Located near Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas, Bentonville is known for its outdoor recreation and indoor entertainment options. There are a multitude of things to do and see in the area, no matter the time of year.
We discover something else we love about Bentonville during each visit. It is a town that will impress you, from its boutique shops and museums to its sought-after foodie destinations.
INTERESTING PLACES TO VISIT
BENTONVILLE TOWN SQUARE
I recommend parking your vehicle near Bentonville Town Square and strolling the downtown area to enjoy its shopping, dining, and points of interest, like The Walmart Museum and the 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville.
Situated in the center of the town square across the street from Benton County Courthouse is a flowing water fountain surrounded by beautifully manicured flower gardens. Shade trees extended over park benches provide a relaxing spot to people-watch.
Trendy go-to places such as Airship Coffee at Ledger, Sandi Sue’s Gluten Free Bakery, and Ozark Mountain Bagel Co. cater to early-morning diners. Food trucks and a host of lunch or dinner eateries round out a long list of restaurants in the area. Love to shop? Make time to buy locally-created artwork or gifts at Bentonville Mercantile.
CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
I’ve toured Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (600 Museum Way) more than once for its stunning architecture and world-renowned American artwork. Beyond compare, the museum is considered one of the top attractions in Bentonville. It’s free to enjoy.
Take a self-guided tour inside its galleries to admire throughout-provoking pieces by artists ranging from Georgia O’Keefe and Andy Warhol. Outdoors, paved trails wind through 120 acres of Ozark forest with permanent pubic artwork tucked amongst the trees. Keep a keen eye out for architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright and Safdie; their buildings seamlessly blend into the setting.
After your tour, savor a glass of wine or plate of delectable eats with a view at Eleven, the museum’s restaurant.
A sister property to Crystal Bridges Museum, The Momentary (507 SE E. St.) is one of the town’s newest additions. The complex features an outdoor bandstand for live music performances, outdoor public art spaces, and an indoor contemporary art gallery. General admission is free.
Lounging with friends at Onyx Coffee Lab (check the hours) is a must, just as sipping a handcrafted cocktail at the aviation-themed Tower Bar overlooking Bentonville. Like me, The Momentary Food Truck may be open if you’re lucky. The Rode Bar offers visitors a walk-up window service.
Remember that The Momentary is within walking distance of 8th St Market, a go-to place for foodies and craft beer drinkers.
The WALMART MUSEUM
Founded in Bentonville, Walmart significantly contributes to the town’s economic success. The Walmart Museum (240 S. Main St.) offers visitors a glimpse into the company’s foundation, continues growth, and employee culture. We toured The Walmart Museum Heritage Lab, a temporary home at the Ledger until the Main Street location renovations are completed.
Families and solo travelers alike will appreciate the glass-covered displays housing original products, and kids can submit a completed scavenger hunt for prizes. I recommend spending 15 minutes viewing an AI-powered life-sized hologram of founder Sam Walton who recounts his childhood and philosophy on business.
Whether you’re an aviation fan or want to try a new experience, Thaden Field (2205 SW I St) is an entertaining place to watch planes take off and land, plus the Louise cafe serves delectable meals.Located at the Bentonville Municipal Airport, Thaden Field honors the contribution of female aviator Louise Thaden, the first woman to win a National Air Race. Thaden was born in Bentonville and broke barriers for women in the industry, holding records for altitude, solo endurance, and speed.
The modern design includes outdoor play areas for kids and a retail area stocked with aviation-themed gifts. Photo-worthy backdrops on each level invite visitors to snap selfies.
I was impressed with Thaden Field’s stunning architecture and awe-inspiring airstrip. If you appreciate history or aviation, it’s a must-stop in Bentonville. Keep the aviation vibes going by stopping by Airship Coffee (1000 SE 5th St.) for a caffeinated cup.
Experiencing Bentonville on two wheels is a popular way to see the Northwest Arkansas town. Biking is a significant draw for adventurers since the town is known as “the mountain bike capital of the world.” There are over two dozen trails and pathways alone in Bentonville.
We rented bikes from Spoke Adventures to tour a paved trail from downtown Bentonville to 8th St. Market. They offered both e-bikes and standard bikes for adults and kids. Additionally, avid bikers will appreciate area hotels that allow bikes in the rooms or offer bike valet.
You can’t look in a single direction in Bentonville without likely spotting public art as a mural, sculpture, or multi-colored bike rike. I recommend peeking down alleyways between downtown buildings, even those not necessarily well-traveled, to gain closer access to remarkable murals.
You can also use the Wander Map to guide your public art trek, but honestly, you’ll spontaneously stumble upon world-renowned artists’ work just about anywhere you go in Bentonville.
Born in Arkansas in 1932, Johnny Cash is one of several legendary Arkansas musicians depicted in downtown Bentonville’s alley artwork. If traveling with kids, take them to Monster Alley to see cartoon-like murals painted by Kevin Lyons on West Central Avenue.
SIP & SAVOR DESTINATIONS
8TH ST MARKET
Love ramen? Cold beer? Delectable chocolate? 8th St Market (801 SE 8th St.) is always a hub of activity, drawing locals and out-of-towners searching for unique dining places.
Dog-friendly Bike Rack Brewing‘s expansive patio buddies up to visiting food trucks. Yeyo’s plates “Mexican Food With Soul” using locally-sourced ingredients. Dessert seekers will appreciate handcrafted chocolate at Markham & Fitz, where dark cocoa creations wow.
TACOS & TAMALE CO.
You’re in for a treat when you walk into Tacos & Tamale Co. (101 W. Central Ave.). The visually stimulating decor says, “Who’s ready to party?”
The Salsa & Dip Trio with a Lost Forty Brewing 2nd Rodeo Light Beer is Ark-Mex heaven. When you go, order the scratch-made Hatch Green Chile, TN’T Taco Sauce, and Creamy Jalapeno-Onion Dip (addicting!). I’ll be back with an appetite next time.
Seat yourself at the bar for Happy Hour on Monday-Wednesday from 3 pm-6 pm when you see $2 on wine and draft beer. Choose from a short list of margaritas, which are only $5.Are you visiting with a small group? Reserve the swanky, pink-covered bank vault for an unforgettable experience with reserved seating.
BENTONVILLE BREWING COMPANY
En route to Thaden Field, we spotted Bentonville Brewing Company (901 SW 14th St., Suite 100). A massive building with multiple beer tanks visible through the windows, we knew we wanted to add it to our impromptu travel plans.
We received a warm welcome from the staff, who, once they learned it was our first time visiting, offered us several beer samples based on our preferred tastes. Sitting at the bar, the brewery was soon abuzz with weekenders visiting with leashed dogs and kids in tow. The brewery is hospitable, offering kid-friendly play spaces indoors and outside.
I enjoyed Space Goose Hazy IPA enough to purchase a six-pack of to-go cans. I regret that we had already eaten lunch; otherwise, Nosh Nola‘s Cajun Cobb Salad or Boudin Eggrolls would have satisfied me.
Bentonville is a town constantly improving and adding new points of interest. I look forward to checking out The Walmart Museum after its renovation, biking to the Saturday Farmers Market, and diving into its dining scene, which includes James Beard Award-nominated restaurants. I hope this list of fun things to do in Bentonville inspires a road trip. If you travel from Kansas to Northwest Arkansas along Hwy 400, I’ve also written about Pittsburg, Kansas. The college town offers comfy overnight accommodations, on-trend restaurants, and shops that keep me returning.