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The past few years brought me to a lot of places in my home country that I never thought I’d visit, thanks to my quest to visit all 50 states! I crossed Arkansas off the list as state #43/50 on a solo road trip around the Quad States. The Quad States consist of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri, and are located in the Midwest region of the US. I was only in Arkansas for about 24 hours and chose to explore the northwest during this time. While I am by no means an expert in the area, I did manage to hit a few of the best things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas. Keep reading for inspo!
Where is Bentonville, Arkansas?
As mentioned in my intro paragraph, Bentonville is one of the major cities located in northwest Arkansas. This area is characterized by the Ozark Mountains, the Buffalo National River, charming mountain towns, and its outdoor recreation. Fayetteville is the largest city in the area, followed by Bentonville. Fayetteville is also home to the University of Arkansas, which is a major contributor to the local economy and culture in the region.
Directions to Bentonville, Arkansas:
There is a small regional airport located 15 miles northwest of Fayetteville called the Northwest Arkansas National Airport. Unfortunately, there isn’t much public transportation in this part of the country so Bentonville would be quite difficult to reach by train.
The Ozark Regional Transit system operates buses throughout Northwest Arkansas, connecting cities like Springdale, Fayetteville, and Bentonville.
The easiest way to explore Bentonville and the surrounding area in Northwest Arkansas is definitely by car. I rented a car in Tulsa, OK and drove to Bentonville, AK during my Quad State road trip, which was only a 2 hour ride.
Fayetteville to Bentonville
Fayetteville is located just 30 miles south of Bentonville in the region, so both can easily be visited in the same trip. If you don’t have access to a car, Jefferson Lines operates a bus from Fayetteville, AR to Rogers/Bentonville, AR twice daily. Tickets cost $17 – $40 and the journey takes 25 min. Seeing a football game at the University of Arkansas Razorbacks game may be one of the best things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas during your visit if you’re looking to escape the small town feel!
Where to stay in Bentonville, Arkansas?
Bentonville has a quaint downtown and also a plethora of motels and hotels to choose from off the highway. I opted for a chain hotel during my one night in Bentonville to save money, but if I were to go back I would definitely stay in the heart of the town.
Here are two recommendations for you based off some research I did for this blog post:
Located on the northeast corner of the Bentonville town square and a short walk to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville is a 104-room boutique hotel, contemporary art museum, cultural center, and home to The Hive restaurant – a local favorite!
The hotel has more than 12,000 square feet of exhibition space. The galleries here are open daily, so be sure to pop by even if you aren’t staying!
The Victoria B&B has 5 elegantly styled rooms and suites with a large dining and sitting room on the first floor. The B&B is also located adjacent to the world class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. It is 2 short blocks north of Downtown Bentonville Square, and is within walking distance to quaint bistros and boutique shops.
Things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas
I think Bentonville is underrated! It’s such a charming town with fantastic coffee shops, farmers markets, and restaurants in the city. Plus, some of the best outdoor recreation is right nearby. Bikers and campers flock to the Ozark Mountains, but here are a few things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Catch the weekend farmers market
Located in the Downtown Bentonville Square, this farmers market shouldn’t be missed. I actually didn’t plan to visit the farmers market during my time in Bentonville, but just got lucky with the timing. This farmers market sold produce and baked goods like most do, but also had beautiful home-made art, thrifted clothing, pet accessories, wooden carvings, and so much more. Plus, it was super dog friendly. Everyone was walking around with their morning coffees, kids, and pets when I visited. Add a stop here to your Bentonville bucketlist!
Visit the Walmart Museum
This one may sound silly, but is actually a really unique activity to add to your list of things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas. Fun fact: The world’s first Walmart opened in Bentonville! Opened in 1950 by Sam Walton as a humble pharmacy on a street corner in downtown, originally called Walton’s 5&10, Walmart has since grown to be one of the world’s largest superstores.
The Walmart Museum first opened in 1990 and was originally known as the Walmart Visitor Center. The museum provides visitors an inside look into the company’s history, first good’s sold (with the original price tags), and stories from the Walton family. The museum’s mission is to inspire, engage, and educate visitors about Walmart’s culture, history, and brand.
The museum and original store are located at 240 S Main St, Bentonville, AR 72712.
Pro-tip: The Walmart Museum, including Walton’s 5&10, is closed while they undergo an extensive renovation through Spring 2024. During the renovation (Nov. 1 through Spring 2024), to ensure there is as little disruption as possible, visitors can explore The Walmart Museum Heritage Lab.
Explore the Momentary Museum
This art museum and event space is such a hidden gem. For an area that is largely known for its small town feel and outdoor recreation, the Momentary is very….trendy! This modern art museum is super cool and is the perfect rainy day activity. Keep an eye out for events here, as there are many unique spaces on the property for pop-up’s, concerts, and even weddings!
Grab coffee at the Momentary
This is definitely my top recommendation for best things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas! Inside the Momentary is perhaps one of my favorite coffee shops in the world. The Onyx café (M’onyx) is located inside the Momentary contemporary art space and is 1) entirely pink 2) has delicious breakfast food and 3) the best in-house brewed coffee.
This was one of the most aesthetic cafes I’ve ever been to… I mean, look at the pics… can you believe this is in Arkansas?
Address: 507 SE E Street, Bentonville, AR 72712
Pro-tip: This cafe is closed on Monday’s, and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm.
Walk / bike along the trails in Bentonville
Aside from exploring downtown Bentonville and visiting the Momentary, I also recommend exploring the surrounding area. Blowing Springs multi-use trail system and Northwest Arkansas Razorback Greenway are popular recreation areas for adventure lovers, families, and cycling enthusiasts. Spend some time here during your visit to Bentonville!
That brings us to the end of this blog post about the top things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas. I’ve never been to Fayetteville but would love to check out the University of Arkansas and Dickson Street one day! Same with Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas. The city’s claim to fame is the Big Dam Bridge, which is the largest pedestrian and bicycle bridge in North America. Head to River Market for restaurants and shopping. Eureka Springs and Hot Springs National Park are other highlights to consider visiting in the Natural State!
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