excellent and the service is fantastic.
Bike Rack Brewing – Located at the 8th Street Market, and offering killer food trucks within shouting distance, regional live music and, of course, delicious craft beer, the atmosphere is geared for fun and meeting people. You won’t be a stranger long in this friendly spot.
The First Seat Pub & Grill – Open until 1:00 AM and offering great burgers, brews, classy cocktails, atmosphere and location, this is a super place to meet up with friends for drinks, burgers and fun.
Almost every pub and bar has a distinct happy hour where drink specials and lite bites are the norm. Pop into Scotch & Soda (fun sidewalk seating), First Seat Pub & Grill (friendly neighborhood pub), Beef ‘O’ Brady’s (game day fun on SW 14th St.), Bike Rack Brewing Co. (fun, relaxed atmosphere) at the 8th St Market or any of the restaurants around the square. Kick back, relax and have a local craft beer or creative, specialty cocktail and see how it feels to experience happy hour in Bentonville.
Attention live music lovers! Bentonville has a burgeoning music scene with its own Haxton Road Studios (full service recording studio), Meteor Guitar Gallery (local popular venue with popular acts), Bike Rack Brewing & 8th St. Market (microbrewery, food trucks, cheese shop, local hangout), Ramo d’Olivio (popular olive oil and wine bar venue), Fred’s Hickory Inn (iconic BBQ & Steak Restaurant with fun Cabin Bar).
When the sun goes down and the lights come on, time to enjoy your evening in Bentonville, If its a first Friday or one of the city’s many festival days, just take yourself over to the Square and join in with the fun. Admission and fun are free.
Later on, and on most weekends, catch a show at the famous Meteor, or one of the other live music/dining venues like 8th Street Market’s Bike Rack Brewing, or Pedaler’s Pub. For that matter, if you’re here on a weekend, you’ll find live music at many Bentonville pubs, bars and restaurants.
Haxton Road Studios – As a premier recording studio, Haxton is central to the music and arts culture of Northwest Arkansas. Offering its content and other services to individuals, businesses, marketing agencies, non-profits, foundations and organizations, Haxton’s professional studio stands ready to help make your project a complete success.
Meteor Guitar Gallery – Formerly an old Movie Theater in Bentonville, Meteor renovated the building which now houses over 1000 pieces of music equipment including amps and new and vintage guitars. Seating 378, it also hosts acts from the region and national acclaim, and it can be contracted for all sorts of special events. There’s a cool upstairs bar and balcony seating too. An evening at the Meteor is sure to be a fun experience.
Bike Rack Brewing Co. – Located at 8th Street market, and serving killer craft beer at its friendly tap room, Bike Rack Brewing hosts many local and regional music and comedy acts. It’s definitely not just a brewery, it’ a local hangout with an electric atmosphere. Almost always packed on the weekends, it’s a great place to meet your friends or make new ones. Whether you’re new to the area or a local, Bike Rack is a fun spot to have a delicious cold brew and listen to some original music. It’s also home to Bike Rack Record label, which has recorded local artists at no cost to the individual artist.
Ramo d’Olivio – Excellent weekend venue for local and regional bands, and also a wonderful place to enjoy a glass of wine, a brew or cocktail. Has a bar, great patio, small garden and fun atmosphere. Staff is quick, efficient and friendly. You’ll have a fun time here.
Fred’s Hickory Inn – Fred’s has live music Thur – Sat on the lively patio, but never fear, if the weather is bad, music will move inside to the Cabin bar. Locals love to hang out at Fred’s, a long-standing Bentonville BBQ tradition.
Places To Stay
Bentonville has many exciting lodging opportunities including the brilliant boutique hotel, 21c Museum Hotel, Element (features multiple space options to suit your particular need), Victoria (beautiful downtown B&B), Airbnbs (area is littered with tons of neat options to suit your circumstances), Double Tree Suites (Executive Rooms & 2-room Suites).
21c Museum Hotel – Located just down from the Downtown Square, near Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and close to all Bentonville’s restaurants and fun activities, 21c is home to premier accommodations, rotating museum quality art, The Hive (full service chef-driven restaurant and bar). Its many luxurious amenities make it a top choice for world travellers and for Walmart executives alike.
The Victoria Bed and Breakfast – Connects to the pedestrian entrance to Crystal Bridges. Elegant, clean, comfortable rooms and a fantastic host-cooked breakfast make this a top choice for those wishing to experience Crystal Bridges, downtown boutique shopping, the famous Bentonville Square, restaurants, nightlife, festivals and more. Its hosts are delighted to answer your questions about the area, and once you’ve stayed, you’ll return time after time.
Element Bentonville – Experience everything that Bentonville has to offer when you’re based at the clean and modern Element Bentonville. Amenities include a flat-screen TV, fully equipped kitchen, complimentary breakfast (french toast is delightful), fitness room, pool and more. Convenient and comfortable, this is a wonderful hotel for the business traveler, couples or families. Stay for a day or two or an extended stay, either way, you’ll be happy you chose Element.
DoubleTree Suites – Guaranteed to have the best warm chocolate chip cookies in the land, DoubleTree, a 100% smoke-free hotel, also boasts close proximity to Walmart’s home office, Bistro 301 (on premises restaurant and bar with killer salad bar), stylish rooms, fitness room, pool, playground and much more. It’s also close to Crystal Bridges, the Historic Downtown Square and Bentonville restaurants and nightlife.
Airbnbs – Bentonville has many convenient & comfortable Airbnbs scattered throughout the city. Many are close to the Downtown area, and are close to Crystal Bridges, mountain bike trails, restaurants, pubs & bars, the Historic Bentonville Square, boutique shopping and Bentonville nightlife. Meant to be your home away from home, these places are fantastic.
Airbnb owners are full of information about the area and are happy to share tips with you. Mountain bikers are keen on these handy single dwelling lodging options, and many of the Airbnbs are set up with bike racks, bike storage and places to work on bikes. Do check early if you want to stay in one as they often are booked weeks in advance.
Looking for additional places to stay in Northwest Arkansas? Check out these Top 10 Places To Stay in Northwest Arkansas.
As you can see, there’s plenty of Things To Do, Places To Eat and Places To Stay in Bentonville AR. Recognized around the world as a art, cultural, culinary, biking and business mecca, Bentonville has steadfastly maintained its small town charm even though the city continues to grow at a rapid pace. It’s people exude friendliness, and all who come here sense the genuineness of their open and welcoming attitude. The words idyllic and dynamic equally describe the city.
Would you like more ideas for things to do in Bentonville Arkansas? Here you go.
Photo of Crystal Bridges at top of page Courtesy Arkansas Dept of Parks and Tourism