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Bentonville Itinerary #1 – Downtown Bentonville

steve gunter picture of bentonville square

Bentonville Square ~ Photo courtesy of Steve Gunter

If you are in downtown Bentonville AR on a Saturday from April through October, start your itinerary at the Saturday Farmer’s Market on Bentonville’s Downtown Square. Vendors sell everything from coffee to delicious pastries to every imaginable type of locally grown produce. The market also features chef demonstrations and live music, and is fun for all ages.

Crystal Bridges and Amazeum

No visitor to the city should leave without seeing world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which houses art from the colonial era to the present.  Exhibits include masterworks by Georgia O’keeffe, Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhal, to name but a very few.  The permanent collection is free to all.

In addition to the permanent collection, the museum offers a full schedule of upcoming events and exhibits.  The museum, through its many art related events and classes is central to the lives of the people of Northwest Arkansas.

Just across from the museum is the Amazeum, an interactive museum for the kids.  Your children will love this delightful, magical place.

Breakfast and Coffee

Breakfast lovers, check out The Hive at the 21c Museum Hotel, the Pressroom, the heart  beat of the city 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).

For you coffee aficionados, the city has many wonderful coffee houses including Onyx Coffee Lab (just off the Downtown Square) and Joyhouse Coffee (just a couple of blocks off the Downtown Square on S Main St).  These delightful spots give new meaning to the word “coffee.”   Oh my!  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.

Downtown Square

Looking around Bentonville’s Historic Downtown Square and off streets you’ll find 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 in the downtown area are amazing shopping boutiques, Ozark Mountain Bagel Co., Kyya Chocolate and much, much more.  Stand in the middle of the square and note those shops that appeal to you, and then head on over for a fun shopping experience.

If you’re ready for lunch or just a quick bite to eat, Ramo d’Olivio (heavenly sandwiches + wine), Table Mesa (modern Latin cuisine), Oven & Tap (wood-fired pizza) or check out the many outstanding Bentonville Restaurants on our current Top 10 Bentonville Restaurants list.

Bentonville Trails

If a sense of adventure runs in your veins, rent a bike at Phat Tire right off the square. Take a bike ride on some of the thrilling trails around the city including Razorback Greenway or the Crystal Bridges Trails.  Rentals include a helmet, a quick fit and suspension set-up, flat pedals, SPD, Crank Brother, SPD-SL, or you can BYOB – Bring Your Own Bike!  This is a full service bike shop, and the staff is amazing in every way.

If walking is more to your liking, take a walk through awesome Compton Gardens or explore some of the scenic Crystal Bridges trails.  These trails are not only stunningly beautiful, but they are also peppered with amazing sculptures throughout.  The museum and grounds occupy some 120 acres of magnificent Northwest Arkansas countryside.  You won’t find more gorgeous trails anywhere, and even a short walk will make your heart sing.

Food Trucks

After all this exercise, you might be ready to check out some of the taste tempting food trucks you’ve seen around the city.  Trucks of every kind including pizza, crepes, chinese, BBQ and much more are situated throughout the city.  Food Trucks North 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.

Nightlife, Dining, Drinks

Attention 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), 8th St. Market (venue, microbrewery, food trucks, cheese shop, local hangout).

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.  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.

Bentonville has many exciting chef driven restaurants like Blu Fish (fresh flown in daily), Eleven at Crystal Bridges (High South cuisine), Oven & Tap (wood-fired pizza), The Hive (refined country cooking), and many more.  Take a look at our list of Top 10 Bentonville Restaurants to find the restaurant that strikes your fancy.

Night caps and creative drinks, beer and wine are available at Scotch and Soda, a patio bar just across the street from the Meteor Guitar Gallery, Preacher’s Son’s bar located beneath the restaurant and dubbed the Undercroft, The Hive at 21c Museum Hotel (entertain important clients), Growler USA (endless selection of beer and great atmosphere), Pedaler’s Pub (casual and friendly wood-fired pizza and more), Pressroom (hip atmosphere with sidewalk seating).

As you can see, there’s plenty to see and do in Bentonville, the home of Walmart’s home office.  The city is growing rapidly, but retains its small town charm.

Would you like more ideas for things to do in Bentonville Arkansas?  Here you go.