There are plenty of things to do in Bentonville, AR, but let’s take a listen to what the locals have to say about their hometown. After all, they engage in Bentonville life every day!
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is the big “can’t miss” attraction. You don’t have to be a professional artist or an art critic in order to enjoy the incredible magnificence of this museum. You’ll note that I speak of it often throughout this guide and with good reason!
The locals also say that Bentonville’s Compton Gardens is a must-see, as well as the new 21c Museum Hotel’s art collection. This beautiful and fascinating art collection is on display to the public 24/7. You don’t have to be a staying at the 21c to peruse the collection.
The Walmart Museum. Located on the Downtown Square in Bentonville, the museum is in three parts, a museum, a working 5 & 10, and the The Spark Cafe. Trace the origin and growth of Walmart, the world’s leading retailer. Experience the working 5 & 10. Enjoy interactives for all ages. Visit the 50’s themed Spark Cafe where the entire family can enjoy a delicious ice cream treat for under $10. Everyone is fascinated with this unique museum.
Another treat is to visit the actual Walmart store in Bentonville. It might seem odd to add this to your list of things to do in Bentonville, AR, but you won’t have a better experience at any Walmart Center than you will have at the store in Walmart’s hometown. It’s something to see, and hey, you can stock up on the things that you forgot to pack!
The Farmer’s Market is located in downtown Bentonville on Saturday mornings from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., March through November. The locals shop here and you’ll see why if you take the time to head downtown and visit it!
There are also several can’t-miss restaurants in Bentonville and the surrounding areas (please see the restaurant listings in this guide for exact locations). The locals love to eat out, and they recommend:
• The Station Café on the downtown square for delicious burgers and great strawberry milkshakes.
• Fred’s Hickory Inn, or just “Fred’s on N. Walton Blvd” as they call it, where you will enjoy some of the best hickory-smoked BBQ you’ll ever taste. Make sure to have a side of the spaghetti and meatballs.
• Tavola Trattoria for AMAZING Italian food.
• Does Eat Place for the best brews and steaks in town.
• Crumpet Tea Room for great chicken salad.
• The Hive located at 21c Museum Hotel, which specializes in artfully prepared food with local flavors in mind. Try the grilled quail appetizer and rabbit dumplings.
• The River Grille Steakhouse for terrific food and the Bleu Sky Bar, which is a fantastic local hangout for great drinks, some fun, and relaxation. The locals love Bleu Sky’s happy hour.
• The Pressroom for coffee and afternoon cocktails. It has a super fun atmosphere, and the locals say it’s just a good place to “chill.”
• Table Mesa for cocktails, especially their “Cheap Dates” and “Moscow Mules.”The locals rave about Table Mesa’s lunches and say the service is always fantastic.
• Crepes Paulette, one of the most popular food trucks in the downtown square area. It serves delicious crepes for kids and adults. Kids will even stand quietly in line waiting on these crepes. Now that says a lot!
• Yeyo’s Mexican Grill is another food truck you’ll find in the downtown square area. According to the locals, it serves some seriously delicious Mexican cuisine.
• Glasgow’s Cafe is also known for its Mexican fare and casual atmosphere. This restaurant has been a local favorite for years.
• Tusk and Trotter is a favorite Friday afternoon hangout where the girls get together with their friends for what the locals call their “HRT.” Nope, doctors aren’t sitting in the Tusk and Trotter handing out “scrips” for hormone replacement therapy. The prescription for this HRT is the best kind around – hanging out with friends for some fun and much-needed R&R! Try their infused vodkas and Tank 7 beer on tap.
• Beef ‘O’ Brady’s serves up terrific food and has some kind of sporting event going all the time.
• Gravette is a Bentonville bedroom community just some 17 miles from Bentonville on Hwy72. Gravette is home to the Hard Luck Cafe. Steven, the owner, serves up great American food. Everyone raves about the fresh, fresh food in this place. The locals say it’s well worth the short drive.
• Centerton is just a 5-mile drive west on Hwy 72. You’ll find Jim’s Centerton Cafe in this tiny community. The locals drive to Centerton to eat at Jim’s for two reasons: You can get a wonderful weekend breakfast and catch some local flavor while listening to the older men gossip!
• Bella Vista, which I speak of in greater detail in this guide, is another Bentonville bedroom community where you’ll find Gusanos Pizzaria, a favorite for miles around. The locals say this restaurant is perfect for families.
I’ve talked a lot about Bentonville’s downtown area, which the locals refer to as “Bentonville Square.” Bentonville Square is the hub of activity and really something unique. Special events such as The Farmer’s Market and First Fridays, as well as other festivals and events are common around this picturesque setting; gourmet food trucks and delightful restaurants will spoil any visitor with their delicious meals; specialty shops offer an eclectic display of items. Bentonville Square has it all!
Outdoor beauty is in abundance in Bentonville, and the locals encourage visitors to be sure to take advantage of the many biking, running, and walking trails in and around Bentonville. There are benches all along the trails should you want to stop and take a rest to listen to the little creeks flowing by.
Bentonville parks are well kept for locals and tourists alike, and they offer plenty of activities to keep you in the warm Bentonville sunshine. You’ll find tennis, basketball, volleyball, skateboarding, and swimming among other Bentonville park fun.
The locals say that First Fridays, located on Bentonville Square, is THE place to be if you’re in town on a Friday night. From March through November, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the square transitions into a huge block party complete with live music, kid’s activities, food, and gallery openings.